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“Fine, hard-packed, hard-hitting prose”
-- N.Y. Times Book Review
Plunder of the Sun, 1st ed.

Plunder of the Sun

(1949)

Publishing History

  • Blue Book Magazine. Vol. 88, no. 6 (Apr. 1949)
  • New York: Random House, 1949
    • -- DeLuxe edition. (Mystery Guild Library)
    • -- Book Club edition. (Dollar Mystery Guild), with variant cover 
  • The Toronto Star Weekly, 19 November 1949 (Star Weekly Complete Novel)
  • London: Michael Joseph, 1950
  • New York: Dell Publishing Company, 1951 (Dell 478)
  • Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin Books, 1955 (Penguin 1022)
  • New York: Dorchester Publishing Co., 2005 (Hard Case Crime HCC-010); ISBN: 978-0843953589 [Buy this book]
  • New York: Diversion Books, 2015. [Kindle edition]; ISBN: 978-1626816039 [Buy this book]

Read an Excerpt

 

Series Character

Radio

  • Plunder of the Sun (CBS, 1949) Episode 96 of Escape!

Film Links

Setting

  • Peru
Plunder of the Sun, 1950

   He turned his head toward the nurse as he finished speaking. It may have been only a coincidence, but I wondered. Just then she was a thing of beauty in anybody’s language. The breeze had stiffened suddenly, flipping the ribbon in her hair so that she put up both hands to secure it. That particular gesture is one of the most feminine things a woman can do, to my mind. Her back straightens, her breasts push forward, her head comes up, her arms curve like the handles on a Grecian vase. Even a homely woman looks different when she is fixing her hair. Berrien’s nurse wasn’t homely.
   Plunder of the Sun, Chapter 1.

Summary

   The second Al Colby adventure begins in a park in Santiago, Chile, when Colby accepts a job from the mysterious invalid Señor Alfredo Berrien. Berrien has a Peruvian “antique” that he wants smuggled back into Peru. The job pays $1,000 and gives Colby an excuse to get to know Berrien’s nurse, Ana Luz. Colby’s assignment is to carry the object aboard the Talca, an American ship sailing from Valparaíso, and return it to Berrien when they reach Callao.

   After Berrien, who has a serious heart condition, is found dead in his shipboard cabin, Colby discovers that the object he is carrying is a quipu, an Inca message-cord, wrapped in three sheets of parchment covered with writing in Quechua. After consulting a museum in Lima, Prescott’s The Conquest of Peru, and an unscrupulous collector and translator in Arequipa, Colby learns that what he really has is a manuscript describing the location of eighty-four pieces of lost Inca treasure.

   In his quest for the gold, Colby tangles with a rough, ruthless American “sharp-shooter” named Jeff who first tries to steal the manuscript, then proposes a partnership, and finally double-crosses him and steals the loot. The action climaxes with a chase across Lake Titicaca as Jeff tries to make it to Bolivian waters in a small reed boat.

   Dodge considered this novel one of his best works. He was disappointed with the Hollywood treatment of his story, which moved the action from Peru to Mexico and changed the Inca gold to Aztec treasure, besides being a “low-budget, very poor picture.” He opened negotiations for a South American version of it with a Peruvian producer. Unfortunately, nothing ever came of the negotiations.

Plunder of the Sun, Dell 478 Plunder of the Sun, Dell 478, mapback Plunder of the Sun, Penguin

Cast of Characters

Ana Luz Benavides
Alfredo Berrien
Al Colby
The Commandante
Raul Cornejo
Harris
Jefferson (Jeff)
Julie
Enrique Martínez Castro
Ubaldo Naharro
Tacho Peralta
Sparks

Book Reviews

Previous novel The Long Escape (1948)
 
The Red Tassel (1950) Next novel
 

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