Well of Gold: Tom Richmond
Sometimes we strive to get more than we should and the outcome is not always what we might expect. Expectations and wants do not always match and the end result can be tragic. Four graduate students decide to take on an expedition that might just cause them their lives. How far would you go to take something that might not belong to you but would set you up financially for life? What if you could dig up millions of dollars of gold that someone placed in a well hundreds of years ago and make it your own? But, what if finding it meant going into jungles filled with poisonous insects, dangerous animals, natives that might want to kill you or others that will challenge you in deadly ways? Four graduate students that plunge what they might think head first into areas filled with jaguars, bandits, drug dealers and obstacles that will hopefully help them find and uncover gold that has lied dormant within the walls of a Well of Gold.
Central America is the place and Terry Marsten is the catalyst for this expedition as he is doing research at the Institute of Jamaica’s National Library hoping to finalize his topic for his doctoral dissertation. Hoping this would provide him a great contribution in his field little does he know that he would uncover something that would not only change his life but the lives of three others. Carolyn Stolz, his fiancé, whose academic prowess is in the field of Zoology becomes embroiled in his desire to find this hidden treasure. But, first the author shares the fact that while doing research he finds a hidden note or letter from a native named First Marc Edmund Farnum that would set the chain of events in motion.
Taking this letter and hiding it is the first step in his plan. Did he even feel a twinge of guilt? If he did it passed really fast. Dated 1707 and thinking that somewhere on there X marked the spot of where to find this treasure Terry creates a plan that he hopes will take him, Carolyn, and two others to “raid the gold minds of Cana in the Darien Province of Panama.” But, what about the government? What about the fact that the gold does not belong to them? As his plan becomes what he thinks is a reality he convinces his friends Chad and Derrick to join them. Researching indigenous Indian tribes was what he told everyone. Wanting to be an archeologist his goal yet something within Terry drove him to the want more. Meeting John on the plane and telling him about his mission to go to Darien Province his first mistake not realizing John’s motive for befriending him and stating he would help him in anyway. But, one member of his group was more astute but would his assessment of John be good enough to save them from what lies ahead?
Chad and Derrick weighing in and John receiving a call from Terry stating he had contacts in Panama, the students never realized just who or what John was or is and the fact that he had other motives. Chopper they hoped in place, crew and cargo discussed and split with the gold would be decided the plan they hoped was in motion. But someone else was controlling John’s movements and the end result will surprise readers. Derek was smart and when researching John’s import company he came up empty. It did not exist as far as he was concerned and that should have sent out a red flag. The pressure was coming from more than one place as John wanted to know if the plan was in place, when they would meet and now for La Palma. La Palma might have been the most populous town in the Darien but was it safe and what obstacles would come their way as they enter a bar, meet the locals and the police. But, a bar fight would bring to light much about Chad and the others as surveyors decide to take some of the action and create dissent. Insults fly at Caroly who they claim wants to chase cats and her boyfriend who likes Indians. Chad who wants to find exotic plants and Derek who took control in a different way. But, things did not turn out as the brawlers hoped and the next day they met the captain of the Mariposa who would take them to their final destination and the jungle but first how to reconcile with the same guys they had trouble with in the bar?
Their trip into the jungle, the obstacles and animals they faced provide a deadly backdrop for our four students and the end result for John will surprise readers. As John and Terry meet and Terry explains his thoughts or guesses on the plan and the situation they talk about the weight of the gold, the amount each would get at the end. But, naivety pays its own price, poor planning and the threat of others causes all four to be placed in great harm. When the venture does begin what happens should have given them pause for thought and reason to return home. However, finding the well, thinking they were about to strike it rich does not account for what happens to both Chad and Derrick. Terry seems bent on getting what he wants and the end result will do more than startle, surprise and make you wonder just how far you would go to get what you want. Hoping that no one got there before them and realizing that the first place they have spent digging in was not the right one since Terry admits reading the map wrong, will they ever find it and when they do will anyone or anything stand in their way? Did the Spanish want the gold? Did the Indians need it or even have any use for it?
While revamping their ideas they realized that the original map did show the Rio Tuira. The creator of the map showed it as passing the village of Cana, “then taking an almost 180 degree turn, leading away from Cerro Pirre.” What was his original plan and can he correct the location? Read page 133 to find out what Terry was thinking and what he believed Edmund did, where he lived and what happened to the village to get some history behind the gold and the well. Trying to find food proved dangerous and both Chad and Derrick were victims of some dangerous animals and Terry and Caroly needed to tend to them. In serious pain, Derek was in agony. But, will he survive? Drug traffickers, Indians, double dealers, threats, ruthless drug lords and one man hoping to profit from it all, Well of Gold focuses on man’s need for power, money, wealth and his ability to take what he wants at any cost to himself or anyone.
An ending so explosive and unexpected that the reader will wonder what could have been prevented and why? The Columbian chopper appeared to take them out and hopefully the gold too but what happens provides a twist, curve and definitely not what the reader will expect. Who makes it out? What is the fate of the four students? Will the drug lords win out in the end? Whose dissertation will get written? Whose work will make them famous?
Well of Gold: Just how far down will you dig to find what you think will make you happy? When Caroly finds some precious and rare peacocks she becomes so immersed in her studies she does loses site of the dangerous below. Who lives and who loses it all? Who will live to make a difference in this world and how? Author Tom Richmond raises these questions and much more.
Characters that are persistent in their goals. Characters that are flawed in the way they think and react. Characters that will make you think twice. Well of Gold: How far would you go to have it all?
Fran Lewis: Reviewer