Cotton Malone's father died when he was a child. He was the captain of a submarine which malfunctioned and was never able to be recovered, during an expedition to the Antarctic. As an adult, Cotton knows there is more to the story but has never been able to find out what happened, until now. His friend in Washington provides him with classified information stating that there was never a recovery mission except for a handful of Navy personnel. The sub was supposed to find evidence of a very early super culture, one we know nothing about.
Once Cotton gets this classified information, he is almost immediately assaulted by two people. Other people want this information two.
Cotton finds twins whose father was also on the sub and they want the truth as much as Cotton, but possibly for other reasons. The search takes them from Germany to France down to the Antarctic.
This book lays out its premise as a search that Charlemagne created. I had never heard of him and knew nothing so I'm not sure if this was why I couldn't appreciate the quest or whether it was the author's fault for making it rather convoluted. The suspense wrapped up in the last quarter of the book but the first third was tough to get through.
First Line: "The alarm sounded and Forrest Malone came alert."