First Published in April 1955 - 118 pages
The adventure begins with three people in a lifeboat after their ship has hit a mine. Firstly there is Pompey, the tattooed stoker. Secondly, there is "Digger" Jim Driscoll, an Australian. Finally there is 16 year old "Tommy" Tucker whose real name is Jack but he is always known as Tommy. They don't know each other, but soon get to know each other during the adventure that follows. Their lifeboat is hit by a 'pampero', a storm, and they are cast up along the coast at the top of South America. Surviving this, our heroes meet the straggling remnants of a rebel army. The army is led by Don Enrique Avenida who has led a failed coup in the (fictitious) South American country of Rioguiana. Pompey, Digger and Tommy are all "pressed" into joining under threat of death and here they meet Joe Batson, nicknamed "Batty". Batty has a story to tell. Whilst stationed in Germany on National Service he was billeted with an old German lady whose husband and son had both died during the war. Her son had been a sailor on a German light cruiser called the Ronstadt and before it was sunk off the coast of South America it had hidden a load of gold. Her son had been one of the survivors and had left a map showing the location of the gold with his mother before later dying during the war. The map was of no use to the old lady and she gave it to Batty. He had travelled to Rioguiana in search of the hidden fortune and he too had been forced to join the rebel army. The stragglers of the army are camped on a plateau when they are attacked by Government troops and effectively wiped out. Our heroes, now four in number with the addition of Batty, manage to escape into the jungle and later find an old canoe made from a hollowed out tree trunk. In this, they escape down river from the hunting Government soldiers. Helped by the wife of a rubber collector, they manage to make their way down to the town of Sanquitos where they have the chance of resting, recovering and selling some possessions to raise money to go and look for the gold. Before they set off, a party of four Germans arrive, including a man named Dostler, another survivor of the ill-fated crew of the Ronstadt. Suspecting that Dostler's party is also looking for the gold our four heroes buy a canoe and arrange a tow up river on the back of a steamer. The gold is hidden at a beach at a bend in the river. Casting off at an appropriate point this beach is soon located. Working only when nobody is in sight and at speed, the gold is eventually located and removed into the jungle. They are only just in time as Dostler and his party arrive to look for the gold. They are devastated to find that it has already gone. A Government boat arrives which was on the lookout for four Europeans and the Germans are arrested and taken away. Digger buys a balsa raft from local Indians and the four white men stain their skin darker so they can pass for natives with the raft. The gold is loaded and taken down river to the port of La Garta. Here, Pompey locates an old colleague by the name of Jock Anderson who is skipper of a British merchant ship called the Dorado. A deal is done whereby Jock is given a bar of gold for both him and the owners in exchange for passage back to England. The Dorado is chased by a Government boat but Jock knows the waters well and tricks the Government boat into running aground. Back in England the gold is declared and deposited with the Bank of England. The value of the gold is paid to our heroes, which Batty insists should be shared equally between the four of them.
(A sequel to this story would follow called Adventure Unlimited)
Subtitle - none
Publication Details - originally published Thomas Nelson and Sons Limited
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