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Fatal Treasure: Greed and Death, Emeralds and Gold, and the Obsessive Search for
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Fatal Treasure: Greed and Death, Emeralds and Gold, and the Obsessive Search for the Legendary Ghost Galleon Atocha Hardcover - 2003

by Jedwin Smith


Summary

"In real life-especially off the Florida coast-things can have fatal consequences. Fatal Treasure is a truly compelling read." -Aphrodite Jones, New York Times bestselling author of Cruel Sacrifice and All She Wanted In 1622, hundreds of people lost their lives to the curse of the Spanish galleon Atocha-and they would not be the last. Fatal Treasure combines the rousing adventure of Ship of Gold in the Deep Blue Sea with the compelling characters and local color of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. It tells the powerful true story of the relentless quest to find the Atocha and reclaim her priceless treasures from the sea. You'll follow Mel Fisher, his family, and their intrepid team of treasure hunters as they dive beneath the treacherous waters of the Florida Straits and scour the ocean floor in search of gold, silver, and emeralds. And you'll discover that nearly four centuries after the shipwreck, the curse of the Atocha is still a deadly force. "On this day, the sea once again relinquished its hold on the riches and glory of seventeenth-century Spain. And by the grace of God, I would share the moment of glory . . . . I was reaching for my eighth emerald, another big one, when the invisible hands squeezed my trachea. In desperation, I clutched at my throat to pry away the enemy's fingers. But no one had hold of me." -From the Prologue

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From the jacket flap

This is a gripping modern story of treasure, tragedy, and tenacity reminiscent of Ship of Gold in the Deep Blue Sea and Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.

When the Spanish galleon Nuestra Senora de Atocha sank off the coast of Florida during a hurricane in 1622, the nobles and crew members went down with untold riches. On board were forty tons of treasure-thousands of silver and gold ingots, enormous grass-green emeralds, silver coins bound for the Spanish treasury, exquisite jewelry, thirty-five treasure chests earmarked for the Catholic Church, and other smuggled booty. Today that fortune is worth billions of dollars. In 1969, the legendary Mel Fisher set out to find it.

In Fatal Treasure, Pulitzer Prize--nominated journalist Jedwin Smith tells the true untold story of the Fisher family's relentless pursuit of the Atocha's treasures-and of the men and women who helped Fisher realize his dreams. While other writers have focused on the larger-than-life Mel Fisher and parts of the story, Jedwin Smith tells the entire saga for the first time, expertly bringing to life all of the characters. We jump into the sea with a colorful assortment of adventurers as they scour hundreds of miles of ocean floor in search of the Atocha, known as the Ghost Galleon, and her treasure-laden sister ship Margarita, which sank in the same storm. Fatal Treasure traces the team's progress from the early triumphs in locating treasure to the unspeakable tragedies that cost the lives of five divers, including one of Fisher's sons and his wife.

Drawing on more than fifteen years of exclusive and intimate access to the Fisher family and the divers, Smith-who has himself joined the dives and plucked gold and emeralds from the bottom of the sea-takes you behind the scenes of the longest and most successful treasure hunt in history. He depicts the eccentric characters and flamboyantly spicy flavors of tropical Key West. And in beautiful prose he recreates the stunning discoveries-and the enormous and ongoing price in lives, both lost and ruined, that the Atocha has exacted from those who would disturb her undersea grave. Smith captures as no other writer ever has the romance and suspense of big-time treasure hunting as well as the horrible tragedies that can occur. The result is an unforgettable tale of adventure and deep-sea drama.

The loss of the Atocha and its enormous treasure marked the beginning of the end of the Spanish Empire. As the Fisher family has discovered, finding an immense treasure can be as devastating as losing one. Yet, as Smith reveals, even years after Mel's death, his children carry on in pursuit of their father's dream to find the huge remaining section of the ship and its bounty. Offering deep insight into the nature of obsession, the heart of an adventurer, the lure of dreams, and the enormous power of wealth both for good and evil, Fatal Treasure tells an unforgettable tale of courage, greed, loyalty, heartbreak-and of a mysterious and demanding ship that still calls to us from the sea.

Details

  • Title Fatal Treasure: Greed and Death, Emeralds and Gold, and the Obsessive Search for the Legendary Ghost Galleon Atocha
  • Author Jedwin Smith
  • Binding Hardcover
  • Edition First Edition
  • Pages 272
  • Volumes 1
  • Language ENG
  • Publisher Wiley (TP), Hoboken, NJ
  • Date 2003-04-01
  • Features Dust Cover, Index, Table of Contents
  • ISBN 9780471158943 / 0471158941
  • Weight 1.2 lbs (0.54 kg)
  • Dimensions 9.4 x 6.4 x 0.9 in (23.88 x 16.26 x 2.29 cm)
  • Library of Congress subjects Nuestra Senora de Atocha (Ship), Treasure troves - Florida
  • Library of Congress Catalog Number 2002153118
  • Dewey Decimal Code 909.096

Media reviews

Citations

  • Booklist, 04/01/2003, Page 1374

About the author

JEDWIN SMITH is a journalist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution who has twice been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. Since the 1980s he has been working with the Fisher family, who are searching for the Atocha and its lost treasure of gold, silver, and emeralds. Smith has found emeralds and pieces of eight while hunting with the crew, and his brother now works full-time for the Fishers on the treasure hunt.
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