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This is where it gets kind of hilarious. He lost to a set of brothers, known as the Lucky 3. Now the brothers, Dodi, Thodi and Wobi, play for fun, not caring if they win or lose, and on that particular game, Kal had this special hand, so big, he could have paid off all his debts and been a free man. So Kal goes a bit silly, loses his job, and is now on death row so to speak. However, the brothers spot him a coin. And then Kal works it out with the brothers, he thinks. The way this story plays out is like Lando and Han on steroids at a Sabaac table, only with a lot more fun.

The story itself is not only the true meaning of Creativity and Fun in the Star Wars Universe, it is utterly brilliant. The character work is exceptional, and what is really great is that the Author has included bits from the other stories in this one so there are guest appearances. This is absolutely brilliant and outstanding fun, plus another great look at the Star Wars Canto Bight universe. Definitely worth the read!! Jan 22, Steve Davala rated it really liked it. Canto Bight This book is a collection of 4 stories of different goings-ons around the world.

I went into not knowing what to expect, although I hoped for it to be a little like the Tales from the Cantina from a long time ago Here, you get to know some characters that I'll have to take a look for I just looked in my visual dictionary and found almost all of the characters in the stories, Canto Bight I just looked in my visual dictionary and found almost all of the characters in the stories, so next time I watch the film I'll keep an eye out. It was nice that these characters weren't "made up" but were in the casino while TLJ was happening.

I wasn't a HUGE fan of the wine story, but there was enough conning, blackmailing, underdog gambling, murder, intrigue, and down-on-your-luck characters that made this world so much more alive. Jul 22, victoria. I liked the sommelier's story, but was meh about everything else. Jul 24, Alex Ward rated it it was amazing Shelves: star-wars.

Nov 03, Jaime K rated it really liked it. Canto Bight. The main city of Cantonica. The stories relate to each other, even if in a subtle way. And, as a surprise to me, they are good. I was ready for disappointment, as this is wh Canto Bight. I was ready for disappointment, as this is what made TLJ a dud for me. Rules of the Game : 3. I understand that the character of Kedpin Shoklop is naive, but the number of exclamation points in the story grated on me. Check Ahmed off as a[nother] canon writer I have no desire to read again.

Shoklop also irritated me. Sometimes rules are broken to save a life. Sometimes we find friends in unexpected places. The Wine in Dreams : 4. Derla Didys is a sommelier: a wine professional, the best in her field. The Grammus sisters are twins who claim to be from another dimension Ubialla is the owner of a high-class bar who is more impatient and selfish than those seen in the Canto Bight casino in TLJ.

My goodness, what a loony moron. This is a great story too of how patience is a virtue. But the poetic nature of the prose, and even some of the dialogue, was easy to recognize and was almost soothing to take in. And I desperately would love a massage from him! He adopted a human daughter when she was an infant; at 13, she now works in the fathier stables. I really liked this story. There is a great lesson in the strength of family, whether through blood or by choice.

Sooger also is testament to the fact that one survives on Canto Bight by staying neutral is by hearing, seeing, saying nothing. Jobs provide one with friends in high places. Being neutral does the same.

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No, this was just a good -- GOOD -- story. What matters is you enjoying the ride. Kaljach Sonmi is a Zinbiddle type of card game player. He also works at the casino run by Vestry. Strangely enough, he rides with them. And yet I forgot that it was mentioned prior to this book. But still Sep 13, Chad Bearden rated it really liked it Shelves: star-wars-novels , short-story-collections.

The first three tales told in Canto Bight are toothless noir stories that lack the idiosyncratic depth of bygone Star Wars anthologies, but make up for it with moderately strong characters swimming around in the novel setting of an intergalactic casino. Some ups and downs, but a generally competent affair that would otherwise earn a 3-star rating. Then along comes the final story in the collection a desperate gambler in a race with the clock! It was a great jumping on point for an extended universe because it contained so many odd little stories about all these weird looking characters that haunted the background of one of my favorite movies.

It was a great early example of how much texture there was lurking in the original trilogy, ready to be exploited by the right writers. Every SW book I read after that one seemed finely curated so that, for the most part, all the books felt interconnected, even if sometimes by very tenuous threads. The disappointing thing about the new Disney Canon SW books is that all that texture seems to have been thrown out.

To their credits, the authors of these stories do create some passable enough characters. A reluctant hitman and an oafish mark? A retired assassin who has to do one last job to save someone he loves? You can write these stories yourself. They are no doubt enjoyable if you like Star Wars books in general. But the stakes never seem particularly high. Credit to Mira Grant, whose prose style does stand out a bit in her slightly weirder story about two odd sisters claiming to be from another dimension, come to cause chaos and hock their exotic space wine.

Crafting a story around a professional sommelier is an unexpected choice and gives the story some of that idiosyncratic texture I long for. But the climax kind of devolves into pretty standard madcap antics where the bad guy gets their comeuppance, so again: fun was had, though eyebrows were not raised. The final story in the collection was by my personal favorite of the current crop of EU writers, John Jackson Miller. There is a real spark in the desperation of his low-rent gambler and the wild, unpredictable energy of three visiting casino patrons. The story constantly zigged when I thought it would zag and really took advantage of the inherent high-stakes of a game of professional space-blackjack.

Overall, this is a worthy addition to the new Disney Canon. It seems impossible that the new EU will ever reach the onion layer complexity of the original EU. New writers are hemmed in by the limits of future movie plots. Disney will likely lean towards safe stories unlike the dangerous and weird stuff of the old EU. And the line itself is just too unfocused, both in content and audience, to get that laser-beam cohesiveness of yore. I want to rate this one a bit higher, but I just can't. I picked this one up without even looking at what it was--so much so that I didn't even realize it was a collection of 4 novellas until I started actually listening to it.

I haven't had the best luck with Star Wars short stories, and that trend has essentially continued through Canto Bight as well. I've found that they TRY to be cool, dark, brooding, etc. Now for a breakdown of the four stories included in Canto Bight. Rules of the Game by Saladin Ahmed - 3 Stars - This one had some silliness about it, which I appreciated, but I also felt like it was a bit on the nose in its attempt at relevancy to current issues. I go to Star Wars for an escape from things going on in the real world, so I don't love it when real-world things follow me there like an annoying younger sibling.

Still, I'm not knocking it much for that. I also just wasn't crazy about it anyways. It was, in my opinion, mostly just bad. One of those stories were many ridiculous but not funny, just ridiculous things happen, and then at the end it's kind of like, "And they planned it that way the whole time!

I didn't care for the characters a dime either. Any of it, really. Once again, it's another case of things being pretty serious in a short story, which just doesn't work well for me. But in this one it wasn't too badly done. Not a lot to say about it either way, but I'd say I liked it--just not a lot. The final story in the lot, and the one that made them all worth while. I loved this story. Absolutely loved it. It had me smiling and laughing the whole time.

Plenty of shenanigans, a good sense of threat, a well-established protagonist for such a short story, and lots of fun. This is Canto Bight, for crying out loud! It's supposed to be a fun place! Or, it's supposed to at least LOOK like a fun place, even if it's all corrupt and whatnot. Now, while the other stories pounded away on the idea that it was actually corrupt and dangerous, this was the only one in the lot that managed to show that it was a fun place, where people got really lucky or really unlucky.

Yes, people's lives were in danger, just as in the other stories, but this one retained that feeling of fun that the others had abandoned for the sake of trying to up their threat or coolness or whatever. This one was really excellent, and ranks among my favorite Star Wars stories I've read. I'm glad I read this one, though, even if only for "The Ride. May 14, Sunil rated it really liked it Shelves: own , While reaction to the new casino city of Canto Bight in Star Wars: The Last Jedi was mixed, a brand-new location in the Star Wars universe can generate plenty of story fodder, as the anthology Canto Bight handily proves.

These four novellas follow several different characters who several different venues, and they make me want a whole movie or miniseries set in Canto Bight. Saladin Ahmed kicks off the proceedings with the very silly "Rules of the Game," starring a hapless salesbeing who gets take While reaction to the new casino city of Canto Bight in Star Wars: The Last Jedi was mixed, a brand-new location in the Star Wars universe can generate plenty of story fodder, as the anthology Canto Bight handily proves.

Saladin Ahmed kicks off the proceedings with the very silly "Rules of the Game," starring a hapless salesbeing who gets taken for a ride as soon as he steps planetside but really ends up in over his head when an assassin sets his sights on him. While this story is a fun introduction to the world, it's pretty repetitive for most of its run and tries to stretch one joke and a running gag or two too far.

But it ends up in a sweet, if predictable place. Mira Grant continues with "The Wine in Dreams," easily the best novella here, with some beautiful writing and a clever premise surrounding a friggin' sommelier of all things. This sommelier comes to Canto Bight to purchase a particularly legendary wine, but the deal does not go as planned. What I found most impressive here was Grant's ability to build a character out of a hotel clerk who seems at first to be a minor casualty of the machinations of the cryptic sisters—stay with me here—Parallella and Rhomby Grammus.

The plot twists and turns, and by the end, I wanted more of these characters. Rae Carson provides a strong follow-up with "Hear Nothing, See Nothing, Say Nothing," in which a masseur must go to great lengths for his adopted human daughter. I loved the alien race Carson creates here, a species that can give really good massages and also excrete pheromones. The father-daughter relationship is super sweet, and the plot is like an action-adventure, with twists and turns as well.

John Jackson Miller closes it out with "The Ride," which isn't as comical as "The Rules of the Game" but isn't as dramatically engaging as the previous two. A professional gambler encounters three preternaturally lucky brothers, and eventually he needs to pay his debts or he will die. You know, that old gambit. This is the weakest of the four because the stakes aren't well established at first, and even when they are, I never felt them. So much of the focus is on invented games, which made it hard to engage with, and while I enjoyed the interplay with the brothers, as with "The Rules of the Game," the humor became repetitive.

It does build to an effective climax, however. Overall, I really enjoyed this trip to Canto Bight, and I especially loved that characters and locations from one novella would pop up or be referenced in another, which made Canto Bight seem like a lived-in place. Though it's probably not somewhere you'd want to live. Dec 14, Sudeep Tirupati rated it it was amazing. This was such a great addition to the Star Wars canon, I cannot say how much of this stuff ties into The Last Jedi, but I can definitely this will stand on it's own.

But then I read the last few pages and everything clicked in fantastically just like all the stories in Pulp Fiction blend and crossover fantastically. All the stories are very good and well written. And I enjoyed all of t This was such a great addition to the Star Wars canon, I cannot say how much of this stuff ties into The Last Jedi, but I can definitely this will stand on it's own.

And I enjoyed all of them with two novellas being outstanding of all the four. Even though you might get so invested in the story, there is always some background info, a name drop here, an organization drop there , and that makes you feel that this is still Star Wars. All of the stories takes place on the luxurious city of Canto Bight, a city of gambling and corruption, gangsters and scummy politics, you name it. Canto Bight makes its appearance in The Last Jedi,so, maybe that is where any tie-in may happen. Also, this book completes my goodreads challenge for this year.

Ratings of individuals novellas: 1. Hear nothing, See nothing, Say nothing by Rae Carson: 4.

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Overall Rating: 4. Thorough enjoyable with some truly thrilling moments throughout the four novellas. Feb 20, Samantha rated it liked it. The book itself, contains four short stories that all focus in and round the casino world of Canto Bight. I really enjoyed this book.

The world is far more exciting and vi This book was released in the build up to the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi in cinemas. Three of my books were inspired by my rescued animals dog and rabbits. They loved accompanying me to book events! I wrote my first story when I was in third grade. My class performed it as a play and I so loved hearing my words spoken that I decided to become a writer. His work can lead readers from the cradle to the grave.

He now spends his time writing and is an active speaker at book and literacy conferences, schools and libraries. John Gray is an Emmy award winning journalist and writer from upstate New York. In fact I do have a dog named Keller who is blind and deaf and helps run our household. For 20 years I have written a weekly column for the very newspaper that I once delivered as a young child in my hometown.

Paperboy was my first job. Karlin Gray is a picture book writer who lives in Westport, CT. I lived in Japan for four years, ages If I could only have one dessert for the rest of my life, it would be ice cream. My favorite childhood book was Little Women. Creator of the popular Meet Danitra Brown , Ms. Grimes lives in Corona, California.

I once sang, danced, and acted my way down the east coast of China. I sang a solo at the Concert House in Stockholm, Sweden. Muhammad Ali once gave me a standing ovation. Chuck hails from an overgrown village among the peat bogs in the north of the Netherlands, where he spent his formative years climbing trees, drawing, reading, and cycling. Karina has written copy and essays about food, fashion, film and art; scouted and developed film scripts; and worked as a writer-producer of documentaries.

Karina wrote this story when her rescue dog Luca was turned away from a New York City dog park because the other dog owners thought he was a fox! Chucky has a spotted dog and several fluffy cats. He likes to draw pictures, bake bread and go for walks. Jessie Hartland has lived and worked in Lower Manhattan for over 30 years. Her books have now been translated into over 13 languages. I like poodles and jazz. I have a standard poodle named Django, after Django Reinhardt.

I once almost bought a horse 2. I was on the swim team in high school 3. Susan Hood is the award-winning author of more than books for young readers who loves talking with kids at author school visits nationwide. White Read-Aloud Honor Book. In bookstores May, I was the youngest child in my town to have a library card. We had to reach Bermuda using a handheld sextant and the stars.

He is the founder of Big Head Books, LLC, a literacy organization that aims to introduce children to the joys of reading. Ty travels to schools, youth organizations and various professional settings nationwide inspiring children and educating adults about the impacts of illiteracy. A two time TedX presenter, Ty believes that literacy is the foundation for a successful life and promotes it with humor and enthusiasm. I shave my head daily. I love chocolate chip cookies! Despite being 51 years old, I still play with superhero action figures.

Author of young adult mysteries and thrillers. Jeffry has also publishing numerous short stories and articles covering various genres and subjects, and has worked as a film and theatre reviewer. His website is at jeffrywjohnston. When I was in 5th grade, I lived in England for a year. I was born in a military hospital in Corpus Christi, TX. She splits her time between Brooklyn and Montauk, New York where she swims, surfs, and writes; weather and waves permitting. As a young girl I longed to be a mermaid.

My idol sat demurely on the Chicken of the Sea tuna fish cans. I peeled labels off to save her image. Every night before bedtime I squeezed both legs in to one side of my pajama bottoms and shuffled around the house pretending I was as beautiful as the tuna fish mermaid. His first two Awesome Achievers non- fiction books, combining facts and laughs, will be released in August.

He has also created comic books, trading card sets, web videos, TV commercials and hundreds of other special projects for kids and their parents. Alan is the creator of Dogseeds—a new seed project that lets you try to grow a dog! Most nights, Alan sleeps in a bright orange shirt. I owned and ran an antique store for 21 years. David A. The Ballpark Mysteries chapter books features cousins Kate and Mike, who solve mysteries at different major league ballparks. He has written about travel and technology for the New York Times , the Boston Globe , and many other publications. He can be found at www.


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I once met home run king Hank Aaron. I get to go to baseball parks and watch games as part of my job! I was a terrible baseball player! Daniel Kirk is the author and illustrator of over forty books for children. He currently lives in New Jersey with his wife, and works on his many creative projects every day. Daniel Kirk loves music, and has written hundreds of songs and recorded albums for adults as well as children.

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Daniel Kirk loves to travel, and has visited many far-away places doing research for his projects. Daniel Kirk is a vegetarian and loves to cook. Anything with peanut butter in it is a favorite! David Kirk grew up in the wild and boundless suburbs of Ohio, where he learned about small creatures and art. David is also the author and illustrator of over a dozen other books for children.

He lives in a happy forest with his family, where they nurture and groom a variety of fluffy friends, many of whom appreciate a good hug. I have a pet hamster named Baby Ham. Doug Lampman resides in Surprise, NY with his wife, children and his hunting dog. He works for a local construction company in the summer and teaches high school physical education during the school year. He also coaches boys basketball and is a department leader at his school. His hobbies include coaching, hunting, fishing, sports, carpentry, snowmobiling, listening to music, playing guitar, farming, cooking and spending time with family and friends.

With a real passion for travel and new experiences, he hopes to spend his days of retirement seeing the world with his lovely wife Stephanie. I love the sound of a gym full of bouncing basketballs. My favorite color is that bluish green color inside a snow bank on a sunny day. The Fall is my absolute favorite time of the year. Just pictures. That means the readers can create with their own words from the images.

I can juggle. But I only juggle things that are ok to drop! I grow a lot of my own vegetables even though I live in a city. I like striped shirts! He has traveled to six continents, performed on Broadway, and lived on a communal farm. He firmly believes that opening a book is a good thing, even if there are monkeys in it. Adam currently lives in the suburbs of Philadelphia, PA, with his wife, two sons, and two bizarre dogs. My mom has a farm with both chickens and sheep. I enjoy skiing. Peter Lerangis has written more than books, which have sold more than 6 million copies and been translated into 34 languages.

Rock-climbed in Yosemite Park while it was being evacuated for an earthquake. Ran and finished the New York City Marathon 3. Acted and sang in a Broadway musical. She is originally from New Hope, Pennsylvania, and she currently lives in Philadelphia, where she writes full-time. I once broke my arm tripping over my shoelace.

Tie your shoes! I started writing novels at 13… but it took 11 years of practice before one got published! I wrote the first draft of Case Closed: Mystery in the Mansion in 18 days. But it took about two years of re-writes and revisions before it looked like the final version. Growing up, Torrey hated reading. He hated boring books and ones that seemed to hate or dismiss him and where he was from.

Luckily, he was introduced to NOT boring and culturally responsive books and educators who cared. It inspired him to be a middle school teacher and author. I had every hairstyle that Michael Jackson had and got to meet him. I am always singing songs in my head. I need chocolate every day! Ralph was born, raised in the state of Massachusetts. He now resides in Connecticut where he lives with his daughters Alexa and Talia. A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design BFA, Illustration, , Ralph has illustrated for magazines, newspapers and books, created posters and prints, and shown his fine art paintings in galleries throughout the world.

Since , he has visited over 2, schools all over the nation and the world, inspiring children with his life story, humor, and art. While visiting schools, he is often inspired himself by the enthusiasm, creativity, and hard work of the students and teachers. I am 58 as of the book festival and race motocross for fun. I have been skiing since I was 5 years old, but not as much as I would like!

Phil McAndrew is an illustrator, cartoonist, and writer. I live with three cats and over thirty house plants. I own R. Michelson Galleries which represents many well know illustrators, including many Hudson Book Fest participants 2. Leonard Nimoy and I spoke or emailed each other every day for the last 10 years of his life. I have a musical theater piece about the artist Edvard Munch opening in not for children. In addition to his songwriting, Miller has branched out to write fiction and nonfiction.


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My kids however are second generation New Yorkers. Bonus fun fact. I can recite the alphabet backwards in under four seconds. Florence lives and works with her husband Wendell in Connecticut. Visit Florence at www. I never say no the chipmunks who beg for peanuts at my front door. I love that! I talk to animals, and the best thing is when they talk back-especially dolphins.

Wendell Minor has illustrated, written and collaborated with many awesome authors. As a nature lover and history buff, Wendell loves sharing those interests with children through more than 60 books he has had published. Visit Wendell at www. My favorite bird is the Hummingbird. I love banjo music. Barbara Ann Mojica is a historian and retired educator with forty years experience as a teacher, special educator, principal and school administrator. Her mission is to entertain, inspire and inform children about historical places and people. I like to plan ahead and meet deadlines way ahead of schedule.

I dislike hypocrisy of any kind. Autumn is my favorite season. I love rain more than the sun. Creating is a need not a means to an end. Diana Murray loves to sit on her patio writing stories and poems, especially to the sound of passing showers. Her poems have appeared in magazines such as Highlights for Children , and Spider. Diana grew up in New York City and still lives nearby with her firefighter husband, two daughters, and an assortment of pets—all of whom enjoy sunny summer days.

Illustration of the S. Central America before its sinking. Photo courtesy Library of Congress. The find was remarkable for many reasons. The artifacts eventually recovered from the ship were a window into a bygone era and gave voice to the hundreds of people who were pulled into the abyss. But the discovery was also a spectacular victory for pocketbooks — the ship was carrying gold when it sank, and lots of it: coins, bars and nuggets of every size surrounded the wreck and covered its decks and rotting masts. And that was only what the crew could see — somewhere in the remains were said to be between 3 and 21 tons of gold, a haul some experts valued at close to half a billion dollars.

For Thompson, the Edisonian genius who masterminded the expedition, the discovery was the first salvo of what looked to be a long, impressive career. He became an American hero, a mix of brains and daring in the tradition of the scientist-adventurers of yore. But Thompson was subjected to a legal hell storm as soon as he set foot on shore. Numerous people and companies were vying for their share of the gold, and the unending litigation was compounded by the lawsuits filed by investors who claimed Thompson had ripped them off.

In , long after the litigation had sidetracked his calling, Thompson went underground, allegedly taking with him suitcases full of cash and gold. Months later, Thompson was staying under an assumed name at a hotel in Boca Raton, Florida, trying to keep his faculties in check. He was unkempt, unwell and barely left his hotel room, as he had been on the run from federal authorities for the past two and a half years. From the witness stand in Columbus, Thompson disclosed startling information in a story already laden with tragedy and fortunes lost — and shed light on the mystery of millions in still-missing gold.

The pressure 8, feet below the sea is times greater than on the surface, and Tommy Thompson was squeezed by something even more intense for the better part of 30 years. He grew up in Defiance, Ohio, a small city in the northwestern corner of the state. He was always drawn to the water, and he enjoyed challenging friends to breath-holding contests.

When he was a teenager, he bought and fixed up an amphibious car, and he loved pranking his friends by driving unsuspecting passengers into a lake. Rife with lore, the hunters spoke of ships sunken somewhere out in the ocean with more gold than could ever be spent. However, nobody knew quite where to start looking, nor could they afford the technology necessary to undertake the search.

Following his graduation from The Ohio State University with a degree in ocean engineering, Thompson went to work for the Battelle Memorial Institute, a prominent research lab in Columbus that has developed everything from kitchen appliances to nuclear weapons. There, he was able to work on deep-sea engineering projects, at one point developing technology that allowed the U. Thompson wanted to work exclusively in deep water but was routinely warned that such jobs were hard to come by. So he began looking for other ways to pursue this heady scientific passion.

It was actually the means to an end. One of the first orders of business was to find the perfect wreck to hunt. Thompson worked with Bob Evans, an equivalently intelligent polymath and professional geologist, to winnow down the list of candidate ships. The Central America ferried passengers to and from California at the height of the Gold Rush in the mid 19th century. Six hundred people, and up to 21 tons of gold coming from California, were aboard the Central America when it disembarked to New York from a stopover in Cuba on September 3, Five days later, the ship found herself floundering in the middle of a terrifying hurricane.

Passengers attempted a hour nonstop bucket brigade to keep the ship afloat, but the engines flooded and the storm ripped apart masts and sails. The ship was doomed. The vessel let out a final tortured groan as it sank on the evening of September 12, sucking souls down in a horrifying vortex.

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The loss in gold was so profound that it was one of the factors precipitating the Great Panic financial crisis of Finding the Central America would be no easy matter — proportionally it would be like finding a single grain of sand in the floor plan of a four-bedroom house. The key, Thompson knew, was to undertake a logical and hyper-organized search. Bob Evans used every known detail about the fateful voyage, including passenger and crew accounts of the weather as the ship sank, and worked with a search theory expert to determine that the wreck was likely somewhere in a 1,square-mile grid miles southeast of Charleston, South Carolina, in part of the ocean that was nearly a mile and a half deep.

Each square on the grid was assigned a number based on the likelihood that the ship had ended up there, and the idea was to trawl a sonar apparatus up and down the grid and take in-depth readings of the most promising results. Obsessed with his work, Thompson was said to be indifferent to food and sleep, dressed in a thrift store suit and hair afrizz. As a result, the high-powered investors waiting in their upper-floor offices and elegant conference rooms were often skeptical of his bewildering presence.

But time after time, Thompson would speak to them reasonably, thoroughly and intelligently. He was realistic about the low probability of success, outlined various contingencies, and emphasized that the mission offered the chance for the investors to participate in a journey of good old American discovery. Investors soon found themselves chuckling in delight at the audacious fun of the project and the inspiring confidence they felt in Thompson. Wayne Ashby told the Columbus Dispatch in Thompson was the head of both. Under the aegis of these companies, Thompson outfitted a search vessel, put together a crew, and developed a seven-ton remotely operated vehicle capable of withstanding deep-ocean conditions.

They also conducted various other experiments useful to the recovery, such as purposely giving Evans the bends. As Gary Kinder writes in Ship of Gold in the Deep Blue Sea, the deepest an unmanned submersible had gone previous to this was 6, feet. That vehicle had been difficult to control, with only one arm that could perform rudimentary functions. The technology Thompson and his crew developed in secret streamlined and refined the submersible so that it was much easier to control and could perform the delicate tasks needed for the recovery of the ship.

It was one of their secret weapons, and the mission to find the Central America was officially launched in June The mission was subject to numerous difficulties: seasickness, short tempers, errant weather, malfunctioning equipment, little sleep, and a stretch of time when the only food served was fried chicken. Investors groused about the delays, but Thompson always managed to assuage their fears.

In late summer , the crew sent the submersible robot down to check out an overlooked blip on the search grid. The control room aboard the ship, with its walls of monitors and technology that made it look like an alien craft from an old movie, exploded with profoundly human joy. Gold and artifacts were brought to the surface starting in fall , the beginnings of a haul that would grow to include gold ingots, 7, gold coins, and, at 80 pounds, one of the largest single pieces of gold ever discovered and at the time the most valuable piece of currency in the world.

Wayne Ashby told the Dispatch when the discovery was announced. When asked by a reporter to estimate the value of the haul, Thompson demurred. The first haul of gold was taken from the ship straight into armored cars by guards carrying machine guns amidst cheering investors, well wishers, and descendants of the survivors of the Central America wreck.

But as it would turn out, that brief glimpse was the closest any investor would ever get to the treasure found at the bottom of the sea. I n , the Columbus-America Discovery Group had secured its right in admiralty court to excavate the Central America site and retain possession of whatever they discovered beneath the sea. But this ruling was challenged almost as soon as Thompson set foot back on the shore.

Thompson and his companies were sued by no less than separate entities, including 39 insurance companies that had insured the cargo on the original Central America voyage. Things got even more complex when an order of Capuchin monks sued Thompson, alleging he had copped the intel given to them by a professor from Columbia University whom they had commissioned to do a sonar search of the same area. The estimated location of the S.

Central America. Illustration by Yunuen Bonaparte. Recovery operations were suspended in because of the lawsuits, leaving the fate of the gold brought to the surface in legal limbo — and tons of gold still on the wreck at the bottom of the sea. The back-and-forth continued until and in the process established case law in admiralty court when Thompson and his companies were finally awarded Coupled with a significant devaluing of the rare coin market, a few investors wondered about the future of their investment. The pressure mounted as Thompson attempted to balance his obligations to his crew, his companies, and his investors while being a dad to his three kids.

He was right there, every time there was a hearing. He read every page of every brief, and a lot of times he was helping with the writing, too. Army, but this later proved to be a myth. Meetings with investors became less frequent, they said, as did updates and newsletters. Once lauded for his openness, Thompson appeared to go into a shell. Thompson said that his silence was necessary to protect trade secrets.

By , some of the investors were fed up with the way Recovery Limited Partnership was being run and made moves to establish another company, this time with the investors in charge. The companies were restructured, with the reworked Columbus Exploration as a partner company to Recovery Limited Partnership. Thompson was again the head of both entities, though it was stipulated that he would draw a salary only from the former and not the latter.

Much of it was sold to gold and coin dealers, and some of the treasure was displayed in a lavish traveling exhibit across the country, with Thompson sometimes making an appearance alongside his discovery. Photos courtesy Donn Pearlman. Thompson then allegedly told investors that they would not be seeing any of the proceeds, as all the money went to pay off the loans and legal fees that had accrued since the mission began. Thompson took the coins without approval from the board, though his attorney Keith Golden maintains there was nothing clandestine about it.

Nonetheless, in , two former investors filed lawsuits against Thompson for breach of contract and fiduciary duty: Donald Fanta, president of an investment firm, the Fanta Group, and the Dispatch Printing Company, owned by the family that ran The Columbus Dispatch. Dispatch scion John W. However, he died and his cousin John F. Convinced that Thompson was ripping him off, the cousin pushed the lawsuit ahead. Thompson was next sued by a group of nine sonar techs from the original mission who claimed they had been duped out of 2 percent of the profits from the gold, plus interest.

The two cases were combined with a third into a mega-lawsuit in federal court, creating a labyrinthine legal situation with a rotating cast of attorneys and thousands of motions and maneuvers that bewildered even seasoned courtroom players. Missions to the Central America were once again put on hold as Thompson put his mind to work filing legal briefs and appeals. Once having bragged of being the subject of more than 3, articles, Thompson had long since stopped talking to the press, and now spent half the year living in a Florida mansion rented under another name.

Thompson began to show symptoms of the gilded affliction. In he was arrested in Jacksonville after a sheriff observed him hiding something under the seat following a routine traffic stop. In July , U. Organ had never actually met Thompson and claimed that he was out to sea. But Judge Sargus shook his head and declared bullshit. The two were presumed to be together and, some of the investors speculated, in possession of millions of dollars in cash and the gold coins.

On top of the civil suits against him, Thompson was charged with criminal contempt of court, and U. Marshals were tasked with tracking down him down. Marshal Brad Fleming told the Associated Press in the midst of the pursuit. Once the most successful treasure hunter in the world, Tommy Thompson was now the one being hunted. I n late summer , a handyman named James Kennedy walked up to the porch of Gracewood, a large home in Vero Beach, Florida.

Kennedy took out his cell phone and pretended to call the landlord. I picked up my cell phone and I said it real loud. He had been a handyman for decades, but even he was taken aback by what he found inside. Thompson had been renting Gracewood since , a home away from the hassles in Columbus, and the mansion had become their home base when they fled Ohio two months earlier. As renters, Thompson and Antekeier had always been friendly but maintained their distance, Brinkerhoff said. He searched for Thompson on the internet and learned that the tenants were wanted by U.

Kennedy himself had once found a mammoth bone and was similarly besieged with people trying to take advantage of his find. The U. Marshals erected a wanted billboard as they worked to track down Tommy Thompson and Alison Antekeier. Photo courtesy U. Marshals Service. So he called the Marshals. But by that point, Thompson and Antekeier had long since fled Gracewood, and law enforcement was once again unable to determine where they went. Marshal Brad Fleming said in an interview. Based on material found in the Pennwood cabin, the Marshals were alerted to the Hilton Boca Raton Suites, a banal upscale setting where the pair of fugitives had remained hidden since May 30, Marshals prepared to descend on the hotel.

Thompson was a brilliant mind and incredible strategist, but he was not suited for life on the run. One of the last times anyone had seen him, it was a worrisome sight: Thompson was in the backyard of a house he was renting, yelling into his phone in his underwear. Think more along the lines of Dilbert in charge of the operation. But what had to be one of the most intense disappointments in the saga, for Thompson, was the fact that the excavation of the Central America would carry on without him.

Kane in turn contracted a company called Odyssey Marine Exploration to finish the recovery of the Central America. The goal was to bring the rest of the gold to the surface and ensure that the investors got paid. Thompson has significant holdings in the U. If there are dollars that he is hiding, I want every penny of it. The renewed excavation launched in April , with U. Marshals putting a wanted poster of Thompson aboard the ship in case he attempted to rejoin the mission. The operation was quite successful, bringing up more than 45 gold bars, 15, coins, and hundreds of artifacts over the course of numerous dives, including a pair of glasses, a pistol, and a safe filled with packages.

The sale of the gold was once again undertaken by the California Gold Marketing Group. O n January 27, , Thompson, then 62, was pale and sickly as he sat in his room in the Hilton Suites in Boca Raton, his body racked with the paranoid tics of a man on the run. She took almost comically cinematic precautions when appearing in public, wearing big floppy hats and taking a succession of buses and taxis to lose anyone who might be on her tail. The hunt was led by an intimidating and extremely direct U.

Marshal named Mike Stroh. He had been involved in manhunts all over the country, but the mission to find Thompson had special resonance with him as a professional person-finder. After seven hours of following her, Marshals crashed their way into the hotel and surprised the two, screaming at them not to move. The Marshals would ultimately cart away 75 boxes of evidence from the room, but they came up empty-handed in one aspect of their quest. Investigators found boxes in the Gracewood mansion that looked a lot like those that had held the restrike coins, but the gold itself was nowhere to be found.

Thompson tried to fight the extradition. Marshal Brad Fleming said Thompson was chatty as they made the journey back, perhaps relieved that he no longer had to hide. Both pleaded guilty to criminal contempt. T he capture of Tommy Thompson made for a fairly pedestrian end to a story that had captivated Columbus for years. Other associates were wistful about the turn of events. But the notion that not even a brilliant mind could resist running off with gold was too salacious not to report, and the allegations of thievery became the dominant narrative.

It was an unfortunate bookend to the legacy of someone who had long maintained that the historical and scientific aspects of the recovery were the most important point of the mission. Gold ingots, pokes, dust and nuggets, all part of the exhibition showing the recovered treasure from the S. Central America Photos courtesy Donn Pearlman. Indeed, the non-gold accomplishments of the Central America mission are impressive and resounding.

Michael Vecchione, a zoologist with the Smithsonian who briefly worked with the expedition, said the jerry-rigged technology of the Nemo is now standard practice for deep-ocean explorations. The mission took thousands of hours of video, giving scientists an unprecedented look at deep-sea life and revealing new species and their evolutionary adaptations, he said. Deep-sea sponges were retrieved and studied for their antitumor properties. And the way in which they physically nabbed the gold was incredible in its own right: The robotic arms of the submersible gingerly placed a frame around a pile of coins and injected it with silicone, which, when solidified, made for a block full of gold that could be stored until it was ready to be brought to the surface.

Controlling all of this were systems less powerful than those contained in the average smart phone, Bob Evans said. The coins and other gold items recovered from the Odyssey Marine—led excavation debuted in a public exhibit in Los Angeles in February to record-setting attendance, and they were next seen in May at an NRA convention in Dallas. After administrative costs, court costs and creditor claims, there would theoretically be a distribution to the investors in Recovery Limited Partnership — the first time they would ever see a dime, 33 years after the initial investment for some.

The prison, an imposing but generic detention facility surrounded by razor wire, is about three hours from Columbus, and it is the place Thompson has called home for more than four years. It appears to be his home for the foreseeable future, as Thompson is serving an indefinite sentence in federal prison for civil contempt for refusing to divulge the whereabouts of the coins.

It has been hard to deduce his motivations, even for those who know him well. His intense concentration and extreme focus found the Central America , and the same focus applied to trying to find an answer to his current predicament is taken as unwillingness to play ball. Only two of the hundreds of investors in the mission have sued Thompson because they knew it was a gamble to begin with, she said.

Moreover, as Bob Evans explained, the actual value of the gold was highly speculative in the first place. The inventory has been published. There is no other gold that has been recovered. Perhaps the math is not simple, but it is not beyond the talents of the most elementary minds, or at least the reasonably educated.

But according to Quintin Lindsmith, attorney for the Dispatch Printing Company, recouping the supposedly missing returns is not the point. Thirty years and two months after the treasure was found, Thompson was driven the long three hours from Milan, Michigan, to Columbus, Ohio, to stand trial and answer questions many people had been waiting a long time to ask. The missing defendant suggested a repeat of previous events. Had he somehow fled? Thompson, in a navy sport coat and light-colored plaid shirt, was momentarily nonplussed, and his eyes, behind his black, thick-framed glasses, registered a small amount of surprise.

Most damning, however, was alleged evidence that he had stashed gold at the bottom of the sea, presumably to be retrieved later on: When the receivership went back down to the Central America in , they found coins and gold bars that had been neatly laid out on trays. Thompson also admitted that he had made off with the gold coins as a form of remuneration he felt he was due. In her testimony, Alison Antekeier said that between and she moved them from California to a safe-deposit box in in Jacksonville, and then to a storage facility in Fort Lauderdale, where she gave them, in a handful of suitcases, to a man who was supposed to transfer them to an irrevocable trust in Belize.

This was the point Thompson was trying to make all along. As his attorney Keith Golden explained, an irrevocable trust means that once the trust is set up, the person who opened it cannot access it without the permission of the named beneficiaries. Who was supposedly named as beneficiaries on the trust is unclear. The ruling was later overturned on appeal. Finally, after weeks of testimony, the attorneys made their closing arguments and the jury reached its verdict. Thompson sat in his wheelchair, legs shackled, as the official paperwork was handed from the foreman to the bailiff to the judge.

After the decades of science, discovery, stress and flight, it all came down to this. In the matter of the civil case against, it was determined that defendant Thomas G. Thompson sat expressionless while everyone else gasped. However, the jury declined to award any punitive damages or court fees, indicating that there was no evidence that Thompson acted with malice. Either way, Lindsmith said the victory is once again about the principle. Like the cost of the litigation itself, the financial cost is immaterial to the larger point.

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The receivership is fielding offers for a multitude of items from the Central America and the recovery missions. Available for sale are bits and pieces of scientific and historical ephemera , including silicone molds with gold coin impressions, and even the Nemo , the remote underwater vehicle that was the first human contact with the Central America since They have tickets from the passengers.

Gold bars and coins at the shipwreck site in Golden adds that the relentless litigation torpedoed an opportunity that would have made the Central America recovery look like chump change. Thompson was working with the Colombian government in the mids to recover an old galleon whose estimated value is legitimately a few billion dollars.

The next steps for Thompson in the case brought by Dispatch Printing include an appeal of the judgment, with the hopes that the award will be diminished or overturned. Separately, Thompson has filed an appeal in federal court to be let out of prison. Thompson is currently awaiting the ruling of a three-judge panel about whether or not his is valid. What little time he has to use the phone is spent speaking with lawyers, business partners, and his family; ditto for the days he can have visitors. And after decades of developing new technology, going after hidden gold, and having to fight in court, Thompson is used to secrecy and has no reason to talk about the case to anyone.

Alison Antekeier still lives in Columbus, keeps a low profile, and is still reportedly very sympathetic to Thompson. Numerous attempts to contact her went unanswered. In Ship of Gold in the Deep Blue Sea , Gary Kinder includes chilling survivor accounts of the Central America disaster, including men and women screaming maniacally as they dumped out purses and emptied hidden pockets of gold as the ship sank. The vacated wealth was something they otherwise would have killed to protect.

It was mania wrought by the plague of gold, a crippling infirmity that afflicts humans alone. These Syrian children survived attacks that left them burned beyond belief. One program thousands of miles from home is offering them life-changing treatment. W inter was on its way in northwestern Syria when Hana Al Saloom awoke around 6 a. There was a chill in the air. Her 5-year-old daughter, Aysha, was asleep near a gas heater, as her brothers and sisters slept in other rooms.

Hana blinked. The blast knocked her down.