After spending more than a decade on the Payne & Jones series, I was eager to use my creativity on something different—but not too different. (Although I think a Payne & Jones musical would be fabulous!)
I wanted to continue writing in the same genre, so it made sense to create a new hero whose sole purpose was to find ancient treasures. Having seen that formula (Indy, Dirk, Lara Croft, etc.) way too many times, I decided to create something new: a team of strangers with diverse backgrounds who were hired to find the most important treasures in history.
And just like that, the Hunters were born.
The first book in the series (The Hunters) featured a brand-new cast of characters that I quickly grew to love. Financed by a mysterious philanthropist, this elite team—a soldier (Jack Cobb), an historian (Jasmine Park), a computer whiz (Hector Garcia), a weapons expert (Josh McNutt), and a thief (Sarah Ellis)—was asked to locate a Romanian train filled with riches that disappeared in Russia during World War I. The novel received some of the best reviews of my career and was optioned by Hollywood.
The second book was called The Forbidden Tomb, and it was released in 2014. Tasked with finding the legendary tomb of Alexander the Great and the extraordinary riches that were rumored to be buried with him, the Hunters encountered hostile forces that would do anything to stop them. Before long, the treasure hunt became a deadly rescue mission with hundreds dead and a city in ruins. As the death toll continued to mount, the team was forced to rise to the challenge to find the ultimate prize.
The third book in the series was called The Prisoner’s Gold, and it was released in 2015. At the end of the 13th century, Chinese Emperor Kublai Khan gave an Italian merchant unfettered access to his kingdom. The traveler was Marco Polo, and his journey would become legendary. Aided by a special passport that protected him throughout the land, Polo amassed unbelievable wealth and hid it before his return to Italy. Guided by firsthand accounts of Polo’s travels, the Hunters quickly discovered there was a criminal empire willing to do anything to stop them from taking the riches from Chinese soil.
To my pleasant surprise, the Hunters series has been overwhelmingly successful. Every book in the series has hit #1 on Amazon, and The Prisoner’s Gold won the ITW Thriller Award for Book of the Year. Believe it or not, I am the first adventure writer to win a prestigious Thriller award. Prior to my nomination, the only adventure author to be a finalist was Clive Cussler (my writing idol), way back in 2007. Previous winners include Stephen King, Jeffery Deaver, John Sandford, and Lisa Gardner—so I’m in very good company!
As I mentioned above, the Hunters series was optioned by Hollywood. In order to help the producers with the project, I felt it was important to flesh out the back stories of my main characters. If you've read The Hunters, you know the book opens in the middle of a daring heist as five strangers attempt to steal an important relic from Russian mobsters. But have you ever wondered what happened before the events in Brighton Beach?
That was the purpose of The Hunters: Origins.