In Search of the Lost

by Thomas W. Peltier

Fans of Bestselling authors Clive Cussler and James Rollins - Thomas Peltier’s breakthrough adventure debut will leave you out of breath and begging for more!

Two stories fatefully intertwined; One family’s dark and tragic journey into oblivion, the other a heart-pounding thrill-ride hinged upon a mysterious aboriginal legend - protecting the fate of all humanity.

1930s Tasmania
A young father, Greg McKinley struggles to protect his family and a rescued Tasmanian tiger pup from bloodthirsty bounty-hunters that will stop at nothing to cash in its head. Forced to violence and on the run, Greg begins an epic journey into the desolate Australian Outback.

Present Day
A successful wildlife host, a team of biologists and an aborigine guide launch an expedition to rediscover the Tasmanian Tiger – an animal long thought to be extinct. Sandstorms, flash floods, deadly snakes, giant gut-slashing birds, aboriginal mystics, hallucinogenic bush drugs and killer crocs are just the beginning as they go In Search of the Lost…

Book Trailer








This is Ben, the last known living Tasmanian Tiger. According to unverified reports, Ben died in Tasmania at the Hobart Zoo on September 7th, 1936. In Search of the Lost is dedicated to Ben, and all other species of wildlife that have been ill-fated due to mankind. They may be lost, but never forgotten...

Many people have questioned the validity as to whether Ben truly died on that fateful day in September.

Perhaps the contents of this book contain what really happened...



Present Day




The camera zoomed in on a man standing atop the elevated river bank overlooking the Nile River. When the lens hit its mark, he began to speak.

“Welcome to Wild Encounters, I’m Connor Williams.” Connor tilted his faded leather Jacaru hat just enough to block the sun from his eyes, casting a heavy shadow across four days of black stubble. A sweaty brown shemagh covered the back of his neck and hung low across his chest.

Forty yards north, along the same bank, the rotting carcass of a bloated hippo baked under the scorching sun, its putrid aroma stagnating everything within the vicinity. Connor could taste the overpowering sour decay but was un-phased. He walked along the bank, paying close attention to every grounded step with cobras thick along this stretch of river.

He placed strategic steps upon rock after crumbling rock. His eyes danced from the ground then back toward the camera. “The Nile monitor is a huge predator reaching lengths of nearly eight feet. They have extremely powerful jaws, serrated teeth for slicing meat and large powerful claws. They’re excellent swimmers, usually found around water and they’ll dive deep the second they feel any danger. And speaking of danger…this is territory of the Nile crocodile. Nile monitors and the infamous Nile Crocodile share the same waterways, so if I end up in the water with a Nile monitor, I’m in the water with man-eating crocs as well.”

Connor slid down the six-foot embankment and stood on the sandy bank at the water’s edge. “Nile crocodiles are extremely aggressive and won’t hesitate to eat a human. In fact, Nile crocodiles are responsible for over three hundred human fatalities along this river every year. Local villagers rely on this river for drinking water, bathing, fishing, and the kids even play here. If a croc is in the area it’ll approach silently, undetectable just under the water’s surface, waiting for an opportune moment and just when you least expect it, bam! He comes powering at you full speed and then smash!” Connor slapped his hands together. “He grabs you with his bone splintering jaws and then he’ll drag you out there...” He pointed toward the middle of the river. “...into deeper water, never to be seen again.” He paused, eyes scanning the water, contemplating the danger. “So that’s what we’re up against.”

The glaring sun reflected off the water, forcing his eyes into a squint. He looked back at the camera, and with a bit of arrogance, dropped his trademark catchphrase. “This could be dangerous.”

An hour later, the host and crew were aboard their hired vessel and moving upstream. Connor steadied himself on the fiberglass bow of the boat as they patrolled the steep mud banks for the giant lizards. “It’s about 10 a.m. and already ninety degrees. We’re on the river just north of the Sudan border in Abu Simbel, Egypt. We’re gonna cruise the banks by boat, spot the monitors and then catch them…or at least try. The Nile Monitor is most active in the heat of the day. They’re cold blooded, so when their body temperature gets too hot, they dip into the water or the shade to cool down. So they’re fairly predictable. They like to climb these rocky bluffs and eat basically anything they can find, usually eggs, baby birds or baby crocs...anything they can overpower.”

A sudden bit of movement in the camera’s viewfinder caught the attention of George, Connor’s longtime cameraman. Utilizing their uncanny ability to communicate without words, he alerted Connor with a slight head nod in its direction.

Connor spotted the monitor high atop the sun hardened river bank and within seconds the boat captain was throttling toward it.

“Keep about fifty feet from the bank...we don’t wanna spook ’em,” Connor said as he scanned the river’s surface for nearby crocs.

The boat careened to a stop, then anchored. Connor placed his right foot on the side wall then looked back at George. “Keep both eyes open.”

George nodded, sensing a bit of reluctance in Connor’s voice, at the same time the boat captain was shaking his head in disapproval, knowing that giant man-eating reptiles frequently snacked on the local villagers. It was a very bad idea for anyone to be in the river at this location.

Connor lowered himself over the side of the boat and was up to his neck in the tannin-stained water.

The boat captain mumbled in disapproval, still shaking his head, and trying to rationalize the situation in thought. Almost daily, somewhere along the river, a villager is snatched up and eaten by the crocs and here is an American jumping right in with them. If he dies, I still get paid.

“Does he have any idea what lives in this river?” The captain peered at George.


“Well what in bloody hell is he thinking getting in the water?” he scolded in his British tinged South African dialect.

“It’s what he does.”

Connor treaded through the thick brown water in silence, making his way to the bank.

The monitor was barely visible from his position at the water’s edge; its long muscular tail was all that could be seen as its body writhed around in a crevice, twenty feet above the waterline, marauding a nest of unlucky egret chicks.

Connor maneuvered his way up the crumbling bank and positioned himself just under the lizard. He started reaching for the monitor when—hisssssssssss—coiled within one of the darkened crannies, a Banded Egyptian Cobra flattened its hood and struck at his arm. He jerked away just in time as the snake lunged. Connor grinned. The snake struck again, this time at his face. He dodged the strike but in doing so, lost his footing on the crumbling bank and slid down a couple feet. He looked up and found the pissy snake staring back at him, slithering closer.

“Nice try.” He grinned in admiration of its territorial aggression.

Aggravated, the cobra raised its head, and struck down again, but this time Connor was fast. He grabbed the cobra mid-body and with ease, flung it into the water below.

“Sorry about that,” he said as the snake smacked the water’s surface. It swam back to the bank and slithered off, vanishing into a patch of dry-rotted vegetation.

Connor maneuvered his way back up and centered himself under the lizard still writhing in the crevice. He steadied, positioning himself for the capture, and then lunged at the partially hidden reptile, grabbing its tail just behind the rear legs with his right hand. The lizard panicked and tried to flee but found itself locked in Connor’s unbreakable grip. He pulled the startled reptile off the bluff and as he did, it lunged with mouth wide open. Connor managed to dodge the lizard’s muscled jaws, but in doing so caused the hardened bank to crumble beneath his feet, forcing him to lose his balance. His feet skidded down the steep bank and he ended up falling backwards into the murky river.

At barely an idle, the captain guided the boat toward Connor. George held the camera in place and scanned the water with his eyes, nervous for the man who had just created a major commotion in the crocodile infested water.

Just as Connor regained his footing on the sandy river bottom, he felt a sharp pain and agonizing pressure on his left wrist. The frustrated lizard had found an opportunity and bit down.

Connor looked up at the camera, now a little more than twenty feet away. “As you can see, these monitors can be a little challenging. He’s latched onto my wrist and won’t let go. In fact, the more I move or struggle, the harder he clamps down.” Connor’s faced cringed as the monitor bit down even harder, serrated teeth slicing into his soft flesh. A trail of blood streamed down his forearm toward the elbow.

Connor started wading toward the boat.

George spotted what appeared to be a huge tree trunk about forty feet upstream from their host. “Don’t move,” he said. George was serious by nature, but now his voice was a little too serious.

“Jesus Christ,” the boat captain whispered in despair.

Connor froze. Judging by the tone of George’s voice, he knew something deadly was in his direct vicinity.

“Where?” Connor muttered without moving a muscle. He wanted to scan the water for the croc but knew he couldn’t move. Connor knew crocodiles were attracted to movement and with one being so close any sudden movement would trigger an explosive ambush attack. He also knew firsthand crocs were drawn to hurt or dying prey splashing around in the water. Right now, he was bleeding and had created quite a ruckus. He was in a very bad situation: in the water with a croc, and another huge lizard’s teeth embedded in his arm. At any given moment the lizard could start flailing and thrashing, which would trigger an immediate attack from the croc.

George was emotionless and calculating, conveying coordinates to a machine… “Eighteen-footer, thirty feet down and drifting.”

George, a wildlife videographer for over twenty-five years, had developed an adept knowledge of wildlife. It wasn’t until he was paired up with Connor Williams, that he began being placed in some very hairy situations. He didn’t talk much but when he did it was usually for good reason. George and Connor, together for more than five years, had learned how to read each other. George always knew what Connor was thinking and had an uncanny ability to anticipate his next move.

Connor couldn’t shrug off the feeling of impending doom rushing over him. The monitor lizard was his first concern, he knew if it started thrashing, which was probable, the situation would turn tragic. With extreme caution he lowered his arm with the lizard still attached, into and under the brown murky water. If it decided to flail about, the water would muffle it to some degree.

“He’s getting closer, ten feet,” George said, his voice apparently un-phased by the grim situation. He knew it was extremely dangerous but then again, he knew the man in the water wasn’t any ordinary human. It was Connor Williams, the man who had been charged by a twelve-hundred-pound Alaskan Kodiak bear while they were filming in Alaska. George filmed the entire showdown. Connor held his ground, unflinching.

This bear could have decapitated him with one swipe of its massive claws, but Connor didn’t budge. Instead, he yelled and growled right back at the enormous beast. His vocal attack was so primal and intense that even George found himself unhinged and ready to run. The bear halted its attack and retreated with his head hung low in defeat.

George eyed the croc, watching its massive head glide like an arrow toward its target. “Six feet, Connor.” George was nervous, an emotional state almost alien to him.

Connor turned his head toward the massive croc riding the current toward him. He raised his only free hand to the top of his head and lifted off his hat, then looked up at George who was still committed to the camera.

George pulled his head away from the viewfinder and their eyes met. Connor gave a slow nod and winked.

Had Connor just gestured his final goodbye? Or maybe he had some sort of plan? George didn’t know what to expect. Instantly his mind created a vision of later that night: sitting together drinking beer and laughing about the entire ordeal. Then he created another; he saw himself explaining to the producers, the only other people close to Connor, that their pride and joy had been ripped apart and eaten by a Nile crocodile.

Connor looked away from George and back at the croc as it closed the gap.

With all the force he could muster, he threw his hat to the side of the crocodile’s armored head. The water-soaked leather slammed into the water’s surface, causing a splash that triggered the croc’s feeding response. The huge gaping jaws that regularly take down adult wildebeests and zebras, snapped violently at the hat, creating a fury of gushing water that cascaded in all directions.

As George filmed the croc’s aggressive attack on the hat, he realized Connor was gone. He kept the camera on the croc while his eyes panned over the water. George’s head twisted from left to right repeatedly, in a desperate attempt to find his friend. The water became silent and the croc disappeared beneath the surface.

“Don’t move the boat,” George ordered.

Frustrated, the captain steadied their position. “I didn’t sign up for this shit.”


"In Search of the Lost" by Thomast W. Peltier



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