by George Ebey
Boyd Morrison’s previous book, The Ark, featured former army combat engineer, Tyler Locke, and his quest to unearth the mystery behind the legendary Noah’s Ark. Now Boyd is back with his exciting new follow up, The Vault.
This time around, Tyler Locke’s routine commute on a Washington State ferry is interrupted by a chilling anonymous call claiming that his father has been kidnapped and that a truck bomb is set to detonate on board in twenty minutes. When Tyler reaches the bomb on the boat’s car deck, he is stunned to find classical languages expert, Stacy Benedict, waiting for him. She has received the same threat and her sister has also been taken. In order to disarm the bomb, they must work together to solve an engineering puzzle—a puzzle written in ancient Greek. Preventing the explosion is only the first step. They soon learn the entire setup is a test created by a ruthless criminal who forces them to go on a seemingly impossible mission: uncover the legendary lost riches of King Midas.
Your story deals with a contemporary cast of characters who work to uncover a hidden treasure of historical significance. What interested you the most about creating a story with references to historical elements?
I’ve always been fascinated with intricate puzzles and exotic adventures, and unexplained historical mysteries hold the promise of both. I don’t think I’m alone in being intrigued by the origins of ancient structures and myths because they speak to a basic human need we have for answers. As a thriller writer, I get to have fun speculating on what those answers might be, and I put my characters through the wringer to discover them, usually with the fate of the world at stake. The twist I try to put into the Tyler Locke series is that the explanations for these well-known mysteries have a scientific basis rather than a supernatural cause.
Did you find the research surrounding the historical elements of the story to be challenging? How so?
There is so much incredible information out there about our past that the real problem is deciding what to leave out of my books. Balancing the education with the entertainment is something I spend a lot of time tweaking. I read a lot of nonfiction when I’m researching my novels so that they are grounded in reality. Two books that were very illuminating for The Vault were The Archimedes Codex by Reviel Netz and William Noel and Decoding the Heavens by Jo Marchant. They gave me incredible insights into the genius of inventors who have been dead for thousands of years. The breadth of the Internet also helps me get details that would otherwise be impossible to obtain.
Tell us about your main characters, Tyler Locke and Stacy Benedict. Specifically, what are their backgrounds and how does this help them when dealing with the challenges they are faced with?
Because Tyler Locke is a former Army combat engineer with an expertise in explosives and failure analysis, his job at Gordian Engineering takes him around the world to investigate or prevent disasters. In The Vault he is paired up with Stacy Benedict, a classical languages expert and host of a documentary TV show called Chasing The Past. Together they are blackmailed into divining the purpose of an inscrutable device created by brilliant Greek inventor Archimedes, with Tyler using his engineering and combat skills and Stacy drawing on her understanding of ancient manuscripts and archaic languages.
Your story takes them from the Pacific Northwest to Italy, Germany, Greece, and finally the streets of New York City. What intrigues you the most about these very different yet exciting locations?
Living in Seattle now and having visited all of the other locations, I knew they would make compelling backdrops for the story. There’s an evocative romance and history to each of them that explains why they’re all major tourist destinations. Many of the locations I use in The Vault are integral to the plot, so the story really drove the settings. I was fortunate to spend time in Europe last year researching them to get a sense of place. I spent a considerable amount of time actually walking or driving through the actions taken by the characters so I could capture details that would resonate with people who’ve traveled there.
Are there any plans to take Tyler or Stacy on any further excursions through the unknown mysteries of the past?
Tyler has already found Noah’s famous vessel in The Ark, and he’ll be back next year in his third adventure investigating another famous legend.
The Vault received a starred review from Publishers Weekly and will be released in the UK as The Midas Code on August 4.
To learn more about Boyd Morrison, please visit his website.