In ancient time, a monstrous sunspot called the Tartarus sunspot that occurs every 4,000-4,500 years) was prevented from causing major flooding and catastrophic weather by the use of the Golden Capstone. This Capstone was later divided up by Alexander the Great with one piece hidden within each of the seven wonders of the world. If and when they are reunited and replaced on the capstone during another solar event, they can bring 1,000 years of peace or power for the nation which possesses them.
In 1996, Jack West Jr and Max Epper (also known as Wizard) are in a Ugandan volcano attempting to prevent Francisco del Piero, a Vatican priest leading a European colition representing the Catholic Church, from stealing the newborn son of the Oracle of Siwa, able to read the Callimachus Text. However they are too late, and while checking the mother's body, Jack discovers she has another child, a daughter, and he and Epper retrieve her, but are hindered by the lava blocking their exit. Jack loses his left arm disabling the trap, and they head off to a meeting between seven "small' nations (Canada, Australia, Ireland, the United Arab Emirates, Spain, Jamaica and New Zealand) concerning the upcoming Tartarus event.
It is agreed that one person from each country (save for Ireland, who provide two) will hide the girl at a farm in Kenya, named Lily, and raise her until she can begin translating the Callimachus Text clues leading to each Wonders' location, wherin lies a piece of the Capstone. Over the years, Lily grows up to be very inquisitive and intelligent thanks to the teachings of the team and Epper's wife, Dorris. The Alliance of Minnows are joined by Benjamin Cohen (Stretch) of the Israeli Mossad, who threaten to expose their plans if they cannot join, to the chargin of Aziz al Anzar al Abbas (Pooh Bear).
In 2006, seven days before this sunspot is due, Lily is able to dechiper the first verse of the ancient text, and they head to an ancient mine in the Sudan to locate the head of the Colossus of Rhodes Piece. Though they are able to best the European coalition, an American force known as CIEF (the Commander-in-Chief's In Extremis Force, which covertly represents the Freemasons) captures them after killing Enrique Velacruz (Noddy). The CIEF team leader, Cal Kallis, retrieves their Piece and is ordered to kill everyone except for Jack and Lily, but luckily they manage to escape in Jack's plane, the Halicarnassus, piloted Sky Monster.
With Lily's help, Jack and Epper determine the next Piece is at Hamilcar's Refuge on the coast of Tunisia, and because they hold the only clue between the Callimachus Text and an ancient scroll, believe that the Americans and Europeans cannot locate it. Upon entering the refuge, they discover the remains of a Nazi U-boat which had belonged to two Nazi arcaeologists, Hans Koenig and Herman Hessler, during their search for the Capstone. However CIEF has somehow also located the refuge, and as they race to the Piece, Jack learns that Colonel Marshall Judah, a former mentor of his during his time training at Coronado, is leading the CIEF team. After making their way through the trap system, they learn that in addition to the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus Piece, there is also the Mirror from the Lighthouse of Alexandria and its matching Piece. However they are forced to leave the Pieces to CIEF and escape.
Jack confides in Wizard his suspicion that someone on their team is telling the Americans of their locations, and worse, the next two clues don't give any real indication of the Wonders' locations. Needing help, they spring Mustapha Zaeed, the world's foremost authority on the Capstone and the Seven Wonders and a known terrorist, from Guantanamo Bay. With Zaeed's help they learn that the Statue of Zeus at Olympia piece is in the Louvre in Paris, and the Temple of Artemis Piece is in St Peter's in Rome. Jack, Lilly, Pooh, Stretch and Liam Kissane (Big Ears) retrieve the Zeus Piece and learn how to locate Alexander the Great's tomb, where the final Piece lies. Wizard, Zoe Kissane and V.J. Weatherly (Fuzzy), unable to take the Artemis Piece, memorise the incription on it, but are captured by del Piero's men.
Unaware of this, Jack's team returns to their Kenyan farm, only to be ambushed by Judah and the entire CIEF force. Dorris is killed, and Big Ears sacrifices himself to get Lily back onto the Halicarnassus, however he is carrying their Piece, which Judah seizes. With no other options, Jack decides that they must locate the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Both Jack and Zaeed discover the Gardens' location, but upon arriving are apprehended by an Israeli strike team, as Stretch unknowingly led them to their location. West is forced to lead the Israelis to the Piece, but he and Pooh are left for dead while Zaeed escapes the Israelis. With the Americans arriving, Stretch is ordered to leave Lily in a quick sand trap, but he cannot bring himself to do it, and is allowed to live when both are captured by Judah, while the other Israelis are executed, taking their Piece.
Jack and Pooh narrowly escape their predicarment, and are abandoned by Zaeed, who reveals that Lily will die for the Capstone incantation to work. After getting onto the Halicarnassus, Jack realises that he has been the one the Americans have been tracking, as he has had a tracking chip in his head since training with Judah at Coronado years earlier. After disabling it, he, Pooh and Sky Monster head off to Egypt. Meanwhile, del Piero speaks with Wizard's captured team, and reveals Alexander, the son of the Oracle whom they kidnapped years earlier and have raised. Despite their plan to kill the Americans and take their Pieces, del Piero's men are all killed, while he and Wizard's team are captured along with the Artemis Piece, leaving the Americans to only need to retrieve the tomb of Alexander the Great Piece
On the day of the Tartarus rotation, Judah reveals that the Americans have been working with Hans Koenig, the Nazi archaeologist who has survived into the present day, and he helps them to locate the final Piece of the Capstone from Alexander's tomb in Luxor. Lily meets her twin for the first time, but dislikes him for the attitude that del Piero has brainwashed him with over the years. Judah takes the whole Capstone to the Giza Pyramid, and has Alexander placed in the chamber beneath it, along with one deben of American soil, to ensure the ritual of power works.
However, Jack and his team arrive to stop them. Judah tries to carry out the ritual, but Alexander crawls out to save himself from death, unwittingly ensuring its failure. While del Piero, Koenig and Kallis are killed, the rest of Jack's captured team join in fighting the CIEF forces, and Zaeed carries out the ritual successfully after Lily crawls in willingly. Jack, however, had switched the soil of Zaeed's homeland with his own, so Australia has 1000 years of power. After killing Zaeed and Judah (throwing the latter in the engines of the Halicarnassus), the victorious team of minnows departs, taking with them the entire Capstone. Stretch is forgiven by the others, and Lily reveals that she survived by (unlike Alexander) going into the chamber willingly, as a scroll she read earlier explained.
Three weeks later, after another meeting of the small nations which agrees not to reveal Australia's invulnerability, Wizard and Zoe accompany Lily across Central Australia, before reuniting with West at his new farm, where he reveals he has collected some of the Ancient Wonders they encountered during their mission, as well as the Capstone.
The Coalition of Minnows TeamEdit
- Captain Jack "Huntsman" West Jr (Australia)
- Lily "Eowyn" (Egypt)
- Professor Max "Wizard" Epper (Canada)
- Sergeant Zoe "Bloody Mary / Princess" Kissane (Ireland)
- Corporal Liam "Gunman / Big Ears" Kissane (Ireland)
- Captain Aziz "Saladin / Pooh Bear" al Anzar al Abbas (United Arab Emirates)
- Lieutenant Benjamin "Archer / Stretch" Cohen (Israel)
- Sky Monster (New Zealand)
- Sergeant V.J. "Witch Doctor / Fuzzy" Weatherly (Jamaica)
- Lieutenant Enrique "Matador / Noddy" Velacruz (Spain)
Coalition of Minnows SupportersEdit
- Colonel Marshall Judah (United States of America)
- Sergeant Cal Kallis (United States of America)
- Hans Koenig (Germany)
Old European UnionEdit
The Seven Ancient WondersEdit
- Colossus of Rhodes
- Mausoleum of Halicarnassus
- Lighthouse of Alexandria
- Statue of Zeus at Olympia
- Temple of Artemis at Ephesus
- Hanging Gardens of Babylon
- Great Pyramid of Giza
- Jack West Jr and the Hero's Helmet
- Seven Ancient Wonders
- The Six Sacred Stones
- The Five Greatest Warriors
- The Four Legendary Kingdoms
- The solar event is named the 'Tartarus Rotation', after the ancient Greek word for hell.
- Lily renames the call-signs of West's team after children's fiction characters such as Pooh Bear (Aziz al Anzar), Noddy (Enrique Velacruz), Fuzzy (V J Weatherly), Big Ears (Liam Kissane), Princess Zoe (Zoe Kissane), and Stretch (Benjamin Cohen). Lily in turn is given her own call-sign, Eowyn by the New Zealander pilot of the Halicarnassus, call-sign Sky Monster.
- A World War II U-boat is found in Hamilcar's Refuge, used by a Nazi expedition to find the piece. This references various popular culture items such as Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Last Crusade showing Nazi Germany as setting out to recover occult archaeological artefacts.
- Hans Koeing, leader of the Nazi expedition, now working for the CIEF team, references various other Nazis pardoned and employed by the United States, such as Wernher von Braun.
- The Callimachus Text is a vital plot device, referring to Callimachus, the real-life librarian of the Musaeum in Alexandria, who wrote the famous list of the seven wonders. Here he is held to have been privy to Alexander's splitting up the pieces and thus to have left coded references to that in his list.
- There are numerous references made to Egyptian and Mesopotamian landmarks, notably tombs, monuments and obelisks.
- West finds an extinct plant in the Hanging Gardens, and takes one to Australia. The power of Tartarus allows the plant to grow in Australia, and he gives one to Zoe.