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A Darwin Lacroix Adventure: Book 4


A mysterious forger. A plot to empty the world’s museums. Can this champion of culture stop it before all our history is fake?


A mysterious forger. A plot to empty the world’s museums. Can this champion of culture stop it before all our history is fake?

A forensic audit at the Vatican Museum reveals looting on a grand scale. A corrupt antiquities dealer has been plundering Europe's institutions—replacing priceless originals with copies. 

Darwin Lacroix, the Pope’s new Director of Special Archaeological Investigations, is repulsed by self-serving curators, profit-hungry auction houses, and secretive government Freeports. But he cannot stem the loss of artistic heritage. Until a sale goes wrong.

When a Marseilles art gang calls in a loan, the dealer snares Darwin into stealing a cherished Etruscan vase to cover it.

His reputation in tatters, Darwin sets his own trap, but a mole in his team discovers the ruse and triggers a kidnapping. As threats escalate, he chases clues across Europe, the American Southwest, and the Tyrrhenian Sea. Ultimately, he must choose between stopping the pillaging or saving his friend.

Tuscan Hoax is the action-packed fourth novel in the Darwin Lacroix Adventure archaeological thriller series.

Image by Michal Ico

A Darwin Lacroix Adventure: NOVELLA 


Lost pirate's plunder. An alluring accomplice. Danger underwater.

A decade before his famed discoveries, Darwin Lacroix vacations in Corsica. Once home to medieval pirates, the sleepy island has buried its secrets in time. But a chance encounter stirs memories of gold coins in a sea cave. A beguiling partner draws Darwin into adventure. Together, they race an inbound storm before it obliterates the evidence.

Corsican Gold is the page-turning prequel to the Darwin Lacroix Adventure archaeological thriller series. If you like exotic places and undersea chicanery, then you’ll love Dave Bartell’s breathtaking hunt for the treasure.





I had to read this novel in one go, because I couldn't put it down.

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A Darwin Lacroix Adventure: Book 3

A Paris icon in flames. A conspiracy in the Church. Can this determined explorer survive the search for a hidden history?

Renowned archaeologist Darwin Lacroix remains obsessed, proving his theory that Roman’s used lava tubes. But he’s interrupted by the Pope, who personally requests Darwin’s help to retrieve a codex stolen from the Pontiff’s private vault. Discovering that the cryptic text points to the long-sought Knights Templar treasure, he realizes a mysterious cave may also solve his own puzzle.


As he digs up a trail of ancient connections, he’s shocked to learn the true prize isn’t gold but a priceless relic directly connected to Christ. And someone deep inside the Vatican will stop at nothing to recover it…


Can Darwin outsmart shadowy figures willing to kill to claim power?


Templar’s Bank is the page-turning third novel in the Darwin Lacroix Adventure archaeological thriller series. If you like international pursuits, religious intrigue, and mind-boggling historical puzzles, then you’ll love Dave Bartell’s breathtaking hunt for the truth.


Buy Templar’s Bank to crack the crusader code today!

Hypatia's Diary
 A Darwin Lacroix Adventure: Book 2

An ancient wonder. A bitter rival. Will securing his family's legacy get him killed?

Darwin Lacroix has made an incredible discovery, but his lack of proof gnaws at him daily. After putting his wedding to the captivating Eyrun on hold, the archaeologist receives a tip that could finally prove his grandfather's research. There's just one catch: To make the find, he'll have to forge an uneasy alliance with a cunning Italian archival.

When the partnership gets him closer than ever to the Library of Alexandria, Darwin fears that his hope may blind him to the truth. But the explorer's attempt to keep his own secrets could risk his life. It could put the ones he loves right into the scorching line of fire.

Will Darwin have to pay for the discovery of a lifetime with his final dying breath?

Roman Ice

A Darwin Lacroix Adventure: Book 1

His rich discovery will make history… if someone doesn’t steal it first.


Darwin Lacroix knows that €10,000,000 in diamonds dug up in Iceland is just the tip of the ice — there’s more. Much more. Roman scrolls found in the ruins beneath Mt. Vesuvius tell of Emperor Nero’s lust for gold and lava tubes that contain precious metals and rare gemstones.

But, Darwin isn’t the only diamond hunter. A powerful cartel sends its frontman to seize control. When greedy corporate and government operators threaten to take over, Darwin must join up with Eyrún Stephansdottir, a local volcanologist to take on the cartel.

Far underground, they make choices and test allegiances that determine who will return alive.



★★★★★ “Pure Magic. Makes

you want to take up caving”

-- Janet MacIntyre, Goodreads

★★★★★ “Could be the next

Indiana Jones series!”

-- Pat Malin, BookBub

★★★★★ “An adventure story cleverly crafted based upon some actual discoveries of real treasure. And you learn a few things about underground caving and archaeology....and the hero does find his heart's desire.”

-- GWK

★★★★★ “I was unable to stop reading and many times found myself holding my breath waiting for the outcome.”

-- Sherie

★★★★★ “In the tradition of Diana Gabaldon and Dan Brown, ... I can’t wait for the sequel.”

-- 8 Handicapper, Amazon reader

★★★★★  “One of the most exciting books I've read this summer.”

-- Geraldine L. Kedrowski, Amazon reader

★★★★★  “This adventure offers a peek into the Vatican library and a frenzied search for Alexander the Great's lost tomb. A good read.”

★★★★★  “I liked the main character is woven into a new adventure, naturally. The suspense and a bit of history engaged me. ”

-- Karen

★★★★★ “This book has it all; crazy but believable storyline, plot twists, bad guys, heroes, love entanglements and suspense”

-- G Bernier, Amazon reader

★★★★★ Brilliantly descriptive."

-- C A Orr, Amazon UK reader

★★★★★  “Great archeaological thriller. The story fascinating. The characters likeable and real. ”

-- Pat

★★★★★  “The author makes you feel like you really know these characters even though some are 2000 years old! Not only does the story keep moving but he fills the pages with just enough detail to explode the story with vivid images in your mind.”

-- Jennifer



davebartell chelsea fc 2016.jpg

Imagine the wonder at being the first person to open King Tut’s tomb? Dave Bartell loves reviving lost history and his novels breathe thriller into archaeology.

As a kid, he was frequently found tinkering in his parent’s garage. His insatiable curiosity to understand how things work led him to study biochemistry and, later, fueled a career in high-technology. His what-if mindset and life experiences combine to make his fiction plausible and feel realistic.

Dave lives in Los Gatos California, a small town tucked into the edge of Silicon Valley. He enjoys hiking in the hills behind his home, where beauty is still analog.

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