|About the Book|
Tintin, Captain Haddock and Calculus are on their way to Sydney for an international conference on space exploration. While their flight makes a refueling stop in Jakartas Kemayoran Airport, they unexpectedly meet their old friend Piotr Skut, who is now the chief pilot for eccentric millionaire Laszlo Carreidas. A short time earlier, the Captain had erroneously taken the somewhat disheveled Carreidas for a tramp and surreptitiously slipped him a five-dollar bill (which later is taken by the oblivious Professor Calculus, making the millionaire laugh for the first time in years). When introduced to Carreidas, the Captain inadvertently shakes the hand of the millionaires secretary, the tall, aloof Spalding.Unable to politely refuse Carreidass offer of a ride on his prototype private jet, Tintin and his friends join the millionaire on the way to Sydney. Carreidas plays Battleship with the Captain, defeating him repeatedly by cheating with a hidden closed-circuit television camera and monitor. Unbeknownst to Carreidas and the others, Spalding and two of the pilots, Boehm and Colombani, have been recruited to hijack the plane and bring it to a deserted island called Pulau-Pulau Bompa in the Celebes Sea. Skut is not involved in the plot, and so he becomes a prisoner too. After a rough landing, our friends are escorted out of the plane, and a terrified Snowy breaks out of Tintins arms and runs off. Armed guards shoot at him, and a mortified Tintin takes him for dead.A moment or two later, to Tintins further shock, it turns out that the mastermind of the plot is none other than the evil Rastapopoulos, who declares that since its a bore to stop being a millionaire, it would be easier to simply take Carreidass fortune. Accordingly, he has hatched an elaborate scheme to kidnap Carreidas and extract his Swiss bank account number. Captain Haddocks corrupt old nemesis, Allan, is working as Rastapopouloss henchman. As for Tintin, the Captain and Calculus, Rastapopulos actually had no idea they would be accompanying the crotchety millionaire, but is nonetheless delighted to have the opportunity to exact revenge, and makes it quite evident that a very grim fate awaits our friends.Everyone is bound and held in Japanese World War II-era bunkers.Meanwhile, Rastapopoulos takes a defiant Carreidas to another World War II-era bunker and has him strapped to a chair, to be subjected to the tender mercies of the malevolent Dr. Krollspell. The corrupt doctor injects the millionaire with truth serum, so as to enable Rastapopulos to pry Carreidass Swiss bank account number out of him. Unfortunately for Rastapopoulos, this plan quickly flounders. For Carreidas proves more than willing to tell the truth--about everything except the Swiss bank account. To Rastapopuloss fury, Carreidas launches into long disquisitions about his greedy, unscrupulous nature, boasting how he first stole a pear in 1910, at the age of four- shamed both his grandfather and his great-aunt to death- and has generally led a life of perfidy and corruption. Realizing the serum is defective, Rastapopulos becomes enraged, lunges at Krollspell (who is still holding the truth-drug syringe), and is accidentally injected with the serum, becoming intoxicated. He too recounts hideous deeds in a boasting manner, calling himself the devil incarnate. From what Rastapopoulos says under the serums influence, Krollspell realizes that the crime boss intends not to reward him as promised, but to betray and murder him.With the help of Snowy, who is not dead after all, Tintin and his friends manage to escape the bunker in which they are being imprisoned and find the bunker, high on the volcano, where Carreidas is held prisoner. Tintin captures Krollspell and Rastapopulos and escorts them to lower ground, intending to use them as hostages. However, the serum wears off and Rastapopulos escapes, despite Krollspells warnings- the doctor is released afterwards and continues to accompany Tintin and Haddock, watching the still irritable Carreidas.Later, they discover, thanks to a voice Tintin is hearing, a hidden entrance to a statue-filled cave. Knowing that they are in danger, as Rastapopulos is gathering his armed guards to pursue and kill them, they decide to enter the cave and they discover a large hallway, leading to the inside of the volcano. They enter the volcanos core by triggering a hidden mechanism. Rastapopulos and his cohorts are not far behind, but they fail to find out how to open the secret passage. Instead they use explosives to make their own entrance.Penetrating deeper into the volcano, Tintin and his friends meet a strange man, Mik Kanrokitoff, a writer for magazine Space Week, who wears a transmitter on his ear and speaks with a heavy Russian accent (he is the voice that has guided Tintin to the cave). He immediately notes that they are all in great danger, because the explosion triggered by Rastapopoulos has made the volcano unstable and it will soon erupt. They follow Kanrokitoff, who has the power to influence their minds, as he knows exactly where to escape. It becomes hotter as they find their way out of the core of the volcano, and at one point a large flow of lava threatens them, but they find a pathway up that leads to an exit. Fleeing the lava flow, Carreidas pushes Haddock off the stairs, but fortunately Haddock grabs onto a stalagmite, narrowly escaping imminent death. The strange Kanrokitoff uses his mind trick to calm the impetuous Carreidas down. Meanwhile, Rastapopoulos and his henchmen flee the eruption by running down the outside of the volcano and plan to take refuge in a rubber dinghy.Once Tintin and his friends find their way out of the volcano, Kanrokitoff puts them all under his hypnosis. He uses his transmitter, and apparent psychic powers, to summon a flying saucer, piloted by unseen aliens with whom he is apparently familiar. The hypnotised group climb up a retractable ladder and board the saucer, narrowly escaping the volcanos dramatic eruption. Kanrokitoff spots the rubber dinghy and exchanges Tintin and his companions for Allan, Spalding, Rastapopulos and the treacherous pilots, who are whisked away in the saucer. The group - including Krollspell, who is later deposited by the saucer at his institute in Cairo - awakes from hypnosis and cannot remember what happened to them. The party is eventually rescued, but only Snowy, who cannot speak, has any recollection of the hijacking and alien abduction.