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The Red Sea Sharks

The Red Sea Sharks is the English title of Coke en stock, a book in Herge's Tintin series.

brief notes:

Warning: Wikipedia contains spoilers!

Coke en stock is an adventure in which Tintin finds who is behind Sheik Bab el Ehr who overthrew Mohammed ben Kalish Ezab, the emir of Khemed.

After a movie, Captain Haddock runs into General Alcazar, who drops his wallet. Tintin attempts to return it, but the hotel never heard of him, and the number Tintin calls refuses to talk. Tintin and Haddock later find Alcazar talking with Dawson at another hotel. Haddock returns the wallet, while Tintin follows Dawson and hears about a newspaper article about a coup d'état in Khemed. They decide to go there and rescue the emir.

At Wadesdah Airport, they are turned back, while someone plants a bomb on the plane. The bombing is foiled by an engine fire, which forces the plane to crash-land. They ride horses to where the Emir is staying and are saved from attack by a garbled military order. The Emir tells them about the ongoing slave trade run by the Marquis di Gorgonzola.

Tintin and Haddock leave for the coast and board a boat for Mecca to investigate the slave trade. They are shipwrecked and joined by Piotr Szut, the pilot of one of the De Havilland Mosquito planes that attacked them. They are then picked up by di Gorgonzola's yacht and offloaded the next night to the Ramona, which is carrying Africans for the slave trade. The crew set the ship on fire and leave, intending to blow Tintin and Haddock up, but they put out the fire. Tintin finds a slip of paper with an order to deliver coke, and is puzzled. Then an Arab comes and asks to inspect the "coke", which is code for slaves. (This was written before "coke" came to mean cocaine. In shipping, "coke" would normally refer to solid fuel carbon made from coal, and hence an innocuous term to use for contraband. Also, coke is black, as are the Africans.) Haddock attempts to explain to the passengers (who speak Yoruba) that they are going to be sold as slaves if they go to Mecca, but most of them don't understand.

Di Gorgonzola (who is actually the movie director Rastapopoulos from Cigars of the Pharaoh) finds out from the Arab and sends planes, torpedoes, and a mine to attack the Ramona. The Ramona evades the torpedoes and weighs anchor on the miner, and a U. S. Navy ship comes to rescue them.



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