The vultures knew a feast awaited them. They hung almost motionless in the gray, ominous sky. Their beady eyes stared greedily down into the deep canyon that lay beneath them. from The Golden Peril by Harold A. Davis and Lester Dent writing as Kenneth Robeson.
The adventure opens with an attack on the Mayan gold mule train headed for Blanco Grande. All of the Mayans are killed, save one who is able to reach the telegraph office in Blanco Grande where he is killed in order to prevent his sending a warning to Doc Savage.
Meanwhile, the League of Nations has sent a representative, Baron Vardon to appeal to Doc Savage to aid them in dealing with a revolutionary who is plotting a series of civil wars around the world. Doc agrees to fly to Switzerland before he learns of a coup attempt taking place in Hidalgo. Baron Vardon is apparently murdered at his hotel in New York.
Doc Savage determines that he should first go to Hidalgo before going to Switzerland, and see what he can do to help his good friend and President of Hidalgo, Carlos Avispa.
There are several attempts to prevent Doc from reaching Hidalgo.
The revolution in Hidalgo and the Valley of the Vanished are closely linked through the Mayan people, displaying repercussions from Doc Savage's first adventure.
The Golden Peril opens with the attack on the Mayan gold train somewhere in the mountainous region that separates the Valley of the Vanished from the rest of Hidalgo.
The setting switches to New York as Doc Savage becomes involved, murder and mayhem taking place in New York are pointing to events in Hidalgo.
Enroute to Hidalgo, Doc Savage is attacked somewhere between Florida and Cuba.
Renny and Johnny are working in South America when an attempt is made to kill them.
Blanco Grande is the center of the coup attempt taking place in Hidalgo. As Doc Savage is able to move events there favorably, the story moves to the Valley of the Vanished, which is the focal point of the events that take place in this adventure.
This adventure marks the first time Doc Savage and company have visited the Valley of the Vanished since their first adventure in The Man of Bronze. Several of the characters that were in that first adventure also appear in this saga: King Chaac, Princess Monja (who still carries a torch for Doc Savage, while Monk continues to carry a torch for Princess Monja), and President Carlos Avispa of Hidalgo.