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review 2017-04-30 21:35
OTT, but Uber Cool!
Iceberg - Clive Cussler

There was a time when Dirk Pitt was one of my favourite fictional heroes and Clive Cussler the master at placing his creation in the most intriguing of plot-lines. Who can forget, "Raise the Titanic" (1976), which brought the world's attention to the 'National Underwater & Marine Agency' (NUMA), led by the phlegmatic Admiral Sandecker and his resourceful, but unruly director of operations. The echoes of James Bond are unmistakable, yet the brand of Dirk Pitt novels has also been synonymous with raucous adventure, just without the accompanying blockbuster movie franchise (a couple of spin-off movies have not remotely done justice to the original Cussler books). Not that comparative failure at the box office should diminish the written word, wherein the author has retained a solid readership.In fact, "Iceberg" (1975) preceded Mr Cussler's seminal novel and clearly Dirk Pitt and his crew received further polish, but the familiar format is established here.

 

Based on an unlikely, though plausibly fascinating premise, Cussler nurtures the reader's curiosity, suspends incredulity and weaves a spectacular tale of against-the-odds triumph of good over evil. The Bond-esque one-liners, the steely-eyed propensity for violence, Pitt's gritty good looks and predictable womanizing gives a rather dated feel to the macho hero. Still, the OTT, unreal nature of the characters and the plot are perhaps just necessary components of the genre's worship of unadulterated escapism. Whatever the flaws, it's a fast-moving yarn that in the past might have been described as 'swashbuckling' and the protagonists get the appropriate comeuppance!

 

Sadly the thrill I experienced following Dirk Pitt as a teenage reader, isn't so vivid today, but perhaps, just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, emotional grip is very much in the mind of the reader. Unlike DP, I have got older!

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review 2016-12-13 04:21
Not very credible, but always exciting and action packed!
Odessa Sea (Dirk Pitt Adventure) - Clive Cussler

Odessa Sea, Clive Cussler, author; Scott Brick, narrator

This book will keep you guessing until the last few pages. Numerous characters will enter and exit at will, sometimes confusing the listener. The narrator is excellent with accents and expression, but it was often difficult to discern the individual characters because the only thing separating each was the accent, which rarely varied, and not the modulation or the tone. Still, Scott Brick captured the tension and the mood at all times.
In 1917, during the Bolshevik Revolution, the Ottomans attacked a Russian sub carrying a very unique cargo, unbeknownst to them. The ship was sunk in the Black Sea, and all information on the cargo and end purpose was lost. In 1955, a Russian bomber was carrying another unique piece of cargo when it crashed into the Black Sea, during a severe storm.

In 2017, during a salvage operation, it was discovered that a possible lost shipment of gold existed, as did a treaty between the English and the Russians. It might be on the sunken submarine. In addition, there was now a lost atomic weapon which complicated matters further since it might have been on the Russian bomber. This series of discoveries led to the Russian government calling in a double agent, Viktor Mansfield, a superspy who seemed to always be one step ahead of everyone, defying reason, as he searched for the lost document and the missing gold. He, and another agent, Martina, worked together. If they failed in their effort to keep this information from reaching others, they would face dire consequences. Consequently, they would let nothing get in their way.

At the same time, behind the scenes, there is Martin Hendriks, a Dutchman who was the former head of a surveillance company. He has developed a sophisticated, undetectable armed drone. He engaged Valentin Mankedo, an owner of a salvage company and his partner Ilya Vasko, to help him carry out his diabolical plan to seek revenge, although the enemy he is seeking revenge against remains unknown until the very, very end. He needed them to supply him with what he needed in order to arm the silent, sophisticated drone he had created and wanted to sell to the Russians. They will do anything for money. His cryptic plan to attain vengeance placed Dirk Pitt, his children and the Bulgarian agents who were also involved in the search for those who would supply and transport contraband on the Black Sea, at risk. Many casualties ensued. Hendriks served to misdirect everyone in order to avoid the discovery of his real plan which was to avenge the death of his family.

The Bulgarian agents, Ana and Petar, were searching for the Ukrainians who sold the contraband to the Dutchman.  The Russian agents were searching for the documents and gold. The Americans wound up searching for an atomic weapon, the missing documents and the cache of gold. The three groups seemed to be unaware of each other’s purpose, but since their needs converged, they often connected with each other with dangerous and deadly consequences as this mystery developed more and more angles.

As background, Dirk Pitt is the Director of Numa, the National Underwater and Marine Agency. He is involved in salvage operations and research. His partner, in charge of the technical side, is Al Giordino. Dirk Pitt Jr. is a Special Projects Director and his twin sister Summer is an Oceanographer. When, in 2017, an SOS is received by NUMA from a ship that appears to be a ghost ship, with all aboard dead or near dead, they all become inextricably entwined in that mystery and the mystery surrounding the ship and the plane previously mentioned. When they investigated the silent ship, they found themselves under attack, without warning. They were like superheroes, surviving one attack after another, often stretching the reader’s credulity beyond the point of no return.

It seemed that during the Romanov Empire, the Russians and the English made a deal that went undiscovered for a century because of the disconnected disasters that took the proof of their deals with them to the bottom of the sea. Simply put, the Russians, the Ukrainians and the Americans were all separately searching for something that would eventually connect each of them to impending disaster. It isn’t until the last few pages that the motives of each of the culprits are uncovered.

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review 2016-06-02 18:19
Thriller Review: Shock Wave by Clive Cussler
Shock Wave (Dirk Pitt, #13) - Clive Cussler

Lucky number thirteen in the Dirk Pitt series Shock Wave actually has a few surprises to offer, elevating it from the standard Clive Cussler formula. Not that there's anything wrong with that formula - it's immensely successful for a reason - but it's refreshing to find some new twists in the read.

The novel opens on an historical note, with the 1856 journey of the Gladiator. Under the command of Charles “Bully” Scaggs, it's on its way to deliver a load of prisoners to the penal colony in Australia when a typhoon strikes amidst the Tasman Sea. The wreck of the ship, the desperate construction of a raft, and the brutal battle that follows between sailors, soldiers, and prisoners is intense, matched only by the final journey of the raft and its few pitiful survivors. Cussler has done historical bits before, but never as well as this. Fantastic stuff.

The contemporary story is a bit odd, in that it casts a billionaire diamond tycoon as villain, introduces what feels like a very science fiction threat, and hinges it all on a bold financial move to manipulate the diamond market. It sounds preposterous, but it's the characters who make it work. Arthur Dorsett is a genuine monster, a brutal tyrant who treats his rebellious daughter just about as well as his illegal Chinese mining slaves. This is a man who shrugs off the impending death of hundreds of thousands of people, all so he can add an extra zero to the legacy of billions he'll leave to his family. As for that daughter Maeve, she is not only an admirable young woman and a pretty decent heroine, but a legitimate romantic interest for Dirk Pitt. Dorsett's two other daughters are largely cartoon caricatures, with Boudicca unnecessarily (and illogically) over-the-top, but important in demonstrating their father's ruthless power and control over them.

While the story is book-ended by some massive action pieces, involving daring rescues and last minute escapes from certain doom, Cussler does something different in the middle of the tale. First of all, he creates a genuine romance for Dirk Pitt, something we haven't seen for a very long time. You can almost allow yourself to believe he'll sail into the sunset and settle down with a woman worthy of his adventurous soul. Second, he allows Admiral Sandecker and NUMA to carry much of the story, putting their efforts to prevent Dorsett's shockwave from decimating the population of Hawaii at center stage. There's a lot of technical discussion and political maneuvering involved, but Cussler keeps it interesting. Lastly, he strands Dirk, his buddy Al, and Maeve on a derelict boat in the middle of stormy seas for a good portion of the story, creating a sustained level of dramatic intensity that really pays off. You know they're going to survive, but there is some read danger here, and some genuine doubt as to whether all three will escape intact.

There's no underwater archaeology or salvage this time around, trading the Indiana Jones feel of the earliest books for the James Bond feel of the most recent, but the entire story is built around life (and death) at sea. Shock Wave isn't quite the breathtaking ride we've become accustomed to from Clive Cussler, but it's a more well-rounded tale, and one with some real depth to it. Definitely recommended.

Source: beauty-in-ruins.blogspot.ca/2016/06/thriller-review-shock-wave-by-clive.html
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review 2016-01-19 20:26
Havana Storm (Dirk Pitt Adventure) - Clive Cussler,Dirk Cussler

One of the better paced Cussler father/son duo Pitt novels, this book still features the same playbook, in my humble opinion, of father providing the story and/or guidance and son penning the majority if not all of the novel. The dialogue remains very straightforward and simple, if not dull, as the previous 5 Cussler/Cussler Pitt books, but I enjoyed the plot of this novel more than most of the previous 5. Sidenote: Cussler in his heyday wrote 100 times better plots and dialogue than these father/son efforts. Dirk Pitt and his twin children find themselves in the middle of a plot by Cuban nationals to mine the seafloor for minerals/elements that will provide materials necessary for nuclear weapons. The actions of this mining are releasing large amounts of mercury into American waters. Also, the kids are off searching for an ancient Aztec treasure that (of course) ultimately ties in to the problems they face in Cuban waters. I see an improvement in Dirk Cussler's writing efforts with this one, but he still has a long way to go to match what Clive cranked out when he was in his prime. I could recommend this one as a beach book with a favorite beverage as a companion.

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review 2014-12-16 00:00
Sahara (Le avventure di Dirk Pitt, #11)
Sahara (Le avventure di Dirk Pitt, #11) - Roberta Rambelli,Clive Cussler Blog Stories Review: http://storiesbooksandmovies.blogspot.it/2014/12/sahara-clive-cussler.html

Adoro i libri di Clive Cussler. Certo, immagino che molti tra voi non condividono il mio parere: questo autore è spesso considerato superficiale, ripetitivo e addirittura monotono. Insomma, nessun libro di questo scrittore ha accesso ai salotti dell'alta cultura. Troppo spensierato, troppo poco complicato. Ma, ragazzi, ora voglio porvi una semplice questione. Immaginate di essere su un treno - nono, non sotto! - uno di quelli con dei vagoni tanto simpatici quanto decorosi. Ecco, proprio così. È mattina, é buio, siete assonnati ma non abbastanza per riuscire ad addormentarvi. Scommetto che nascerà spontaneo il desiderio di trovarsi altrove, e con 'altrove' intendo qualsiasi possibile luogo, anche il più pericoloso. Solo un libro può assicurarvi tutto questo.

La magia della lettura è capace di portare il lettore attraverso mondi lontani, a volte fantastici ed inesplorati, altre volte reali e vivi. Clive Cussler è la scelta giusta, perfetta, per chi crede che un romanzo possa essere tutto questo e molto di più. Con la sua penna avventurosa, l'autore statunitense esplora il mondo ed i suoi posti più avvincenti con la sua creatura più eroica, il brillante Dirk Pitt, capace di risolvere ogni problema senza mai risultare banale e scontato.

Dovrà avrà luogo il mitico viaggio raccontato in Sahara? Beh, semplice, lo dice il titolo stesso: nel deserto più misterioso ed intrigante. Cussler, tuttavia, non si limita a semplici luoghi comuni e dicerie: egli dipinge, parola dopo parola, un territorio impervio al confine tra il Mali ed il Niger dove storia ed avventura si fondono in un mix esplosivo. Dirk Pitt, il fidato collega ed amico Al Giordino e la N.U.M.A. sono sulle tracce di un antico sarcofago egizio sepolto dal tempo quando si imbattono nella compagnia di Eva, una dottoressa dell'Organizzazione Mondiale della Sanità che indaga sull'origine di una strana epidemia che si sta diffondendo nel Mali, un paese in piena crisi economica e politica nelle mani di un dittatore spietato.

Il generale Kazim, dopo essersi impossessato con la forza del comando della nazione africana, ha tagliato qualsiasi debole legame internazionale, eliminando gli oppositori e nascondendo ogni possibile prova. Per questi motivi, l'uomo non concede l'autorizzazione ad Eva di continuare le sue indagini in Mali. La situazione, tuttavia, è ben più grave di quanto creda l'esperta: un'inquietante marea rossa si sta diffondendo grazie alle acque del fiume Niger e minaccia la salute di tutta l'umanità. Dirk e Al non possono ritirarsi davanti a questa emergenza. Quale sarà l'origine di questo disastro ambientale?


Sahara è senza dubbio uno dei migliori romanzi che vede come protagonista il deciso Pitt. È famoso grazie anche all'omonimo adattamento cinematografico con Matthew McConaughey, ma quella è un'altra storia. Letteralmente, credetemi!
Il libro è imperdibile per tutti gli amanti del genere avventuroso e d'azione. Cussler intreccia con bravura urgenti tematiche ambientali con misteriosi casi storici risalenti alla Guerra di Secessione Americana e perfeziona il tutto con uno stile scorrevole ed un perfetto equilibrio tra simpatia e serietà. Lo so, immaginavo che questa frase vi avrebbe colpito: cosa c'entra uno dei più celebri conflitti statunitensi del XIX secolo con il NordAfrica? Se volete saperlo, dovete assolutamente leggere questo romanzo. Il buon Clive riuscirà senza dubbio a stupirvi!

Buona lettura ;)
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