All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Poseidon’s Arrow – Clive Cussler

on January 21, 2013

Poseidon's ArrowPoseidon’s Arrow (Dirk Pitt #22)
Clive and Dirk Cussler
Penguin AU
2012, 522p
Copy courtesy of the publisher

American Navy researchers have made what could be the greatest breakthrough in ocean warfare in decades. A new type of submarine that is capable of speeds up to 3 or 4 times faster than current submarines can reach. Nothing else that any other country has around the world – China, Russia, Iran etc – will be able to come close to it. With this submarine in deployment, they would be able to defend any corner of the globe in ways that could not be counteracted.

There’s just one problem. What is supposed to have been kept tightly under wraps has been leaked. Now the primary people responsible, the ones that have the only plans for the submarine, have been brutally murdered and the plans stolen. At the same time as this, ships have started disappearing usually in the Pacific Ocean between Australia and South America. NUMA Director Dirk Pitt, who was called in to help recover the dead body of the man responsible for the submarine prototype gets in deeper and deeper as he discovers that the missing ships were all carrying types of rare earth metals. These rare earth metals are mined in only a handful of locations around the world – and coincidentally, several of those locations have been restricted in production. The American mine faced a catastrophic fire that at first seemed accidental that shut down their production. The Australian mine is about to ship one last container tanker of cargo before it shuts down for 6 months to expand the mine to keep up with world demand. That pretty much leaves China and it seems that they are about to stop exports, creating a worldwide shortage that will have far reaching effects around the globe, particularly on the US economy. The metals are used in a lot of technological industries – smart phones, laptops etc and also in R&D projects for the armed forces.

Assisted by an NCIS investigator out to get the prototype plans of the submarine back as well as his two children, Dirk Pitt is on the trail to hunt down exactly what is happening to these disappearing ships and also just who is behind the snatching of the plans. It will be his most dangerous mission yet and the fate of the world is at stake if he cannot retrieve those plans and get them back in the hands of the Vice President.

I read my first Clive Cussler novel last year, from one of his other series, so this is my first Dirk Pitt novel. It’s actually the 22nd in the series but it seems to be the sort of series you can really pick up anywhere and begin reading without missing too much at all. The only thing you really need to know is that Dirk Pitt is pretty awesome, a “Jack” type character who is skilled at diving, piloting boats, fighting, espionage, shooting and avoiding being killed by bad guys. He’s often aided in his exploits by his two children, Dirk Jr and Summer, a marine engineer and oceanographer respectively. Likewise the Pitt siblings have a knack for getting themselves into interesting situations but they’re also quite handy at getting out of them.

Normally I don’t like reading a series out of order but with this one it didn’t seem to matter. There might be one or two comments in the book between characters that amount to “Remember that time we did that thing/went to that place/etc” but that’s about it. What this novel promises is lots of fun and action. Having only read two, both were meticulously researched and full of information and facts about various things: countries, religion, ancient civilisations, boats, diving and all manner of other things. The size of this book was a bit daunting when I picked it up – I do have to be in the mood to pick up a chunkster otherwise my attention begins to wander and I end up having to read each page more than once. However from the beginning, this one had me devouring it and I ended up finishing it in about 4-5 hours.

These books are heavy on plot and light on any real character development but they’re a palate-cleansing read. They’re the equivalent of a good action flick, something that just entertains you without particularly making you think or you realising that you’re thinking. But when I finished this novel I went and googled the Panama Canal, which features in this book and familiarised myself with the inner workings of it and I also looked up different rare earth metals because I found many of the elements of this story so interesting. I’m also pretty fascinated by submarines even though they creep me out. It’s not natural to be in such a small closed space so deep into the ocean! Both Dirk Snr as well as Jr and Summer do have awesome sounding jobs – how fun would it be to travel the world mapping the ocean floor, discovering wrecks and fighting off bad guys?

Although I don’t see myself going back and reading the 21 previous novels in this series, I can definitely see myself reading the new ones as they are published. They really are a lot of fun and great to just sit down with and let the explosions and the shooting take you away.

8/10

Book #17 of 2013

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