Mirage (The Oregon Files #9)
Clive Cussler with Jack Du Brul
Penguin Books Aus
Copy courtesy of the publisher
Juan Cabrillo is the leader of the mysterious Corporation, a highly skilled group of people who can be hired to find out information, track someone down, pick up or deliver some goods…basically anything at a price. Cabrillo works out of the Oregon a sea-going vessel deliberately dumbed down to look much slower and older than she really is. Her slightly battered facade hides a highly efficient motor, a shedload of sophisticated and deadly weaponry and an even more highly efficient state of the art technical hub and quarters for its crew, the employees of the Corporation. There’s nothing they can’t find out and their exclusive contracts take them all over the world, flying the Oregon’s different colours to throw more people off the scent of what she really is and is doing.
When Cabrillo goes undercover at a notorious Siberian prison, it is to break out an acquaintance, Yuri Borodin although things go awry in their attempt to make it back to the Oregon. Yuri gives Cabrillo a few cryptic remarks including “Tesla” which immediately intrigue Cabrillo. He wonders why anyone would utter the name of a long dead Serbian scientist given he was so overshadowed by others even though he is responsible for some of the most important discoveries and inventions in the modern era. Cabrillo sets his highly skilled team onto finding out why Borodin wanted to talk about Tesla and the results turn out to be potentially very damaging for a lot of people including probably most of the Western world.
The Philadelphia Experiment took place in 1943 and rumours were that a ship was cloaked to remain entirely invisible to enemies. Someone has resurrected this technology and is using it today and Cabrillo immediately grasps what this could mean in terms of modern day warfare. He takes it upon himself to track down the man who has the technology before it fall into even more unsavoury hands and starts a WW3 disaster. It’s hard to fight an enemy you can’t see and has something that can blast you right out of the water before you can even load your guns. But Cabrillo has his ways and so do the rest of the crew of the Oregon and with her formidable assets they just might be able to win.
Mirage is the ninth book in the Oregon Files series revolving around the mysterious Corporation and its enigmatic leader, Juan Cabrillo a man of many talents. This is the first book I’ve read in this series but I have some experience with some other Clive Cussler series’ and most of them you can read as stand alone no problem and this one is no exception. It’s also not the first Clive Cussler book I’ve read that revolves around some of the more rumoured work/discovery/inventions of Nikola Tesla and this one also incorporates the Philadelphia Experiment which is sort of considered a hoax as it defies most rules of physics. Either way there is no confirmation of said experiment but the rumours do give rise to a lot of potential in terms of fiction, something Cussler and Du Brul have worked well with here.
All of Cussler’s heroes are quite skilled Alpha males usually with some form of military or government background and Cabrillo is no exception but he is set apart in away by the loss of his leg which he has turned into an asset by having a large array of prosthetic legs which conceal weapons, items etc that are custom designed and serve individual purposes. He seems rougher, more proactive than the others I’ve encountered and has a large team around him that all perform a purpose and function to make the Corporation the formidable unit it is. I think of all the Cussler protagonists I’ve read, Cabrillo is the most interesting.
I loved the setting of this novel, which begins in Russia and then for the most part is spent aboard the Oregon or one of its vehicles in residence: a submersible, a helicopter, etc a brief foray into Uzbekistan and then finishes up in China. The beauty of having a ship as the setting gives the characters a lot of freedom to move around, including places they really have no business being, simply by changing the name of the ship and the colours she flies. There’s so much action, a lot of it revolving around the Oregon and her deceptive appearance. These sorts of books appeal to me because I have always loved the idea of working as a spy or for a secret organisation that get things done. The Corporation is definitely such an organisation and it seems like a very fun company to work for (if you ignore the fact that you’re nearly always in danger of being killed).
Mirage has all of the action and adventure you could want but there’s also a bit of thinking that has gone into it too with the physics and the experiments. It may not all be plausible (and I’m the first to admit that I’m a bit of a science dunce so a lot of it went over my head) but it doesn’t matter because the book convinces you that it almost could be and you can imagine what would happen if it were possible and that various governments or groups had this sort of technology and could perform such stealth attacks on other ships and even on war planes in the air. This novel is a wild ride from start to finish that keeps you turning the pages and makes me wish I had the time to go back and read the previous 8 Oregon Files books right away instead of putting them on my ginormous TBR because I enjoyed this one so much! I want to know more about Cabrillo and the men and women that make up his team.
Book #285 of 2013