Have you ever read a book by Clive Cussler? Strangely enough, I’ve met plenty of people who haven’t read or heard of him, and frankly, that’s a shame. Cussler is an extraordinarily talented writer of adventure stories. He has several series but the most famous is the Dirk Pitt series. You may have heard of the movie Sahara with Matthew McConaughey in it. That was a Cussler story.
The main characters, Dirk Pitt and his side kick Al Giordino, work for the National Underwater and Marine Association. From the NUMA website:
Founded by Clive Cussler, the National Underwater and Marine Agency (NUMA) is a non-profit, volunteer foundation dedicated to preserving our maritime heritage through the discovery, archaeological survey and conservation of shipwreck artifacts.
This quote describes the books precisely and they describe Clive Cussler. Cussler found and raised the Hunley, the first submarine.
Dirk and Al travel the world and go on adventures that combine history, archaeology, and intriguing marine facts into page turning books. The most interesting part? The books typically don’t seem to absurdly impossible. What makes the books even better is that Cussler often ties some alternate theory into the books. Consider Atlantis in which Cussler makes use of the theories of Charles Hapgood (reviewed by me here). Hapgood stands out against the standard interpretations of the scientific community, but his theories aren’t easily dismissed. Hapgood makes credible claims and Cussler ties them into the story. Of course, Cussler does this with many other things as well. Atlantis also references the crystal skulls which apparently are the source of the Indiana Jones 4 script.
I know, that information is useful, but what about the book? The characters are well written and hilarious. The pages turn themselves. And Cussler always gives you reason to stop and think about the way you view things by his choice of plot direction. Whether its his interpretation of Atlantis, a discussion of the smuggling of illegal Chinese immigrants into the US in the 1990s or an alternate view on the Illiad or Odyssey, Cussler challenges your opinions and preconceived notions. So, these are just page turning thrillers, they are also thought provoking.
Dirk travels from submerged mines in Colorado to South America to Antarctica in an effort to find people who tried kidnapped a linguist and tried to kill Dirk and Al. Their search takes them to amazing discoveries and brings them face to face with the most catastrophic event in human history: a universal flood. (Well, OK. Cussler agrees that a mostly universal flood occurred but that humans survived in the mountain tops and not by an Ark.) Still, he has most of it correct here. Beyond that, I won’t say much more on the plot, because I don’t want to ruin it.
There is seldom objectionable content beyond a few swear words so I’d generally recommend that you grab a book, settle down over the holidays and enjoy yourself. You will enjoy these books. At least, I always do.
Please, do yourself a favor. If you haven’t read Cussler (Dirk Pitt series; I’ve never read the Kurt Austen books), please read one over Thanksgiving or Christmas.