We meet Pitt having a lazy day relaxing on the beach, he spots a luminous container in the water and dives into the strong current in order to retrieve it. Inside he finds a final communication from the stricken submarine Starbuck, immediately realising the importance of the document he takes it direct to Admiral Hunter. What follows is a mission into uncharted waters to find the true history of the last hours of the nuclear submarine. In typical adventure style, similar to Jack Higgins and Ian Fleming, we follow the strong character of Pitt as he faces not just the dangers of the ocean, but also a ruthless and cunning enemy. Expect exotic locations, beautiful women and plenty of action.
What did I like?
This is the first Cussler book that I have read, so was unsure of what to anticipate. I have read many action books that have promised to offer so much and actually delivered so little. Jack Higgins is easily my all time favourite author, so I was pleased to find a number of similarities in the novel (particularly with his creation of Sean Dillon). The action is fast paced and there is very little let up throughout the 340+ pages. Pitt seems the hero that all men (or at least boys) would like to become, tall, handsome and supplied with a ‘devil may care’ attitude. At times Pitt’s replies are so cheesy that even James Bond would be embarrassed to repeat them, but this only added to the cheeky side of the trained killer. Such as this little exchange with a girl who Pitt awakes to find looking over him (you could almost deliver Pitt’s lines with a Sean Connery accent):
‘You’re the best possible stimulant for a man in my delicate condition’
‘Oh really, and what rare disease are you suffering from?’
‘I have several, but we can begin with hornyitus.’ ”
I know this may not be to everyone’s taste, but it really does help within the context of the novel to break up the tense scenes. Another aspect that I enjoyed was that it was one of those novels where you were actually bombarded with a number of facts (not surprising when you consider that Cussler is almost a real life Pitt) and you felt as if you picked up a little seafaring knowledge along the way. Although now over 40 years old, obviously the technology seemed more than dated but the writing remains fresh.
What didn’t I like?