More farfetched doings for Dirk Pitt, director of special projects at the National Underwater and Marine Agency--starting, circa 1989, when people start dropping horribly dead in Alaskan waters: somehow, it seems, ultrasecret Nerve Agent S has been leaking into the sea up there! ("One teaspoon will kill every living organism in four million gallons of seawater.") So Dirk and his crew head north and manage to find the source of the killer-pollution in a sunken ship. But how did the poison (stolen from a US Army dumping ground in Nevada) wind up on that ship? And why do clues aboard the sunken vessel connect to other lost mystery-ships? Those are the puzzles for Dirk, who, ignited by the Nerve Agent death of colleague Julie Mendoza (her protective suit got torn during a volcano), determines to track down the villains behind it all. But meanwhile those villains--a Fu Manchu-ish corporation headed by an aged Dragon Lady--are up to even more diabolical schemes. In cahoots with the USSR, you see, the evil Orientals have arranged for the US Prez and VP to be abducted from the Presidential yacht in the Potomac! Why? So that the Russians can give the Prez a super-brainwashing--just your basic injection of RNA into the hippocampus, plus a nifty brain implant. Before the President suddenly reappears, however, claiming to have been engaged in a super-summit meeting, Dirk has again been called into emergency action: he locates the sunken yacht, figuring out how the magical abduction was arranged. And after the thoroughly re-brained Prez behaves so weirdly that he gets impeached, there'll be still another major mission for Cussler's indefatigable hero: Dirk must find and rescue the still-missing VP before slimy Speaker of the House Alan Moran (a tool of the Oriental conspiracy) takes over the White House. The villains repeatedly try to kill Dirk; congresswoman Loren, Dirk's love, gets abducted when she tries to lend a hand; the bad guys fight among themselves; nautical, explosive rescues and showdowns proliferate. In short: more of the same from unpretentious, hard-working actioneer Cussler--with faceless characters, loopy plotting, solid techno-detail, and (this time) more than a glimmer of Yellow Peril racism.