Clive the Mighty has found a formula for his terrific escapist plots and sees no reason to alter it.
Introductory historical diversions seemingly have no tie to the story—and yet a solar boat from ancient Egypt or a recovered Viking vessel may explain why a modern luxury liner that runs on seawater gets sunk by international villains, as in Valhalla Rising (2001). At the end of Valhalla, the faintly aging Dirk finds that he has two children by a long-dead lover: the 23-year-old fraternal twins Summer, now a marine biologist, and Dirk, a marine engineer, both waterfolk like himself and ready to join him in his NUMA (National Underwater Maritime Administration) adventures. Things open with a brilliantly detailed description of the fall of Troy, turning mere legend about the wooden horse into matters of engineering, and filling the reader’s mind with Homeric facts to be recalled later. Cusslerian historical mystery: young Summer Pitt, spending ten days with Dirk Jr. in an underwater lab off the Navidad Bank of the Dominican Republic while investigating a horrible brown muck that’s killing coral and fish, finds a sunken Bronze Age amphor determined to be from Gaul, about 3,000 years old, with encrustation proving that it landed on this very sea-bottom Way Back Then. Impossible! But then Summer and Dirk find an underwater ghost temple. Instead of an imperiled luxury liner, Cussler erects nearby the supremely luxurious Ocean Wanderer—a floating underwater resort hotel—which is hit by Hurricane Lizzie, an axe-wielding storm with 100-foot waves and winds of 250 mph. Can NUMA’s Sea Sprite evacuate 1,100 souls from the hotel? And Dirk and Summer, running out of air, need rescuing as well! Plus, what’s this spreading killer muck? It will take Dirk Sr. himself and sidekick Al Giordino to unmask the roly-poly villain Specter, save Summer from the Homeric Amazon priestesses who want to sacrifice her, and explain Specter’s secret tunnels under Nicaragua.
Hurricane Clive at his most tumultuous.