Who is in top form here, easily tying together Viking relics, a Confederate submarine, and a lost ship running on seawater...

VALHALLA RISING

The ever-kinetic Cussler brings back Dirk Pitt, who recently discovered the lost continent of Atlantis in Antarctica (Atlantis Found, 1999).

Cussler leaps in with what seem to be wildly parted storylines. Five hundred years before Columbus, Viking ships bearing 200 souls reach North American shores and attempt to set up a lasting colony, but the local natives kill them all except five women. In 1894, the old wooden-hulled warship Kearsarge finds and chases a strange metal monster, which proves to be a pointy-bowed submarine that turns, rams Kearsarge midship, and sinks it. Then, in the year 2003, the fabulous new cruise ship Emerald Dolphin, equipped with revolutionary engines that run on seawater and oil, catches fire while sailing the Caribbean on her maiden voyage. Someone has disabled the sprinkler system as well as the automatic doors designed to seal off the flames. Sighting the disaster from the nearby oceanographic survey vessel Deep Encounter, Dirk Pitt comes to rescue as many as possible of the 2,600 aboard the doomed ship. Then the abandoned Emerald Dolphin abruptly and mysteriously sinks. (“One minute she’s floating high in the water, the next she’s on her way to the bottom . . . ain’t natural,” says one old salt.) Maritime insurers hire Pitt to take Deep Encounter to the lost ship’s grave, send a submersible down 20,000 feet, and investigate the cause of the fire. But the wreck is not there! Later, pirates hijack Deep Encounter and steam off, signing the death warrants of Pitt, sidekick Al Giordino, and marine biologist Misty Graham, who rise in the submersible to find no mother ship in sight. Fortunately, they're rescued by a luxurious modern catamaran on a solo world voyage captained by a crusty old coot named . . . Clive Cussler!!!

Who is in top form here, easily tying together Viking relics, a Confederate submarine, and a lost ship running on seawater as Pitt’s past rises up to claim him.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2001

ISBN: 0-399-14787-X

Page Count: 544

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2001

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 61

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

DEVOLUTION

Are we not men? We are—well, ask Bigfoot, as Brooks does in this delightful yarn, following on his bestseller World War Z (2006).

A zombie apocalypse is one thing. A volcanic eruption is quite another, for, as the journalist who does a framing voice-over narration for Brooks’ latest puts it, when Mount Rainier popped its cork, “it was the psychological aspect, the hyperbole-fueled hysteria that had ended up killing the most people.” Maybe, but the sasquatches whom the volcano displaced contributed to the statistics, too, if only out of self-defense. Brooks places the epicenter of the Bigfoot war in a high-tech hideaway populated by the kind of people you might find in a Jurassic Park franchise: the schmo who doesn’t know how to do much of anything but tries anyway, the well-intentioned bleeding heart, the know-it-all intellectual who turns out to know the wrong things, the immigrant with a tough backstory and an instinct for survival. Indeed, the novel does double duty as a survival manual, packed full of good advice—for instance, try not to get wounded, for “injury turns you from a giver to a taker. Taking up our resources, our time to care for you.” Brooks presents a case for making room for Bigfoot in the world while peppering his narrative with timely social criticism about bad behavior on the human side of the conflict: The explosion of Rainier might have been better forecast had the president not slashed the budget of the U.S. Geological Survey, leading to “immediate suspension of the National Volcano Early Warning System,” and there’s always someone around looking to monetize the natural disaster and the sasquatch-y onslaught that follows. Brooks is a pro at building suspense even if it plays out in some rather spectacularly yucky episodes, one involving a short spear that takes its name from “the sucking sound of pulling it out of the dead man’s heart and lungs.” Grossness aside, it puts you right there on the scene.

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

Pub Date: June 16, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-2678-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

Dark and unsettling, this novel’s end arrives abruptly even as readers are still moving at a breakneck speed.

THEN SHE WAS GONE

Ten years after her teenage daughter went missing, a mother begins a new relationship only to discover she can't truly move on until she answers lingering questions about the past.

Laurel Mack’s life stopped in many ways the day her 15-year-old daughter, Ellie, left the house to study at the library and never returned. She drifted away from her other two children, Hanna and Jake, and eventually she and her husband, Paul, divorced. Ten years later, Ellie’s remains and her backpack are found, though the police are unable to determine the reasons for her disappearance and death. After Ellie’s funeral, Laurel begins a relationship with Floyd, a man she meets in a cafe. She's disarmed by Floyd’s charm, but when she meets his young daughter, Poppy, Laurel is startled by her resemblance to Ellie. As the novel progresses, Laurel becomes increasingly determined to learn what happened to Ellie, especially after discovering an odd connection between Poppy’s mother and her daughter even as her relationship with Floyd is becoming more serious. Jewell’s (I Found You, 2017, etc.) latest thriller moves at a brisk pace even as she plays with narrative structure: The book is split into three sections, including a first one which alternates chapters between the time of Ellie’s disappearance and the present and a second section that begins as Laurel and Floyd meet. Both of these sections primarily focus on Laurel. In the third section, Jewell alternates narrators and moments in time: The narrator switches to alternating first-person points of view (told by Poppy’s mother and Floyd) interspersed with third-person narration of Ellie’s experiences and Laurel’s discoveries in the present. All of these devices serve to build palpable tension, but the structure also contributes to how deeply disturbing the story becomes. At times, the characters and the emotional core of the events are almost obscured by such quick maneuvering through the weighty plot.

Dark and unsettling, this novel’s end arrives abruptly even as readers are still moving at a breakneck speed.

Pub Date: April 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-5464-5

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

more