The latest from Cussler (The Storm, 2012, etc.).
Cussler stalwart Kurt Austin is attending a Sydney, Australia, symposium when a boring session sends him to the Opera House’s steps. He meets cute with a beautiful young theoretical physicist, Hayley Anderson, but before Austin finishes flirting, a boat-helicopter chase rages across the harbor. The boat crashes. Austin spears the helicopter with a burning boat hook. Very Bond initial opening, especially since it develops that the fetching Hayley is enmeshed in spycraft. Papers disappear amid the destruction, and Cecil Bradshaw, of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, arrives on the scene. Austin is dismissed, but he's intrigued. He calls his National Underwater and Marine Agency cohort Joe Zavala. They follow clues to a flooded, toxic Outback pit mine. Hayley’s trapped in the pit. Bradshaw’s wounded. An ASIO team’s dead. With that, Austin and NUMA are drafted to thwart mad genius Maxmillian Thero’s attempt to tap into zero-point energy: the physics of "drawing energy from background fields that are supposedly all around us." It’s Tesla’s Dynamic Theory of Gravity, once put into practice by a Tesla assistant, only to cause San Francisco’s 1906 earthquake. The toxic mine pit was a test site. Heard Island, isolated in the Roaring Forties, is the site of the supergenerator with power sufficient to crack Australia in two. Cussler’s usual supertech gadgetry is limited herein, except for a derelict cruise ship converted into a submarine. Russians are involved, and Uncle Sam too, but other nations are oblivious. The action continues post–boat-helicopter shootout with a neutrino wave sinking a NUMA ship, then there's a hovercraft-snowmobile set piece battle and a shootout in the volcanic island’s bowels, which, in addition to the Tesla-inspired doomsday generator, holds a diamond mine to finance the experiment.
A C-minus effort.