Pirate: Clive Cussler & Robin Burcell

Pirate is Clive Cussler’s latest, a Sam and Remi Fargo adventure, co-authored by Robin Burcell. As Cussler fans know, Mr. Cussler is lead writer of many of his books, Cusslerizing the writing of others well know for works of their own. Grant Blackwood, Russell Blake, Robin Burcell, and Thomas Perry have all co-authored one or more of the Fargo’s adventures.

Pirate is a treasure hunting tale featuring the Fargos, a wealthy husband and wife team with a knack for research and the discovery of long lost treasures. Funds are never a problem for the globetrotting Fargos.  Back at the ranch in La Jolla, they employ a research team with access to fabulous resources, with Selma Wondrash as the lead researcher, booker of travel arraignments and general go-to person who lubes the way for the Fargo’s success. Fargo adventures share a sense of light banter and by-play between the Fargos that makes the stories a bit softer than other Cussler series books.

The tale opens with a version of the story of the loss of King John’s treasure, a vast fortune in valuables, coins and crown jewels. This sets the stage for the hunt. We meet the Fargos in San Francisco’s China Town where they are searching for a copy of Pyrates and Privateers at Pickering’s Used and Rare Books. Immediately, they are confronted by a minion of Charles Avery, a corporate raider, salvage expert and all-around bad guy who also is searching for King Johns treasure.

As is typical in the Fargo adventures, Sam and Remi bounce from one spot on the globe to another running down clues at the sharp end of the stick, feeding Selma info she synthesizes into practical next steps. In Pirate, they hit Jamaica, Oak Island off of Halifax, Snake Island off Brazil, and Great Britain in their search for King John’s treasure. The Fargos find themselves one step behind Charles Avery most of the time.

The exciting conclusion occurs underground (as is often the case in Clive Cussler’s stories), this time in caves under the city of London. There they fight a final battle with the evil Charles Avery and his troops and of course, find the treasure.

Another in the long series (17 to be precise) of Clive Cussler’s New York Times best sellers, this is an action packed adventure studded with bits of history, geography and light romance between the Fargos. Did I want to keep reading? Yes!

Pirate by Clive Cussler at Book Shop

Clive Cussler at Book Shop

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Clive Cussler’s latest book from the Oregon series: The Emperor’s Revenge

Another of the Oregon files series co written with Boyd Morrison, this is a rip-roaring high-tech tale of adventure on the high seas with the crew of the Oregon. If you don’t know the series, the Oregon is a tramp steamer which has a rough, rusty, neglected appearance up top but fitted with the latest of navel high tech, armament and luxury accommodation below decks by a rogue Russian shipyard.

The Corporation, which operates the Oregon is a loose band of professionals whose makeup changes to fit the latest project. At times, skills include communications, computer hacking, deep sea diving and submersibles, a four star culinary chef, explosives experts, a document and cover shop, chopper and drone piloting and of course boat driving. The Corporation takes on projects from those who can afford the bill, but retains a strong sense of being on the good-guy side of things. The players take the projects on spec for a cut of the profit.

A band of very sophisticated Russian bad guys have their eye on plunging the European economy into chaos by damaging key elements of the power grid in Europe to cause a cascade failure of the grid. They have their own top notch hacker who opens the game by denying access to account holders at the Monaco bank where the Corporation has its considerable resources. Of course, this cannot stand.

Where does the Emperor come in? The emperor in question is Napoleon Bonaparte. During his Russian campaign, Napoleon drove the world’s largest standing army to Moscow but the Russians employed their infamous scorched earth policy: destroy shelter and food to deny Napoleon’s army any forage and the Russian winter would defeat him. He retreated with a tiny fraction of his troops through Lithuania.  The Russians did leave behind treasure, however, and Napoleon’s horse troops carried it out, hiding it somewhere along the retreat route.

A parallel story emerges as NUMA (National Underwater and Marine Agency – another of Mr. Cussler’s mainstays) gets wind of the existence of Napoleon’s diary (which is written in Greek and in code). NUMA becomes aware of a Rosetta Stone like obelisk to decode the diary and there is a race between the good guys and the bad guys to be in possession of the diary and the obelisk so as to identify the location of the buried treasure.

As sophisticated as the good guy’s armament is, the bad guy’s ship is even better armed.  Their war ship sports a steerable laser capable of taking an aircraft out of the sky and a rail gun that launches devastating projectiles fifteen miles at 6000 miles per hour. So when they meet on the high seas, it’s tactics that win the day. The good guy’s find themselves one step behind all the way, victims of indirection and careful planning by the bad guys.

The ending is dramatic and split second close. Did I want to keep reading? Oh yeah.

-Dave

The Emperor’s Revenge             Clive Cussler – $14.50

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