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Lost City [Hardcover]

Clive Cussler
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 26 2004 NUMA Files

In the last few years, Cussler's NUMA® Files novels, written with Paul Kemprecos, have only grown more popular-and more eagerly anticipated. "Cussler's multitude of fans arrive at the table expecting a roiling stew of seafaring adventure, exotic travel destinations, cutting-edge science [and] a splash of romance. In White Death, they will find their expectations extravagantly fulfilled." —Publishers Weekly.

And they will find them fulfilled again in Lost City. An enzyme that will dramatically prolong life has been discovered two thousand feet down in the North Atlantic, in an area known as "Lost City." But why are the people attempting to harvest it getting killed? Why are the scientists in a remote Greek laboratory disappearing one by one? What does this all have to do with a body found frozen in the ice high up in the Alps? To Kurt Austin, leader of NUMA's Special Assignments Team, and his colleague Joe Zavala, it's clear they have their work cut out for them, but it may be even bigger than they think-in fact, it may be their greatest challenge of all

Rich with all the hair-raising action and endless imagination that have become Cussler's hallmarks, Lost City is an exceptional thriller.


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From Publishers Weekly

Kurt Austin, leader of the National Underwater and Marine Agency's Special Assignments Team, battles international evildoers again in the fifth installment of this excellent series. There are several parallel plots: a mysterious aviator has been found frozen in a massive glacier; a mutant seaweed is threatening to choke the world's oceans; a giant submarine is roaming the thermal vents of the deep sea area known as the Lost City; and the secretive, arms-dealing Fauchard family, run by ruthless black-widow Racine and her homicidal son, Emil, is up to no good. Also there's a mysterious 16th-century helmet, a search for the philosopher's stone and an island of filthy, mutant cannibals. Austin's love interest is lush, sensual Skye Labelle, an archeologist specializing in arms and armor ("She had a good body, but it would never make the cover of Sports Illustrated"). Kidnappings, hair's-breadth escapes, fierce battles, strange science, beautiful women and plenty of action add up to vintage Cussler. Of course, one of the secrets of the genre is to waste no time on ancillary details: "Before long, a cigar-shaped object came into view"; "Before long, they were stepping out of the cockpit onto the deck." Readers will find that, before long, they're racing through the pages as Austin and his band of merry men fight to stop the Fauchards from reaching the ultimate evildoer's goal: world domination.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School–The Fauchards, successful developers and sellers of weapons, keep their place as a major power in the industry through many centuries. Kurt Austin and his crew of trained scientists and elite fighters from the National Underwater and Marine Agency begin investigating nefarious activities of the powerful Racine Fauchard and her son. Their dastardly project involves scientific experiments on humans in order to find an elixir of eternal youth. They are also leading a team of mercenaries who are melting down a massive glacier containing the remains of a Fauchard ancestor and a metal helmet on which is recorded the formula for the elixir. At the same time, the oceans of the world are under siege from a mutant strain of algae, one of the vile spin-off plots by the devilish Racine. Myriad subplots weave together until they form the ending. Along the way, the action fluctuates from a steady pace to racing forward when they intertwine. The story is set in the present, and historical events are added to help explain elements of the complex plot. Settings range from under the Atlantic Ocean to the French Alps and Greece. The Fauchards' creepy castle, complete with dungeon and torture chamber, increases the feeling of science fiction that often accompanies Cussler's stories. Interesting and entertaining reading.–Pam Johnson, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous Feb. 22 2006
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
A great addition to your library. The Lost City is a novel of a mixture of suspense, hope, and treachery. This is a "Can't put down 'til I'm done" type of book. This story deals with the troubles and obstacles that the main character, Kurt Austin deals with as a part of the NUMA agency. Creating a tremendous theme, the author, Clive Cussler, also sets up the characters characteristics that all falls into place. The riveting and heart pounding action keeps you focused to every detail of the book. The need for wanting to know what happens next will keep your head in the book. Cussler's realism of events in the book will have you thinking that things in the novel can possibly be real. The theme of this novel is how good almost always triumphs over the seeds of evil and not to underestimate the desperation and the science if in the hands of evildoers. The novel not only tells us about these things but also gives us examples throughout the story of everyday advantages we have in life. The significance of the main character, Kurt Austin, is to be the protagonist in the novel and create trust in other characters to follow his actions. He also takes on the responsibility of protecting another character in the story possibly for his feelings or that character may be a burden. A major conflict in the novel is when the main character faces his nemesis for the second time face to face that end up in a dramatic turn of events and leaves the reader shocked. This conflict is the climax of the novel and ends up at the living quarters of the antagonist. In the novel, the author uses metaphors to announce the beauty of the antagonist as an eclipse because it's beautiful and ugly at the same time. He doesn't use a lot of verbal irony in this story. It uses a lot of dramatic irony. The significant quote in the novel is when Kurt Austin tells the adversary that the "bigger they are the harder they fall." He talks about the family of the Fauchards. I also recommend 'The Quest' by Giorgio Kostantinos.
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2.0 out of 5 stars 3 out of 5 Nov. 18 2009
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Not up to his regular stories. I wanted to give up about half way through this story !!!! But read on to the end. So far this is the only book from Clive Cussler I did not enjoy. Am on to the next book from him..... :( :( :(
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  123 reviews
38 of 45 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Great Plot Spoiled by Poor Writing and Editing Sept. 16 2004
By Tucker Andersen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is the fifth book in the Kurt Austin series written by Clive Cussler and coauthor Paul Kemprecos. The prologue and first four chapters of this book do an excellent job of introducing the reader to many of the main characters and the various threads central to the plot of this action/adventure/scientific mystery. Immediately the reader meets Jules Fauchard, fighting for his life in an open cockpit plane over the French Alps in August 1914 on a secret mission as World War I is about to erupt. Chapter One then shifts to the present, and a "reality" TV show being filmed on a supposedly deserted island in The Scottish Orkneys becomes a little too real for the participants. In Chapter Two, research chemist Angus MacLean is confronted by the violence which he is trying to escape. The scene shifts again in Chapter Three to a research facility and powerplant located deep under the glacier Le Dormeur where a scientific research team makes a startling discovery. Finally, in the next chapter Kurt Austin and other members of his NUMA (National Underwater and Marine Agency) team are collaborating with Skye Labelle, an archeologist with the Sorbonne, to explore the frigid waters of Lac du Dormeur at base of the glacier for hidden evidence of early European civilizations. Thus, less than fifty pages into the story the reader has been skillfully introduced to several of the various threads that will eventually be woven together in the complicated plot which evolves.

And there are additional elements of the story still to be introduced. First, Kurt and his associate Joe Zavala are called upon to save Skye and several others trapped by an explosion deep underneath the glacier. The focus then shifts to Kurt's colleagues Paul and Gamay Trout, who are asked to join a NUMA team investigating an infestation of Gorgonweed threatening to choke the world's oceans and upset both the world's ecology and commerce. This threat has apparently originated in an area of the Atlantic named the LOST CITY due to the confluence of huge underwater towers and the microbe communities that have become attached to them. The microbial action and an enzyme found in the region have caused the seaweed to mutate into a species that has the potential to create immense havoc by clogging the oceans to the extent that all life on the planet might be seriously disrupted. In addition, it appears that the enzymes produced by these microbes are being secretly harvested by unknown predators. The plot will also be further complicated by the actions of the Fauchard family, many of whom are truly villainous and yet have wielded immense power for centuries.

Several segments of this book are very informative and truly fascinating, especially when dealing with subjects that demand the provision of detailed technical background information in order to make the story believable. I found some of the information on glaciology, oceanography and deep sea submersibles very interestingly presented. And such exotic topics as the features of the Morane-Saulnier N aircraft, ancient weapons, and early trade routes certainly added to the believability of the plot.

So, WHY JUST THREE STARS? Because inexplicably large sections of the book read like an unedited first draft. I have no idea whether there was a belief that the plot and the series' popularity were enough to make the book successful, whether there was a tight publication deadline, or if there is some other explanation, but the overall effect was very disappointing. Specifically, my criticisms are fourfold. First, a lot of the dialog is either stilted, childish, cliché filled or just plain ludicrous. (Most high school students could have made it more realistic.) Second, in several instances the characters actions make no sense. Individuals act with total disregard of the obvious dangers which they face, taking not even the most obvious precautions. Third, much of the backstory is provided by conversations which seem totally unlikely. I cannot go into detail without providing spoilers, but at one point one the villains (apparently fueled by egotism) willingly and totally superfluously engages in an extended dialog with one of her adversaries the only purpose of which is to enlighten the reader. Last, many of the escapes and much of the action, while wildly exciting and entertaining, are totally lacking in credibility, even for a novel of this genre.

In summary, the story has a hugely imaginative plot, full of the type of intrigue and conspiracy favored by readers of the genre. And there is certainly plenty of heartstopping action. But it is poorly written and obviously manipulative of the reader. In retrospect this is probably a book that will appeal much more to speed readers and individuals who are willing to just quickly skim through the sections to which I objected and concentrate on the action. So, a frustrating three stars, almost five stars for the plot and barely two stars for the authors' execution.

Tucker Andersen
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Pardon the pun - but this is the "Pitts" Nov. 26 2004
By Avid Reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
What an unmitigated disaster!! I have gotten used to Cussler's nutty plots, cardboard characters and over-the-top "prose". But this one takes the prize as far as disjointed action, absurd dialogue and craz, unrelated plots. The Sea Group (Dirk Pitt's pals)- for some reason - are in Switzerland(??) and discover the frozen body of a man from WWI with a strange, ancient helmet. It only goes downhill...the widow of the man is killing off alleged enemies to protect the "secret of the helmet" which is, preposterously, that ancient folks developed a way to preserve youth, i.e. eternal life and just needed some "enzymes" to complete their work.

One of these enzymes has turned folks into "half-human" monsters (it's so B-grade nutty that it's almost good) who then go about attacking "normal" people. A sub-sub-plot involves destroying the oceans for some nefarious reason. Of course, something goes wrong and the helmet's powers are reversed - sorta like a nuclear bomb that builds a city instead of destroying it. Old widow dies of old age prematurely (is that a contradiction?) and our forgettable hero goes on to new adventures.

What's pitiful is that there only a slight attempt to connect these hairbrained tales. And, of course, everything connected to the story is larger than life - eternal life, monsters, ruling the world, destroying the oceans. Absurd, ridiculous, poorly written - to be read only if one is trapped on a desert island.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lost City: A great book for a summer vacation Aug. 20 2004
By Timothy J. Kindler - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Lost City, the fifth installment in the NUMA series, is another classic fantasy story of good versus evil, with the usual predecessor event setting the stage for an eventual tie-in to the main story. In this case, Cussler pits Kurt Austin and Joe Zavala against a highly secretive family with a long history of armament development and production and a desire to create the elixir of life. At the same time, their NUMA compatriots seek to find the source of a mutating plant life that threatens the world's oceans. As would be expected, Kurt and Joe again fight tremendous odds and calmly face down death repeatedly as they battle the demented antagonists. The novel is filled with all of the action, suspense, and frequent plot twists that have become Cussler's trademark. While the reader needs to suspend belief when reading Cussler's work, long-time fans will find Lost City to be an enjoyable summer read.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars the worst Cussler novel I have read Oct. 22 2004
By mungo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Some of his novels are more plausible than others but this one is way way over the top. Just a fountain of youth story, OK. Just a wicked arms merchant story, OK. Just a way to destroy the oceans, OK. Any two of those,OK. Put all of those together with cannibal ghouls and it is a farce! Sahara was much more believable.

Cussler always gives me a topic to research. In this case it is the Minoans.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Kurt Austin Books Keep Getting Better! Aug. 13 2004
By Brett Stark - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I became an instant fan of Clive's Dirk Pitt books upon picking up a paperback version of Treasure to help pass the time during a family summer vacation roadtrip after my freshman year of high school. Fifteen years later I still rush out to get my hands on his new releases the day they hit the shelves. That being said however, I must agree with those reviewers who have found the last two Pitt books to be less than stellar.

Fortunately, we fans of Clive have been given the Kurt Austin books as a way of "atoning" for the lackings of the most recent Pitt books. I have heard the arguments that Austin is just a rip-off of Pitt, but the fact of the matter is thst this is not such a bad thing. While the first two entrants in the NUMA Files series, Serpent and Blue Gold, were adequate thrillers the line really hit its stride with 2002's Fire Ice. (The first one for which the publishers abandoned the "trade paperback" format in place of the more conventional "Hardcover" first printing. Coincidence? I think not.) That last two, White Death, and the new, Lost City, both feature outstanding plots that harken back to some of the classic Pitt storylines. If I had to guess, I would venture to say that Clive develops the plots for these books and at leasst lays out the Kurt and Joe parts while Kemprecos is the driving force behind the Trout charactes.

In any case, if you are feeling like Clive let you down with Trojan Odyssey and may be losing it, I would encourage you give one of the afforementined Kurt Austin books a read. By the way, I noticed on Amazon that there is a new Clive "solo" book, "Black Wind" due to be published at the end of November. I don't know if it is a Pitt novel of something different but it looks like I'm still gonna be rushing out to the bookstore on my lunchbreak.....
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