Before I begin my review, I want to rant a bit here: When are the publishers (and Clive) going to give Jack DuBrul credit for the MAJORITY of the work done on these novels? (same goes for Paul Kemprecos on the NUMA Files books) Sure, Clive may come up with the storylines, but the writing is PURE DuBrul. He is the single reason why the Oregon Files novels have been resurrected from certain death after Craig Dirgo virtually put the 1st two books on life-support. Let's give credit where it is so very deserved to be: squarely on Jack's shoulders.
Okay, enough of the soap box...how is the book, you ask? Even better than Skeleton Coast, which was better than Dark Watch, which was INFINITELY better than Sacred Stone, the last book co-authored by Dirgo (thanks again Clive for making the choice to dump Dirgo for DuBrul). This one really takes Clive's patented storytelling to heart. The opening of the book from deep within World War II and the discovery of something rather surprising, to the opening of the story where Juan Cabrillo and his intrepid group of Do Good mercenaries attempt to hijack some Russian designed super-torpedoes in the heart of Iran and the eventual discovery of an apparently abandoned cruise ship on the high seas just ripe to claim as their own after exercising international law. Only this ship, as you can tell from the cover of the book is in for a bit of a shock--literally.
We learn the cruise ship was chartered by a group called Responsivists, a VERY similar-to-Scientology religion that exhorts that we are breeding ourselves to death and encourages people to sterilize themselves in order to get a handle on world over-population...they even have a group of doctors that'll do it just as soon as you make the choice. Rather extreme don't you think? Well of course it is, otherwise we wouldn't hate the organization enough to want to see their eventual downfall which we KNOW is coming by books end. This time, one of Juan's crew is directly affected when he discovers his son has fallen victim to the Responsivists Preaching and joins the cult. They hire the worlds best-known and successful Responsivist DE-Programmer to help them as they hatch a plan to kidnap the boy and set him straight with extreme therepy prejudice.
All does not go as planned (as one would expect) and this is where the action really heats up. We even see a run through some rather narrow straights with the Oregon herself which if ever put on the big screen would make it one of the most talked about visuals you'd ever see. Not surprisingly the Responsivists are up to some rather disturbing plans, one that has global consequences, and Juan and the crew of the Oregon are thankfully in the right place at the right time to take action.
Let's face it, there were few surprises to be had within the pages of Plague Ship (or pretty much any Cussler/DuBrul novel for that matter) but that isn't the reason why we read them. We crack open a Cussler/DuBrul novel because of the pure escapism we get to immerse ouselves in while doing so. This is another slam-bang shoot 'em up action adventure tale which took me away into that world that I so enjoy visiting. Is it literature? Gosh no...but it IS entertaining. I've said for several years now that DuBrul was Cussler's Heir-Apparent and would seem that Plauge Ship only serves to drive that observation home even further. For those who have enjoyed this who haven't read one of DuBrul's solo Phillip Mercer novels, you simply MUST pick up Vulcan's Forge and all the sequels, boy are you in for a treat. He is 100% a great storyteller very similar (and different) to the *feel* of Cussler's Dirk Pitt series. Fun and LOADED with action.
Long story short: I had a great time reading this book and once again find myself sitting around wondering just how long I have to wait before I get to read another new one...? While I may moan about the time in between DuBrul and/or Cussler novels, I'd rather wait (impatiently by the way) for a good novel than get stuck with a story that was just So-So to satisfy my need to read. With that said however, come on, does it really take THAT long??