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Serpent From The Numa Files [Paperback]

Clive Cussler
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (178 customer reviews)
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Book Description

June 1 1999 NUMA Files
INTRODUCING KURT AUSTIN
From the classic novel Raise the Titanic! to his latest blockbuster Flood Tide, Clive Cussler and his fictional alter ego Dirk Pitt® have earned legions of fans worldwide. Now, the author of fifteen consecutive bestsellers unleashes a hero for the next millennium in an electrifying new series of unrelenting action and edge-of-your-seat thrills.
On the bottom of the icy sea off Nantucket lies the battered remains of the Italian luxury liner, Andrea Doria. But few know that within its bowels rests a priceless pre-Columbian antiquity -- a treasure that now holds the key to a puzzle that is costing people their lives.
For Kurt Austin, the leader of a courageous National Underwater Marine Agency (NUMA) exploration team, the killing begins when he makes a daring rescue of a beautiful marine archaeologist. The target of a powerful Texas industrialist named Halcon, Nina Kirov was attacked off the coast of Morocco after her discovery of a carved stone head that may prove Christopher Columbus was not the first European to discover America. Soon Kurt and Nina embark on a deadly mission to uncover Halcon's masterful plan -- an insidious scheme that would have him carve out a new nation from the southwest United States and Mexico, and ride to power on a wave of death and destruction.
With Austin's elite NUMA crew attacking the murderous conspiracy from different sides, an extraordinary truth emerges: that Columbus may have made a fifth, unknown voyage to America in search of a magnificent treasure. And that the silent, steel hull of the Andrea Doria not only holds the answer to what the explorer may have found -- but the fate of the United States itself.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

After more than a quarter century of chronicling the aquatic adventures of action hero Dirt Pitt, Cussler (Flood Tide; Shock Wave) has finally decided to cast his line in somewhat different waters. Co-written by veteran mystery author Paul Kemprecos (Bluefin Blues; The Mayflower Murder), this novel still features the sturdy men and women of the National Underwater Marine Agency, plenty of hair-raising derring-do and a convivial cast of characters engaged in an outlandishly hatched thrill ride. The stars of this show are NUMA divers Kurt Austin and Joe Zavala, two young bucks without the seasoning and panache of Pitt but worthy successors, nonetheless. They are trying to find out why top archeologists are being killed, some of them butchered, at dig sites. The archeologists have apparently stumbled across artifacts proving, contrary to established historical thought, that Christopher Columbus wasn't the first Old World explorer to set foot in the New World. The killings can be traced to a mysterious organization in Texas called Time Quest, whose stated mission is to provide volunteers for digs. Its real intention, however, is much darker: to prevent anyone from learning that Spain was not the first on the scene in the New World and that the culture it claimed to discover had, in fact, been imported from other corners of the globe. Ultimately, Time Quest's leader, the evil Francisco Halcon, wants to foment revolution in the Western U.S. and reclaim it as Latin-American territory. The showdown between Halcon and NUMA's forces plays out in typical Cussler furyAfirst on the decks of the sunken passenger liner Andrea Doria in the waters off Nantucket and again in an underwater Mayan crypt in Guatemala. It's all great fun, if not a little top-heavy at times from flabby subplots and excessive detail on arcane historical facts and the machinery of deep-sea exploration. As for Pitt, his fans will be relieved to know that he and longtime sidekick Al Giordino make a brief appearance to wish Austin and Zavala luck, then depart for a mission in Antarctica, no doubt to return with tales of peril and glory. (June)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

It won't surprise those who remember Cussler's Raise the Titanic! (1976) that he now uses the 1956 sinking of the Andrea Doria as the springboard for another thriller involving the National Underwater and Maritime Agency. According to Cussler, the Andrea Doria sinking was deliberate, but that secret begins unraveling two generations later, when archaeologist Nina Kirov, fleeing a "terrorist" attack on her dig, is rescued by a NUMA vessel. Aboard are Kurt Austin and Joe Zavala, NUMA field operatives equally deft with underwater hardware and the ladies. The pair's first job is standing off the "terrorists" pursuing Kirov. Plots--not to mention counterplots--rapidly thicken as NUMA squares off against Halcon, who is clearly a descendant of Fu Manchu despite his Latino characterization. Halcon seeks an immense treasure, brought by fleeing Carthaginians to the Mayan empire, to finance an independent Latino nation in the U.S. Southwest. Before Halcon is defeated, Cussler dispenses, with new collaborator Kemprecos' aid, the fast action, larger-than-life characters, less-than-graceful prose, credulity-stretching scenarios, and high-saltwater content that are his trademarks. A superlative subplot relays the adventures of archaeologist Gamay Trout and her companion, the Mayan Dr. Chi, as they try to escape outlaws, Halcon's minions, and the natural hazards of the Yucatan Peninsula. Likely to prove eminently satisfactory to Cussler fans. Roland Green

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First Sentence
NINA KIROV STOOD AT THE TOP OF THE ANCIENT STAIRWAY, EYES sweeping the nearly stagnant green waters of the lagoon, thinking she had never seen a coast more barren than this isolated stretch of Moroccan shoreline. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars After a while, they all become the same.... July 13 2004
By Evan M.
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I've read all of the Dirk Pitt books, so I bought this book knowing that I would inevitably compare Kurt Austin with Dirk Pitt. Even with the help of Paul Kemprecos, it was clearly evident that this would be yet another adventure straight from the Cussler formula machine. Every single Dirk Pitt novel is pretty much the same. There's 1) some kind of maritime accident/crime that happened in the past, 2) some kind of fantastic treasure or valuable cargo on it, 3) an evil psychopath that wants to destroy the world, 4) a woman in jeopardy, and 5) Dirk/Kurt to the rescue.
Having said that, I thought this book was entertaining. Even though all of Cussler's books tend to be the same, I still thought it was a rip-roaring adventure. I couldn't really detect what value Kemprecos added, though. It was as if Cussler wrote this book himself.
My only major complaint would be that I'm a little disappointed that since he was starting a new series, that Cussler couldn't even try to make it more unique. The pairing of a tall, thin Anglo Saxon man who collects strange things (cars/pistols) with a short, stocky, strong ethnic (Italian/Latino) partner who smokes cigars.... oh well. People complain that this is a Dirk/Al clone, and rightly so.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars So, so story Jan. 8 2003
Format:School & Library Binding
1) The audiobook version was a fair listen, with the reader not being the worst but not the best I've heard this past year. It was good enough that I listened to the entire program.
2) Dirk Pitt clone...whats the point?!?
3) The "far-fetched" story was so complex that a large percentage of the audiobook was simply dedicated to characters trying to explain how everything came to be with the bad guys and their motives.
4) A few of the characters are engaging and fun.
5) Visiting foreign locals always adds to the adventures.
6) I've read far better from Cussler and would say this one you can take it or leave it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific read!! Nov. 4 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This was such a great Kurt Austin adventure that I had a hard time putting it down once I started reading it! I would recommend this book to all Clive Cussler fans!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Mass produced thriller Sept. 29 2013
By Bootsy Bass TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Just like every one of its ilk. It is what it is. One quick afternoon of reading and you are done.Predictable...but you know what you are getting when you buy it. Mass produced "thrillers", cranked out by authors to make a quick buck.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not much better than a beach read.... Aug. 7 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This will be short and only somewhat sweet. Clive Cussler ( with Paul Kemprecos) has written an ok novel about a far fetched theory of an outfit called The Brotherhood. The first chapter on the sinking of the Andrea Doria is pure Cussler. Three hundred and twenty nine pages later we get back to the results of that sinking - somewhat wiser as to why - but this really is a long drawn out story which does little to endear me to the new genre of "A Novel from the NUMA Files." It is well enough written and containes some interesting historical assertions - but it is not much better than a beach read. If that's what you are looking for - this will do.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good Novel July 29 2002
Format:Paperback
I'm not sure why some people are knocking these "NUMA File" books. I grew up loving the Dirk Pitt character and now I have new characters to learn about.
I like the new series...
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3.0 out of 5 stars a good read but its lacking something April 21 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
being a long time clive cussler addict, i would have to say that serpent is not one of his better books maybe that is because there being a co author maybe not.. dont get me wrong it is a enjoyable book as all of his books are. but there seems to be somethings missing. certain references to past books that were changed such as canada not being a part of the u.s. ya i know im nitpicking. but over all a very enjoyable read. i hope these new characters get the chance to grow like dirk and al did in the first books. and maybe someday a cross over book with all the characters in one. that would be interesting.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Too bad- it could have been soooo much better. Dec 15 2001
By microtv
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I read the other reviews before starting this. Some loved it, others were disappointed. I have to believe that if you have never before read a Cussler book, you would enjoy this one. If you do enjoy Cussler's other books, then you will spend the majority of your time noting the similarities to the Dirk Pitt series.
On the other hand, I don't think Mr. Cussler ever really claimed to be a world-class author. If I'm not mistaken, he uses the income from his books to finance his other interests- interests that the rest of us can only dream about. So- if you have a long plane flight sometime, read the book. If you are looking for a new hero to read about, skip it. You already know these guys.
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