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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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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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3.0 out of 5 stars Raiders of the Lost Ark - underwater. May 25 2001
Format:Paperback
This book is full of action and adventure, and most of it takes place underwater, which is kind of a neat setting, if you are a diver. Nina Kirov goes off in search of ancient ruins, and finds a possible relic that could rock the world, proving that Columbus was not the first to discover America. A sinister organization called "The Brotherhood" also is aware of this relic and will stop at nothing to ensure that this relic, and others like it, never surface (pardon the pun). What bothered me the most about this book is it's unbelievable convenience of action. Before long, Nina has every resource imaginable, including the U.S. government and every research boat she could possibly need at her disposal, along with the best professionals in the world helping her out. Though the research done to write this book must have been phenomenal, (it is typical Clive Cussler after all), it doesn't ring true and it doesn't ring believable. Each horrific encounter of NUMA and the brotherhood is described in fantastic detail, yet the outcome is more than predictable, causing more than a few ho-hums. The characters read like robots, they don't seem to have much emotion at all, even Nina isn't developed enough to spend sufficient time grieving over a tragic slaughter of her favorite mentor and others. I think Clive Cussler, like Tom Clancy, spends too much time focusing on technical jargon and research findings than on developing his characters to the point where the average reader can put him/herself in their place. If you can't place yourself within the story,then you can't relate, and this is a book I just could not relate to. On the other hand, divers, underwater fanatics, and especially marine biologists and oceanographers will love this book. Anyone with an interest in the ocean and ships will fall right into this book. If you are out for a simple pleasurable story, my advice is to look elsewhere.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Thin entry in NUMA franchise April 22 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
NUMA, the supposedly research-geared government-funded agenyc that has tackled such boring dilemmas as raising the Titanic or otherwise deterring the dreams of many would-be world concquerors, has its share of heroes. Until now, NUMA has been the home-base of adventurer Dirk Pitt, the legendary creation of real-life submarine archaeologist Clive Cussler. Author Paul Kaprecos tries to carry the franchise a little further by adding new heroes to NUMA's roster - Austin and Zavala, but the result is a pale rip-off of a formula that was getting old when handled by Cussler. In this story, as with many of the Pitt-novels, a modern day crisis has roots or some other connection to an age-old mystery. Here, a Mayan artifact, shipped across the Atlantic on the Andrea Doria, goes down when that ship collides with a Swedish luxury liner. Fast-forward a few decades later: an archeological expedition in North Africa is brutally massacred, leaving only one survivor, a supermodel-esque archeologist who barely escapes death when managing to reach a nearby NUMA research ship. Helping out, and then having to confront the assassins themselves on a follow-up raid, Austin and Zavala pick up the pieces and discover a shadowy cabal that stretches from the age of Christopher Columbus to a shadowy southwest American businessman named Halcon. When the trail leads to a ring that smuggles mayan relics out of South America, Zavala and Austin uncover further proof that America's first "discoverers" had crossed the Atlantic ages earlier than Columbus. Through it all, a band of assassins linked to Halcon follows NUMA, indicating that even these age-old relics are important. With its offbeat NUMA charachters (like the obese St. Read more ›
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific read!!
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!
Published 10 months ago by Saskatoonian
3.0 out of 5 stars Mass produced thriller
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. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Bootsy Bass
1.0 out of 5 stars serpent's tale
This book was very good reading, but it fell apart when I was trying to read it. This was very annoying because I usually try to pass my books on to relatives when I am through,... Read more
Published 24 months ago by Gloria Price
4.0 out of 5 stars Dirk is always Dirk!
I don't give it a full five stars,mainly because there are better adventures. It is a hell of a read though!
Published on June 21 2003 by Arel Cem
3.0 out of 5 stars Not much better than a beach read....
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. Read more
Published on Aug. 6 2002 by John R. Linnell
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Novel
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. Read more
Published on July 29 2002 by "geroxxinkorea"
3.0 out of 5 stars a good read but its lacking something
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.. Read more
Published on April 21 2002 by B. Barrett
2.0 out of 5 stars Too bad- it could have been soooo much better.
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... Read more
Published on Dec 15 2001 by microtv
3.0 out of 5 stars Not one of Cusslers better books
Unlike the other Dirk Pitt/NUMA adventures, which I can't put down until I finish reading the very last page, I found myself wishing this one would end soon. Read more
Published on Dec 3 2001 by R. Morris
5.0 out of 5 stars First Cussler novel I've ever read - quite a story!
I am a slow reader, having started this book nearly 6mo ago. But after reading the 1st chapter, where a young Italian waiter on the doomed Andrea Doria witnesses the murders of... Read more
Published on July 29 2001 by John R. Petz
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