I was SO anxious to read this novel when it first came out many years ago, I TRIED to read it all at once...I have to admit it starts off REALLY GOOD. Dirk finds a plane in the bottom of an isolated Colorado lake, and he also uncovers quite a mystery in the process...but then this novel shifts gears in a way that is totally foreign to ALL the other Dirk Pitt novels. Cussler then transports us to South Africa and there you end up embroiled in a political nightmare which seems SO FAR removed from anything else Cussler has written to make one wonder if in fact he had a hand in actually writing it. It seems 100% UNrelated to the events detailed in the beginning of the book. When the two sections of the book begin to run together (and I have to admit I was about to give up on the book when it finally happened) it FINALLY became a good adventure novel. Some bad guys attempt to sail a decomissioned naval ship up to Washington D.C. and launch a few surprises on the Capitol...let's just say the surprises are enough to make things rather unpleasant in D.C. for many years to come--but NO it's NOT a Nuke. At this point the book shifts gears again and turns back into a Pitt novel. So let's re-cap: 'Vixen 03' starts OFF as a Pitt story, turns into an odd mix of politics and protest in South Africa, then comes BACK to America where it turns back INTO a Pitt story. The first third and last third are GREAT, but it's the middle which is almost so strange as to seem like it was written by someone else (not that I would think it actually happened...). All in all 'Vixen 03' is an entertaining story, mixed with a 2nd story that is just barely connected to the rest of the novel. Good, but NOT Cussler's best, that's all I can say.