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39 Clues for Adults
on September 16, 2009
"Listen, I tell you a mystery: . . . ." 1 Corinthians 15:51
If you enjoy watching the Great Race television show and like intellectual puzzles, you'll enjoy Spartan Gold. But other than having bad guys trying to do in the good guys (and gals), this book won't feel very much like a Dirk Pitt thriller. I've been enjoying the adolescent series, the 39 Clues, recently and I found Spartan Gold to be an adult version of that entertaining saga.
As the book opens, Napoleon is crossing the Alps to begin his second Italian campaign in winter. While there, something amazing is discovered that becomes the mystery that is solved in Spartan Gold. The book then shifts to the present where two wealthy archeologists and treasure seekers, the married couple Sam and Remi Fargo, are searching for a rumored stash in a swamp. They find something quite different from what they expect and are soon caught up in an obsessive criminal's search for items related to his presumed roots. In the process, they stumble on clues that are hard to solve and take them quickly from one country to another . . . usually just a few minutes ahead of the competition.
How much you like this book depends a lot on how much you like Sam and Remi as characters. Their dialogue and tastes reminded me of Nick and Nora Charles, but their ability to mix it up with baddies is more like Charlie's Angels. Sam and Remi rely more on thinking, deception, and martial arts than on brute force . . . but they can shoot straight when they have to. I found that they grew on me as the book went along. I think that the authors didn't do enough to establish their backgrounds in the book's beginning. By the time a second novel comes out in this series, I'm sure I'll like them better. As a new type of Cussler story, Spartan Gold lacks the high-flying technology that can make the Dirk Pitt and Oregon Files books so fascinating.