Top critical review
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Du Brul and Cussler succeed agaian!
on November 2, 2008
The Corporation is a mercenary private enterprise for hire by any government agency that can afford its fees. Juan Cabrillo, the Chairman, runs his black ops from a ship called "The Oregon". Disguised as an overused, out of date, non-descript mercantile vessel that's destined for the scrap yard, the Oregon is actually a state of the art war vessel packed with high-tech intelligence gathering equipment, powerful weaponry and a fully muscled set of magnetohydrodynamic engines that, pushed to flank speed, will give virtually any ship on the high seas a run for its money. If you've read any Clive Cussler novels at all, it won't be a surprise to hear that Cabrillo is right over the top - an entirely unbelievable lead character (think Mr Phelps from Mission Impossible on steroids) leading an equally unbelievable crew with uncanny intelligence and virtually superhuman strength and endurance. The missions they accept in Cussler's Oregon Files series are typically of the "save the world from domination or destruction by a nefarious lunatic" variety.
When I reviewed "Golden Buddha", the first in the Oregon Files series, I gave it a grudging single star and swore that I would likely never read another Cussler novel again. Frankly, it was just awful! But after a two year abstinence, my past fondness for Cussler's earlier work over-ruled my reluctance and "Plague Ship" rewarded me with a thoroughly enjoyable read. I gave Jack Du Brul a second chance and I hit pay dirt again with "Skeleton Coast"
A covert running gun battle with revolutionaries on the Congo River, a search for a long lost fortune in diamonds buried in the Kalahari desert, the typical sexy and beautiful female heroine who overcomes all odds against her, environmental terrorism, the miraculous rescue of a kidnapped industrialist from an abandoned prison - the details are actually not important. The fact is ... they're really quite forgettable within a very short period after you've finished the novel. What's much more important is that, unlike "Golden Buddha", for example, which was an exercise in nonsensical hyperbole, "Skeleton Coast" remained (just barely, mind you) within the bounds of an enjoyable credibility-stretching thriller that really should be turned into a rock-em, sock-em Hollywood SFX loaded James Bond style flick.
I found Cussler's brief sidebars on the evolution of hurricanes and the importance of ocean currents and water temperature in their development particularly interesting.
Literature? Certainly not! But a perfectly enjoyable break from the workaday world that any thriller reader will enjoy. Recommended.