Top critical review
Underwhelming... Clive Cussler almost ruins the story.
on November 22, 2001
This book is good. Let's just get that straight before I talk about the flaws.
First, I must say that the first one hundred pages were terribly boring. I mean, all this race to find this byzanium material, and we only find out WHY THE HECK IT'S SO IMPORTANT way too late. I found myself yawning as I read those pages, and it only got intersting when the Titanic kicked in (then again, way too late)
Another thing is the remarkable lack of accuracy. I'm not much of a realistic nut, but if you are, stay away from this novel. First of all, the Titanic split in two before sinking, but it's complete in this novel, making the entire plot downright impossible. But this isn't my biggest gripe (I managed to ignore the lack of realism) but the worst thing is the portrayal of the soviet soldiers.
The russians aren't simply demonized in this work. Clive Cussler goes out of his way just to bash them. They seem to constantly praise the americans when they talk between themselves "The americans have an annoying habit of accomplishing what they set out to do" (actual quote from the book). I mean, come on! Also, they are constantly outsmarted, as if they are just stupid monkeys with AK-47s. They are also heartless, I might add, not hesitating to do hte most horrible things (even though they always fail).
Although I can question the plot, I can't question Cussler's ability to describe a scene. He does it masterfully. Many of the scenes the pages just seemed to zoom as the suspense filled the plot. The rising of the Titanic seems to be the one that sticks out in my mind the most.
I liked this book. Really. But the thing is, it's got way too many big flaws for me to give it five stars, or even four stars.