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on July 3, 2003
A beautiful female scientist has found the secret of a process to produce drinking water from seawater, but the leader of an imperium that controls the world's water supplies wants to get her out of the way. She ends up in the Amazonian jungle, where she is found by two of Kurt's colleagues. In the meantime Kurt and Joe try to solve the death of a group of whales before the coast of Mexico. Soon they find out that their quest is related to that of their colleagues. Their explorations bring them from Mexico to Alaska and then to the shores of Lake Tahoe, where they stop the impending global disaster only a few days before it is due to happen.
Here is your recipe for the 21st century's books by Clive Cussler: replace Dirk Pitt and Al Giordino by Kurt Austin and Joe Zavala, Dirk's love for old cars by Kurt's love for duelling pistols and let the rest of the ingredients be the same: NUMA, the wisecracks, the superhuman efforts, the beautiful ladies and the megalomanic villain that wants to rule the world. Normally speaking such changes irritate me, but Kurt and Joe are so much like Dirk and Al that one hardly notices the difference. And all in all it is just a nice action thriller to read on a warm summer's day (or a long winter night).
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on December 17, 2002
By: Clive Cussler and Paul Kemprecos
Blue Gold is an exquisite book written by Clive Cussler and Co-Authored by Paul Kemprecos. This New York Times best selling series is 378 pages long with a captivating plot that can rival Michael Crichton or JRR Tolkien. Cussler is an amazing writer who always manages come up with colorful eco-terrorists, megalomaniacs with their ambitions primed for world domination, and a few regular old criminals thrown in for good measure.
In this new exciting adventure the National Underwater & Marine Agency's Special Project's Directors, Kurt Austin and Joe Zavala, nearly die during a powerboat race for a fundraising event when a pod of dead bloated whales float onto the course. An investigation into the death of the whale pod take them to a secret underwater facility disguised as a Tortilla factory. As one event leads to another the duo soon uncovers a diabolical plot to monopolize one the world's most important resources by a 7 foot Valkyrie.
Meanwhile in the dense jungles of the Venezuelan rain forest a mysterious tribe with the legend of a white goddess. Kurt and Joe have hunch that this so called "white goddess" might be the key to unraveling the plot to take over the world. Helped by a husband-wife NUMA team who've already made the goddess's acquaintance; Kurt and Joe must solve this mystery of suspense, blackmail, and murder.
Reading this book was like listening to one of Beethoven's symphonies, every event was detailed and prepared the way for the next conflict perfectly. Anyone who enjoys James Bond flicks or adores action/adventure will love this book. This is the perfect gift for the holidays.
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on July 3, 2002
It wasn't hard to determine which parts of the book were written by Cussler and what parts were from Kemprecos. They did blend together towards the end but alot of the book was like a light switch, back and forth.
One of the things, in most of the Derk Pitt books was constant action and adventure. Blue Gold is somewhat tame and gentle through the opening 1/3 of the book. Kurt Austin doesn't seem to be the ladies man like Derk was. I had trouble getting a mental picture of his partner Joe.
The story line is pure Cussler. The world is, as always, on the brink of a major problem. The worlds fresh water supply is almost totally controled by a 7 foot female who has built her headquarters to resemble a Viking hall complete with Dragon boat.
There are two different sides to this story and they do wind their way together as the story progresses. The ending of the book saves it from be a total disapointment, but "it ain't Derk Pitt!" Maybe Cussler has painted himself into a corner with Derk. He's way too good of a writer to stay there long. Clive, a new series with a new theme is needed - PLEASE.
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on March 17, 2002
I realise my title might be seen a criminal to fans of the erstwhile Dirk Pitt, but I can't favor him over Kurt Austin, or vice versa. Cussler is a formulaic as ever but it works! From the opening taster with Austin's counterpart love of high speed boats to Dirk's of antique cars, Kurt sets off with his own Giordino (Zavala) to find out why whales are dying in super-heated water. They run up against Brynhild, Gogstad's Scandinavian corporate meglomaniac with a penchant for controlling the world's freshwater, a Viking fixation (the references to Valhalla throughout are a nice echo of the latest Dirk Pitt installment) and dubious taste in hirlings (the Kradzik brothers). Throw in the husband and wife NUMA team of Gamay and Paul with a sizable side trip of their adventures in Venezula rescuing the local white goddess, Professor Francesca Cabral, a trip into Mexico and all culminating in a battle at Lake Tahoe and you have a rip-roaring Cussler yarn.
Sure, some will still favor Pitt over Austin but Paul Kemprecos' addition to Cussler's skills have created no poor imitation at all. Hopefully Kurt and Joe's adventures will be as long as Pitt's. Valhalla told us Dirk Pitt was getting older. Kurt Austin is his younger counterpart.
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on December 16, 2001
This book is a definite improvement on the first Kurt Austin/NUMA series. The subplots are more exciting and there is more banter between Kurt & Joe, but the story just did not have the Clive Cussler "hang on by your fingernails" type of action to it.
The rescues (every Cussler book has them) were mostly unexciting and dull. The ending (was bad). Kurt did not really do anything, one of the lesser characters "saved the world" with Kurt & gang just going along for the ride. A major let down.
I think that the problem with this new Kurt Austin series is that the author (co-author?) tries too hard to treat the 2 NUMA groups (Kurt Austin/Joe & Paul Trout/Gamy) equally. Giving them both adventure subplots with Kurt Austin not getting enough attention, the result being that he does not come off the "hero" as Dirk Pitt does.
Either drop the Paul/Gamy major subplot lines or tone them down, and beef up Kurt & Joes involvment.
The endings just don't have Kurt Austin bashing the bad guys/women like Cusslers Dirk Pitt books do.
I know that Cussler has said that his Dirk Pitt books are becoming harder to write and may be why he brought in co-writer Kemprecos. I hope Cussler dumps Kemprecos, and focuses his efforts on pure Dirk Pitt books from now on.
One well written Cussler Dirk Pitt book is worth five Cussler/Klemprecos "Kurt Austin" books.
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on November 8, 2001
In Clive Cussler's Blue Gold, five people join up to solve a world wide water conspiracy as they individually share their depictions of what is happening around them. In the book, a billionaire Californian tycoon is poised to rise to power by monopolizing the earth's vastly depleted freshwater reserves and ultimately dominate the world. First, Cussler uses third person limited to show the reader characters' situations through the eyes of another character. Moreover, a young scientist has recently developed a process which she plans to give freely to any and all countries who request her help. Shortly after her breakthrough is publicized, Gogstad, the company owned by the billionaire Californian tycoon, has her "disappear," thus the "White Goddess" legend. Furthermore, Kurt Austin and his close friend José Zavala, are competing in a jet boat race when they suddenly collide with a dead pod of whales sending their boat on a collision course with another. Meanwhile, Paul and Gamay Trout are exploring the Brazilian Rainforest when they come across a dead Indian with some "high-tech gadgets." In addition, Cussler employs flashbacks into the story to demonstrate how each event is connected and to display the characters' thoughts and emotions that event. Cussler includes many different point of views to show each side of the story, whether it be the protagonists', or the antagonists' views.
First, Cussler uses third person limited point of view to show the reader how the events are related through another character. In this case, the young scientist with the water transformation device, is on her way to an international conference when her and her body guard realize that their plane has been hijacked by unknown enemies. In a struggle to retake the craft, the pilot becomes incapacitated, and the plane crashed into the Brazilian Rainforest. She is soon forgotten, until the unexpected arrival of two strangers, the Trouts. The Trouts have been recording river life when they discover a dead Indian floating down the river, with what they concern as "high-tech gadgets." Soon after a daring escape from savages, they joint up with Austin and his partner José, who have been investigating the cause of death of a pod of whales. They soon realize that as soon as they get a lead to the culprit, Gogstad ties up some "lose-ends." While it is mostly a game of cat and mouse for most of the story, the NUMA team finally succeeds, and the Gogstad company swiftly deteriorates.
Cussler uses an excellent mix of fact and fiction as the story unfolds. Cussler also uses breathtaking events to keep the reader interested throughout the entire story. Examples of these are scenes such as the underwater facility of the Mexican coast exploding, which then turns up a barrel registered for a "phantom plane." Yet another example is when Kurt and José fly the "phantom plane" into Nome, Alaska as an attempt to escape a group of highly trained assigns. Cussler never leaves a slow moment last to long before another explosion occurs sending the readers into "aw." Cussler also employs the flashback device to communicate to the reader what internal issues the characters' are dealing with, and also how certain events are connected. For example, Kurt quickly realizes that the same helicopter that they witnessed takeout a possible link connecting Gogstad to the underwater facility also. The flashback device is also used to show that the billionaire Californian tycoon is so obsessed with dominating the world because of her strong ancestral ties with Vikings.
Clearly, Cussler writes to show how dangerous the companies who hide in the shadows are, and what they will do to do what they want. Cussler used third person limited to show the reader how the events are seen through the eyes of another character. He also uses the flashback device to show the reader the characters' own internal conflicts, and also how events are related. This novel is a compelling, well-written, and interesting work of literature.
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on October 17, 2001
Thoughout his career, Clive Cussler has given us villains mostly in the Dr. No or Goldfinger mode--mercantile tycoon types who pull some sort of mega-holdup that endangers the world. And this continues, despite the success of efforts like "The X Files", which articulate the current trendy view that Government--an Orwellian "Big Brother"--is the Antichrist. Corporate America is never--repeat--NEVER the bad guy (whatta you, some kinda Red?) except for Bill Gates--he's fair game because he's a nerd. But Cussler still sticks to his Superbad Guys, and as such, makes it clear that he still loves his country. That the weenies who gave us "The X Files" still do is not so clear. In this book, we have a Nordic Valkyrie who's planning up to exploit the growing water shortage and setting up an aqua-OPEC to gouge the thirsty. If you can afford it, bottoms up. If not, you die of thirst. What delicious evil in an age when the "proper term" for evil people is "dysfunctional"! In this time of ambiguities and moral and philosphical relativism, I LOVE an author who calls a spade a spade! To paraphrase 1960s country/ comic singer Larry Verne; "please Mr. Cussler...don'tcha ever go!"
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on May 21, 2001
Shadowy Gogstad Corporation is quietly taking control of all the fresh water on earth. Once they have control they will be able to drive up the prices to the point that only the rich nations of the world will be able to afford water. In the ensuing chaos Gogstad expects to step in and control whole countries, and finally, the world. However, they hadn't counted on running into Kurt Austin and Joe Zavala. It begins with a boat race off of San Diego but before the intrepid pair is through (with help from other NUMA personnel) Austin and Zavala will have tracked Gogstad from Mexico to the Amazon River and to the final showdown on Lake Tahoe.
This is another slam-bang action novel that Cussler has become famous for. As other reviewers have written, you have to suspend disbelief but once you do it's a fun read. Reminds me of the Saturday matinee cliffhangers of days gone by. If you're already a Dirk Pitt fan you'll like this new series.
My only quibble with this new series is why? As far as I can see the adventures and adventurers are identical to the Dirk Pitt novels. Austin and Pitt are completely interchangeable. Why not just write some new Dirk Pitt novels? I imagine the answer to that is that Clive Cussler wants to cut back on writing and yet keep the revenue stream going so he's farmed this series out to Paul Kemprecos. It would have been nice if he would have made the main characters somewhat different though.
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on March 12, 2001
A Cussler adventure is ALWAYS welcome to me, whether it features Dirk Pitt or now, Kurt Austin...and Cussler has EARNED that opinion from me by finding a co-writer in Paul Kemprecos who knows how he thinks, and has mastered Cussler's trademark 'style' of adventure writing to a 'T'. When I first saw 'Serpent' I was skeptical to say the least, but after a couple of pages, it was apparent that the 'action-magic' was definitely on overdrive and it made for an amazingly fun story virtually on par with almost any of Pitt's exploits. Now comes Austin's 2nd literary adventure, and I am happy to say that everything which made 'Serpent' fun and entirely worth reading is found in the pages of 'Blue Gold'. From the jungles of the Amazon to an underwater explosion off the coast of Mexico to a very tall woman who has her sights set on controlling the virtual bulk of the world's drinking water, thus placing most of the world at her mercy.
'Blue Gold' has something rare for a Cussler story: the bad guy is a GIRL. But don't let that fool you into thinking she is all bark and no bite...nope. She packs a whallup, that's for sure. Between Kurt and his Giordino-sidekick/clone, Joe Zavala, they manage to become central figures to the problems facing Mother Earth, and due to their quick thinking and all around knack for being in the right place at the right time, they end up saving us all without us none the wiser. Some have been faulting Cussler and Kemprecos for using a tried-and-true formula that has paid off in multiple back-to-back bestsellers over the years, but I for one welcome it all and look forward to Kurt & Joe's next adventure eagerly. Face it, if you can manage to substitute Dirk Pitt for Kurt Austin and Al for Joe as you read 'Blue Gold' you would be hard pressed to tell the difference, and with that in mind, just remember: if you are a fan of Pitt, do yourself a favor and get to know the other side of the NUMA coin, and soon you too will be singing the praises of Kurt Austin. A fine thrill-a-minute-seat-of-your-pants story that deserves to become every bit as popular as Dirk's exploits.
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on January 11, 2001
In this entertaining second entry in the NUMA Files/Kurt Austin new series by Cussler and Kemprecos, mankind faces a huge threat in the shape of a mutli-billion dollar organisation, Gogstad, who are planning to dominate the world's fresh water supply and ultimately the world. At the start of the book, a plane crashes in the Venezuelan rainforest and Francesca Cabral, inventor of a unique desalination techinque(turning sea water into fresh water) is taken in by a tribe of Chulo Indians. Then, ten years later she is discovered later by NUMA archaeologists Paul and Gamay Trout, who are investigating bio-pirates intent on stealing rare species of plants. Meanwhile, our new NUMA hero Kurt Austin and sidekick Joe Zavala are investigating Gogstad's water purification facility in Mexico when a bomb nearly destroys their submarine mission. Suspecting the facility is killing off rare whales, their trail soon leads them to Alaska and the sinister intrigue of post World War 2 black operations involving a rare atomic substance, and ultimately Lake Tahoe. Can they stop Gogstad from dominating the world and piece all the clues together? We will surely know the outcome(or will we?!), but this winner from Cussler just moves along so well that I never cared - the journey there is part of the fun of reading his books. Cussler features it all - powerboat racing, environmental issues, escaping from certain death, a suitably James Bond style baddie, interesting and well researched locations and a fast pace with simple prose. Plus tons of action and wisecracking humour help to pull it along nicely. In other words, it is well worth the money and one you'll want to re-read again and again. Don't miss it!
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