Review

Fire Ice

by Clive Cussler

Read an Excerpt



I've decided that I want to be Clive Cussler when I grow up.
Cussler is generally recognized as the Master of the American
action novel, with 18 consecutive best sellers; he is
internationally renowned as an authority on shipwrecks and their
recovery; and, in his spare time (yeah!) he collects classic
automobiles. If a 25 hour day is ever devised, I have a feeling
that the patent will have Cussler's name on it. His partner in
letters, Paul Kemprecos, is no slouch in the literary world
himself, having written a number of detective thrillers set in the
undersea world and having been awarded a Shamus award for his
efforts.

FIRE ICE is Cussler's and Kemprecos' latest NUMA adventure, a
fictionalized account of Cussler's own National Underwater Maritime
Agency. What Cussler does so well in each of his novels is to start
things off from several different, and apparently unrelated, points
of view and gradually bring the divergent points together. So, too,
does FIRE ICE begin in Odessa, Russia in 1918 with the sinking of a
rusty merchant ship, then shift to the sudden, apparently
inexplicable occurrence of a tsunami on the Maine coast and then
proceed to the hijacking of a mini-research submarine in the Aegean
Sea before reintroducing Kirk Austin, intrepid hero of the previous
NUMA novels, SERPENT and BLUE GOLD.

FIRE ICE combines the best elements of the James Bond and Tom Swift
novels, tossing in a boatload of real science along the way. You
never would have slept through your general study science and
history courses if you'd had professors like Cussler and Kemprecos
guiding you through them. Each of the NUMA novels contains huge and
frequent nuggets of knowledge, factoids thrown in amongst the
derring do. I never knew what caused tsunamis or why they normally
don't occur along the Atlantic coast. I also knew nothing at all
about a proposed alternative fuel with the name methane hydrate, or
FIRE ICE, that is located beneath the ocean floor but, due to its
instability, is impossible, at this point, to harvest. And it is
methane hydrate that brings the elements of FIRE ICE
together.

The world is threatened in FIRE ICE when a brilliant madman named
Razov, who believes himself to be a direct descendent of the last
czar of Russia, devises a scheme to unleash a wave of premature
global warming that will shift Earth's climatic balance,
transforming the United States into a frigid wasteland and the
frigid plains of Siberia into lush farmland, thus restoring the
glory of Russia. Austin and an unlikely ally in the Russian
government form an uneasy coalition to bring Razov's plan to the
ground. Cussler and Kemprecos along the way create a classic good
vs. evil scenario with enough suspense, danger, and explosions to
fill any three books you could name. There aren't many authors
doing these types of books anymore, and it's unfortunate; Cussler
and Kemprecos, however, more than make up for the loss.

FIRE ICE continues the efforts of Cussler and Kemprecos to not only
keep the action-adventure genre alive but also redefine it to a
vessel of their own creation. Anyone who misses what were once
known as "swashbucklers" or "ripping yarns" should take heart. Any
book with the name "Cussler" on the spine will restore the spirit
of adventure that such books so readily elicited.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on January 21, 2011

Fire Ice
by Clive Cussler

  • Publication Date: June 3, 2002
  • Genres: Adventure, Fiction
  • Hardcover: 434 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Adult
  • ISBN-10: 0399148728
  • ISBN-13: 9780399148729