In a cave on Pine Island off the coast of Washington State lies a small pyramid of cannon balls. Legend has it that Pierre Devereaux, a privateer from the Spanish Main, buried his ships’ treasure there. Five brothers are in the process of uncovering some buried treasure in the cave when the world suddenly finds itself at war; they are interrupted by news of Pearl Harbor just as they begin their adventure.
In present day, the Oregon is a ship like no other. It has been retrofitted with advanced intelligence-gathering equipment and all the modern technology it can hold. Originally a carrier used to ship lumber from America to Japan, it looks --- at least from the outside --- like a ship barely able to float. It is herein that the central operations for this adventure are controlled. The Oregon can reach incredible speeds, stop quickly, maneuver beautifully and turn on a dime.
Juan Cabrillo is a God-fearing man whose leadership is legendary among the NUMA staff. Despite being injured and wearing a prosthetic leg, nothing slows him down. On a mission to Argentina to retrieve a power cell, Cabrillo and his crew make a discovery: “After the war, a former Navy blimp pilot and some of his buddies bought a surplus airship to use as an aerial platform to fly over the South American jungle in search of an Incan city, most likely El Dorado.” The blimp was the Flying Dutchman, and Cabrillo and company are searching in South America for the legendary airship.
Here’s where the plot thickens: Six degrees of separation comes true here. Remember the brothers who were attempting to uncover the stolen booty from the cave in Washington? One of them has a link to the Flying Dutchman. Another was involved in a big expedition to retrieve the booty, but had to stop after a worker was killed. We return to Pine Island and to one remaining brother. When Cabrillo and his partner are ambushed in Washington State, the story evolves into another dimension.
Clive Cussler never fails to deliver a page turner. Of the last few Oregon Files novels I’ve read and reviewed for Bookreporter.com, THE SILENT SEA is the most interesting and captivating. Perhaps it’s the links between the present-day adventures, buried treasure leading back to China in 1498, conflicts involving Argentina, China and the U.S., and well-delivered characters and plot, but this is such an enjoyable and quick read. Of course, when China, Argentina and the U.S. are involved, politics takes precedence.
Reviewed by Marge Fletcher on April 26, 2011