1803: “…there was no hope of capturing the
Philadelphia and sailing her out of the harbor, so they
determined she would burn instead.”
In the prologue to this modern piracy adventure, Clive Cussler
sets the conditions for his American crew, led by Juan Cabrillo, to
enter seas off the coast of Tunisia. Talks in Libya between the
American Secretary of State, Fiona Katamura, and the Libyan
delegation are expected to lead to a peace treaty in the Middle
East. En route, Katamura’s plane loses air-to-ground contact
and is presumed to have crashed.
Known to his crew as “Chairman,” Cabrillo heads the
Corporation, a private company hired to execute delicate maneuvers
for the CIA but outside government restrictions. His group works on
a strict cash-only basis. The Corporation’s home base is
Cabrillo’s brainchild, the Oregon, a
state-of-the-art missile-manned ship disguised as a rusty worn
freighter. Beneath her outer barnacle-crusted shell lies a heavily
armored machine with artillery designed to weather heavy naval
battle. The Oregon houses sophisticated
intelligence-gathering data, as well as hidden weapons, a
world-class electronics suite and a McDonnell Douglas helicopter in
a rear hold. Accommodations rival the finest on a luxury cruise
Cabrillo’s mission deals with piracy of a modern type. He
is to sail into Tunisian waters, disembark into the desert and
investigate evidence of the U.S. plane crash. Meanwhile, in nearby
Tunisia, an archaeological group conducting a search for the CIA
has reported three members missing. The object of the dig is the
remains of a pirate’s ship lost in the Philadelphia
incident in 1803. Recently discovered letters point to ancient
scrolls that link the Islamic pirate Suleiman Al-Jama to Christian
seaman Henry Lafayette. They may have learned tolerance for one
another’s beliefs, a precursor for today’s peace
Clive Cussler and Jack Du Brul offer a non-stop, action-filled
story in CORSAIR. The latest Oregon Files adventure
promises a reader’s fantasy world crammed with knowledge.
Details of archaeology, seamanship, armed combat readiness and
diplomacy abound here. The armchair reader travels to desert
planes, through Mediterranean seas, to inland harbors, training
ground tent encampments for terrorists, archaeological digs, hidden
waterfalls, and finally urban settings for peace talks.
CORSAIR is a novel of piracy, ancient and modern. The Barbary
pirate Al-Jama left future generations a legacy of hate-filled
extremism. Cabrillo’s crew meets these terrorists who have
taken Al-Jama’s name and wages war against the American
infidel. Today’s Al-Jama is determined to destroy all
possibilities for peace, killing those who interfere with his plan.
His goal is to discover and destroy the pirate ship that may
contain scrolls written to forge understanding between Muslims and
Cabrillo’s men discover the U.S. plane’s wreckage in
the desert, with puzzling findings. The area has been scavenged,
litter strewn, with a dead camel left behind. Bodies buried
beneath blown sand lead to the obvious conclusion that all have
perished in the crash. We are to believe that desert nomads have
ransacked the site, but clues lead Cabrillo to think otherwise. The
possibility exists that Katamura may be alive and taken
Electronic genius jumps off the page when Cabrillo’s crew
loads up into their land cruiser, affectionately known as the Pig.
A truck/armored vehicle, the Pig carries them across the desert
into Libyan territory. Three of his men head in search of the
missing archaeologists to learn more about the buried pirate ship.
If scrolls on the ship can lead to a modern treaty, the find will
have far-reaching implications.
Cabrillo treks into the direction taken by the supposed nomads
in hopes of finding Katamura alive. He stumbles onto a heavily
guarded prison tent-camp, site of a working mine. Political
prisoners work as slaves there. Connecting the myriad pieces of the
intricate political puzzle becomes a dire necessity. Gunfights,
hand-to-hand combat and naval artillery salvos combine to trigger
the continuing action in CORSAIR.
Rapid-paced yet loaded with information, CORSAIR will certainly
be a bestselling novel. The authors blend history with
today’s intelligence, and the desert drama whets the appetite
for the next chronicle in the Oregon Files series.
Reviewed by Judy Gigstad on December 28, 2010