POSEIDON’S ARROW, Clive and Dirk Cussler’s newest Dirk Pitt novel, takes the NUMA group on a wild adventure from Mexico to Idaho to Washington and culminates at the Panama Canal. Following his usual format, the Cusslers open with a prologue, this one set in the Indian Ocean in October 1943.
The captain and crew aboard the Italian submarine Barbarigo react too late when a British bombardier flies aloft and targets the vessel. The Barbarigo has been turned into a high-powered freighter, carrying mercury, steel and guns for the Japanese; therefore, she has been stripped of her torpedoes and deck guns. Within a short time, the British aircraft’s mission is complete. Without fanfare, the submarine sinks to the ocean’s depths.
The setting shifts to the present day near a mining facility in the Mojave Desert. Trace elements used in a variety of technical instruments and devices have been mined here. The reader meets the Columbian villain Pablo as he sets fire to and incinerates the buildings and operational cogs of the mining complex. The mine will be inoperable for a very long time.
"[T]he constant shifting of persons, locales and intrigue makes for a riveting story. POSEIDON’S ARROW is a must-read for Dirk Pitt fans."
At the same time, Dr. Joe Eberson, Director of Sea Platforms technology for the government’s DARPA agency, demonstrates a new submarine prototype called the Sea Arrow to the United States Navy. Showing progress years ahead of the closest competitors in the field, the ship will revolutionize future attack vessels. When Eberson leaves the demonstration site and travels back to his underwater lab off the San Diego coast, he and his crew are approached by a mid-sized gray freighter, heading full-steam toward them. Signaling with a wave, Eberson and his captain are hit with a stinging blast and immediately neutralized.
In the meantime, off the coast of Chile, Dirk Pitt and his wife Loren enjoy a brief vacation from their official duties. They fish, deep-sea-dive, and relax on board a speedboat. Suddenly, danger assails them in the form of a massive freighter bearing down on their boat. They escape in time to alert a nearby luxury liner of an impending collision with the pilotless freighter. When the diverted freighter finally runs aground, an examination discovers a dead seaman on board whose corpse is blistered and charred. They determine that the ship had suffered an apparent hijacking and become a runaway ghost vessel.
Back in the United States, Pitt hears that Dr. Eberson’s fishing boat has been hijacked; the crew is dead and Eberson is missing. Because the crewmen’s bodies are found in deep waters off the Mexican coast, Pitt and Navy criminal investigator Ann Bennett are directed to solve Eberson’s mysterious disappearance. Did he defect, or was he kidnapped?
Succeeding chapters leave you breathless, roaring from one locale to another with additional characters entering the messy picture. Pablo, the Columbian rogue, drifts in and out of the story, each time with greater diabolical intensity. The assorted puzzle pieces finally come together, but not before the story line runs from Africa to Australia, to China, Mexico and back to the coast of Africa. The authors yank you from one locale to another with each change of chapters, leaving little time to stop and take a breath. The non-stop action makes bookmarking this novel a difficult task.
But in the end, the constant shifting of persons, locales and intrigue makes for a riveting story. POSEIDON’S ARROW is a must-read for Dirk Pitt fans.
Reviewed by Judy Gigstad on December 7, 2012