Polar Shift: A Novel From the NUMA Files
NUMA is the National Underwater and Marine Agency, founded by Clive Cussler in 1979. This is a real organization, dedicated to the discovery and study of shipwreck artifacts, as well as a fictional one. The fictional NUMA is a kind of super special operations agency solving crises at sea. The word "swashbuckling" comes up a lot.
This adventure centers on the work of Laszlo Kovacs, a brilliant Hungarian inventor and scientist whose work developing an electromagnetic interference device for the Nazis to use as a weapon was interrupted when the Russians invaded at the end of the war. A group of neo-anarchists, bent on destroying the World Bank and other institutions of world order, has rediscovered his theories and plans to develop their own interference weapon to hold the world hostage. If this technology is directed at the earth's magnetic poles, the resulting chain reactions would destroy the planet.
A trial of the magnetic interference technology wreaks all sorts of havoc at sea, including a rogue pod of killer whales and a gigantic whirlpool, drawing the attention of NUMA's crack team. They soon learn that the secret to Kovacs's work --- and how to stop it --- may be in the hands of Kovacs's unwitting granddaughter, busy with her own totally unrelated research concerning woolly mammoths. The race is on! Who will get to the granddaughter first?
A certain suspension of disbelief is required, but readers who know and love Clive Cussler's work should have no trouble obliging. He's not a fancy writer --- for instance, you'll get no more attempts at characterization than a job description, a wardrobe description, and eye color --- but by page 40, flashbacks to World War II have shown us Professor Kovacs's escape from assassination, a cargo ship has been sucked down to the bottom of the sea, and our hero, Kirk Austin, has faced a killer whale on his kayak. POLAR SHIFT sets a course for adventure, and if you're in the mood for a little escapism, you'll enjoy the voyage.
Reviewed by Colleen Quinn (CQuinn9368@yahoo.com) on January 18, 2011