Monday, 14 February 2011

Dragon - book review

By Clive Cussler

I was browsing the bargain section of The Works recently and spotted a three for £5 table, which included a selection of "Dirk Pitt" novels by Clive Cussler.

Now I know that Clive Cussler isn't everyone's cup of tea and would never be seen as high literature, but he certainly has cracking good yarns down to a fine art. And so he should - he has been churning out three or four 500 page books for the last two decades, with many hitting the top of the fiction chart.

Clive Cussler's mastermind was the creation of Dirk Pitt, a swashbuckling adventurer, amateur counter terrorist agent and generally all round good guy without a dishonest bone in his body. In many ways he is a latter day Indiana Jones, tracking down antiquities and in so doing encountering all sorts spills and scrapes, many indulging in Cussler's passion for scuba diving.

This "Dragon" (1990) tale starts with a downed WW2 bomber, a sister plane to Anola Gay, which crashed en route to its destination in Japan. Fifty years later a resurgent Japan is sweeping the economic world and one rogue industrialist launches an audacious bid to take complete control using a network of atomic bombs to apply a bit of leverage.  From the start we know that Dirk Pitt will triumph, its just a matter of how.

The plot rattles along at a rapid pace and after a few moments when credibility has to be suspended, Pitt single handedly delivers the recovered WW2 nuclear bomb to a spot on the sea bed where it explodes. This causing a huge earthquake and the baddies secret lair sinks beneath the ocean waves. Ok - I did say there were a few leaps of faith in the storyline!

Pitt appears to be lost in a nuclear powered seabed tractor but you cant keep a good man down. He never dies and as if by a miracle he rolls up onto an island beach a month and 1500 miles later. 

For all its predictability, Cussler's Dirk Pitt delivers high octane adventure and several hours of gripping entertainment. And when entertainment was what is was looking for whilst getting over a viral illness, that counts as a good result.

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