It is 1902, and a bright, inexperienced young man named Isaac Bell, only two years out of his apprenticeship at the Van Dorn Detective Agency, has an urgent message for his boss. Hired to hunt for radical unionist saboteurs in the coal mines, he is witness to a terrible accident. And it begins to become clear that the trouble doesn't stop with the men he's looking for. Much bigger stakes are in play.
Little does he know just how big . Given exactly one week to prove his case, Bell quickly finds himself pitted against two of the most ruthless opponents he has ever known, men of staggering ambition and cold-bloodedness, who are not about to let some wet-behind-the-ears detective stand in their way.
Reviewed on 29th March 2013
A prequel to the Isaac Bell series, this book shows the private investigator tackle one of his earliest cases, investigating sabotage in America's coal mines in the early twentieth century.
The style is slightly more similar to the first book of the series, though overall the book doesn't live up to that predecessor and is far from the best from the Cussler brand. The book continues the Bell series' slightly political commentary, with Bell himself seemingly possessing modern sensibilities and liberal-leaning beliefs that feel out of place in the era the stories are set.
The plot feels bitty as Bell and the other characters dart around from city to city. The scenes don't seem to flow together particularly well and a lot of the action seems disconnected and it feels almost like random luck that an overall storyline emerges at all.
I didn't find this one to be a captivating book, and generally think it reflects badly on the series that a book can be written with no believable peril or thrill.