In A.D. 327, a Roman galley with an extraordinary cargo barely escapes a pirate attack. In 1916, a British warship mysteriously explodes in the middle of the North Sea. In the present day, a cluster of important mosques in Turkey and Egypt are racked by explosions. What ties them all together? NUMA director Dirk Pitt and his team are about to find out, as Roman artefacts discovered in Turkey and Israel unnervingly connect to the rise of a fundamentalist movement determined to restore the glory of the Ottoman Empire.
Reviewed on 23rd November 2010
While better than the recent Dirk Pitt spin-off novels this is certainly nothing compared to the earlier entries in the Cussler canon. Pitt and his two children are each working on completely unrelated projects which become coincidently intertwined, including a hunt for 'the Manifest' and a race to stop a terrorist attack on Istanbul.
The plot is particularly messy in this book, with an attempt to focus on two loosely related stories, one being archaeological and more in the spirit of the series, and the other being fighting terrorists, and more in line with the recent direction of Cussler's novels. I'm disappointed that the original uniqueness of the series has been eroded away and Pitt has just turned into another super-hero who stops World War Three.
On top of the multiple plots is a wide cast of characters, including Pitt's usual gang of hangers-on, and a volume of bad guys that is unprecedented, to the extent that I found it hard to keep track of which baddie went with which plot and what their motives and goals were. This book really needed to be simplified down to one storyline and stuck to that, and personally I think the archaeology one would be the one to go for.
Like Corsair, the Oregon Files novel that I was particular critical of two years ago, this book decides to deal with religion, something that I wish it would leave alone. I believe that Cussler should have stuck to writing about the sea, where he was comfortable, and had not ventured into terrorist territory.