16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Seems like a number of my library "recreational reads" came in at once, so I've had some down time from my normal fare of reading material. I finally made it to the top of the hold list for The Navigator by Clive Cussler with Paul Kemprecos. If you're in the mood for a fast-moving action adventure novel, it works pretty well...
The main story revolves around a statue called The Navigator. It was stolen from the Iraqi national museum but was recovered with the aid of a UN official named Carina Mechadi. While on a ship bound for the US with the other recovered items, the statue is once again the center of attention when an armed group invades the ship, attempts to transport the statue off by helicopter, and sets the ship to collide with an oil drilling platform to hide the evidence. But Kurt Austin and Joe Zavala of NUMA are able to pull off a dramatic rescue, saving the ship, the statue, *and* Ms. Mechadi. The mystery of why someone would want the statue deepens as a tie is discovered between the statue, Thomas Jefferson, and the ancient Phoenicians. When the statue is once again stolen and Carina once again kidnapped, Austin's full attention is focused on saving the damsel in distress one more time, as well as putting an end to the person behind it all.
Compared to Cussler's Dirk Pitt series, the Austin novel is much more sedate and comfortable. There's definitely enough action to keep you turning pages, but every chapter doesn't end with someone about to die and/or pull off a miraculous MacGyver-esque escape. The idea of Phoenicians being the first to visit North America isn't new in a Cussler novel (Serpent in 1999), but he does a nice job in putting together a Da Vinci-type mystery where people are willing to die to keep a secret.
If you're ready to kill off a few hours with a mental escape from reality, The Navigator should fit your needs well...
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on October 7, 2007
Clive Cussler and Paul Kemprecos follow a previously successful formula twisting around history to create a fast based action adventure tale surrounding the actions of members of the fictitious National Underwater and Maritme Agency(NUMA).
Special Projects director Kurt Austin and his sidekick Joe Zavala find themselves in the midst of a mid oceanic hijacking. The booty is a bronze Phoenician statue known as The Navigator being transported under the guardianship of the alluring Carina Mechadi working for UNESCO. The statue was looted along with other antiquities from the Iraqi National Museum in Baghdad during the U.S. invasion. Mechadi's mission was to recovered the purloined artifacts.
The Navigator happened to be the object of desire of industrialist Viktor Baltazar head of a large private mercenary cartel and mining empire. Baltazar who traced his roots back to the days of King Solomon believed that the statue gave clues to details of a pre-Columbian visit to the New World by the Phoenicians.
Tied in with these historical events were a recently and accidently discovered encrypted letter penned by Thomas Jefferson under the guise of the secretive Artichoke society. Analysis of the Jefferson papers detailed a letter from Meriweather Lewis of the famous Lewis & Clark expedition. The correspondence hinted at the existence of a Phoenician landing in the New World with a mission to hide a precious and sensitive item whose existence could change the fabric of society as postulated by King Solomon.
Baltazar desired the information that The Navigator contained to advance his own nefarious plans. Meanwhile Austin, Zavala and their minions along his Austin love interest Mechadi team up to deter Baltazar in a rollicking adventure that strains the boundaries of credulity. The plot was standard fare for Cussler and his ghost writers but the ending was a bit of a cop out. For stress free reading requiring very little mentation, "The Navigator" is right up your alley.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
When American forces invaded Iraq the first time, the Baghdad Museum was looted of valuable treasures. UNESCO agent Carina Mechadi is on their trail, and jumps at the chance when wealthy businessman Viktor Baltazar offers to privately finance her search, asking only that she keep him informed of her progress. Carina crosses paths with our hero, Kurt Austin, quite literally when she recovers the most valuable of the museum's missing items and accompanies them on their containership voyage across the Atlantic to the Smithsonian. Kurt Austin and sidekick Joe Zavala had been in the same area of the North Atlantic known as Iceberg Alley, helping to rope in icebergs heading for oil rigs and tow them from harm's way, when Carina's ship, the Ocean Adventure, appears to be steaming directly for an oil rig. When Austin's derring-do puts him aboard, he finds the Ocean Adventure had been boarded by pirates in helicopters. Their one objective seemed to have been recovery of a statue of dubious value in Carina's collection called the Navigator. Austin stops the theft and rescues the ship, seeing Carina safely to Washington. Once there, the mystery deepens when Anthony Saxon, an ill-respected archaeologist and writer, joins forces with Austin and the gang. Someone wants the Navigator badly, for the statue contains an ancient Phoenician map supposedly leading to King Solomon's Mines and a controversial set of the Ten Commandments carved in gold. They aren't the only ones looking for the lost artifacts, and the other guys will stop at nothing to get there first.
I have only one complaint about this book, and that is its inability to resist the urge to oh-so-trendily cast doubt on stories of Biblical origin. The outrage has died down, and so has our interest in this type of subject matter, which is handled with little skill and no attempt at originality. That disappointing detail aside, this is a fast-paced, white-knuckle thrill ride as Kurt Austin and his friends unravel a centuries-old mystery, trying to stay one step ahead of the bad guys, who naturally have sinister motives. Though the engaging Paul and Gamay Trout once again played disappointingly small roles and, sadly, maritime historian St. Julien Perlmutter sat this one out, it was nonetheless quite the page turner I found very difficult to put down.
With its seventh book, this series has obviously found its stride. With its Cussleresque abundance of corny similes and nonstop action woven into an intricate plot, combined with Kemprecos' warm, down-to-earth prose, it's hard to find action better than this smoothly-paced novel. Once again, you can't go wrong with a book with Cussler on the cover.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 28, 2008
I have been an avid Cussler fan for several years now. I can not finish this book. The plot is non-existent. The grammar is horrid. I even found several misspelled words. There are several places that even Word grammar check would have found problems. For instance; "is is" and "and the and the" is found several times. Don't waste your time reading this book. Cussler has lost one fan if this is what we should expect from future writings.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on June 19, 2007
Clive Cussler is back and this is the book to read this Summer!
I wrote a review on Amazon a while back about Clive Cussler having lost his edge. The past few books have been a little on the stale side. Not anymore! Clive Cussler comes out with The Navigator and really impressed me. The book is reminiscent of his earlier books and was a really fun read. I highly recommend this as a summer read for the beach or your next flight.
Long live Clive Cussler and his NUMA adventures!
I have to admit that it helped to see a character in the book with my same last name- a cool coincidence! :)
Loyal Fan- Mike Stocker
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 6, 2007
The Navigator continues the NUMA Files series featuring Kurt Austin and Joe Zavala in the Dirk Pitt/Al Giordino roles. Austin and Zavala are drawn into the search for The Navigator, a stolen Phonecian sculpture, which could point the way to King Solomon's mines and an ancient artifact, the revelation of which could start a disastrous Middle Eastern uprising with global consequences. The story ties in Thomas Jefferson, Meriwether Lewis and an interesting twist on the legend of Solomon's mines.
As has become Cussler's pattern, the story begins with a double prologue which is actually more entertaining than most of the ensuing story. The plot is predictable. The bad guy considers himself a descendant of Solomon, but for some reason his hobby is medieval jousting. (Gee, wonder how Austin will be forced to fight him in the end?) Paul and Gamay Trout make a requisite appearance, and the obligatory beautiful leading lady turns out to have a DaVinci Code-style connection to the back-story.
The weak point of the NUMA Files novels is the characters, who are thin even by action-adventure standards. Kurt Austin is boring. He collects dueling pistols, likes a good drink, and somehow always gets the girl despite the fact that Zavala is the good-looking charmer. Zavala has even less depth than Austin. It's not that they are characters to be disliked so much as they are almost non-entities: two-dimensional characters moving through a cookie-cutter plot. I find myself wondering if these co-authored NUMA novels are written via a mad-libs style Cussler template. "Insert bad guy with weird hobby here. Insert humorous quip here. Insert smart, good-looking woman in peril here..."
The Navigator is for the truly devoted Cussler fan or the truly bored. Not his worst, but far from his best.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on June 24, 2007
Clive Cussler was born in 1931 and grew up in Alhambra, California. He attended Pasadena City College before joining the Air Force. He went on to a successful advertising career, winning many national honours for his copywriting. He has also explored the deserts of the American Southwest in search of lost gold mines, dived in isolated lakes in the Rocky Mountains looking for lost aircraft and hunted under the sea for shipwrecks of historic significance, discovering and identifying more than sixty. He is married with three children, and divides his time between Colorado and Arizona. His credentials as a best selling author cannot be doubted and he has a large `stable' of best selling adventure novels.
I found this to be a much better book than the Lost City, the last book I read of Clive Cussler's. This one is full of the usual adventure and mayhem that are a feature of the author's books.
Many years ago, an ancient Phoenician statue known as the Navigator was stolen from the museum in Baghdad. There are men throughout the world who would do anything to get their hands on the priceless object and that includes murder. Their first victim is a shady antiques dealer who is murdered in cold blood. Their second attempt almost sees the demise of a UN investigator who, if not for the timely intervention of Austin and Zavala would now be experiencing a watery grave.
Why is there so much interest in a statue lost to mankind so many years ago? The search for the answer will take the NUMA team on an astonishing adventure through time and space. An adventure that encompasses no less than the lost treasures of King Solomon, plus a mysterious package of documents personally encoded by US President, Thomas Jefferson and a secret scientific programme that could change the world . . .
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
During the 2003 American invasion of Iraq, the Iraqi National Museum was looted of many of its priceless artifacts. One item in particular, a Phoenician statue, seems to have a special pull to it. There are men willing to kill anyone who gets between them and the statue. But, now Kurt Austin, Joe Zavala, and the rest of the National Underwater and Maritime Agency are also on the job. Just what is this strange statue called The Navigator, and what is its connection to the ancient Ark of the Covenant and President Thomas Jefferson? It’s a mystery that could just cost you your life!
Overall I found this to be a fun and exciting adventure yarn. Yes, compared with 24 and Jack Bauer, it’s got some realism issues. But, I don’t think you can compare it to that. Instead, it’s much more like a modern version of Allan Quartermain and the other adventure stories of yesteryear. If you are looking for an interesting adventure story, full of mysteries and villains and daring-do, then you will like this book. I highly recommend it!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 8, 2008
What happened between chapters 46 and 47? In the paperback version of the book, this is around pages 470. Was it a deadline or simply a page count issue?
This book is interesting steady to read up to that point, but all of the sudden a chunk of story seems to simply be dropped in favor of getting to the end of the book. After reading 470 pages, this was very, very disappointing - to the point of writing this review and questioning whether to read another Clive Cussler book.
Really, the story builds. It is a bit slow. It takes some goofy turns -- like jousting. But, in the end there is an entertaining story up to about page 470. At that point it seems that the author's focus is simply on wrapping things up to get to an end and not really about taking the story to the end. The result was that I felt ripped off by the author and the publisher.
I threw the book away rather than donating it as I didn't want to waste anyone else's time. I don't like to throw books away. (Actually it will be recycled)
7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on June 18, 2007
The Phoenician Empire was at its peak in 850 B.C. Around that time, a dark green statue, nearly six feet in height, was intricately carved. It was known as the Navigator, and it would have an incredible history. It would be stolen several times in its long life and hold many mysteries in its carvings. Originally taken from a Scythian vessel on the high seas around 900 B.C. (only to be found many years later), it would be featured in the Baghdad Museum, along with hundreds of other valuable and rare artifacts.
Thomas Jefferson is featured early in THE NAVIGATOR. A noted inventor, Jefferson had written a detailed treatise on the cultivation of artichokes to be delivered to Meriweather Lewis, of Lewis and Clark fame. This document was actually a cipher, which Lewis could read with the aid of a perforated sheet of heavy paper --- a list of Indian words that Jefferson had encrypted. Were this document to be intercepted by the wrong people, deciphered and made public, the new nation could be in grave danger.
The centuries that pass from the Navigator's creation through its eventual recoveries is the focus of this newest Clive Cussler novel. Only Cussler could capture the exotic themes, incredible scenarios and plots thick with intrigue.
The artifacts from the Bagdad Museum are slated to be shown in a special exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the Navigator was to be the centerpiece of this fine exhibit. The hunt is on to retrieve it yet again.
"Anthony Saxon was a true adventurer. Several years before, Saxon had launched what could have been his greatest adventure. He intended to sail a replica of a Phoenician ship from the Red Sea to the coast of North America. The Pacific Ocean crossing would have proven his theory that Ophis, the fabled site of King Solomon's Mines, was in the America's. However, the ship burned to the waterline one night under mysterious circumstances." Disaster seems to follow the Navigator and the people attempting to secure this fabled statue.
Again, Clive Cussler and co-author Paul Kemprecos have created a unique tale of high-seas adventure, with a complex but not an overwhelming plot. NUMA followers will rejoice at the reappearance of Kurt Austin, who picks right up where Dirk Pitt (now a Director and Austin's boss) left off. To me, the tie-in with Thomas Jefferson and the Indian ciphers was the most interesting aspect of this novel, but the Navigator's history followed closely behind. This is surely another great read by one of America's favorite and, in my opinion, premiere adventure writers.
--- Reviewed by Marge Fletcher