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The Spy (An Isaac Bell Adventure) Hardcover – June 1, 2010

4.2 out of 5 stars 349 customer reviews
Book 3 of 8 in the Isaac Bell Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Set in 1908, bestseller Cussler and Scott's action-packed third adventure featuring Isaac Bell, head operative of the Van Dorn Detective Agency, leaves behind the railroad theme of the first two books (The Chase and The Wrecker), focusing instead on the espionage-riddled world of warship and armament manufacturing in the buildup to WWI. Someone is murdering the leading lights of America's naval research and development. When the indefatigable Bell looks into the supposed suicide of chief gun designer Arthur Langner, he uncovers a succession of possible international suspects, all of whom are attempting to disrupt America's development of a fleet of dreadnought battleships. Bell clashes with old enemies and new until the climactic battle, where he must stop a massive submarine attempting to sink the navy's newest battleship. The expanded area of interest will attract new readers to this exciting series in the Cussler franchise. (June)
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From Booklist

Cussler, who made a name for himself more than 30 years ago with his Dirk Pitt thrillers, has lately been working with a variety of coauthors. With Scott, he wrote the second Isaac Bell thriller, The Wrecker (2009), which followed The Chase (2007). The Bell series has constituted a definite comeback for Cussler, whose previous novels were starting to feel a bit lethargic. This latest Bell adventure, set in 1908, continues the hot streak. Bell, the private investigator who bears more than a passing similarity to Sherlock Holmes (he's a master of disguise with a keen intellect and a knack for seeing the truth behind the misdirection), is called in to consult on a case involving the apparent suicide of a top designer of military weapons. The dead man's daughter suspects foul play, and soon Bell is convinced she's right, but can he unmask the villains and keep himself alive? Well, of course he can, but the fun is in seeing how he does it—and Cussler and Scott provide us with a ton of fun. This is a fine thriller, rich in character, period detail, and suspense. --David Pitt
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Product Details

  • Series: An Isaac Bell Adventure (Book 3)
  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Adult; 1st edition (June 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399156437
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399156434
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.5 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (349 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #746,573 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jeff Edwards VINE VOICE on June 2, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Like many, I see the name 'Clive Cussler' and think immediately: Great action, storytelling and adventure all rolled into one...however, as all of Cusslers adventures take place either in the here & now or very near future, with the Isaac Bell series, he has taken us on a trip back to the turn of the previous century--for a large portion of Cussler fans, this is an arena we are quite unfamiliar with--at least through Clive's perspective anyway. I am very much a person focused on the present and/or near future. I LOVE new and technical gadgets (much to my wife's disappointment...) and when I realized that 'The Chase' was a stand-alone adventure novel by Cussler that takes place a hundred years ago--from beginning to end--I HAVE to admit, I wasn't all that excited to read it...

...THAT was a mistake. I should've known. Clive rarely lets me down--and even when he does, in general its still better than most other stuff from so-called action/adventure authors (the first 2 Oregon Files novels comes to mind...), but with the character of Isaac Bell, we get an entirely different kind of character...a detective who is every bit as cool in the early 1900's as Dirk Pitt, Kurt Austin or Juan Cabrillo is in Post Y2K.

The Spy centers around the military in the years before America's entry into World War I. One of the premiere Battleship designers kills himself--or so it would seem. His daughter is absolutely convinced her Father did not commit suicide--and at this point, its no stretch to connect the dots that in fact he was murdered instead--but the question here is WHY? This is where the Van Dorn Detective Agency comes in. As Isaac begins the case, more deaths follow and evidence begins to mount that some inside 'Spy' is orchestrating everything...but to what end?
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Format: Hardcover
I had been anticipating the release of this new Isaac Bell adventure even before I finished "The Wrecker" last year. Bell is a different kind of hero for Cussler fans to enjoy. A bit of Dirk Pitt, Kurt Austin, and Juan Cabrillo rolled into one. Cussler and Smith have dispensed with the frame story format choosing instead to tell this story in real time. Don't expect locomotives either (Well, not entirely. A good portion of the story does take place in railway cars) because the plot of "The Spy" is about bigger guns.

The year is 1908 and the Van Dorn Detective Agency (think Pinkertons) has been hired to investigate what appears to be a suicide, but in fact turns out to be a murder. One of several deaths associated with the project to build Hull 44. The plot is quickly set in motion when agent Isaac Bell is assigned to the case. Bell is a lot like Sherlock Holmes, except in one crucial area: He has no Watson.

The novel is meant to be a period piece: some of the language is archaic; the graphics and chapter headings all have an antique-like look to them. You can tell considerable thought went into creating the feel of this book. I hope you will enjoy "The Spy" as much as I did.

If you have an eye for proofreading, you will also enjoy the many editing errors. What is the proper spelling of dreadnought? And what about Suisun City? Have fun!
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I'll keep this review short. If you're reading this, then you're likely familiar with Cussler novels and, hopefully, have already read "The Wrecker". I wont spoil anything, either.

I absolutely LOVED The Wrecker. This novel picks right up where Wrecker left off. Unfortunately, the characters are somewhat less interesting at first, but that changes later on. I also found the use of the mystery-identity criminal mastermind a bit TOO familiar... seeing as how THEY JUST DID THAT IN THE LAST BOOK (right down to the internal narrative of the bad guy thinking while he's in the room with Bell, but it could be one of 5 characters). Nevertheless, it kept things interesting.

All in all, as the story started to unfold my reading enthusiasm increased, and the climax seemed to happen all-too-early, but there was too much plot to be wrapped up. I felt like I was reading the finale-events forever. By the time it ended, I thought, "finally!".

Look, if you take my review as true, please understand that it definitely worth the read - do not skip it. I'm hoping they get back on track for the next in the series.
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If you loved all of Clive Cussler's sea faring novels you will not be disappointed with his new series that stars the Van Doren Detective Agency, specifically agent Isaac Bell. I was so excited about the first two novels and the setting being on Railroad Trains that I couldn't wait for this next edition. Boy was I surprised. We switch from railroad cars to the U.S. Navy and the big guns needed for battleships.

While disappointed about not revolving around trains, I was totally sucked into the details of the navy shipyard, the big guns, the people involved and the mystery of who is killing who and why? You won't be disappointed with this book. You don't have to read the first two novels in the series to enjoy this third book, but it wouldn't hurt to read those first two.

I don't want to give anything away, but Cussler has hit another home run with this book. You won't be able to put it down. I finished it in two days because I couldn't set it aside. I have to get back to work now and finish my own lesson plans, but I'm still so excited about the adventure that I'm finding it hard to focus on other things.

Is it wrong to say, I can't wait for the next book? Well, I can't. Thank you Clive and Justin for taking on a new hero in a new set of adventures for us to fall in love with.

Enjoy!
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