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The Thief (An Isaac Bell Adventure) Paperback – March 5, 2013

4.1 out of 5 stars 410 customer reviews
Book 5 of 8 in the Isaac Bell Series

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Editorial Reviews


“Bell just keeps getting more interesting. Cussler is turning out some of his best work.” —Booklist
“Clive the Incredible.”—Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

Clive Cussler is the author or coauthor of forty-nine previous books, including twenty-one Dirk Pitt ® adventures, nine NUMA ® Files adventures; eight Oregon Files books; four Isaac Bell thrillers; and three Fargo novels. His most recent New York Times bestsellers are The Kingdom, The Race, and Devil’s Gate. His nonfiction works include Built for Adventure: The Classic Automobiles of Clive Cussler and Dirk Pitt, plus The Sea Hunters, and The Sea Hunters II; these describe the true adventures of the real NUMA®, which, led by Cussler, searches for lost ships of historic significance. With his crew of volunteers, Cussler has discovered more than sixty ships, including the long-lost Confederate submarine Hunley

Justin Scott’s twenty-four novels include The Shipkiller and Normandie Triangle; the Ben Abbott detective series; and five modern sea thrillers published under his pen name Paul Garrison.

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Product Details

  • Series: An Isaac Bell Adventure (Book 5)
  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons; Reprint edition (March 5, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425259293
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425259290
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (410 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #258,698 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Marcus A. Lewis on March 7, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Van Dorn detective Isaac Bell returns for his fifth adventure in "The Thief." Readers last saw him in the whimsical "The Race" (9/11). That book was not one of the better ones in the series. However, Clive Cussler and Justin Scott have raised the bar to the standards they set in "The Wrecker (11/09). The authors have already taken us for journeys on planes, trains, and automobiles so it seems only fitting that this one is set onboard a ship.

Breaking with tradition, the story begins without a given date, but sometime before war breaks out in Europe. Isaac Bell and his associate Archie Abbott are returning to the States on board the RMS Mauretania. Bell makes an astute observation (very Holmes-like) about something he hears in the water near the ship. After Abbott goes below, Bell is accosted by three intruders who come aboard in an attempt to kidnap two of its passengers. A fight ensues, the would-be kidnappers are dispatched, and the plot begins to play itself out.

There are some similarites here to the "The Spy" (6/10) but rest assured this is an all-new mystery. I miss the frame format that was used so effectively in "The Chase" (11/07) and again in "The Wrecker." I really like the idea of Isaac Bell taking us back in time to recount his many adventures. There are allusions here to situations in the previous stories, but that should not deter first-time Isaac Bell readers from picking up this book. Will Isaac Bell and Marion finally wed? Read on to find out.

I overlooked one point in my initial review. Every once and again an author will create a minor character that seems to come to life right off the page. Pauline Grandzau is that character in "The Thief." She is the feisty "assistant" to Arthur Curtis in Van Dorn's Berlin office. She's a keeper, and you'll see why.

A hat tip to Roland Dahlquist for his illustrations.
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Format: Hardcover
I have never read a Clive Cussler novel before; I bought this one as a contribution to our public library so I got first dibs on it. With so many novels from so many series under his belt, Cussler comes out once more with this latest adventure to date featuring detective Isaac Bell.

Set approximately in 1910, the story follows the exploits of a fearsome undercover agent for the German Imperial Army, who longs to get his hands on a special device being carried by steamship from England to the USA. The agent is known as the Acrobat and what he wants is the newest invention by a pair of entrepreneurs named Clyde Lynds and Franz Bismark Beiderbecke, who are on board the Cunard liner Mauretania. Bell is also on board with his fiance, Marion Morgan, and he thwarts an attempt by the Acrobat to kidnap Lynds and Beiderbecke. The thing they are protecting turns out to be a new process for synchronizing sound to film, a revolution about to break into the burgeoning movie industry. The two inventors obviously need protection, which is offered by Bell and his Van Dorn Detective Agency.

They are stalked all the way to New York City, then across the country to California, then back to New York, by the end of the story. Cussler has a fast moving style of narrative, and he puts the reader into interesting scenes of cat-and-mouse and the intelligence games of detective work. Bell is a veritable dynamo in every respect, a swashbuckler with the smarts of Sherlock Holmes and the grace and honor of a gentleman. The Acrobat - General Major Christian Semmler - is a cross between 'Jaws' of James Bond fame and Rambo.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have had a run in recent months of reading the next installment of a fiction series from authors I have followed for years. The Clive Cussler/Justin Scott effort "The Thief", the newest installment of the Isaac Bell series, was the latest one. Unfortunately, as was the case with this run of fictional series, "The Thief" continues a trend of utter disappointment.

I have always been a fan of Mr. Cussler's Dirk Pitt adventures, which he is transitioning to his son. But when he puts his name on an ostensibly co-authored - more like "branded" - effort, such as the Oregon Files or NUMA Files, I have found more misses than hits when I have read a few of each series. However, when he started the Isaac Bell series in 2007, I found them nearly as entertaining as the Dirk Pitt adventures. "The Chase" and "The Wrecker" were great, fun, fast-paced reads. However, as he has seemingly ceded primary authorship to Mr. Scott, the quality has started to suffer. The third installment - "The Spy" - was pretty good, and "The Race" mediocre at best. "The Thief" is very nearly a complete waste of time.

I managed to breeze through "The Thief" in the course of about three evenings after it was released. The plot - if there is one - is so inconsequential and uninspiring that it isn't worth the space in this review. Suffice to say that trying to create an international mystery revolving around talking motion pictures did not work. All of the elements that made the Isaac Bell character interesting were absent in this novel, as was any of the historical situations, equipment, and encounters that made the first two books in the series so engaging. The criminal was not fleshed out in any way that made the mystery compelling, nor were any of the secondary characters interesting in the least.
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