on November 26, 2003
I admit it, I'm a Dirk Pitt fan through and through and I'm not sure any series and/or hero will ever measure up to those standards. However, I am enjoying the Kurt Austin series more and more. And although this book lacked the non-stop action of the Pitt series and previous Austin fares, it's still a very entertaining novel.
In White Death, a corporate conglomerate is attempting to monopolize the fishing industry by killing fish with genetically altered salmon. I know, reading this first sentence causes you to roll your eyes (it did me too), but the adventure of Kurt and his Numa co-horts Joe Zavala and Paul and Gamay Trout, along with cameos with Pitt regulars Rudi Gunn, Hiram Yeager and St. Julien Perlmutter kept my interest for the entire book.
Many adventures do occur in the book, including Kurt and Joe's rescue of trapped passengers in a sunken Danish cruiser, the rescue of Canadien wilderness villagers from blood-thirsty Mongol-like killers, to the dramatic climax aboard a German zeppelin. This is vintage Cussler, and as such, keeps the pages turning at a fast-action pace.
As I said, I'm not placing Kurt Austin into the Dirk Pitt stratus yet, but his stock keeps rising with each tale.
on August 11, 2003
Although this is an interesting book, I find it hard to believe that Clive Cussler is doing the majority of the writing. The in-depth, can't put it down, never-ending, one after another fantasy related to history aspect that is always so strongly prevalent in the Dirk Pitt novels is just not there. While I would still buy this book again (I am a die-hard Cussler fan) it has just not held my attention (nor did the other co-written book I bought starring Kurt) the way the previous books did. I appreciate that every author wants to vary his/her writing and not just write the same thing over and over, but what normally takes me about 3 days to read has taken almost a month this time. There's just something lacking in the fleshing out of the the storyline and characters.
Greedy mega corporations bent on ruling the world and a love for the sea and adventure have long been hallmarks of Clive Cussler's large body of work. Whether his main character has been Dirk Pitt or more recently, Kurt Austin in a series of novels co written with Pail Kemprecos one always expects the same basic formula. The good guys are so very good while surviving multiple near death experiences that would kill any lesser man or woman. The bad guys are incredibly bad and driven by megalomania of a grand scale, which will ultimately play a large role in their complete and total destructive downfall. The read will be a good one and the good guys will win, saving the world once again. One does not read Clive Cussler for deep plots, complicated characters, or philosophical musings on life. Not to be taken seriously, one reads Cussler for the sheer thrill of adventure and he does not disappoint.
A case in point is his most recent release, which opens as so many of the Kurt Austin novels do. A ship sinks taking people down with it and Kurt Austin leader of the NUMA ® Special Assignments Team must try to do everything he can to save them. In this case, Kurt and his friend and colleague Joe Zavala make the rescue using an untried submersible and soon perform another feat of heroic daring do.
In the aftermath, it becomes clear that one of the ships involved in the incident was sabotaged by outside forces. Kurt begins to investigate and before long begins to feel hunted by a shadowy mega corporation led by a maniacal leader bent on taking over the world. To do so he will use genetic manipulation as well as anything else necessary to achieve an incredible power grab that would change the sea forever.
Blending in the relics of the Basques, a German Zeppelin and the culture of various Inuit (commonly referred to incorrectly as Eskimo) tribes, the authors once again create another grand adventure where the bad guys get a fatal dose of their own medicine in the end. While no new ground is plowed in terms of character development there are not any nasty surprises either. Kurt is still loved by all the women of the world, hated and fearfully respected by his enemies, and calm and collected in the snarling face of danger. He easily compares to Stuart Wood's recent signature character of Stone Barrington, but he does not have as much money. Such is the life of a government employee.
The other usual characters make brief appearances. Admiral Sandecker is rarely seen or mentioned at all in this novel, which is a change from previously books in this series. He has little to do until the very end as opposed to the Trouts, who are given plenty to do in a secondary story line, which eventually peters back into the main storyline where they become sideline players.
Additionally, there is certain choppiness to the novel over the course of its more than 400 pages. In the past, the works flowed seamlessly and it was impossible to determine which part one of the authors write. That is not the case here where the sentence structure shifts from chapter to chapter and while one can't tell precisely who wrote what, one does get a sense who might be responsible.
For what it is, this is another very enjoyable book. As in the others of this series, it is not filled with deep characters, or philosophical musings. Instead it is pure action and adventure and serves as a great break from all the serious pretentious literary stuff. In other words, it is fun and by all means, don't take it seriously.
on July 11, 2003
After reading 20+ Cussler books I pretty much have the formula down we meet girl, girl gets in trouble, hero saves girl, girl and hero go seperate ways, hero has three more close shaves with death, hero meets super vilian, hero and girl cross paths again both trying to foil super vilian, hero and girl win, the end. This of course over 400+ pages. Even knowing this I buy this book the day after it is released and read page after page unable to set it down until I am at the end. Maybe it is just an easier read since I do have the formula down and I know what is coming I can get more relaxed when I go read. Whatever the reason I will keep buying Cussler as long as he keeps writing.
on September 14, 2003
If I have a must read author, then I suppose it would have to be Clive Cussler. His plots are outlandish and ridiculous, his dialogue is...well, laughably pathetic and his heroes are annoyingly sanctimonious, but I'm still hooked on them all. They're worth their weight in gold just for the action and head-snapping pace.
And so it goes with WHITE DEATH. In this book Kurt and Joe are up against an environmental disaster thanks to some genetically modified "frankenfish". Starting on the Faroes Islands and then zipping over to the Canadian wilderness, there seems to be a lot of unusual behavior and unaccountable missing fish in the vicinity of certain fish farms, and these fish farms all seem to belong to one mysterious conglomerate, Oceanus. As with many of Kurt Austin's opponents, these "evil-doers" prefer to take the aggressive form of defense and merely succeed in arousing Austin's wrath. This is always a serious mistake when dealing with a Cussler hero.
Of course, there is the usual evil megalomaniac who makes the usual cliched mistakes. Of course, there are the usual last-minute death-defying escapes. Of course, there is the usual stunningly gorgeous, though exceedingly brilliant woman who just happens to fall for Kurt. Of course, I zipped through the book and will be lining up for the next one (ain't I a tragic?)
So yeah, nothing's changed, substitute Dirk for Kurt, Al for Joe and whammo, you've got yourself a new series. This is one of the weaker NUMA Files adventures, going a little heavier than usual on the cheesiness, but if you're a Clive Cussler fan, I think you'll be satisfied, if you're not I would suggest starting on the Dirk Pitt series instead.
In the first prologue you meet Diego Aguirrez, Basque seafarer escaping from the Spanish Inquisition (1515), and attempting to hide 2 relics. In the second prologoue you learn of a German (1935) airship attempting to journey to the North Pole, which discovers Aguirrez's ship frozen in the ice.
Now that the groundwork is set, the story begins with the ship of a radical environmental protest group "Sentinal of the Seas" ramming and sinking a Danish warship. Several people are trapped in the wreckage, apparently alive, 300 feet down. Enter the heros who happen to be testing a new salvage/rescue submarine just 1200 miles away. Kurt Austin investigates the sinking after a harrowing rescue of the crew, and is thus entangled in the main plot. Along the way we are educated about the hazards of genetically engineered fish, Italian cuisine, and the Basque push for its own nation separate from Spain.
Many of the adventures are outlandish. But this is fiction. James Bond frequently has outlandish missions, but he's still entertaining. So if you just remind yourself that this is not meant to be "true-crime" type of reading, I think you'll be able to sit back and just enjoy the story for what it is.
I am what you would call a MAJOR Clive Cussler Fan (all I need is a paycheck, and I'd be a Professional...) and I absolutely LOVE the Kurt Austin adventures--ALMOST as much as his counterpart Dirk Pitt. I MUST admit 1-tiny fact: I have enjoyed the last TWO Kurt novels MORE than the most recent Dirk Pitt tale ('Valhalla Rising'). I ALMOST feel dirty admitting that, but c'mon! It's TRUE! For those who continue to persist that Clive puts way MORE into his stories for Dirk than he does for Kurt, well I'm beginning to think othewise. Don't get me wrong, as long as Dirk Pitt lives on the pages of a Clive Cussler novel, he's got at least ONE die-hard reader. He has NEVER let me down. Sure, some novels are better than others, but they are ALL entertaining.
'White Death' is among his better releases (in MY opinion, anyway). I found one thing VERY interesting as I devoured this book: it doesn't contain as much action as the average Dirk Pitt/Kurt Austin novel--which ISN'T to say that the action is absent entirely. On the contrary, there is plenty--just not as much as I have grown accustomed to over the years--and this in NO WAY slows the story one tiny bit. I found 'White Death' to emphasize the plot more than action, which I enjoyed tremendously. There is never ANY doubt who will win in the end here--and as I read on, I found the topic of 'White Death' to be MUCH more entertaining than I would have normally thought possible: A modern evil Eskimo tribe plans to genetically engineer horrific 'Frankenfish' that will decimate the population of certain species of fish in the oceans--while stockpiling these same in 'Fish Farms', monopolizing the supply and making billions in the process. Simple plan, right? Sure--until you factor in a certain Kurt Austin and his trusty sidekick, Joe Zavala (absolute CLONES of Dirk Pitt & Al Giordino). Joe has a more subdued roll in 'White Death' than he has in his previous adventures with Kurt--but when he does make an appearance, it usually involves chases, explosions and even a little sword-play. Along for the ride we have a radical environmental group calles SOS (Sentinels of the Sea) and the dangerous and explosive company bent on total control of genetic fish engineering, Oceanus (a front for our evil Eskimos).
As usual, the beginning of the story takes us back in history, my personal favorite was an undocumented Nazi/Germany ill-fated trip to the North Pole in a massive Zeppelin. There is MUCH to like in the pages of 'White Death' but I HAVE to admit, one particular conversation between Kurt and the leader of the Evil Eskimos had me scratching my head...NOT because it was confusing, but because it seemed forced and almost comical in how the bad guy spoke and declared he was '...the instrument of your (Kurt's) death...', other than that, I truly loved this latest outing with Kurt, Joe, Admiral Sandecker and even an appearance by Rudi Gunn. I now long for another installment featuring Dirk, but I am thrilled that with the introduction of Kurt, I no longer have to wait a full year and a few odd months before I see something new from Cussler...All in all, 'White Death' is FINE brain candy.
on July 13, 2003
I look forward to a new Clive Cussler (& Paul Kemprecos) adventure every year or so, but this one, though it has all the suspense and twists I expected I feel like I've read it before. Perhaps Kurt Austin is too much of a clone of Dirk Pitt and well as their sidekicks, and the formula has run its course. Cussler's non-fiction adventures are even better, and I can see where he brings his knowledge of sea and the history of seafaring to each plot, but unfortunately there is nothing new here to make it as exceptional as I've come to expect.
Cussler is a great story teller and I honestly don't read him for the great writing, but for the escape so perhaps next time he will bring one of his heroes(or create a new one)onto land for a bigger caper and break new ground.
on February 6, 2016
This is another great NUMA story. Kurt Austin finds himself in tight situations that he always seems to get out of. Joe Zavala was not used much in this story until towards the end. Paul and Gamay hold their own and Julian Perlmutter is the best! This book is fun and adventurous. Look forward to the next NUMA book.
on November 8, 2004
White Death is an exciting fiction novel Written by Clive Cussler. I enjoyed this book very much. I found it to be a page-turner and it was very interesting. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a lot of action, or is a fan of Clive Cussler.
One reason I liked this book is how there was constant action. Books that have slow moving plots easily bore me. In White death, Clive Cussler makes the main character, Kurt Austin, a James Bond like character. In the book Kurt works for N.U.M.A., a governmental agency that specializes in marine work. Kurt stops the bad guys by using a lot of marine vehicles to infiltrate the fish plant where some shady things are happening.
Another reason I found this book worthwhile was how Kurt Austin would outsmart his enemies in order to save him self. During the book Kurt would constantly be caught up in tight jams. By infiltrating the fish plant, he got the plant owners extremely worried that he might have discovered there secrete project. Because of this they will do what ever it takes to knock Kurt off the map.
The third reason I like this book am how the main topic was at a marine setting. My family has a boat so I am constantly in touch with the marine environment. I like reading books like this because I am so familiar with marine life Kurt encounters. In the book a plant is breeding a mutant fish that will have a huge impact on the marine environment and destroy the local fishing. This will make the fish plant the one provider of fish in the area.
I thought that White Death by Clive Cussler was a very good book. It had all of the things that I like to see in a book. White Death had constant action, a witty main character, and a setting in a marine environment. Having the book take place in settings that were so familiar to me helped me relate my self to the main character. One time in the book Kurt is inside the fish plant when he stumbles upon the tank of the secrete project. He finds the mutant fish but as he's observing this he hears footsteps approaching. He quickly gets off the ladder and hides behind the tank. After the guard walked by Kurt sneaked up behind him and knocked him out. This is a example at how The main character used his wit to get out of a jam. I can also connect myself because I play paintball and I have to outsmart my opponents by sneaking up on them, or letting them walk into an ambush.