It's a characteristic of Clive Cussler adventures that they feature multiple exotic locations, a kernel of historical truth, and rollicking action sequences. That's certainly true of "Shadow Tyrants." The plot revolves around an actual historical event: A bloody war between the Kingdom of Kalinga and Ashoka, leader of the Maurya Empire that took place about 200 years before the birth of Christ. The casualties on both sides were so high that Ashoka converted to Buddhism and became known as a great emperor rather than simply a great military leader. Cussler and co-author Boyd Morrison have taken that event and pushed the time line forward to the present day in which a shadowy group of powerful men and women have inherited the secrets that Ashoka decreed were too dangerous to be allowed to fall into humanity's hands. Each of these people hold one of the nine scrolls that contain the secrets and are pledged to safeguard them so that they are never in the hands of a single person. That's where the problems start: Some members of the group think the scrolls should be united and their knowledge used to make the world a better, safer place. Others see that reunification as a means to rule the world. Their battle for control of the scrolls becomes a threat that the crew of the Oregon must try to contain. The narrative is fast-paced, the action takes place across half the globe, and the crew of the Oregon faces danger in just about every chapter - always a good thing when you're reading heroic fiction. This novel also introduces a new member of the Oregon crew in addition to series regulars - another good thing, in my opinion. All in all, a great read for Cussler fans and a pretty good introduction to the adventures of the Oregon crew for those that haven't yet read any of them.