by Clive Cussler
Published July 2008 (PB)
Published June 2007 (HC)
As most of you know, I have been reading Clive Cussler's books for the last 20 years. While I prefer Dirk Pitt because he is the original hero, I have discovered that I also like the new hero Kurt Austin as well.
Kurt has taken over Dirk Pitt's old job as Leader of the Special Operations Team in NUMA. Dirk got promoted to Director of NUMA. Admiral Sandecker is now the Vice President of the USA. I have been somewhat reluctant to switch to a new hero, but having now read The Navigator, I think Kurt Austin is an excellent replacement for Dirk.
Dirk Pitt is mentioned several times in his position as Director of NUMA. Which helps to keep the continuity of the changeover. A new Specials Operations team has been formed. This new team has 4 members. Whereas Dirk and Giordino used to be on their own as a team and preferred it that way.
The Navigator refers to a large life size statue of a sailor. On this statue is a map. This statue used to sit in the basement of the Baghdad musem for many years. Until the US army occupied the country in 2003. Since then, a lot of irreplaceable art has been stolen from the Baghdad museum and sold on the illegal arts market.
One of the statues stolen is the Navigator. It was dated to Phoenician times (about 1000 BCE). The Phoenicians were a great trading and seafaring people. Their home land was the coastal area we know as the Levant - which covers Palestine and Lebanon. The Phoenicians were known to have traded all over the Mediterranean, and possble along the Atlantic coast of North Africa and Southern Europe as well.
When Carina Mechadi (a former journalist and now an art detective) is given the opportunity and the money to find the Navigator, she tracks it down using all her contacts in the Middle east - especially in Iraq. When she finds it, she gets it packed up and placed on a container ship. Carina then purchases a passenger ticket on the same container ship in order to stay close to the statue, and travels with the statue back to USA. The statue is to be the centre piece of a museum display and tour.
En route to USA, the container ship is attacked by pirates, who attempt the steal the statue. By chance Kurt and Joe are on board an ice patrol ship in the vicinity catching icebergs and towing them to a safe place, so that they do not hit the oil rigs and platforms dotting the North Atlantic.
When the container ship captain does not answer the radio, Kurt and Joe head to the ship to find out what is happening, and to steer it away from the oilrig directly in its path.
This novel has penty of action. Kurt. Joe and Carina work together to find out who wants the statue so badly, and why. They also travel to Turkey where they locate a second statue. Together they find gold mines, maps, scrolls, a ship that should not be there and a startling letter from Thomas Jefferson (the 3rd president of the USA) which reveals that if the scrolls are released to the world, their contents could cause unrest and possibly war in the Middle East. Carina also finds out a stunning secret about her ancestry.
I give this novel a 5 out of 5 - just as good as the Dirk Pitt novels.