Thursday, July 5, 2012

Devil's Gate - Book Review

Devil's Gate
A novel from the NUMA Files
By Clive Cussler
Published by Putnam Books 2011
Reviews of Devil's Gate

There is not a lot of history in this book. It's mostly about Technology, Weapons of Mass Destruction and the like.

South of the Azore islands is a graveyard where many ships and planes have foundered and gone down in the ocean, and noone quite knows why.

Kurt is on board a NUMA boat heading the Azores in order to particpate in a special race with high stakes for the winner. The object of this race is to test out a new submarine. 

Kurt spots some smoke on the horizon - usually a sign of a ship going down - and the NUMA boat races to the rescue. Once at the boat, he and some NUMA sailors must use guns to chase off some pirate and Kurt rescues the only survivor of the cargo ship that went down. The woman he rescued was the Captains wife. The captain and most of the crew died by being burnt from the inside out. Kurt wonders how that happened, and more importantly, why did it happen. The rest of the crew were killed by the pirates. Kurt recognizes the leader of the Pirates - a man named Andras - a man whom he had defeated about 10 to 12 years ago.

During the submarine race Joe and Kurt hear from another submarine that gets into trouble - it is being pulled towards a large cliff by unknown forces (Later found to be magnetism). The NUMA men go to the rescue and in doing so, they discover the underwater graveyard of ships and planes.  They also find a cliff of stone with some very unusual properties.

When news of this magnetic anamoly gets out, the scientific world comes flooding in - as do the scientists. 

NUMA takes charge of this science mission, but squabbles start breaking out between countries.

Kurt meets a new scientist - Katarina from Russia. They go on a date in the Azores, and while they are away, the are chased and shot at. They have to send their car over a cliff to get away from whomever is chasing them. while Kurt and Katarina are evading their wannabe killers, the scientists over the graveyard are kidnapped and abducted. Katarina is also eventually capturedby the pirates.

The NUMA ship sails to the Azores to find Kurt. Once Kurt is back on board the NUMA vessel,  he discovers that his team members, Paul and Gamay Trout, were underwater in a submersible investigating the cargo ship that went down back at the beginning of the book. The one where the crew were cooked from the inside out. Their submersible is shot at by torpedos and the submersible is damaged. Paul and Gamay do eventually escape from the submersible but Paul has trouble and is found unconcious and when he is rescued, he is in a coma for several days. Someone does not want Anyone to discover why the cargo ship was destroyed and sunk.

Kurt and Gamay and Dirk Pitt eventually come up with the idea of a laser of some kind that cooks humans from the inside out - someone is using a laser of enormous power. The cargo from the cargo ships was stolen but Dirk discovers from the ships owners that the cargo was something called YCBO - a man-made superconductor technology used in for lasers and atom colliders (like the large one at CERN).

The YCBO was loaded into the Cargo ship at Freetown in Sierra Leone. Perhaps a place to start looking.

Djemma Garand the current dictator of Sierra Leone (one of the poorest nations in Africa and the world) decides that his country can no longer afford to keep paying the insurmountable debt that his country owes to the IMF, so he arbitrarily stops paying it.

He has hired a pirate named Andras. Andras arranges for  36 scientists to be gathered at a particular spot and then abducts them and takes them to Sierra Leone where they are put to work to help make the new weapon work. They are threatened with death if they do not do what they are told. One man who does resist is summarily shot and executed - just to prove the point.

Kurt and Joe are then now on a deadline to find Andras before this new weapon/laser can be brought online. They eventually track Andras down to a ship called the Onyx (registered in Liberia - right next door to Sierra Leone).

The one thing about these new lasers is that they only work on line of sight and cannot follow the curve of the Earth. The higher up the emitter is, the longer the event horizon is.

BUT there is one way to bend a laser beam - by having another superconductor and magnets located exactly halfway between the emitter and the target. These magnets can pull the laser beam back down, so that it effectively turns a corner.

The race is then on to stop the weapons discharge before it hits its first target. The message leaks out that the first target will be Washington DC.

The ONYX ship (registered in Liberia) was found dead centre in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean - and away from all the major shipping routes. This ship can bend the Laser beam and DC can be burned and the people in DC can be burned and cooked from the inside out.

Kurt Austin has just a few hours to sneak aboard the ONYX  and stop the magnet from bending the beam. 

The US Navy is sent to Sierra Leone to try and bring down the weapon. Under the guise of  ships and navy planes attacking on the surface, Paul and Gamay Trout are sent under water in their submersible to lay a bomb at the foot of the of the huge (and fake) oil rigs that holds up the emitter.

Their mission is successful - as is Kurt's mission to the Onyx -  and this laser weapon is destroyed with just minutes to spare.

Despite all the techno-babble (as Jack O'Neill - from Stargate) calls it, I really enjoyed this novel.

The next book after this one, is The Storm, but I have already read and reviewed that novel.

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