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From Barnes & NobleHow does an author maintain a successful career for more than a quarter century? By making each book better than the one before. Dubbed the grandmaster of adventure fiction by fans and critics alike, Clive Cussler continues to produce action-packed thrillers unlike anyone writing today. Rightly, he is the benchmark by which other genre novels are measured; to say that he's done it again with his latest blockbuster, Atlantis Found, would be a gross understatement. Whether raising the Titanic or foiling the schemes of countless villains, Dirk Pitt, Cussler's hero of 15 previous bestsellers, has become a legend to millions of readers. And who but Pitt could go after the greatest legend of them all -- Atlantis. As in his previous books, Cussler's Atlantis Found has a plot that's impossible to top, action that is bloody and frequent, and stakes as high as they can be. The cliched "roller coaster" analogy that we reviewers often tag a thriller just doesn't do this novel justice since Cussler's latest accelerates the whole way through.
With his typical sardonic wit and the aid of his NUMA (National Underwater and Marine Agency) coworkers, Dirk Pitt faces the biggest challenge of his life. It starts for Pitt during an exploratory dive in an abandoned Colorado mine that turns into the daring rescue of archeologist Patricia O'Connell -- daring not only because the mine is about to collapse, but also because there are killers in the subterranean passages who will stop at nothing to ensure that O'Connell's discovery of some ancient runes is not made public. From this white-knuckle episode the story evolves into the twin search to understand the writing's message and uncover the identity of the killers.
In order to learn the meaning of the ancient writing, Pitt must first duel with an antique submarine in frigid southern waters, discover the secret behind a massive landlocked shipyard in the Argentine fjords, and travel to a tiny island between Africa and Australia where another piece of the puzzle has lain hidden for 10,000 years. Only when he learns the truth behind these mysteries does Pitt discover that the answers may also be the death knell of civilzation. If that's not enough to keep your eyes glued to the pages, there's also a powerful industrialist with neo-Nazi ties whose machinations aim to make him and his family rulers of a truly new World Order. Hurtling toward a literal earth-shattering climax on the Antartic coast, it again becomes clear that the fate of billions rests on Pitt's shoulders. And the final twist? Well, it's something I've rarely seen in a thriller; it will leave long-time fans of Dirk Pitt gasping.
As in any great epic, Pitt's new quest involves a number of labors, both physical and mental, where each answer reveals more questions. With a seamless blend of discovery and adventure, this is where Cussler shines -- catapulting readers from scene to scene. His imaginative set pieces are among the best in fiction. If you want globetrotting action with a heavy dose of humor, then Atlantis Found is Cussler -- and Pitt -- at their very best.
And now my excruciating wait to see how Cussler's going to top this begins.
--Jack Du Brul