Global climate change poses a threat in bestseller Cussler’s exciting 10th thriller featuring Kurt Austin and the gang from the National Underwater and Marine Agency (after 2011’s Devil’s Gate, also coauthored with Brown). When everyone aboard a NUMA research vessel dies after their catamaran runs into a mysterious black oily substance in the Indian Ocean, where they were investigating water temperature anomalies, Kurt and partner Joe Zavala rush to find out what happened. Wealthy Yemeni Jinn al-Khaif, who’s behind the killings, has dumped billions of microbots into the sea to cool it and create weather patterns that will deliver rain to certain areas and prevent rain from falling in others. Jinn plans to become even richer by selling these weather patterns to governments. Kurt and Joe are out to stop him, and, as always, the fate of the world rests in their hands. A clever twist at the end shows Cussler still plotting at the top of his game. Agent: Peter Lampack, the Peter Lampack Agency. (June)
Cussler (Devil's Gate, 2011, etc.), with co-author Brown, dips into the NUMA Files for another Kurt Austin action-on-the-sea escapade. Austin and his friend Joe Zavala, are National Underwater and Marine Agency Special Assignments Team troubleshooters. Dirk Pitt, head of NUMA, dispatches the pair to uncover the fate of the three-person crew missing from a NUMA research vessel found adrift in the Indian Ocean. Austin and Zavala link up with Paul and Gamay Trout, husband and wife NUMA techie team, in the Maldives, and the group's examination of the vessel reveals the missing NUMA scientists were victims of "microbots"--"A hundred could fit on the head of a pin." There in the Maldives, Austin also rescues Leilani Tanner, sister of one of the dead scientists, from a kidnapping, and she tags along. The microbot trail soon leads to Yemen and Jinn al-Khalif, a Bedouin camel trader's son grown immensely wealthy through ruthless, bloody ambition. Jinn hired scientists to modify the microbots, the not-quite-ready invention of circuit-board-genius Elwood Marchetti, meant to consume ocean pollution. The microbots now not only eat organic matter, but also self-replicate into the trillions. Programmed to blanket the Indian Ocean, the nefarious plan is to alter the world's climate by lowering water temperatures. That means more rain in dry places, which will create immense profits for Jinn and his financial backers, assorted Chinese, Pakistani and Egyptian evildoers. The narrative ricochets from the Maldives, to Yemen, to Egypt (the Aswan Dam is in peril because Jinn didn't get his money from a corrupt general), and finally to Marchetti's gargantuan movable man-made island, Aqua-Terra, for a shoot-'em-and-explode-what's-left ending. That the microbots can consume human beings like so many oceangoing piranha makes for more than one hairs-breadth escape, but that Leilani is actually Zarrina, double agent for Jinn, nearly stymies Austin and Zavala. Classic Cussler: testosterone-driven action, over-the-horizon technical wizardry, beautiful and talented women and exotic locations.