HelenEdith's Blog

The minutiae of my life, plus website updates and book reviews

Book Review: Clive Cussler – Dragon

Posted by HelenEdith on March 22, 2008

Stephen brought home a whole pile of Clive Cussler’s books from the charity shop, and I’ve been working my way through them.

Dragon starts off with a B-29 bomber taking off for Japan with a nuclear bomb as its payload. It never makes it, but is shot down by the Japanese, who have no idea what they’ve shot down, so the B-29 sinks into the Pacific off the coast of Japan and lies forgotten.

Then the story proper starts, and the reader is left wondering where on earth the missing B-29 is going to feature, as we start out with a deserted Japanese car-carrier bound for the US being boarded by a Norwegian crew who hope to salvage her. Unfortunately, it turns out that she has a nuclear bomb on board and it is causing radiation sickness, which accounts for the disappearance of her original crew. The radiation sickness drives one of the boarding party mad and he shoots a car in the hold, setting off the nuclear bomb it contains. The car carrier is instantly vaporised, and the other two boats in the vicintiy, the Norwegian boat that supplied the boarding party, and a British oceanographic vessel, are also sunk, although they go down intact.

It turns out that there’s more going on under the sea that you would think: a submersible launched from the British vessel was underwater at the time of the explosion, and with the destruction of their support ship, the personnel in the submersible are in dire danger. Who should pop up at this point but Dirk Pitt, who just happens to be on-site carrying out an undersea mining trial which nobody knows about! He rescues the crew of the submersible in the nick of time and takes them back to his hush-hush underwater habitat, but the nuclear explosion has set off an undersea earthquake which is likely to wreck their habitat, so they have to evacuate in rather a hurry. The additional personnel mean that there aren’t enough places for everybody in the evacuation, so Dirk volunteers to stay down and wait for someone to come back for him. By this time, people from NUMA have arrived at surface level, and those escaping from the undersea habitat go on board a Chinese sailing ship which just happens to have friends of Admiral Sandecker on-board. Their submersibles can’t go down and rescue Pitt, who has to formulate his own escape plan. He’s an ingenious man, and his plan works and Pitt is eventually recovered from under the sea.

Then people turn their attention to the nuclear explosion and figure out that there are nuclear bombs hidden in cars being exported all over the World from Japan. Naturally, Dirk Pitt and his friend and colleague Al Giordino get involved in figuring out where the cars are and how they are going to be used.

We do eventually get back to that missing B-29 bomber on the sea floor near Japan, and it does play a part near the end of the story.

Oh, and one other thing I enjoyed in this book: Dirk Pitt gets to meet Clive Cussler and they have a classic “Do we know each other?” moment at a classic car meet!

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