HelenEdith's Blog

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

Book Review: Clive Cussler with Paul Kemprecos – Serpent

Posted by HelenEdith on March 22, 2008

I hadn’t come across this collaboration before. This novel is set against the background of NUMA operations, as are Clive Cusslers solo novels featuring Dirk Pitt and Al Giordino. Characters such as Admiral Sandecker and the computer expert Hiram Yaeger pop up, but the main characters are Kurt Austin and Joe Zavala. They’re a little different from Dirk and Al, but come out of much the same mould.

The book starts with the sinking of the Andrea Doria off the coast of Nantucket in 1956.

It then fast-forwards to the year 2000, when Nina Kirov, a marine archaeologist, narrowly escapes being murdered when the rest of her expedition is killed in the middle of the night. She manages to escape by jumping in the sea and swimming through the underwater ruins she has been working on. The bad guys follow in a hovercraft and she’s just about to tire and get caught when she gets pulled down to safety by a diver who just happens to show up at the right moment. It’s Kurt Austin, and he shares his air with her and takes her underwater to his NUMA ship, which is nearby.

That’s only the start of the killings, as the bad guys board the NUMA ship to try and take out Nina. Kurt and Joe just happen to hear the first of the grappling hooks when the boarding party arrive, and they improvise and manage to repel them.

However, everyone then starts taking an interest in why Nina’s expedition was wiped out, and discover a number of other expeditions which have also been wiped out. All share one thing in common: they include people who have paid to join the dig as a holiday activity, and those people all came via the same charitable organisation. One starts to suspect that it isn’t quite as charitable as it seems!

We do eventually get back to the Andrea Doria, which turns out to contain a vital artefact. The bad guys want it, too, and they pop up where Kurt and Joe are several times.

All comes to a fitting conclusion at the end of the book, with Kurt and Joe saving the day and the bad guys getting their come-uppance.

I don’t think I “know” Kurt and Joe as well as Dirk and Al, but maybe if I read another book or two from the Cussler/Kemprecos collaboration, I will do so. To date, there are already seven, so there’s plenty of scope!

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