HelenEdith's Blog

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

Posts Tagged ‘kemprecos’

Book Review: Clive Cussler with Paul Kemprecos – Blue Gold

Posted by HelenEdith on July 26, 2008

This is the second “NUMA Files” offering featuring Kurt Austin, Joe Zavala, Paul Trout and his wife Gamay Morgan-Trout – plus a few familiar NUMA characters from the Dirk Pitt books – although in this book, Pitt himself does not make even a cameo appearance.

I do have to speculate with collaboration books as to who writes what, and my guess is that Austin and Zavala are Cussler’s characters; while the Trouts are the province of Kemprecos. They do all get together at times, but there are often multiple threads going in the book, and I just think I see the signature of Cussler behind Austin and Zavala, who are somewhat similar to Pitt and Giordino; and when that’s carried to its logical conclusion, it points to the Trouts being the creation of Kemprecos.

This book is about water, or rather, the lack of water, and how unscrupulous people try and gain control over limited resources to gain power. It starts with a plane crash in the Prologue. The meaning of the plane crash to the rest of the story remains a mystery for a long time, as it isn’t even referred to, but the story gets around to it later on.

Austin and Zavala start out in a power boat race, which they end up losing in spectacular fashion while averting disaster when a competitor’s boat goes out of control. However, it doesn’t take them long to get down to business – business prompted by the cause of the competitor’s boat going out of control. That leads them to Mexico and gets them into deep water.

The Trouts start out in the jungles of the Amazon. They encounter a canoe carrying a dead tribesman from a tribe feared by all the locals. They get thoroughly embroiled in goings-on in the Amazon, and have to call on Austin and Zavala, who bail them out in the nick of time.

They all realise eventually that they’re working different sides of the same puzzle, and that a very secretive company has been buying up water rights and is almost to the point of having a monopoly over the water supply.

As it’s that sort of a book, you know that somehow Austin, Zavala and the Trouts are going to save the World from this menace, and you wouldn’t be wrong, but you’ll have to read the book to find out how they do it.

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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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