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05 September 2014

Clive Cussler & Russell Blake: Eye of Heaven

The Cussler formula hasn't changed
I haven't read many Clive Cussler books recently. A few years ago in the early Dirk Pitt days he was one of my favourite action authors but I moved on when my reading tastes expanded. I was tempted to read this book firstly to see how the Cussler publishing empire has changed over the years but also to check out his new co-authorship with Russell Blake, one of my favourite authors of no-holds-barred action-packed thrillers. My verdict is that Cussler's comfort food for his many fans is still fresh, spinning tales that have kept them fed for so many years and that Blake's co-authorship appears seamless.

The Fargo series focuses on Sam and Remi Fargo, a golden couple with apparently huge resources who are professional treasure hunters. The beginning of the book has them exploring a 17th Century wreck off the Spanish coast which contains some amazing statues. The Fargos make a long term dangerous enemy of  Janus Benedict, an immensely rich and unscrupulous Englishman when they thwart his plans to make off with the sunken treasures.

The Fargos join an expedition to map glacial shrinkage on Baffin Island and in the process find a Viking longship with its crew perfectly preserved by being frozen in the ice. While a find of an authentic Viking longboat in flawless condition is momentous the discovery of pre-Columbian artifacts that may have come from middle America is even more momentous. This sets the Fargos on a search for evidence that the Vikings may have reached America. Such a search gets the attention of the baddies (led by Benedict of course) who follows every move.

The plot was more realistic than many recent thrillers I have read and the history behind the plot was fascinating and entertaining. I don't know much about co-authorship, other than it allows authors to keep publishing books when they would otherwise have retired (Cussler is now 83). This book has the Cussler touch from the well researched historic plot and the Blake touch with his prolific writing skills. I am sure that Cussler's many fans will lap up this latest joint venture in the Fargo series.

Russell Blake is to be commended with his first venture into co-authorship because once again he has shown that he can write well in so many different environments. His name deserves a much larger font on the eye-catching cover. I did miss some of his signature adrenaline-pumping action so my have to attend a Requiem for the Assassin soon to refuel.

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