Mayday – A fun adventure

Mayday (Dirk Pitt #2)

Clive Cussler


494129Major Dirk Pitt picked up the frantic distress call as he cruised his lumbering amphibious plane over the islands of the Aegean. Brady Air Force base was under fire, its entire force of jets destroyed on the ground . . . by just one First World War bi-plane!

A psychotic ex-Nazi, a bloodthirsty Greek strongman and a beautiful double agent set Pitt on the trail of the warped mastermind behind a devastating sabotage plot. And on that trail, danger and death are never far behind . . .

The second book in the Dirk Pitt series is as good as the first, with Cussler again showing that he knows how to write a good character. This time you don’t just have Dirt Pitt but also his best friend, Al Giordino, who only appeared briefly in the first book. Giordino is very obviously the light relief against Pitt’s more sensible character, but that isn’t all there is to him, nor does it mean he’s any less well-written.

Every character that Cussler writes, especially the main ones, show a very real personality, showing humour, compassion, strengths and weaknesses as the occasions demand.

The only reason I haven’t rated this book higher is the storyline, which is a little lighter than I would like; it’s well-written, I won’t deny that, but I would have liked more depth.

Pacific Vortex

Pacific Vortex

Clive Cussler


downloadDirk Pitt, a major in the American air force and director of special projects at Numa is having a quiet day at a secluded Hawaiian beach when he spots something floating in the water. Curiosity gets the better of him and swims out to retrieve it, in doing so he finds himself in the midst of a dangerous mystery – the object he spots is a message capsule from a missing nuclear submarine, and he is drafted in to help find and retrieve the submarine.

Making the job more difficult is the fact that the submarine is not the only vessel to go missing, dozens have disappeared over the years in an area called the Pacific Vortex. Before he can find and recover the submarine, Pitt is going to have to solve the mystery that is the Vortex, which will put him in the middle of a beautiful woman and a dangerous man – is he up to the task.

This is a short book, compared to later entries in the series, with a less complex plot, but as an introduction to the series and it’s main character, it’s well done and enjoyable. As with many of the books in the Dirk Pitt series, there’s a hint, perhaps more than a hint, of James Bond, both in the character of Pitt and in the other elements of the book, there’s nothing wrong with that, though.

Pitt is a very well constructed character – you learn more about him as the book progresses, which is much better than learning it all at the beginning, and he is someone I’m always keen to read more about. As I said, the story isn’t complex, but it has enough going on to keep the reader interested, and the ending is tragically triumphant, with the bad guy beaten, but at a cost.

What I think makes Cussler’s action adventure series, even this lightweight opener, better than many others is the way the lead character feels; he feels his physical injuries when something happens to him, and that affects what he is able to do later in the; this is in contract to characters like Bond who are half dead in one seen and fighting fit in the next. Pitt also feels the weight of events, his personality stays essentially the same but there are tiny changes that show he is affected by the things he goes through.

Overall this is very enjoyable, and if you haven’t yet gotten into the Dirt Pitt/Numa series, I definitely recommend starting at the beginning.

20,000 Leagues Under The Sea

20, 000 Leagues Under The Sea

Jules Verne


51wtiadobzlProfessor Aronnax, his faithful servant, Conseil, and the Canadian harpooner, Ned Land, begin an extremely hazardous voyage to rid the seas of a little-known and terrifying sea monster. However, the “monster” turns out to be a giant submarine, commanded by the mysterious Captain Nemo, by whom they are soon held captive.

So begins not only one of the great adventure classics by Jules Verne, the ‘Father of Science Fiction’, but also a truly fantastic voyage from the lost city of Atlantis to the South Pole.

Captain Nemo is a fascinating character, and the Nautilus a wonderful sci-fi invention, I would love to travel the seas in it

The book is well written, with nicely described characters that you care about, including Nemo; the places and events in the book are similarly described well, making it easy to imagine yourself there. Despite being well written it can be difficult at times, to adjust to the older style of writing, which tends to be more wordy than that used by modern authors.

I like this book but the overall impression I was left with after reading it is that Jules Verne wanted to impress people with his knowledge of oceanic flora and fauna. The focus on that aspect of the book can get distracting and take you away from the storyline. If you can get past that, you’re probably going to enjoy the book.