Flood Tide

A ship carrying mysterious Chinese cargo sinks in an unknown location without a trace.
Our hero Dirk Pitt goes on a vacation to a boathouse and gets involved in a bedlam with Chinese shipping tycoon and smuggler Qin Shang.

And the story begins.

Like most Dirk Pitt adventures, Flood Tide also has foreign evil forces conspiring against America. In this case, it’s the Chinese. Personally I am not too fond of the country myself (check the sidebar of my blog to know why); hence I did not mind reading about their defeat no matter how fictitious and tattletale it sounds. On the other hand, America is full of patriots and virtuous men who would bust their asses for the sake of humanity.

The characters in Clive Cussler novels speak with each other in a very superficial, sarcastic manner even in the moments of dire crisis, which makes the characters barely credible. They are always using idioms and catchphrases and after a while it gets really annoying. Seriously, who talks like that all the time? Dirk Pitt is so invincible and implausibly lucky that it makes him almost a superhero. And as usually, Flood Tide also has a beautiful, charming lady who leaves no stone unturned to get into trouble and give Pitt ample chance to flaunt his heroics. The author tries his very best to build searing chemistry between agent Julia Lee and Dirk Pitt, but not for once I felt like rooting for their happy ending. In fact whenever this Julia woman showed up in the novel, I felt like ‘Oh for the love of god, take this useless woman away and let the story continue!’ I hate it when unnecessary romance crops up in the middle of a high paced thriller only to hinder its progress. Fortunately, Cussler is not overly fond of elaborate description of sex like Sidney Sheldon. However he is not above the stereotypical chauvinistic approach while depicting a female character. Julia Lee could have been an ordinary looking but highly efficient, self-sufficient agent who did not need a man to save her ass. But no, Julia is a super sexy, rather foolish, helpless woman who always gets into trouble and in her leisure time she cooks gourmet food for Dirk and his friends. How convenient.

If one thinks that Flood Tide is all about sea adventure and treasure hunting, then one is in for a big disappointment. Yes, the plot includes a lost ship as I said in the beginning. But there is not much mystery about it and it only gets a small chapter in the end. The main plot revolves around how the Chinese immigrants are a potential threat to the sovereignty of United States of America and its people.  Hey, how are the red Indians, dude? Also, the climax is too hasty and lacklustre. However, there is one thing about the story that I actually loved. Fritz. Who is Fritz? Fritz is probably the only lovable character in the story. And I will not totally dismiss this book just because Clive Cussler gave Fritz ample importance.

I reckon this would be an ideal book for sailors and marine engineers. The book is full of complex nautical terms and detailed descriptions of different ships and boats and their mechanisms. At first I tried to follow them, but after a while I was too baffled to bother anymore. I simply went on skipping the tedious essay part which takes up almost one third of the story.

So far I read five books on Dirk Pitt adventure and this one has the thinnest plot. I hope the next one will not disappoint me again and it will live up to the level of the earlier ones.

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