Book Review - Cyclops

This is my first ever book review so I am in quandary as where and how I should begin.  I read many books, but most of the time I am too lazy to sit and jot down a review. I love books, but I am definitely not a bookworm. I am choosy and particular about what I read. And most inevitably and unequivocally I avoid drama or sad or really serious type novels (or what we sometimes call the classics). Come on, there is enough distress and negativity in our (read ‘my’) lives already, no need to waste 5 hours of our precious time after a 500 page book that talks about death, heartbreak, boring politics, casual sex or infidelity.

I love to read thrillers and adventure stories. To me, they are the big secret closet that opens up to the magical land of Narnia. They are a respite from my otherwise sad and lonely mundane life. They are the delightful little boxes of thrill and adventures that I so desperately long for, but I will probably never experience in real life. And yes, they are better than having a bunch of people who would eventually screw you over and leave you with a feeling of nothing but emptiness. Terrifying emptiness.

Cyclops is written by Cliver Cussler. It is a part of his famous Dirk Pitt series of adventure novels. To be honest, I was totally oblivious of this series until one day I happened to watch a movie named Sahara which was an adaptation of a Clive Cussler novel of the same name. Then one fine afternoon I was rummaging through a pile of old dusty books at a second hand bookshop in College Street and I stumbled onto a very old book with Inca Gold written on it in big bold yellow letters. A book that named after one of the biggest unsolved treasure mysteries in the world? I knew I had found my treasure. And at the end of the day I came home with not one, but seven books of the same Dirk Pitt series.

Clive Cussler has written 23 novels of Dirk Pitt adventure so far. The character is named after Cussler’s eldest son Dirk who also plays the role of co-author with his father. Our hero Dirk Pitt is a project director of National Underwater and Marine Agency or NUMA. He is a former Major in the US Airforce Academy. Dirk Pitt is a delightful combination of Indiana Jones and James Bond with a very colourful and adventurous life of his own. A charming ladies’ man Dirk lives in an old hangar of an abandoned airstrip along with a vast collection of vintage car in his garage. In real life, Cliver Cussler is the founder of NUMA and an Airforce veteran like his brainchild Dirk. In each novel Dirk embarks upon his new adventure with his best friend Al Giordino, a stout Italian who also works for NUMA. His other close acquaintances are Rudi Gunn and Admiral James Sandecker. Admiral Sandecker is the head of NUMA and shares a father-son bond with Dirk. Clive Cussler’s plots usually revolve around history’s unsolved mysteries regarding treasure or lost ship. Unlike Dan Brown, Cussler does not try to feed us with the conspiracy theories of esoteric societies and secret cult and symbolisms. Rather, his story takes an alternative path through the maze of history.

Usually Cussler starts with two or three parallel storylines and as the novel progresses, the sub-plots begin to connect with each other and it ends with one mind-blowing climax.
In the beginning of Cyclops a famous billionaire and finance guru embarks upon a ‘treasure hunt’ (?) in a blimp and then goes missing. Meanwhile a mysterious man is giving the US president a hard time by claiming a bunch of influential NASA scientists has secretly built a colony on the moon which puts America at the risk of being on an involuntary lunar war with Russia who is desperately trying to get a foothold on the moon via their very own lunar mission. Along comes the beautiful lady, who happens to be the wife of the missing billionaire. While Dirk Pitt is busy unraveling the mystery of the lost ship Cyclops that sunk years ago under inexplicable circumstances, he receives a strange request from the lady to assist her on the search and rescue mission for her husband.  The mission goes horribly wrong and Dirk Pitt, Al Giordino, Rudi Gunn end up in a Cuban torture cell and soon discover that they are in the middle of a complex and terrifying conspiracy  that involves Russia, Cuba and America.
Will Dirk be able to find Cyclops and unravel its mysteries? What will happen to Cuba? Will the secret lunar mission bring about war between Russia and America? Will Dirk be able to save his friends from the psychotic Russian and Cuban military personnel? Or will he end up losing his near and dear ones in order to save the world from a bigger catastrophe?

Cyclops is a delightful read for the adventure and thriller lovers whose imaginations run wild and free. All Cliver Cussler novels are the result of a perfect marriage between history and the author’s own fantasies that keep the readers hooked until the very end. Cyclops is no exception.

There is one thing that I hate about these books. I don’t know why always America is portrayed as the self-proclaimed guardian of the world and humanity. Be it Clive Cussler or Steven Spielberg or Stan Lee or Dan Brown, always the big responsibility of saving everyone’s ass falls upon USA and its president and the superheroes.  And it’s always either Russia or China or North Korea or Germany playing the role of either the vicious villain or the petulant child that the big daddy America is trying to pacify (I’m not even talking about the Middle East). Sometimes even Britain gets some indirect ass-whipping from them. However, if one can ignore their awful megalomania and a confounded sense of superiority, the book is a quite remarkable read. I only wish the treasure part were a bit more elaborated.