Saturday, 1 January 2011

Book review: Crescent Dawn by Clive Cussler

I have read a lot of Cussler's books in the past and after a few I hadn't particularly enjoyed I had decided to steer clear for a while. I clearly didn't mention it to my husband though, as a hardback copy of Crescent Dawn was waiting for me under the tree on Christmas morning. Fortunately this book seems to be a return to form for Cussler and I found myself enjoying it, although there were still a couple of negatives for me.

The book starts in 327AD with a pirate attack on a Roman bireme. It then moves on to 1916 and the sinking of HMS Hampshire with Lord Kitchener aboard. Moving to 2012 we find Dirk Pitt and the NUMA team dotted around in the UK, Turkey and Israel, attempting to discover the fate of those ships while becoming caught up in a series of linked atacks in the middle East. What is the connection between the ships and the series of artefact thefts and explosions? Cussler deftly weaves the various strands of the stories together in a way that left me cursing that I couldn't sneak in a bit more reading time.

As a plot terrorists trying to destablise the middle-East and the plundering of ancient artefacts aren't really anything new, I've read a couple of books with similar plots in the last few years. However Cussler writes it well and his unique point of view comes from the marine archeology side of things. I also find the parts written from the historial viewpoint very interesting and I always feel like the author has done his research due to the level of detail.

One of the things I had found off-putting about other books was Dirk Pitt Snr's sexist demeanour and some of the daft catchphrases the characters seemed to be regurgitating over and over, so I was pleased that neither were present in this book. I also enjoyed seeing the characters of Dirk Junior and Summer being developed. However I do still feel that Cussler's female characters are less well written and have less depth than their male counterparts.

Overall I felt this was much more like Cussler at his best and will forgive him some of the recent books I didn't enjoy.

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