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In the middle of the Atlantic the world's largest Cargo ship is hit by Giant, freak waves and ends up sinking to the bottom of the Ocean. Elsewhere a group of Killer Whales attack a group of Kayakers in the Pacific Ocean. At first it seems like this is a totally random coincidence but there is more to it than meets the eye. Kurt Austin, one of NUMA's leading ocean expert's starts to realise that the events are all linked and have the hallmarks of a series problem for the planet. It's a race against time as Kurt and the NUMA team try to stop the culprits behind these events, before it becomes much more serious.
I've become a big fan of Cussler's novels since I picked up Lost City a couple of years ago. He has the ability to write a very involving story that keeps the reader hooked from the outset. His novels revolve around three different sets of characters but for the most part they all revolve around Ocean Science and occurrences. This time it's the underwater marine science organisation NUMA and the lead characters Kurt Austin and his dependable sidekick Zavala.
Of course as I have previously read one of the Kurt Austin series I was already familiar with the characters, but I really feel Cussler writes a good stand alone novel. While it is handy to have a little insight into the characters and their relationships, it isn't imperative to the enjoyment of the story. He gives enough information and background on the characters for this book to work as a pick up on the NUMA Files. A lot of novels of this type will rely on you starting at the start of the series, but one of the real plus points of Cussler's writing is the access ability of each and every group.
I really like Cussler's writing style, he writes a very descriptive novel, without going into too much technical detail. He is very good at setting a scene and letting the readers imagination fill in the gaps. There are a few scene's in this novel that really get your imagination working to visualise what is happening and I really felt it adds a nice touch to the story. His introduction section always sets the scene for a part of the story and I like the way Cussler ties it in during the story and makes it all very relative.
The other big plus about Cussler's stories are his characters. I fell that having read books staring all three of his main sets of characters that the Austin series are probably the easier ones to read. In Kurt Austin he has a really good lead character that even from the way Cussler writes about him seems to have a real charisma around him. He is a decent lead character and one that the reader can easily enjoy and draws you into the book a little more.
It's not just his lead characters though, his supporting cast within NUMA, such as Zavala and Paul and Gammy Trout add an extra dimension to the stories. They are all likeable characters and along with Austin, have you really hoping that they succeed. Even the bad guys are well written and as you learn of exactly what they are up to he seems to create that sense in your mind of good and evil. It's been very rare, whilst reading Cussler books that you even like his lead bad guys at the start, this time round Gant and Tris Margrave are perhaps his worst villains I've read yet and again it makes you want to keep reading to see if Austin can stop them.
Overall this is a really entertaining read. It kept me hooked all the way through and whenever I could find a spare minute I was picking it up and reading a chapter. It is as good a place as any to start with Cussler if you aren't already a fan, but then I think all his books have the same easy access. As a big fan of everything I've read by him so far I certainly intend to pick up more of his books and wouldn't hesitate in recommending Polar Shift or any of his other books to people who like a bit of action adventure. It's a decent read that will keep you hooked for all 530 pages as you won't want to miss a moment.
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