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Valhalla Rising is part of Clive Cussler's series of novels featuring Dirk Pitt the director of the National Underwater Marine Agency (NUMA) Dirk Pitt always seems to be in the right place at the right time to enact a daring rescue and this novel is no exception to that rule. When a fire rages aboard a luxury cruise ship on its maiden voyage, the passengers & crew don't realise until it's too late to do anything as all the fire fighting & detecting equipment has been disabled. Pitt and the crew of his NUMA research vessel come to the rescue and save almost all of those on board. When the ship then sinks and Pitt is asked to investigate the wreckage, he soon discovers evidence that the fire was no accident, but a deliberate act of vandalism. Pitt must race against time and an unknown enemy to discover who destroyed the ship and why. Clive Cussler writes yet another excellant novel, it's exciting and enthralling, however I personally found the plot a little too far fetched for reality this time, which did diminish my enjoyment of the novel. I did enjoy the book, however I think that this is not as good as some of his other novels as one of the things I've always liked is the plausibility of the plot. The plot was full of the usual twists and turns that I've come to expect in a Clive Cussler novel and keeps you guessing right to the end. Overall, I did enjoy this book and I would recommend it, however if you've not read a Clive Cussler novel, I wouldn't recommend this as your first read, try a different novel instead!
Valhalla rising is another novel in that James Bond wishing character Dirk Pitt as written by Clive Cussler. Dirk is your all action hero, good looking, tall, athletic, intelligent - yes you will either love him or hate him. I suspect if I ever met him I'd find him a really nice guy and wish I looked like him and definitely wish I had his success with women. Dirk is the lead investigator for a fictitious government agency, the National Underwater Marine Agency (NUMA), fronted by Admiral Sandecker this agency is very much the guardian of the sea. Everyone who works for the agency are by definition, good looking intelligent, honest and reliable. All those against are greedy capatalists whose actions are leading to ocean catalysms. There is always a historical angle and the answer to the current problem is usually buried in some ancient mystery. In this novel, Dirk saves the lives of all those on board a tour ship, and he is then employed to find out why the ship has sunk There is then a side story about a brilliant professor whose had his plans stolen, the professor is rugged and good looking (can you guess which side he's on?). The plans are of course linked to the ship sinking, and Pitt in the mean time rescues two beautiful scientist, who as a way of saying thanks put out for Dirk at various parts in the novel. There is then of course a nasty grubby capatalist who has a feindish scam about using the Professors technology but would lead to ocean cataclysms. The book is a little ludicrous, all the characters are more like caricatures, i.e. handsome heroes, beautiful simpering women, black and evil enemies and lots of really bad quips after a villain is despatched. THis is James Bond as written by a 13 year old whose seen a woman but hasn't yet had sex, it places women in the sphere of only being impressed by real men. They are beautiful but if Dirk looks at them and pulls them into his manly grip then they just give him what he wants. Dirk by the way is supposed to be engaged to a congresswomen. She's as you might suspect tall, gorgeous and constantly horny, and thats about all she does in this book. She pops up helps Dirk, sleeps with him, greases a few movement in the senate and then sleeps with him again. Clive Cusslers novels aren't James Bond but they are barely basildon bond in this one, his early novels are better but here he simply slides into cliche.
Well, what on earth can I say about this book? This is one of a long, long (or yawn, yawn?) series books based around the character Dirk Pitt (who makes James Bond look like a shy, retired accountant). Not only does Dirk sound like the star of a 70's blue film, his attitudes (which I would assume reflect those of his creator) would certainly not be out of place in the 1870's let alone the 1970's. Dirk is 'a tall man, three inches more than six feet and a lean 185 pounds' whose 'every movement seemed consciously planned', a 'sucker for beautiful children and handicapped children' whilst swimming he 'stroked mightily underwater like an Olympic swimmer', someone of whom all woman say 'I've never met anyone quite like you before' before melting into his 'strong, manly, protecting embrace'. As you may have gathered, sexism is alive and well in the mind of Mr Cussler - all the women wear skirts, fiercely independent until aroused by Dirks animal magnetism at which point they metamorphosis into sycophantic, blushing virginal teenagers. In this adventure, he almost single-handedly rescues 2500 passengers from a state of the art tour ship, equipped only with a survey ship 'Deep Encounter', two submersibles and a Swiss army knife, pencil and one of those funny things you get free in cornflake packets - okay, I exaggerate - no Swiss army knife. In between directing the most talked about rescue in maritime history, he also manages to dive into the sea to rescue a beautiful young woman, who just happens to be the daughter of a world famous philanthropic scientist who has died during a struggle with 2 assassins who tried to steal his 'battered old' suitcase before he slipped overboard in the struggle, breaks his back and dies in her arms after she jumps ship to rescue him. Oh and did I forget to mention, he also (with no training other than some boxing experience) kills one of the highly trained assassins who is about to kill our heroine? All this in the first couple of chapters! Being employed by NUMA (National Underwater and Marine Agency), a government sponsored research foundation, he is the obvious choice of the insurance company to discover exactly why fire raged uncontrolled through a state of the art tour ship, equipped with the all fire precautions and built almost entirely of fireproof materials. Soon our hero dives to the deepest, darkest trench in oceanographic history in an experimental submersible (never tested at this depth ho hum) and discovers that that it was sabotage! Shock! Horror! However, communication has been lost with the 'Deep Encounter' and when Dirk and his faithful sidekick Al, accompanied by female oceanographer Misty Graham rise to the surface, the surface vessel has vanished. The trio survive for days, capturing rainwater in a rug and catching fish with the innards of various electronic gizmos (wires!), and eventually are saved by a strange old man, alone in the middle of the virtually uncharted ocean. Another state of the art boat, captained by none other than Clive Cussler! Oh please! This is a peccadillo of Cussler - he has no shame at all about writing the book and always pops up as a character that pulls Dirk from the jaws of death - again, and again, and again. I think Alfred Hitchcock did this with a lot more style and without informing the viewer/reader that, 'hey, it's me!'. Anyway, not to spoil the plot (such as it is) too much, an EVIL corporation wants to obtain the late Dr Egan's formula for environmentally friendly power (oh dear, count the clichés already dear reader) and ultimately, Dirk Pitt once again saves the world in his own inimitable style. I suppose you could spend some time totalling up how many people Dirk saves in one book (a bit like counting the deaths in the early Rambo films) but I would suggest that you find something more enjoyable to while away the time - maybe chewing on a nice shiny new razor blade may be more fun. Clive Cussler has been around for quite a while now - consistently churning out the most ridiculously plotted, cliché ridden, macho garbage you could wish to read (in my humble opinion). Valhalla Rising fails to rise above the normal puerility that I have come to expect from his Dirk Pitt novels. To use a seafaring phrase, Clive my old salt, it's bilge.