The best way to define a Clive Cussler novel is to liken it to an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie. They’re usually pretty good, always very entertaining and they never take themselves too seriously.
In his most recent effort, Cussler takes all of this to the next level. “Shock Wave!” is a suspense thriller with a story of epic proportions and worldwide implications.
Cussler has a very distinct and recognizable formula, which he again uses in this book.
He usually sets up a modern-day plot anywhere from 100 to 500 years ago. In “Shock Wave!,” he begins with the story of a cargo and prisoner-bearing ship traveling from London to Australia in the 1850s. Reaching its destination, the ship runs head-first into a typhoon, which nearly sinks it.
Eventually, only a few of the ship’s original 210 passengers are left alive, two of whom make it back to London, another two of whom stay behind.
The two who stay settle on a remote island where they discover a deposit of rare and beautiful gems, providing the basis for the plot of the novel. When the story picks up again in the year 2000, we are slowly exposed to the evil plans of one of the settlers’ ancestors, Jess Dorsett.
As it turns out, over several generations, the Dorsett family took the one deposit of diamonds near Australia and turned it into a billion-dollar mining empire.
Now, the heartless Dorsett has come up with a plan to crash the world diamond market. Unfortunately, the technology he uses to accomplish his goal is killing humans, fish and plant life all over the South Pacific.
Also a Cussler-formula staple is a hero, Dirk Pitt, who appears in all of Cussler’s novels. Pitt officially works for a branch of the U.S. government, but unofficially seems to solve all the world’s problems. So, he takes it upon himself to thwart the evil Dorsett’s plans.
Initially, the plot of “Shock Wave!” is a little hard to believe; eventually it becomes convincing enough to create the suspense that defines the novel.
Even though this book is a little longer than the average Clive Cussler novel, it is as much or more suspenseful as the others and earns its share of chewed-off fingernails.
If you’re looking for a fun-to-read, hard-to-put-down novel to counteract the boring symbolism you have to look for in English class, “Shock Wave!” is definitely for you.
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