“Good thing they shot you in the head, otherwise they could have hit something important”
In this seventh of the Oregon Files thrillers, Juan Cabrillo and his team move from the Argentine border, past a few islands and on to Antarctica in their range of assignments from clearing up a NASA snafu to protecting sovereignty of oil fields and finding a medieval Chinese wreckage.
I always find Cussler’s novels enjoyable (see my reviews of The Navigator and Plague Ship) and this was no different. This plot was stronger than Plague Ship because it is a little darker – a crew member dies and the ending is rather sombre. The action also remains on the eastern side of the Pacific Ocean rather than having the crew flying all around the world on hunches.
I do like the Oregon team – Cussler has crafted a clever and cohesive team where the characters play off one another well. Juan is a great leader – strong, a little enigmatic, prone to maverick moments of following his own interests rather than doing what would be best for the crew. Man Hanley works well as his sidekick – prone to worrying, happy to be Juan’s subordinate but still a leader to the rest of the crew. Mark Murphy and the rest of them all are developed piecemeal over the series but are each easily separated in the reader’s mind.
The cold open was also well done – it is unusual to have a group of children as the scene setting team, rather than warring tribes.
Standard Cussler fare – plenty of fun.