Thousands of years ago, the Persian king Xerxes the Great was said to have raided the Treasury at Delphi, carrying away two solid gold pillars as tribute. In 1800 Napoleon Bonaparte and his army stumble across the pillars in the Pennine Alps. Unable to transport them, Napoleon creates a map on the labels of 12 bottles of rare wine. And when Napoleon dies, the bottles disappear....
Treasure hunters Sam and Remi Fargo are exploring the Great Pocomoke Swamp in Delaware when they are shocked to discover a World War II German U-boat. Inside, they find a bottle taken from Napoleon's "lost cellar". Fascinated, the Fargos set out to find the rest of the collection.
But another connoisseur of sorts has been looking for the bottle they've just found. He is Hadeon Bondaruk - a half- Russian, half-Persian millionaire. He claims to be a descendant of King Xerxes himself. And he wants his treasure back.
©2009 Clive Cussler; (P)2009 Penguin
Action with style
The plot was kept in motion by a series of riddles. When one bottle was found, the clues led to the next one and then on to more adventure. The fact that "the bad guys" were also on the trail added to the action and suspense. The very stylish and oh-so-brilliant characters, Sam and Remy Fargo, stretched credibility but made for a fun read.
Once you get used to a kind of sing-song cadence in Scott Brick's delivery (am I the only one who thinks he sounds a little like a preacher?) you begin to appreciate his range of voices and accents. He does especially well with male voices, but all of his females have a kind of cliched breathy quality.
Can't help but think the '60's series "The Avengers" inspired the Fargo series. You have an upscale, brilliant, attractive couple who thrive on adventure for adventure's sake. Makes for good entertainment, but stretches belief.
Clive Cussler and company write great guy tales: lots of action, and enough twists and turns to keep one interested. And with Scott Brick's performance, it's well worth the listen!
So, if the gold standard is Dirk and Al, then you'll find that Cussler's got his groove back with this book. I have been pretty disappointed (and thus skeptical) of anything he's done lately-- but I took a chance on this book. In short, it's a good book! Who knew?! I found myself smiling as bits and pieces of Dirk and Al came back (wrapped in the male/female) lead characters). A light and frothy tale- easy to enjoy.
Fast-paced and well read!
Am A. Hag
I love Sam and Remy Fargo characters! SO much fun to follow, and the story is a winner.
I would recommend it to Cussler fans. If you're not familiar with any of his other books, I would recommend reading an older one which was written without an additional author (i.e. Sahara, Cyclops, etc.)
I don't have anyone in particular in mind, but Brick's narration was probably the biggest reason I didn't enjoy this story very much. He routinely ended sentences with a very "sing-songy" cadence that often betrayed the gravity of the situation.
The banter between Sam and Remi felt seriously forced. These were the "cringe-worthy" moments I mentioned in my headline, and they could probably have been forgiven if they weren't so needlessly frequent. The banter sort of dies down as the story really starts to move (mostly in what I'd consider the third act), but by then the damage is done.
Yes, I downloaded this title because Clive Cussler's name was right there in big, bold letters....... Sucker!
In spite of the 'woman-as sex-object' attitude of his Dirk PItt (NUMA) series, I love listening to them; they are a lot of fun. I'm more than happy to escape into this world. But I find the husband and wife treasure hunting team of this book ridiculous. The authors have given both Sm and Remi Fargo bloated helpings of artistic, physical and academic talents - oh, and money, but not a lot of substance; knowing what designer the wife wears and which dishes the pair orders a restaurant doesn't contribute a lot to character development. Their banal banter while they battle the bad guys doesn't help either. While fleeing for their lives they apparently don't have time to explain changes in plan, but they are happy to babble on about the wife's cleavage or the husband's driving ability.
The story could've been a good yarn, but it's told inconsistently. The team, for instance, seems to be able to get out of trouble by phoning home, getting in a Mercedes and heading to a 4 star hotel - more than once! It feels as though the authors are happy to get their protagonists into trouble and then lose interest in resolving the situation. The Fargos solve puzzles presented to them, either by meeting someone who'll give them 90% of the answer, or they indulge in brainstorming sessions remind me of putting a bunch of possible solutions in a hat and then pulling one out and going with it. They really shouldn't get away with such sloppy thinking time after time. And yet they do.
Clive Cussler has earned his reputation as someone who can tell a wonderful adventure tale. Too bad someone let this one fail.
This book was a refreshing step away from NUMA. I love all of Clive's characters but I am enjoying the non-ocean related series. As usual, Scott Brick did an outstanding job with the narration. I hope Clive sticks with him or all of his books.
Another great companion for my runs! This book features two treasure hunters, Sam and Remi Fargo, who get sucked into an adventure when they spot a friend being taken away. The characters are believable but a bit over the top, which I like. The action carries through the book and includes history, puzzles and riddles in addition to gun-wielding enemies. The relationship between the two principles is both sweet and filled with respect for each other's abilities. They are tough cookies and I loved having them join me on my runs. They got me through some of the tough points I faced (which are nothing compared to their tough challenges and adventures)!
Typical Clive Cussler, except I missed his cameo performance that he always made with Dirk as main character. I wasn't overly thrilled with the narrator but he got into the story every so often and made it come alive.
Clive Cussler never ceases to amaze with the amount of historical data and the accuracy with which he describes the subjects of his stories and their background.
Spell binding and enjoyable !
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