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Joe Da Rold
5.0 out of 5 starsCaptivating adventure
Reviewed in the United States on April 15, 2020
Past settings for Isaac Bell have been banks, railroads, ships, and now aeroplanes. Although I enjoyed The Chase as a way to get to know the characters, this would have to be my favorite. Mix a little bit of Indiana Jones and a little bit of Superman and out comes Isaac Bell. With aviation at its birth, the novel takes us on a race from East Coast to West Coast, with participants from all around the world. In the spotlight is Josephine, a 19-year old beauty who was born to fly. Her husband is trying to kill her and her suspected lover, and the fact that the attempted murders are happening in the skies give the story its excitement. There are some lingering questions, such as how did Sir Eddison-Sydney-Martin fall 1,000 feet out of the sky and walk away unhurt? And why abandon Josephine in the final chapters? Marion, Isaac’s fiancée, makes more of an appearance than before, but she never becomes integral to the plot. On the plus side, there is far less technical detail than usual, and it makes for a captivating read.
Reviewed in the United States on September 19, 2016
This is set in the time of the first airplanes being flown by individual pilots. Flying one of these machines took a great deal of skilL and courage to keep the flying machines going. Most of these machines were a combination of wood and canvas attached to a motor which kept the propeller moving.. Gasoline was the most common used fuelling some engines using castor oil. Loan at distance flIght was only achieved by having the mechanics ride ahead to be ready to repair engine. This story involves Isaac Bell flying in a single engine plane to guard the only female pilot from being killed by her former husband and to find the man who mechanically destroyed her competitors's planes. If you're the type to enjoy a ride in an old styled open air plane, you will enjoy the description of the various flights
3.0 out of 5 starsFun to read but a bit disappointing
Reviewed in the United States on September 12, 2011
I am a Clive Cussler fan and also am a fan of his co-authored books. I have grown to love the Isaac Bell series and always wait with anticipation for the next installment. Unfortunately this one left me a little wanting. I had a hard time getting through it.
The premise is great and the writing is fine. The action comes like you would expect from a Clive Cussler novel, it is plentiful and suspensefull at times. But for whatever reason I felt a lack of development of characters in the story.
The story is about an airplane race from coast to coast. Starting on the East Coast and ending on the West Coast in San Francisco. It takes place in the early 1900's when air flight was still in its infancy. So, to think that a lone pilot could fly a monoplane across the country is almost unbelievable. That's what Preston Whiteway is banking on. The Newspaper magnet wants to attract attention from a public that needs a new American hero. He wants to give them that hero in the guise of "The Sweetheart of the American Airways." In steps Josephine, a simple farm girl who just happens to have a love for flying. She is going to challenge a large group of men for the Whiteway Cup and the $50,000.00 prize. Can she do it? Can any of them do it?
Now enters our antagonist, Harry Frost, the former husband of Josephine. He is angry at her for what he feels is her immoral relationship with her aircraft mechanic, Marco Celere. The book starts with Harry killing Marco, or did he? It then has him fleeing from the law but making a commitment to kill Josephine before she can either start or finish this race.
The Van Dorn Detective Agency is brought in to protect Josephine from Harry and to do their best to catch him and bring him to justice. Isaac Bell is given the task of overseeing this protection detail and the hunt for Harry Frost. Harry and Isaac have a history that goes back 10 years to when Isaac was just starting out as a detective.
The story is going to revolve around Josephine, Harry, Isaac and Marco Celere. Our other characters from previous books have appearances, such as James Dashwood and Isaac's fiancé Marion. But this is where I think we loose some of the wonderful story development that is characteristic of Clive Cussler novels. These other characters take a backseat much more than they ever have in other books. They are not woven into the story as well as they could be.
Even Harry Frost is developed as much as I would like for the antagonist. Then there are several other characters brought in, such as the other pilots, the daughter of an aircraft designer, several young machinists, etc. They make appearances and have parts in the story, but they seem to come and go at odd times and not developed as much as they could be.
One final point from me, I was a bit disappointed in the ending. I felt that several things were left undone, not tied up like they could or should have been. Maybe it was just me.
Anyway, I still enjoyed the read, I like the chase, I like the logic games that Isaac and Harry delve into. I also liked the details about the flying machines.
I think if you like Clive Cussler you will like this book, it just won't end up being your favorite of his writings.
Reviewed in the United States on September 28, 2011
As much as I enjoyed the first 3 writings and the adventures of Isaac Bell along with the many characters in period settings "The Race" with talented writers, Justin Scott and Clive Cussler leaves a deep mystery of why these two would pen their names to this air race. I must admit the time I spent on the computer looking up facts on airplanes from that area was fun. I got enthused mainly because as a kid I was always drawing airplanes- those were fun times. As far as this Isaac Bell period adventure...It's really lost somewhere after taking off from the Adirondack location. The author's maybe had a great idea with planes here over a cup of coffee- but perhaps they should have spent time getting the feel of flying by hang gliding..or better yet finding someone with a small home made single seater plane that doesn't require a flying license. Take a few lessons take it up get a feel of really flying. The story that was built here with Harry Frost, the killer, seemingly at times is stereotypical...Marion Morgan, Isaac Bell's love, played such a small few lines here...Marco Celere- yeah this was a nice touch with his 2 lives written along with the knowledge of airplanes (...er, ah aeroplanes)...And then there is this newspaper publisher Preston Whiteway who shows up in the previous novel...Wow, he's really a piece of work! Can hardly wait to marry our heroine, Josephine Frost...he wants her to fly her aeroplane machines, that he'll provide...until they have children...and yes until they have children (...obviously that she must take care of). Oops... sorry 'bout that, I forgot this is a period novel.
Scott and Cussler missed the mark here along with a some times weak story lines. As much as I love reading this on my Kindle, I'm a little disappointed and should have waited on this one to show up at my local library for my much antcipaption of another much desired Issac Bell adventure.
Ouch this one hurt!
One star for now...And a second star in hopes that the next Issac Bell will impress me as did the first 3 before "The Race" ....Although I think I might of had enough of trains, and more trains.)
4.0 out of 5 starsA good tale, pulling Cussler back from the brink
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 26, 2011
Clive Cussler's early 20th Century detective Isaac Bell returns in what has to be one of the better of his adventures. After flying ace Josephine Josephs is the victim of an attempted murder, by her husband, Isaac Bell and the Van Dorn detective agency are recruited to protect her as she attempts a cross-America air race.
The plot actually works quite well, although there are a few twists along the way that make the story so far seem a little redundant. The use of early aircraft neatly fits into the sequence of Bell stories that have already covered trains, cars and boats, and the 1900s setting sets it apart from the other series of books released under the Cussler 'brand'.
Sadly it's not all great and parts of the novel seem rough. There are mistakes in the use of the title of a British baronet which perhaps wouldn't be noticed by a US audience but really throw me out of the flow every time they crop up, and the repeated meme of having characters called Josephine Josephs and Steve Stevens feels lazy. I'm also bugged by how little growth there is for the main characters - in the first book of the series Bell changes, but since then he's been a static player and his relationships haven't moved on.
Overall though this is certainly the best of Cussler's current output and put the modern day spin-offs of his Dirk Pitt series to shame. The adversary in this story is realistic and pitted at a perfect level to provide a nemesis for the investigator. A slow start to the narrative maybe, but once it got flowing the twists did keep me interested. I had almost decided to drop future Cusslers from my reading list but this has convinced me that the old genius might be starting to peek though again.
I have been a great fan of Clive Cussler for years having started with his epic book Sahara. This book is unfortunately very disappointing because I found the whole plot so predictable. The idea of the book reminded me of the film & era of Those magnificent men in their flying machines, of which I thought would make a great story. The book gets a thumbs down from me which I found such a shame as I really wanted it to work.