Editor-in-Chief Jonathan Cooper admits a weakness for silly page-turners and tales of polar exploration. Arctic Drift, by Clive and Dirk Cussler, hits on both.
Love or hate novelist Clive Cussler’s brand of adventure fiction, you have to admire his sheer prolificacy. Cussler, now 87, unwittingly spawned a franchise when, in 1965, his wife started working the graveyard shift. Bored and lonely after he put their three kids to bed, Cussler would spend evenings diving into fantastical worlds of his own creation— ones that would eventually turn into a long series of novels and spinoffs based on a central character named Dirk Pitt.
Pitt is a dapper marine engineer and a deep-sea archeaologist who shares traits with the world’s other great fictional adventurers like Indiana Jones and James Bond. And like the others, Pitt also has a good bit of luck on his side to ease out of tight situations. There are harpoons, guns, boats, classic cars (one of Pitt’s— and Cussler’s—weaknesses), bad guys, incredible timing, and always a brilliant female scientist who helps catapult Pitt to a hero’s welcome.
Cussler’s franchise currently stands at 70 novels, more than 20 of which have been New York Times bestsellers. For his success, Cussler is said to have a keen sense of humor. As a joke, he now writes himself a cameo in every novel, and that is not the only place where fiction and reality have interplay in his world. Cussler’s son, Dirk, has been coauthoring books under his father’s tutelage since 2004.
I won’t go into specific details about 2008’s release, Arctic Drift; suffice it to say that it now seems ahead of its time. A megalomaniac has decided to hoard the world’s natural resources at a time when those resources are dwindling fast. Nations are on the brink, the United States is even pitted against Canada (Canada, I tell you!), and only Dirk Pitt and his children can save the world from apocalypse. Do they succeed? You’ll have to read to find out.