The past and the future collide in this New York Times bestseller. Confronting an extraordinary series of monsters, both human and mechanical, modern and ancient, NUMA special projects director Dirk Pitt treads upon territory previously known only to legend as he investigates the sinking of a luxury cruise ship, the Emerald Dolphin.
The master of action/adventure fiction strikes oil with this nonstop thriller, which tangles ancient Viking runes, Captain Nemo's Nautilus, the Red Baron, water propulsion engines, murderous oil magnates, undersea catastrophes and cruise ship explosions into a knot that only Dirk Pitt and his laconic sidekick Al Giordino can unravel. Dirk spots smoke on the horizon from his NUMA research vessel and races to the flaming cruise ship Golden Dolphin in time to save most of the 2,000 passengers and crew, including Kelly Egan, beautiful daughter of the inventor of engines that run on seawater. Dr. Egan drowns, leaving Kelly with a leather case that she believes contains the secrets of his life's work but a couple of ruthless villains want it, too, and with Dirk's help she narrowly escapes. When the Dolphin wreck sinks, Pitt and Giordino use a mini-sub to search for arson clues, but the NUMA ship and crew are hijacked while the sub is under and Pitt and Giordino drift until rescued by a private boat. They then cross paths with Curtis Zale, a ruthless oil baron bent on monopoly and unafraid of using mass murder to gain his ends. Meanwhile, Congresswoman Loren Smith, Pitt's erstwhile lover, heads a committee probing Zale and is added to the target list. Cussler speeds and twists through the complex plot and hairbreadth escapes, giving the thriller the intensity and suspense of a NASCAR race. Historical asides of submarine lore, Jules Verne minutiae and references to Viking runes in America add touches of real-life oddity to the mix, and nothing will prepare even longtime Cussler fans for the major surprise he drops at the end. (Aug. 13)Forecast: Bombs away! A 750,000-copy first printing, a $750,000 ad/promo campaign, an author tour and the simultaneous release of a Putnam Berkley audiotape and CD are all in the cards; instant, long-term entrenchment on top-10 lists is forecast.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
-- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
Showing 1-2 of the 2 most recent reviews
1 . An avid reader, (well over 1,000 + books) this one amazed me!
Posted January 24, 2010 by Debbie Bollinger , Scott City, MissouriThe research that went in to this book impressed me. I have always hated reading anything that dealt with "history", stories of the past. This wonderfully told story started out in the era of the "Vikings" as the pages "sailed" by I became entranced and enthralled in the tale. Very well written. Clive Cussler created a modern day hero with his character Dirk Pitt . I highly recommend it.
2 . Shocking Ending!
Posted May 04, 2008 by Jade , Wyoming USAThis was the first Cussler book that I read. I actually started it twice and put it down before finishing. Not that it was bad, it was just that I was constantly interrupted. This front section detailed a viking colony about a century before the known viking colony existed and how it was destroyed. The second chapter is right out of a Jules Verne novel. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. A Captain Nemo fake makes an appearance. Then of course we are taken to the life of Dirk Pitt and friends where he investigates an evil corporation, sunken ships, and secrets of the past. There is a scene in Chapter 44, I think, that involves two women in Dirk's apartment living very comfortably. I always thought that Loren stuck them there to see if he would do anything. And then of course there are his...secret at the end. Great story!
July 29, 2002
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Excerpt from Valhalla Rising by Clive Cussler
Somewhere in North America
They moved through the morning mist like ghosts, silent and eerie in phantom ships. Tall, serpentine prows arched gracefully on bow and stern, crowned with intricately carved dragons, teeth bared menacingly in a growl as if their eyes were piercing the vapor in search of victims. Meant to incite fear into the crew's enemies, the dragons were also believed to be protection against the evil spirits that lived in the sea.
The little band of immigrants had come across a hostile sea in long, elegantly shaped black hulls that skimmed the waves with the ease and stability of trout in a peaceful brook. Long oars reached from holes in the hulls and dipped into the dark water, pulling the ships through the waves. Their square red-and-white striped sails hung limp in the listless air. Small lapstrake boats twenty feet long and carrying extra cargo were tied to the sterns and towed behind.
These people were the precursors of those who would come much later: men, women and children, along with their meager possessions, including livestock. Of the paths Norsemen had blazed across the oceans, none was more dangerous than the great voyage across the North Atlantic. Despite the perils of the unknown, they'd boldly sailed through the ice floes, struggled under the gale-force winds, fought monstrous waves and endured vicious storms that surged out of the southwest. Most had survived, but the sea had exacted its cost. Two of the eight ships that had set out from Norway were lost and never seen again.
Finally, the storm-worn colonists reached the west coast of Newfoundland, but instead of landing at L'Anse aux Meadows, the site of Lief Erickson's earlier settlement, they were determined to explore farther south in the hope of finding a warmer climate for their new colony. After skirting a very large island, they steered a southwesterly course until they reached a long arm of land that curved northward from the mainland. Continuing around two lower islands, they sailed for another two days past a vast white sandy beach, a great source of wonder to people who had lived all their lives on unending coastlines of jagged rock.
Rounding the tip of the seemingly unending stretch of sand, they encountered a wide bay. Without hesitation, the little fleet of ships entered the calmer waters and sailed west, helped along by an incoming tide. A fog bank rolled over them, casting a damp blanket of moisture over the water. Later in the day, the sun became a dim orange ball as it began to set over an unseen western horizon. A conference was shouted among the commanders of the ships and it was agreed to anchor until morning, in hopes the fog would lift.
When first light came, the fog had been replaced with a light mist, and it could be seen that the bay narrowed into a fjord that flowed into the sea. Setting out the oars, the men rowed into the current as their women and children stared quietly at the high palisades that emerged from the dying mist on the west bank of the river, rising ominously above the masts of the ships. Keeping their usual warlike nature under firm control, the expedition leader, Bjarne Sigvatson, had not allowed his warriors to fight back. He knew well that other colonists from Vinland and Greenland had been plagued by the Skraelings, too, a situation caused by the Vikings who had murdered several of the innocent inhabitants purely out of a barbaric love of killing. This trip Sigvatson would demand that the native inhabitants be treated in a friendly manner. He felt it vital for the survival of the colony to trade cheap goods for furs and other necessities, without the bloodshed.