Thursday, 7 November 2013

Review: Mirage by Clive Cussler with Jack Du Brul

Title: Mirage
Author: Clive Cussler, Jack Du Brul
Publisher: Michael Joseph (Penguin Books)
Release Date: 5th November 2013
Source: Library
Rating: 3 out of 5

Description: In October 1943, a U.S. destroyer sailed out of Philadelphia and supposedly vanished, the result of a Navy experiment with electromagnetic radiation. The story was considered a hoax—but now Juan Cabrillo and his Oregon colleagues aren’t so sure. There is talk of a new weapon soon to be auctioned, something very dangerous to America’s interests, and the rumors link it to the great inventor Nikola Tesla, who was working with the Navy when he died in 1943. Was he responsible for the experiment? Are his notes in the hands of enemies? As Cabrillo races to find the truth, he discovers there is even more at stake than he could have imagined—but by the time he realizes it, he may already be too late.

Mirage is the latest instalment in The Oregon Files by Clive Cussler and Jack Du Brul.  Juan Cabrillo and his distinguished crew are back yet again for another death defying adventure on the high seas.  There are explosions, narrow escapes and a mystifying new weapon, however this action packed story was not as satisfying as previous Oregon adventures. Though it doesn’t live up to its predecessors, Mirage is still good read for adventure fans.  

The appeal of this story lies in its extraordinary premise. A secret ship that appears to be a dilapidated but is instead a high tech, powerfully armed weapon whose mission it is to save the world on numerous occasions. The crew are up to any challenge, whether it be acting as bodyguards or recovering weapons from enemy forces. For me personally I love reading about the clandestine affairs of the Corporation. They are the heroes of the story and just for a little while you can indulge in childhood dreams of being a spy and saving the world.  This is essentially what Cabrillo and team do over and over again. No matter how far fetched the scenario these guys will do the impossible and live to tell the tale. There have many miraculous scarps and Mirage is no exception. They face death over and over only to come out on top.

Mirage is centred on unravelling the mystery behind a device built by the genius inventor Nikolai Tesla. This device is a deadly weapon that could start a war in the wrong hands. A disastrous prison break planned by Cabrillo and his crew leads to a search for the truth.  The villains this time around are the Russians and the Chinese.  There is no lack of action sequences. Cussler has a knack for writing great action filled with explosions and high-speed chases. In Mirage there’s a couple of shootouts, underwater missiles, breaking and entering, rescue attempts and more. Mirage focuses a lot more on the events out at sea than on land, which was a nice change of pace from previous Oregon files.

I think the reason that Mirage didn’t hold up as much for me was it’s predictably.  After nine books centred around the ghost ship Oregon the general plot has remained relatively the same. Cabrillo and his crew uncover an injustice and then proceed to save the world. There was no unexpected element. Right from the beginning you can tell that the crew will be successful by the end and no bodily harm will come Cabrillo’s way.  The story also focused on many different sub plots that deviated from the main narrative. All though these were fun side missions they didn’t really have any bearing on the story.

My favourite part of Mirage was reading about all of the cloak and dagger secrets that go hand in hand with the Oregon. The little details that go into planning the missions and executing them are fascinating.  The mission with The Container is one hell of a story. The technology incorporated into the story is always remarkable. When it comes to characters, Juan and his crew are a well-oiled machine. Each crewmember has a distinct role and personality. I love their interactions and banter. The Oregon is a family and you can see that reflected in their relationships right from Murph and Stones antics to Juan and Max’s friendship. I also loved the little Hunger Games reference that was incorporated into the story.

Overall Mirage is a good action adventure.

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