Clive Cussler Gets One More Chance II

March 3, 2009

Okay, I read that new Clive Cussler book last night. Arctic Drift wasn’t as dire as the last few Cussler books I’ve tried to read, and I made it all the way through. Maybe it’s because those stupid offspring, Dirk Pitt Jr. and his twin sister Summer, play a fairly minor role and are actually pretty easy to ignore. No, most of the action is centred on their father, and it works.

The story is a good one, too. Canada and the US are at odds over the thawed-out Northwest Passage, which offers a viable new shipping route across the top of the continent. A series of crises puts the two countries in armed standoff position. Yes, this makes no sense within Cussler’s continuity; as I mentioned earlier, an earlier book has Canada absorbed by America. That’s ignored here.

Sir John Franklin says I stopped reading after the kids showed up, too!

Sir John Franklin says "I stopped reading after the kids showed up, too!"

While all this is going on, Pitt has to locate the lost ships from the Franklin Expedition, the Erebus and the Terror, which were lost to the Arctic in the mid-1800s. That part of the story, as silly as it was, intrigued me, and worked fairly well.

I also liked the story’s Canadian setting — in one chapter, Pitt heads to my old stomping grounds in Northern Ontario and eats at a cafe I used to frequent. It’s clear, though, that Cussler and his son, co-writer Dirk Cussler (yes, everyone seems to be named Dirk around here) didn’t do much research on Canada. Their facts are off by just a bit … it makes me think they got their facts by asking someone else to look on Wikipedia or something. Guys, the RCMP, our Mounties, don’t drive around in those red jackets, and they don’t patrol Ontario highways. And Nunavut isn’t a province. Look it up.

But I knew going in that this was going to be another ludicrous adventure, and I was right. Happily, it wasn’t as suck-laden as the last two, Treasure of Khan and Black Wind. It looks like Dirk Cussler, who was not a writer when he took over the series, is settling into his groove. I might read the next one.

Meanwhile, if you want more on the Franklin Expedition, check out Frozen in Time by Owen Beattie and John Geiger, a steller non-fiction account, or The Terror, by Dan Simmons, an epic thriller/fantasy take on the tragedy. That was one of the best books I read last year.



  1. As soon as I’ve moved I plan to toddle to my new local library, sign up and then borrow this book. I’ve got ‘Frozen in Time’ and really looking forward to read it… unfortunately, I’ve packed it so I need to wait until I unpack 😦

  2. Dear Heath,

    Greatly concerned now at your fully-fledged embracing of Cussler and his three sons. Surely it must be clear to you as much as to me that anyone who has multiple children and names them all “Dirk” represents an unacceptable threat to vital social niceties such as the easy identification of differing individuals. Anyway, all the best,


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