Fire Ice

Fire Ice is the 3rd in the Kurt Austin series of Cussler novels, that are cowritten by Clive Cussler with Paul Kemprecos. Substitute in Kurt Austin for Dirk Pitt, and a new sidekick that feels very much the same, and you get the idea.

It's always a challenge and risk for a well known author to dilute their efforts and collaborate with another to tell their story. Thankfully this duo does better than most.

The background history, which is the hallmark of any Cussler novel, is that there is surviving line of the Romanov royal family of Russia. On top of that, their ship went down with the royal treasure. While this is rather implausible, it does form a basis for what follows.

On top of this, we have a whole research submarine that is lost at sea. Kurt with his NUMA crew work to set this all right. There are also the requisite visits that provide the sage advice of his computer and nautical lore experts.

I have read most of Cussler's novels at this point, and I will say that this novel is not one of my favorites. It doesn't fit together as well as Sahara or Atlantis Found. The dialogue is a little less believable than usual. Also, the plot takes a few twists that just don't feel right, and the novel ends a little abruptly for my taste. The descriptions are a little less rich. The science is slightly suspect and somewhat hypothetical.

Still, to compare this author against his previous work is a very tall comparison indeed. Fire Ice is a fine novel if we consider it "escape fiction-" perfect for cuddling up with on a rainy day and being whisked away to a far off land with some alternative history. If you're a Cussler fan enjoy, but if you want to start reading him, I'd start elsewhere.

Overall Grade: B

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