Night Probe! (1981)

Night Probe! is one of the early Clive Cussler novels, following Vixen 03, and preceding Deep Six. After reading so many books by the same author, one starts to wonder if there is anything new, but I'm pleased to report that Cussler continues to satisfy this reader.

What makes Night Probe! unique is that the main protagonist, Dirk Pitt goes head to head against his British counterpart, a semiretired spy who has cheated death more times than he can remember. This turns the novel into a kind of "spy vs spy" saga that I haven't encountered before in any of the Cussler books.

The plot is more than grand in scale. Evidence is uncovered of a treaty between the United States and Great Britain, that both wished to forget after it was signed. I wondered what this treaty could have said, dating back to 1914. It turns out that it was an agreement for Great Britain to sell Canada to the US for the sum of a cool one billion dollars. Now this is global plotting on a grand scale. (As an aside, some of you might remember when our junior year high school history teacher went into a monologue of the virtues of "invading" Canada, and how the US citizens would support it, and what a great idea that would be. While not the most learned scholar to ever teach us, it does show that there is that sentiment here in the States that Cussler is building on).

As the story unfolds, the mission centers around recovering this treaty, of which there are two copies: one at the bottom of the St. Lawrence River, and the other in the Hudson River on a train. There are also some side plots regarding the Quebec separatist movement (that I used to hear more about but seems to be on the backburner lately), and the politics of Canada.

Night Probe! is a very enjoyable Cussler action adventure global thriller novel. Ol' Clive has hit his stride here, and the uneasiness of his earlier novels is not present. If you haven't read this author before, this is as good a place as any to start.

PS: The cover showing the bubbles coming from the train is completely inaccurate. Also, this novel explains where the Pullman railway car, that gets described in later novels in Pitt's garage comes from.

Overall Grade: A

Reviewed by Jonas

No comments: