Review: Sahara

Series: Dirk Pitt: #11

“Prologue 1.” Oh my.

“Lincoln…?” Double oh my.

These books are so crazy. I feel like I’m saying that every time now, but it’s true. In one book, you have a lost confederate Ironclad carrying a kidnapped Abraham Lincoln (or a very convincing lookalike), an Amelia Earhart analogue, slave mines, a world threatening mutant algae bloom, insane cannibals, running an African river into hostile territory, and sailing across the desert. And I’m probably forgetting a few things.

Let’s just say, it’s quite a ride. And quite a book. There’s so much crammed into it, you could easily have split it into two or more books. On top of that, like many of these books, when the ‘big bad’ is defeated, there’s still salvage to do. Still, it’s a neat book. And… let’s just say, Cussler has no problem diverging his world from ours.

Favorite scene? Building a land yacht in a vain-yet-guaranteed-to-succeed attempt to survive the desert. Pitt and Giordino may be Big Damn Heroes, but it’s always nice to see that they’re also first rate engineers as well.

On the other hand, does it seem to anyone else like Pitt is getting increasingly likely to summarily judge and execute the baddies as the books go on? Quite often, there isn’t much choice, but … that’s not how society is supposed to function. If you execute a known murderer, has justice been served? Or merely vengeance?

Some random quotes I particularly enjoyed:

Sandecker doesn’t have much faith in the government:

Sandecker interrupted acidly. … “The two-party system has become a stagnant swamp of fraud and criminal promises. As with communism, the great experiment in democracy is withering from corruption.”

He’s not entirely wrong…

Also, these books are getting increasingly meta:

“Consider me your friendly, neighborhood plot diviner,” Pitt said condescendingly.

It’s like he knows he’s in a book. And of course Cussler shows up again:

Giordino threw up his hands. “You’re crazier than that old prospector and his cockamamy story of a Confederate ironclad with Abe Lincoln at the helm that’s buried in the desert.”

“We do have much in common,” Pitt said easily.

Somehow Pitt didn’t remember him?

One interesting note is that more than a decade after this book was published it was made into a film staring Matthew McConaughey, Steve Zahn and Penélope Cruz. I’ve never seen it and … well …

Sahara grossed $119 million worldwide at the box-office, against a budget of $160 million. It ultimately failed to recoup all of its costs and is among the biggest box-office failures of all-time.

It’s like they knew (one bad guy speaking to another about one of the heroes getting rescued1):

“Sounds like the plot for a second-rate motion picture.”


One of the better ones. I see why they made it into a movie, even if it didn’t go well.

  1. I don’t even care about spoilering this. There are so many threats and getting rescued’s in this book that you couldn’t even guess who/what is going on. ↩︎