Shock Wave is yet another crazy book. Par for the course at this point. This time around, we have shipwrecks, sea serpents, diamonds, and a strange ‘acoustic plague’ that kills every living thing within a hundred kilometers. The bad guys are evil, the good guys are going to win in the end, and it’s going to be a crazy story along the way.
Characterwise, it’s more of the same. It’s fascinating to see a fairly believable love interest for Pitt in Maeve1. And we have more and more from the side characters, in particular Giordino with Pitt and Rudy Gunn and Admiral Sandecker doing their own part to save the world. Giordino even gets a big show hand to hand fight at the end, although why in the world he didn't just shoot her, I'll never know . Also another transgender villain? Why? Again, it’s just a few lines, but … why?
Unfortunately, there’s not even a hint of the salvage that I particularly like about these series, although there are shipwrecks, building your way out of bad situations, and island survival, so I guess I’ll take it. Also, wasn’t Canada part of the United States at one point? That seems to not have been a thing any more. Perhaps to tie more tightly to real history? They don’t mention the Titanic as much either. On the other hand, the unit conversions that so plagued Inca Gold are gone as well, with different characters using the units they would mostly likely know, so that’s a good thing.
Womanwise, Cussler still has some really weird sections at times:
He also felt a disconcerting desire for her that angered him. Not now, he thought, not under these circumstances. He turned away so she wouldn’t see the rapt expression on his face.
Progress? Still bizarre.
This time she screamed, a high-pitched scream such as only a female could project.
You certainly have a way with words Mr. Cussler.
This is solidly among my favorites of the series thus far, which actually surprised me. It’s a solid adventure story and really shows how far Cussler had come in his craft by this point.
Sandecker offered to drive Loren to her townhouse, and she gladly accepted, having arrived at Pitt’s welcome-home party in a cab. They sat in reflective silence until the car passed over the bridge into the city.
“I’ve never seen Dirk so dispirited,” said Loren, her face sad and thoughtful. “I never thought I’d ever live to say it, but the fire has gone out of his eyes.”
“He’ll mend,” Sandecker assured her. “A couple of weeks of rest, and he’ll be champing at the bit again.”
“Don’t you think he’s getting a little old to play the daring adventurer?”
“I can’t think of him sitting behind a desk. He’ll never stop roving the seas, doing what he loves to do.”
“What drives him?” Loren wondered aloud.
“Some men are born restless,” Sandecker said philosophically. “To Dirk, every hour has a mystery to be solved, every day a challenge to conquer.”
Loren looked at the admiral. “You envy him, don’t you?”
Sandecker nodded. “Of course, and so do you.”
“Why is that, do you think?”
“The answer is simple,” Sandecker said wisely. “There’s a little of Dirk Pitt in all of us.”
Intentionally, Clive Cussler and Dirk Pitt share a lot of the same spirit. On top of 80 books in 85 years, Cussler started a real life analogue to NUMA and has found quite a number of shipwrecks. With his passing , this quote hits even harder. Quite the life and quite the legacy.
Leaving on a more humorous note:
“Then I’ll walk out of here in my bathrobe and this stupid hospital gown. Whoever invented these things, by the way, should have them stuffed up his anal canal until the strings in the back come out his ears.”
“I can see arguing with you is wasting my other patients' time.” The doctor shrugged. “It’s a bleeding wonder your body still functions. I’ve seldom seen so many scars on one man. Go if you must. I’ll see the nurse finds you some decent street clothes so you won’t be arrested for impersonating an American tourist.”
So of course she has to die. Come on. :( ↩︎