The Corporation is a mercenary private enterprise for hire by any government agency that can afford its fees. Juan Cabrillo, the Chairman, runs his black ops from a ship called "The Oregon". Disguised as an overused, out of date, non-descript mercantile vessel that's destined for the scrap yard, the Oregon is actually a state of the art war vessel packed with high-tech intelligence gathering equipment, powerful weaponry and a fully muscled set of magnetohydrodynamic engines that, pushed to flank speed, will give virtually any ship on the high seas a run for its money. If you've read any Clive Cussler novels at all, it won't be a surprise to hear that Cabrillo is right over the top - an entirely unbelievable lead character (think Mr Phelps from Mission Impossible on steroids) leading an equally unbelievable crew with uncanny intelligence and virtually superhuman strength and endurance. The missions they accept in Cussler's Oregon Files series are typically of the "save the world from domination by a nefarious lunatic" variety.
When I reviewed "Golden Buddha", the first in the Oregon Files series, I gave it a grudging single star and swore that I would likely never read another Cussler novel again. Frankly, it was just awful! I abstained for two years but, perhaps it was my past fondness for Cussler's earliest novels that made me relent and pick up "Plague Ship" for another try at Cussler's work.
OK, OK ... nice job, Mr Cussler! I thoroughly enjoyed it!
This time out, Cabrillo and his team of merry men (and women) are pitted against a cult-like organization called The Responsivists who believe in stern birth control measures and a rigid, disciplined reduction in the world birth rate. In marked contrast to its public pacifist exterior, however, the Responsivist leaders are not willing to sit back and simply wring their hands over the world's burgeoning population problem. They intend to do something about it by releasing a virus that will make the Ebola and Marburg viruses look like a case of weekend sniffles. Bio-terrorism is a frightening, timely topic and this time out, Cussler did his fans proud with a well-written high speed thriller that is easily the equal of his earliest Dirk Pitt novels!
And, I confess I particularly enjoy a thriller that is spotted with info-dump sidebars of a technical nature that enhance the thriller without distracting from the pacing of the plot. There was lots of these goodies to enjoy along the way - the physics of ELF (Extremely Long Frequency) radio transmission and reception; the translation of cuneiform and the possible origins of mythological flood stories; the philosophies of cults and de-programming; left over high tech weaponry from the US-Soviet Cold War era; and the use of north-south satellite orbits for space based weaponry as opposed to geosynchronous orbits for weather or communication satellites!
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Fun to Read
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