The Mockingbird

This is the third in the series of Kurt Austin novels coauthored by Cussler and Kemprecos. Austin is a larger-than-life hero in the mold of Dirk Pitt, the central character of more than a dozen novels authored by Cussler alone. His latest adventure includes such good stuff as tidal waves, a mad Russian mining tycoon who thinks he’s the tsar, his Rasputin-like assistant, murders, Cossacks charging, Old Ironsides firing, and, oh, yes, the inevitable gorgeous heroine. While the fast-paced plot is wildly improbable (it revolves around “fire ice,” the frozen methane hydrate deposits in the depths of the ocean, which, if disturbed, will accelerate global warming and destroy the environment), and there’s nary a doubt that Austin will save the day, the novel is still a lot of good fun. With Cussler’s following, this is bound to be a good summertime hit. For all general collections. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 2/1/02. Robert Conroy, Warren, MI Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

From Publishers Weekly
This newest addition to the Kurt Austin series (after Blue Gold) has the men from NUMA (Native Underwater ; Marine Agency) team up with former KGB spies to face down a Russian mobster with czarist aspirations and a zealot’s hatred for the “corruption and materialism” of the Western lifestyle. The NUMA research vessel Argo is in the Black Sea for a PR jaunt when Austin spots the overdue TV crew being chased down an island beach by mounted Cossacks. Austin learns from his old KGB Cold War adversary Vladimir Petrov that the island is a mothballed submarine base commandeered by paranoid mobster Mikhail Razov (employer of the Cossacks), a billionaire who built Ataman Industries by taking over utilities and mines sold by the state. Razov claims descent from the Romanovs and is plotting to assume the throne. Meanwhile, when a U.S. Navy sub goes missing and a mysterious tidal wave swamps a Maine coastal town, the NUMA team figures out that Ataman is mining “fire ice” unstable and explosive solid methane in the high-pressure deep-sea bottom. Austin and his oceanographic team join forces with Petrov and set out to foil Razov’s plot. Cussler is in top form here, working in a role for Old Ironsides and Czar Nicholas II’s crown while throwing in enough derring-do and eco-lore to leave his fans breathless. Coauthor Kemprecos (Blue Gold, with Cussler) adds his oceanographic expertise to the mix. 400,000 first printing; $400,000 ad/promo; author tour; simultaneous release of Putnam Berkley Audio editions on tape and CD. (June 3) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

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