Since there aren't very many pure adventure novels published these days, and since I liked the other Clive Cussler novel I read, PACIFIC VORTEX, I decided to give this one a try. It's part of a spin-off series called The NUMA Files. Instead of Dirk Pitt, the hero is underwater adventurer Kurt Austin, who heads up NUMA's Special Assignments Team. (NUMA stands for National Underwater and Marine Agency.) The Lost City of the title refers to a geologic formation in the North Atlantic that holds a secret which could have a huge effect, for good or ill, on the world, but most of the action takes place in the French Alps.
I wanted to like this book. A lot of it seems pretty much perfect for my tastes. Kurt Austin is a suitably stalwart hero, there's a varied and interesting supporting cast of good guy characters, the villains are properly dastardly and bent on world domination, and the plot is the sort of over-the-top silliness that was so common in secret agent movies and novels during the Sixties, one of my favorite genres. But it has one flaw that I just couldn't get past, one that it shares with a lot of modern thrillers: it's too blasted long. We get back-stories for all the characters. We get descriptions of just about everything that can be described. We get science and technology lessons. All of this is so overwhelming that I started skimming in the second half of the book just to get on with the story, something I hardly ever do. Note that I don't really blame this on Cussler and Kemprecos. Big books are the fashion these days. Readers demand them, and therefore so do the publishers. Or maybe the publishers just decided that books had to be longer and the readers went along with them. I don't know. But I know that as I was reading LOST CITY, I thought there was a pretty good story in there that could have been told in half the wordage. And would have been if it had been written in an earlier day and time.
Maybe I should have put a "Reactionary Curmudgeon Alert" on this post. I found enough to like in LOST CITY that I might try one of the other novels in the series someday, but probably not any time soon.
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