Lost Empire, by Clive Cussler
G.P. Putnam’s Sons (2010)
The sharks darted at the edges of their vision, sleek gray shapes that offered Sam and Remi Fargo only glimpses of knife-edged fins and flicking tails before disappearing into the curtain of swirling sand. As usual, Remi had refused to pass up the photo opportunity, and as usual she’d asked Sam to serve as scale as she focused her high speed underwater camera past him and at the feeding frenzy. For his part, Sam was less worried about the sharks than he was the precipice at his back – a hundred-fifty-foot drop off the sandbank into the dark deep of the Zanzibar Channel. – From Lost Empire, page 7 –
My sister, Paula, read this book in just a little over two days…and as with all Cussler novels, she loved this one. I sat down with her to talk about the book:
Me: Can you recap the book in a couple of short paragraphs (without giving any spoilers)?
Paula: No. *laughs* Okay, I’ll try. This one is about Sam and Remi Fargo who are diving off the coast of Tanzania and find a ship’s bell…and so begins their adventure to figure out where this bell came from and what it means. As with all Clive Cussler’s novels, there is a parallel plot – this one involving the President of Mexico and a secret he is compelled to keep and which the Fargos (with their discovery) are threatening to uncover.
Me: This is the second book in a series, do readers have to read the first book to enjoy this one?
Paula: No. This novel can stand on its own.
Me: You are a huge Cussler fan. Would you tell us what you like best about his style and his novels?
Paula: One thing that I like is that all the books follow the same format – an event from the past is explained in that current time, and then Cussler brings you forward to the present and an adventure ensues. Because Cussler is a series writer, the characters are familiar. I like the predictability of the structure and also the fact that the characters are like old friends. Cussler is an adventure writer so there is a lot of drama and excitement – very similar to movie The Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Me: In Lost Empire, the two main characters are a husband and wife team. Can you tell us a little about the relationship between the characters? Is this a typical couple, or are they unusual in some way? Is one character more prominent than the other?
Paula: They are unusual – they are extremely wealthy and can travel anywhere in the world. The husband created a business and sold it so they are independently wealthy. They are essentially treasure hunters and have three people based at their home who do research for them, make arrangements for their travel and are available 24-7. Who has that in their life? Their relationship is easy going and complimentary to each other. Cussler handles each character equally…they have their own strengths and neither one outshines the other.
Me: Should I read this book? Why or why not?
Paula: You should read it because I like it so much! *laughs* I always want you to read books I love – but this would be a change of pace for you. It’s a really good story even if you are not a big reader of the adventure genre. The two main characters are really likable.
Me: Any great quotes you want to share?
Paula: After following an old map, Sam and Remi enter a cave that they hope will lead to the treasure they’re seeking…this is what follows:
They hopped over the creek and started down the right-hand tunnel. After twenty feet the floor sloped down, and they found themselves standing in calf-deep water. Sam shined his beam over the surface; there was a slight eddying current. They kept walking.
Remi stopped and put her index finger to her lips.
She clicked off her headlamp. Sam did the same.
Then, following ten seconds of silence, a sound: something moving in the darkness ahead. Like leather scraping against stone. More silence, then another sound: like a heavy wet towel striking a rock.
Sam and Remi looked at each other and, in near unison, mouthed: Crocodile. – from Lost Empire, page 247 –
Me: Compared to other Cussler novels, what rating would you give this one?
4.5 sunken ships