Jack du Brul - Shastrix Books

Jack du Brul

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Mirage

Mirage

Clive Cussler & Jack du Brul

1st February 2014

I was pleasantly surprised by this Oregon Files novel, which opens with a thrilling rescue that leads on to a series of following adventures. Over recent years I've become less satisfied with the Cussler 'brand' but this, some three years since the last book in this series, was really enjoyable to read.

The Oregon Files started out as much more of an ensemble piece in the earliest novels, but now focus much more on the main character, Juan Cabrillo. While this can sometimes feel unrealistic it adds a lot more of a sense of adventure than the very procedural nature of the first few books.

The plot here is fantastic. There's the usual slight sci-fi edge to the threat, but the baddie is surprisingly authentic and not the almost-parody Bond-villain that sometimes features in Cussler novels. The story shows the Oregon's day-to-day as well as a big adventure, which adds realism to the story and a much more interesting look at the characters. It also helps to slow the main plot line which flits around the world quite quickly in scene after scene of action.

The best Cussler for years, in my opinion, and one I find it difficult to find much fault with. Much more of this please.

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The Jungle

The Jungle

Clive Cussler & Jack du Brul

7th March 2011

I'm very much in two minds about this book. Cut off by the US government following the events of 'The Silent Sea', the Corporation are reliant on work from private customers to pay their way, such as rescuing a kidnapped child and hunting for missing persons. It's difficult to say much more about the plot without giving anything away, so I won't.

It starts badly, with a number of blatant scientific and historical inaccuracies, but then as it gets going the action moves quickly and it feels much more like the early Oregon Files books. The middle section of this book is definitely the best writing that's been put out under Cussler's name for some time. But then the ending just seems to throw all that away and goes back to the realm of the ridiculous - Cussler's novels have dabbled in fantasy since 'Trojan Odessey' but this is probably one of the most extreme.

I've been reading Clive Cussler's novels for about ten years now and I'm afraid to say that the half of the canon that's been published in that time are nothing like the standard of those published before. It's really disappointing because there are glimmers of the old Cussler that shine through the gaps, only to be snatched away by the unbelievable twists that feel so unnecessary.

The Oregon Files are probably my favourites of the spin-off series and this one does introduce some good new characters and fresh storylines, but the plot continues to drag it down. I can only hope that improvements will come, but as long as people (like me) keep buying then the novels will probably continue in this vein.

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The Silent Sea

The Silent Sea

Clive Cussler & Jack du Brul

1st June 2010

I was pleasantly surprised by the latest entry in Clive Cussler's Oregon Files series. Cabrillo and his crew uncover a rather complicated plot involving missing scientists, a crashed rocket, a treasure pit, an Argentine invasion and a Chinese junk.

Although aspects of the plot were somewhat akin to a Dirk Pitt story, the characters deal with them in a very different manner. Despite the complexity, the plot is more believable than a lot of the recent Cusslers, although the continued presence of the same bad guy stretches the imagination a little. The action moves at a good pace and shifts from location to location rapidly throughout.

The guest character is once again the standard love interest, although it is mixed up a little as she is connected to a different character. Juan ends up as the star, which while understandable does go against what I though was one of the key elements of the Oregon series: that it's an ensemble piece. Max and Linda (imo the author's favourite character) do get their share of page time, but the others have a much smaller role than I think they deserved.

Another criticism I have is that there were several continuity errors. For example, two of the soldiers' ranks seemed to shuffle about throughout. There were also some parts that I felt were unnecessary, particularly the digs about the UN being useless and the new President being weak on international affairs. This is meant to be entertainment, not political commentary. Overall though an encouraging read, although there's still some way to go to match the past glories of the author.

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Corsair

Corsair

Clive Cussler & Jack du Brul

17th April 2009

Okay, I'm only giving this one two stars just for the final page, which has just really annoyed me. I'm going to go into spoilerific details.

As a sub-plot which seems more suited to be a main plot of a NUMA files novel, the cast go after the 'Jewel of Jerusalem', which turns out to contain a drop of Jesus' blood. At the end of the novel, the doctor analyses the blood, and concludes that it is the correct age (within a 130 year buffer), and further, that it only contains female DNA.

Remarkably however, this doesn't mean that it's the DNA of a female, because the chromosomes say otherwise... interesting. Even I know that chromosomes in general can't be male ones and yet be only female DNA.

And then, just to make it worse, the doctor claims that it's all mitochondrial DNA, even outside the mitochondria! Have they even thought about this at all? An organism that has only mitochondrial DNA would be a mitochondria! Not a human without a father.

This is the worst piece of Christian propaganda I have ever seen. Even worse when it's in a novel meant to be promoting peace between Islam and the West. Well, having said that, the bad guys are always Muslims.

Anyway, rant over - now the rest of the book. It's not as well done as some of the early Oregon Files novels, where they are a crack team who plan well and implement their plans exactingly. Now they just seem to go along with the flow, much like in the main Dirk Pitt series.

Maybe I'll come back when I've got over the end to write something nicer.

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Unreviewed books

Dark Watch
Pandora's Curse
Plague Ship
Skeleton Coast
Vulcan's Forge

Top books

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  2. The Jungle
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  4. Mirage
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  6. The Silent Sea
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  8. Corsair