Book Review: Clive Cussler’s Poseidon’s Arrow

Posted December 18, 2012 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Clive Cussler’s Poseidon’s Arrow

Poseidon's Arrow


Clive Cussler

action & adventure, thriller that was published by G.P. Putnam's Sons on November 6, 2012 and has 520 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include Crescent Dawn, The Jungle, Kingdom, Devil's Gate, The Storm, The Tombs, Zero Hour, The Mayan Secrets, Mirage, Ghost Ship, The Eye of Heaven, Piranha, The Emperor's Revenge, Pirate, Odessa Sea, Havana Storm, Nighthawk, The Romanov Ransom, Typhoon Fury

Twenty-second in the Dirk Pitt action suspense series revolving around the director of NUMA, his sidekick, and his kids.

My Take

It’s a case of national pride, military superiority, traitors in high places, and the selling and buying of rare earth elements desperately needed in our technology-rich lives. And, oh man, the action is hot, fast, and furious as we run all over the globe in this one with chase scenes galore from ATVs to merchant carriers to vintage Packards. Definitely Saturday afternoon at the movies!

It’s the American version of James Bond plus Indiana Jones plus McGyver. And it’s definitely a family affair with the three blood-bound Pitts having connected adventures. Lucky Loren is on the sidelines this time around.

It’s never a question of can he/they do it, but how.

I’m always a bit ambivalent about reading the prologue. It’s always sad, and yet it does provide a clue to the contemporary story that follows. This particular one has a tenuous connection.

Cussler makes his usual appearance, but not in the usual way. This is the second out-of-character character he’s played (see the Fargo Adventure, Tombs).

As Dirk, Sr. is ramming through the canal, his son reckons “they’re going to want your pilot’s license for that.”

And Dad figures “Think how mad they’ll be when they find out…”

Well, duh, why on earth take a chance on losing the plans by running around town? Then there’s the ship Dirk, Al, and Plugard’s team who board, the Adelaide. We hear that Dirk has misgivings. Which we assume he would have passed on to his fellows, but no one seems to have paid any attention. Including Dirk. What’s with that?

Ooh, I do love Pitt’s brilliance about the chokers! Although I hadn’t thought of the same solution Pitt did.

Ah, what a way to spend your arrest. Hawaiian shirts, a few cold beers…

The Story

It starts with sabotage and murder. Hmmm, it ends there too. Well, there ya go, the entire story in eleven words, LOL.

It’s all about the super top-secret, hush-hush submarine with its very advanced technology. Or at least the plans and raw materials required to make it. The Chinese want it, and Edward Bolcke is determined to press forward in his plans for market domination.

Luckily, Dirk’s initial saving of thousands of people tips him off to the possible causes of other deaths. Sanderson sends Dirk, Al, Rudi, and NUMA off to Mexico to find out what happened to a trio of scientists about to perform a trial run of the latest advances in submarine technology.

Too bad the bad guys don’t realize who all they’re taking on, even Ann Bennett is a match for them in enthusiasm! It’s ships ramming at sea, high piracy, sunken submarines, kidnappings, slavery, prison escapes, blockades, and lots and lots of chase scenes on foot through the jungle, cross-country via ATV, and playing dodge ’em in the Panama Canal.

The Characters

Dirk Pitt is the current director of NUMA now that Admiral James Sandecker is vice-president of the United States. Ooh, is it wicked to consider the possibilities of the president dying?? Shades of Jack Ryan…!. Dirk, Jr. and Summer Pitt are his recently found children who have signed on to the NUMA credo with quick glee. Loren Smith-Pitt is the congresswoman from Colorado married to Dirk.

NUMA Personnel
Al Giordino is Dirk’s partner and the director of technology. Rudi Gunn is the deputy director. Zerri Pochinsky is Dirk’s secretary. Hiram Yaeger is the hippie-ish computer genius behind NUMA. Captain Jack Dahlgren is in charge of the Alexandria when Dirk and Summer’s sub gets sunk.

Ann Bennett is with the Naval Criminal Investigation Service (NCIS). Good things she’s had all sorts of training; now, if she could just pull it all together. Dan Fowler is with DARPA. Tom Cerny is a special aide to the President. More interested in his power than service. St. Julien Perlmutter steps up with his lore of the sea. And a very tasty sounding meal!

Captain Alphonse Franco is in charge of the cruise ship, Sea Splendour. Lucky for him, Dirk Pitt was in the area. Lieutenant Aaron Plugard and his men, Coast Guard Maritime Safety, are a seagoing SWAT team.

The Scientists
Dr. Joe Eberson is DARPA’s director of Sea Platforms Technology and he heads up the Sea Arrow program. Dr. Carl Heiland is an independent contractor and brilliant at submarine design and torpedo development. He’s also quite a patriot. Manny, a.k.a., Dr. Manfred Ortega, is his assistant and almost as brilliant.

The Panamanian Canal Authority
Commander Alvarez heads up the field security operations and leads the rescue operation. Madrid is the director of Canal Security.

The Bad Guys
Pablo is ex-Columbian Special Forces, Eduardo, Juan, Alteban, and Rivera are just one team. Clarence and his friend are the D.C. end of things. Zhou Xing is a Chinese spy, who appears to be quite good at his job, but not a sociopath. He discovers quite a few things he dislikes about Bolcke. I do like what he arranges for Jiang Xianto.

Johansson, a.k.a., Johnny-the-Whip, is a nasty, nasty man. Just perfect for Edward Bolcke, the Austrian mining engineer and sociopathic mastermind who will betray anyone.

Captain Gomez is in charge of the Adelaide.

The Cover and Title

The cover is definitely a metaphor as I don’t remember a scene like this one within the story. But it certainly captures the flavor of hot and furious with all that red and yellow exploding into a smoky red sky as the merchant ship blows up and a very modern-looking seaplane flies straight at us.

The title is rather vague. Yes, there is water involved, hence the Poseidon and then there is the super secret Arrow.