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Book review: 'Poseidon's Arrow' follows formula for fun, fascinating adventure

Published: Saturday, Dec. 1 2012 2:00 p.m. MST

"POSEIDON'S ARROW: A Dirk Pitt Novel," by Clive Cussler and Dirk Cussler, G.P. Putnam's Sons, $28.95 pages (f)

"Poseidon's Arrow" is Clive Cussler's fifth page-turner co-written by his son, who bears the same first name as the author's ever-clever and captivating hero, Dirk Pitt.

This combined effort — fitting considering the key role Pitt's son plays with his dad and twin sister — is as fun as it is formulaic.

As one would expect in classic Cussler style, this adventure includes the usual heroism and quick-thinking of familiar characters, most notably the gracefully aging Pitt along with his trusty sidekick Al Giordino, who find creative ways to get into and out of trouble while preventing massive mayhem from erupting — again.

In true Cussler fashion, "Poseidon's Arrow" also delivers descriptive detail of remote and exotic locations; exciting and worrisome technological advances; vintage cars and sea vessels; unexpected twists and dangerous predicaments for multiple do-gooders; a beautiful and intelligent heroine; and yet another greedy, corrupt and evil villain (insert evil laugh) hoping to build a bigger bank account and web of power.

The Cusslers begin this book by sharing the intriguing story of an Italian submarine that encounters difficulties in the Indian Ocean during World War II. While a mystery involving its importance is left unsolved for several hundred pages, readers will easily get wrapped up in a modern-day escapade that involves action, lots of action — underwater, on water and on dry ground (usually). A series of tall-but-somehow-believable tales leads readers around multiple continents — from Africa to Asia to the land of potatoes (Idaho) and the lowest point (Panama) in North America. Meanwhile, the fate of likable heroes, the status of the United States' military might and the world's balance of power are placed in peril.

Three questions might pop into readers' heads while they plow through "Poisedon's Arrow" (or, really, any other Cussler book):

• Does that kind of technology and weaponry really exist?

• Could this actually happen? And

• Will Dirk Pitt — or Al Giordino, either of Pitt's cut-from-the-same-cloth children and there-when-you-need-them NUMA characters — be there to save the day if it does?

To fully enjoy this book, it's necessary to suspend one's sense of reality, accept that fortuitous and unfortunate coincidences are around almost every corner, and appreciate levity and creativity even in occasionally corny doses.

"Poseidon's Arrow" continues the Cusslers' kudos-worthy tradition of providing an action-packed, Dirk Pitt adventure that doesn't include salty language or inappropriate themes other than occasional mayhem and murder that'd be best for kids to avoid reading.

EMAIL: jody@desnews.com

TWITTER: DJJazzyJody

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