General Fiction

By Clive Cussler

Publisher : Putnam Adult (March 10, 2009)


ABOUT Clive Cussler

Clive Cussler
Clive Cussler grew up in Alhambra, California, and attended Pasadena City College before joining the Air Force. He went on to a successful advertising career, winning many national honours for his copywriting. Now a full-time bestselling author, he has also explored the deserts of the A More...


Over five novels, Clive Cussler has brought readers into the world of the Oregon, a seemingly dilapidated ship packed with sophisticated equipment, and captained by the rakish, one-legged Juan Cabrillo. And now the Oregon and its crew face their biggest challenge yet. Corsairs are pirates, and pirates come in many different varieties. There are the pirates who fought off the Barbary Coast in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, the contemporary pirates who infest the waters of Africa and Asia and the pirates...who look like something else.When the U. S. Secretary of State's plane crashes while bringing her to a summit meeting in Libya, the CIA, distrusting the Libyans, hire Cabrillo to search for her, and the misgivings are well founded. The crew locates the plane - but the Secretary of State has vanished. It turns out Libya's new foreign minister has other plans for the conference, ones Cabrillo cannot let happen. But what does it all have to do with a 200-year-old naval battle, and the centuries-old Islamic scrolls that the Libyans seem so determined to find? The answers will lead him, Cabrillo full circle into history and into another pitched battle on the sea, this time against Islamic terrorists, and with the fate of nations resting on its outcome.

1803:  “…there was no hope of capturing the Philadelphia and sailing her out of the harbor, so they determined she would burn instead.”

In the prologue to this modern piracy adventure, Clive Cussler sets the conditions for his American crew, led by Juan Cabrillo, to enter seas off the coast of Tunisia. Talks in Libya between the American Secretary of State, Fiona Katamura, and the Libyan delegation are expected to lead to a peace treaty in the Middle East. En route, Katamura’s plane loses air-to-ground contact and is presumed to have crashed.

Known to his crew as “Chairman,” Cabrillo heads the Corporation, a private company hired to execute delicate maneuvers for the CIA but outside government restrictions. His group works on a strict cash-only basis. The Corporation’s home base is Cabrillo’s brainchild, the Oregon, a state-of-the-art missile-manned ship disguised as a rusty worn freighter. Beneath her outer barnacle-crusted shell lies a heavily armored machine with artillery designed to weather heavy naval battle. The Oregon houses sophisticated intelligence-gathering data, as well as hidden weapons, a world-class electronics suite and a McDonnell Douglas helicopter in a rear hold. Accommodations rival the finest on a luxury cruise liner.

Cabrillo’s mission deals with piracy of a modern type. He is to sail into Tunisian waters, disembark into the desert and investigate evidence of the U.S. plane crash. Meanwhile, in nearby Tunisia, an archaeological group conducting a search for the CIA has reported three members missing. The object of the dig is the remains of a pirate’s ship lost in the Philadelphia incident in 1803. Recently discovered letters point to ancient scrolls that link the Islamic pirate Suleiman Al-Jama to Christian seaman Henry Lafayette. They may have learned tolerance for one another’s beliefs, a precursor for today’s peace talks.

Clive Cussler and Jack Du Brul offer a non-stop, action-filled story in CORSAIR. The latest Oregon Files adventure promises a reader’s fantasy world crammed with knowledge. Details of archaeology, seamanship, armed combat readiness and diplomacy abound here. The armchair reader travels to desert planes, through Mediterranean seas, to inland harbors, training ground tent encampments for terrorists, archaeological digs, hidden waterfalls, and finally urban settings for peace talks.

CORSAIR is a novel of piracy, ancient and modern. The Barbary pirate Al-Jama left future generations a legacy of hate-filled extremism. Cabrillo’s crew meets these terrorists who have taken Al-Jama’s name and wages war against the American infidel. Today’s Al-Jama is determined to destroy all possibilities for peace, killing those who interfere with his plan. His goal is to discover and destroy the pirate ship that may contain scrolls written to forge understanding between Muslims and Christians.

Cabrillo’s men discover the U.S. plane’s wreckage in the desert, with puzzling findings. The area has been scavenged, litter strewn, with a dead camel left behind.  Bodies buried beneath blown sand lead to the obvious conclusion that all have perished in the crash. We are to believe that desert nomads have ransacked the site, but clues lead Cabrillo to think otherwise. The possibility exists that Katamura may be alive and taken hostage.

Electronic genius jumps off the page when Cabrillo’s crew loads up into their land cruiser, affectionately known as the Pig. A truck/armored vehicle, the Pig carries them across the desert into Libyan territory. Three of his men head in search of the missing archaeologists to learn more about the buried pirate ship. If scrolls on the ship can lead to a modern treaty, the find will have far-reaching implications.

Cabrillo treks into the direction taken by the supposed nomads in hopes of finding Katamura alive. He stumbles onto a heavily guarded prison tent-camp, site of a working mine. Political prisoners work as slaves there. Connecting the myriad pieces of the intricate political puzzle becomes a dire necessity. Gunfights, hand-to-hand combat and naval artillery salvos combine to trigger the continuing action in CORSAIR.

Rapid-paced yet loaded with information, CORSAIR will certainly be a bestselling novel. The authors blend history with today’s intelligence, and the desert drama whets the appetite for the next chronicle in the Oregon Files series.

    --- Reviewed by Judy Gigstad