Friday, 20 September 2013

Zero Hour by Clive Cussler and Graham Brown

Thunder shook the unlit cavern as an immense, blue-white spark jumped between a pair of towering, metal columns.

Sounds exciting, doesn't it? It's a little misleading though, because it's not happening to somebody and we don't know if it's happening because of someone. It is just something that is happening.

I could do the same thing for a pot of boiling water:

The metal pot rumbled with the scorching bubbles exploding inside, causing the lid to tremble as billowing sweltering wisps of vapor soared up into the unlit kitchen.

Anyway, what follows is a description of an event involving plasma and flames. Fortunately, this is not a description of the Big Bang, there are characters witnessing this event that by the end of the prologue, we learn, is what caused the San Francisco earthquake. Yeah, it's 1906. Everyone in the prologue is killed.

I'm intrigued despite my love of Thomas Hardy, but because it's a prologue, I know chapter 1 will not continue where the prologue left off; it will begin with different people, in a different time period, on a different part of the planet, and with a different problem. So before I even finish the prologue, I'm sad. Talk about yanking an unfinished meal off the table.

Chapter One:

December 2009

In the midst of a growing tempest, Patrick Devlin stood on the aft deck of the Java Dawn, an oceangoing tug linked by a single massive cable to the rusting hulk of a cruise ship known as the Pacific Voyager.

The novel begins with a character in a storm. How can this interest anyone? Weather sucks, yes, so deal with it and move on. At least it introduces someone and it raises two questions: What happened to the rusting cruise ship that it needed to be hauled? How the hell is this related to an earthquake from a 100 years ago? I could see this hooking many people, especially Cussler fans. Not me, though.

First thing said:
"Is that it?"


Verdict: Fail

Theodore Moracht

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