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Book Review: Corsair by Clive Cussler and Jack Dubrul

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Corsair by Clive Cussler and Jack Dubrul is the sixth novel in their co-authored Oregon Files series. Captained by Juan Cabrillo, the Oregon is a modern-day Trojan Horse – a vessel that, on the outside, appears broken down and in disrepair, but actually holds sophisticated equipment and powerful weaponry.

Corsair opens with a prologue set during the Barbary pirate war, in which American ships raid a heavily defended port. The battle and ensuing chase are told in Cussler’s trademark thrilling style, and serves as an enticing appetizer for the story to follow.

Juan Cabrillo, busy fighting modern-day pirates, is brought in to search for the United States’ Secretary of State when her plane crashes under mysterious circumstances on the way to Libya. Meanwhile, St. Julien Perlmutter has uncovered documents which reveal that one of extremist Islam’s most revered historical figures, in fact the namesake of a notorious terrorist, recanted his anti-Christian beliefs late in life, and in fact supported harmony between the faiths. The Libyans desperately want to get their hands on these writings before they are exposed to the world. Cabrillo must foil their plot and rescue the missing secretary of state before it is too late. Dubrul and Cussler expertly weave their plotlines, intertwining history, religion, politics, and action into an entertaining yarn.

Like all Cussler books, particulary the co-authored novels, action is paramount. Dubrul writes action sequences well, and pays a bit more attention to details about weaponry and technology than do Cussler and his other co-authors. Consequently the Oregon Files books will hold more appeal to fans of military fiction than will some of the other Cussler titles. I enjoy more mystery and less combat, but that is a matter if personal taste, and doubtless there are plenty of Cussler fans for whom the reverse is true. The plot is moderately engaging. I never reached a point where I wanted to put the book down, nor did it keep me up at night. Characterization is not a strength. Cabrillo is a solid action hero, but no one else in the remaining cast of characters stands out. Overall, Corsair is an above-average adventure story, and a relaxing way to spend a few evenings or a weekend.

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  • Peter Ryder

    I’m a bit confused about the first part of “Corsair”. After burning the “Philadelphia the “intrepid, being too small, goes on while the “Siren” stays to fight the “Saqr”. In the battle the “Siren” seems to become the “Intrepid” and then later goes back to being the “Siren”. Am I misreading this or is this a mistake?

  • Head_MMoid

    No, Peter Ryder, you are not confused. The opening chapter is quite confusing, and almost seems to be formatted to make it hard to recognize action breaks.