Book Review: Dragon by Clive Cussler

Posted May 25, 2020 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

Book Review: Dragon by Clive Cussler

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.

Dragon by Clive Cussler, Graham Brown
Genres: Action Thriller
Published by Simon and Schuster on June 15, 1990
Pages: 542
Format: Hardcover
Source: the library

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Also by this author: The Mayan Secrets, Ghost Ship, The Eye of Heaven, Piranha, The Pharaoh's Secret, The Emperor's Revenge, Pirate, Odessa Sea, Havana Storm, Nighthawk, The Romanov Ransom, Typhoon Fury, The Rising Sea, The Gray Ghost, Shadow Tyrants, Sea of Greed, The Oracle, Final Option, Journey of the Pharaohs, Marauder

Tenth in the Dirk Pitt action thriller series and revolving around the indestructible Dirk and his wisecracking partner, Al Giordino.

My Take

Huh? I can’t remember having read this before, and I did enjoy it. As over the top as this melodrama is, *grin*. Cussler uses third person global subjective point-of-view, taking in many of the main characters’ perspectives, allowing us to hear their thoughts, feel their emotions, and see events occurring around them.

It certainly makes for an emotional read and may not be the ideal book to read at this time in our history, as emotional as so many of us feel about the pandemic and the Chinese government.

The destruction begins almost immediately and is quite explosive. It’s historical, political, and too many robots in the background! Eeek! Brilliant, but still eek.

I adore Soggy Acres. The concept of self-sustainment is brilliant and would be so much fun.

At the other end of the spectrum, the statistics Cussler includes about the number of Allied prisoners who died at the hands of the Japanese makes the Nazis look benign. Nor am I surprised that some of the Japanese army ran drugs. There are bad guys in every army, taking advantage of nefarious opportunities, and it does provide Koda Suma and Yoshishi with an interesting back history.

It really made an impression on me how easily the US government moved things around and took people for granted. The CIA are such prats in forcing Pitt and Giordino into helping. It never hurts to ask! Of course it’s typical behavior of most government agencies who all think they can lord it over everyone else.

I gotta wonder how similar the situation in Dragon is to what’s happening economically in our world now. In Dragon, the Japanese are poised to take over our country what with all their investments in American companies — check out the Chinese ownership of Smithfield!

You go, Loren! Why do we allow so many foreigners to walk all over us in our country when they put such restrictions on us in theirs? Don’t get me wrong. I love that the US is such a fabulous melting pot of cultures. But I don’t think we should bend over to let others abuse us. Anyone can buy property here, but an American can’t own property in Mexico? You have to have a proven monthly income to live in Belize?

Wait’ll you read that bit about who the Japanese-held companies in America will employ [in the book, I ain’t sayin’ that’s how it is in real life…] and whether women, minorities, or unions are allowed.

We have to start looking at our own debtor status and clean it up. Bring jobs back to America. Stop being a primarily service economy. Start planning for the long-term instead of the short-term.

“You Americans must learn to accept the facts. If we buy America, it’s because you’re selling it.”

I know. One could say that it’s karma, payback for our own pushiness. But might never makes right. We need to learn from the past and become better people. Everywhere.

I wish I knew what happened to Clausen after he got off his tractor. Although we do know what happened to one of those Messerschmitts, lol. Seems a mighty high price to pay for some rudeness, but it does add to Pitt’s collection.

Suma makes some good points about how awful things are in America. And then Pitt turns it right back on him, lol. No one country is without its bad and good. Every country, including ours, needs to stop thinking they’re so superior. More fun comes with Giordino’s comment about preferring to be represented by Monty Python’s Flying Circus than the US State Department.

Just like crooks who don’t think it’s fair when you retaliate against their attacks. The Japanese in this story don’t think it’s fair when we pull the same stunts on them that they do on us.

“You and your fellow corporate executive officers believe in doing unto other nations as you would not allow others to do unto you.”

That comment Suma makes about there being no difference between an economic war and a military war?…*shudder*…

Turns out Toshie is into engine work. Cute results but not very believable.

It’s definitely something any mogul needs to be on the watch for — that overwhelming thirst for absolute power. Hmmm, who am I thinking of…

The Story

A terrorist plot that will encompass the world is slowly revealed against a marine backdrop of nuclear bombs, DSMVs, and spies.

The Characters

Dirk Pitt is the special projects director who doesn’t spend much time behind a desk. Al Giordino is his longtime friend, partner, and NUMA associate.

The Pacific, 1993

Soggy Acres is…
…a livable, self-sustaining habitat on the ocean floor, involved in an experimental mining operation. Big John and Big Ben are both DSMVs, Deep Sea Mining Vehicles. The inhabitants include Sarah who oversees computer records and cooks; Jill is a marine equipment engineer and resident biologist; Keith Harris is the project seismologist; and, Dave Lowden is the chief vehicle engineer.

NUMA is…
…the National Underwater and Marine Agency headed up by Admiral James Sandecker. The rumpled, brilliant Hiram Yaeger, a Navy SEAL who served three tours in Vietnam, is in charge of and designed NUMA’s brain center. NUMA helped develop The Great Karnak.

Raymond Jordan, one of the five most powerful men in official Washington, is director of the CIA and heads the National Security Service. He speaks seven languages, has a photographic memory, and has been married for thirty seven years. Donald Kern is deputy director of Operations. Broan.

MAIT is…
…a Multi-Agency Investigative Team that will include Frank Mancuso, a graduate of the Colorado School of Mines, and under special contract with the CIA. He’s working with Rico Acosta, a mining engineer with Philippine security forces. (Fernando and Imelda Marcos get a dishonorable mention.) Central Command, a.k.a., Team Lincoln, will be in Washington. Mel Penner is the CIA Resident at their Information Gathering and Collection Point (IGCP) in the Palau Republic and will act as director of field operations, a.k.a., Team Chrysler. His cover will be as a UCLA sociologist. Marvin Showalter, the assistant director of Security for the US Department of State, will be based in Tokyo as Team Cadillac. Dr Timothy Weatherhill, a nuclear scientist, will partner up with Stacy Fox as Team Buick and go undercover as a journalist and photographer for the Denver Tribune. Roy Orita and James Hanamura will be Team Honda in charge of Japan. Sandecker and Giordino will be Team Mercedes and salvage debris on the ocean floor. Pitt will be teamed with Frank as Team Stutz in support of Team Mercedes.

Clyde Ingram is the director of Science and Technical Data Interpretation. Curtis Meeker is deputy director of Advanced Technical Operations and one of the best satellite photo analysts in the business. Bill McCurry is a top investigator with the NSA. Hank Sauer is a friend of Stevenson’s.

General Duke Mackay is commander of Anderson Air Force Base on Guam. Dan Keegan is an unlucky rancher in Wyoming. Roger Stevenson is the director of the National Earthquake Center where Clayton Morse is a geophysicist. Bill Frick is a special agent with the FBI. Major Marcus Turner is the chief pilot of the C-5 dropping Big Ben. Natalie is an incredible chef with flexible mores.

Washington D.C.
Senator Mike Diaz, a hardliner against foreign influence and involvement in American affairs, and Congresswoman Loren Smith, Dirk’s friend, are proposing boycotts and trade barriers against the Japanese. Something we should be looking at! With regard to the Chinese. Dale Nichols is the special assistant to the president of the United States. A fact Cussler imparts word-for-word, over and over… Secretary of State Oates.

Deep Quest is a 12-ton submersible carried by the Tucson, an attack submarine captained by Commander Beau Morton. Lieutenant Commander (Lt Cmdr) Sam Hauser is a scientist with the Naval Radiological Defense Laboratory. More of the crew includes Sonarman Kaiser, Lt Cmdr Ken Fazio, and Lt David DeLuca, who is the navigation officer. The Ralph R. Bennett is commanded by Captain (Capt) Wendell Harper. Lt Cdr Raymond Simpson is part of the crew.

Old Gert is a deep-sea submersible on the Invincible, a British oceanographic ship. Craig Plunkett is its chief engineer, designer, and pilot for the sub. Dr Raul Salazar is the marine geologist from the University of Mexico. Stacy Fox is the photographer. Jimmy Knox is the surface controller.

Capt Arne Korvold is in command of the passenger ship Narvik. The boarding crew includes Chief Officer Oscar Steen, Assistant Chief Engineer Olaf Andersson, David Sakagawa, who is in communications, and Seaman Arne Midgaard. Shanghai Shelly is a junk commanded by Owen Murphy. Dr Harry Deerfield is a pediatrician and a friend of Owen’s, helping him with delivery.

Suma Industries

Hideki Suma is its face, and he’s also second-in-command in the Gold Dragons. Moro Kamatori is Suma’s oldest friend and chief aide, highly gifted with his katana with a preference for hunting humans. Toshie Kudo is Suma’s brilliant and submissive secretary.

The Divine Star is part of a fleet of cargo ships owned by the Sushimo Steamship Company, a Suma division, that includes the Divine Moon, the Divine Water, the Divine Sky, and the Divine Lake. Mr Yamada is a company director. Dr George Furukawa is Suma Industries’ undercover agent in Los Angeles as well as vice-president of Samuel J Vincent Laboratories, an R&D center for space and aviation companies. Murmoto Motor Corporation manufactures cars and is another of Suma’s companies. Dennis Suhaka is director of transportation for the company in Virginia.

Edo City is…
…a subterranean research and thinktank community and one of Suma’s. It’s connected to the Dragon Center where Takeda Kurojima is the chief director. Jiro Miyaza is one of its chief structural engineers, and one whom Hanamura impersonates. Dr Josh Nogami is the island medic. Nurse Oba knows karate. Masuji Koyama is an expert technician in defense detection.

The Kaiten Project includes robots, some of whom have names: Murasaki, a.k.a., McGoon; McGurk; Nakajima is a sixth-gen courier; and, Taiho and Otokodate are electrical inspectors. Ubanai Okuma and Daisetz Kano are top-level robotic engineers.

Kanoya Securities is…
…the largest securities company in the world, which has a heavy interest in many of Wall Street’s brokerage houses and could swallow most of them without a burp. Ichiro Tsuboi is chief director and a member of the Gold Dragons.

Junshiro is the prime minister. Admiral Itakura is at the Washington embassy. Ashikaga Enshu is an investigator who specializes in rare art. Masaka Shimzu is a sixteenth century Japanese artist. The Blood Sun Brotherhood is another gang who are mostly East Germans. There’s also the Blood Red Brotherhood. I think someone forgot to put “Sun” in place of “Red”.

The Gold Dragons are…
…a gang built by Korori Yoshishu (who is still its grand old thief and leader) and Koda Suma, Hideki’s father, during World War II.


In Germany, August Clausen is an old farmer who loses a tractor and finds a treasure. Frau Klausen is quite hospitable. Lieutenant Helmut Reinhardt is the angry dive officer. Herr Gert Halder is the minister of Historic Works who quotes Adolf Galland, a leading WWII ace. Chancellor Lange invited Dirk and Al over.

Nikolai Golanov is Jordan’s Russian counterpart in charge of the Directorate of Foreign and State Security for the Politburo. Antonov is the Soviet president.

Japan, August 6, 1945

Dennings’ Demons were the crew of a B-29, carrying Major (Maj) Charles Dennings, who is in command. Capt Irv Stanton is the bombardier. Capt Mort Stromp is the co-pilot. Lt Joseph Arnold is the navigator. Navy Cmdr Hank Byrnes is the weapons engineer.

General (Gen) Harold Morrison is special deputy to Gen Leslie Groves, the head of the Manhattan Project. Colonel Paul Tibbets was in command of the Enola Gay. Fat Man was dropped on Nagasaki by Bock’s Car piloted by Maj Charles Sweeney. Lovin’ Lil was supposed to drop off Mother’s Pearl. The bomb codenamed Ocean Mother was never airlifted.

Lt Junior Grade Sato Okinaga is the pilot of a Mitsubishi Zero. Shintoism became a cultural religion and state cult and ethic philosophy. Yasukuni, a.k.a., Shokonsha, is a memorial to the revolutionary war of 1868 and is situated atop Kudan Hill in Tokyo. Today, it’s a rallying symbol for right-wing conservatives and militants.

Gen Yamashita Tomoyuki was in command of Japanese forces in the Philippines. Yamashita’s Gold is the nickname for the immense hoard seized by the Japanese from every country they occupied and hidden all over Luzon. Gen Hideki Tojo was responsible for war atrocities.

William A Miller is one of the dead.

Bits and Pieces

Dr Percival Nash (Payload Percy) is Pitt’s uncle, gourmand, and bachelor, and had been one of the scientists on the Manhattan Project as well as a director on the Atomic Energy Commission. Senator George Pitt of California is Dirk’s father; Susan is his mother. The author shows up at a race.

Marcus Island was…
…meant to be a Japanese tourist destination. Brian Foster and his wife, Shelly, are honeymooners from Brisbane, Australia. Kim and Li Sang are from Korea. Edward Cain and his new bride, Moira, are from Wellington, New Zealand.

The Cover and Title

The cover is a gorgeous marine blue gradating down into a darker shade. At the top is the author’s name in a metallic gold spattered in black with a black outline. Below that is the title in a brilliant red outlined in gold, the bottom of the letters a sinuous wave atop the body of a dragon in the same colors. Below the title is a multiple-engine plane against an outline of rocks. Between author and title is the information that this is a novel in a thin black.

The title is the focus of all our problems, the Dragon.

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