Book Review: Journey of the Pharaohs by Clive Cussler and Graham Brown

Posted April 15, 2020 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

Book Review: Journey of the Pharaohs by Clive Cussler and Graham Brown

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.

Journey of the Pharaohs by Clive Cussler, Graham Brown
Genres: Action, Adventure
on March 10, 2020
Pages: 432
Format: eBook
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, Dragon, Marauder

Seventeenth in The NUMA Files action thriller series and revolving around Kurt Austin and his partner, Joe Zavala.

My Take

It’s starts with a daring and brilliant rescue…very Kurt and Joe. Then it segues too easily into Kurt and Joe being loaned out to MI5. Oh, well. There’s still plenty of excitement with gun battles, chases, and clues to follow. It’s action that closely aligns to those stereotypical characters of good, evil, and greedy.

I did appreciate Kurt’s approach. It’s very much a NUMA thing to be more interested in the science and history, in knowledge, and not treasure for the sake of it.

Cussler/Brown use a third person global subjective point-of-view from the perspective of a number of characters, enabling us to “hear” their thoughts and “feel” their emotions. I did have to laugh at Sofia’s comment about Americans not being allowed to learn other languages. We can learn. We’re just too lazy with no incentives.

I dunno. Sending marine scientists to all these inland areas seems rather pointless. Sure, Paul has that geology expertise, but this is more like Cussler/Graham were only allowed the use of core characters. Whether their use makes sense or not, in a real-world sense anyway. I mean, would any agency spend the money and time to use a pair of scientists whose main expertise is marine-based and not a single expert whose specialty was geology, maybe combined with Egyptian history?? I did like the concept of the Toymaker, but…really? All these incompetent bad guys? Oh. Boy.

The trail Cussler/Brown laid down through the story took awhile, but the background they laid out and the search for a perpetual sun did make sense.

Huh. I think I had known that about the Horse Latitudes, but it was so long ago… Poor horsies.

And, of course, Cussler/Brown manage to work in a vintage automobile, a Kissel.

The Story

That’s some vacation for Kurt and Joe, starting with a search for the wreck of an ancient Viking ship and ending with the rescue of the crew of a ship foundering on the rocks.

Once they (and NUMA) know how important MI5’s mission is, they bring it on and go up against the Bloodstone Group of vicious mercenaries and gun runners.

The Characters

Kurt Austin is the director of Special Projects for NUMA. Joe Zavala, Kurt’s partner and best friend, is a brilliant engineer and Kurt’s second-in-command at NUMA.

NUMA is…
…a.k.a., the National Underwater and Marine Agency founded by now-Vice-President James Sandecker. (Morris is Sandecker’s lead Secret Service agent.) Dirk Pitt is the current head. Rudi Gunn is second-in-command at NUMA and handles day-to-day operations. Hiram Yaeger is the director of the Technology and Information Systems Unit. He’s the creator of Max, a one-of-a-kind supercomputer that has a personality all its own. I do love Max *grin* Paul and Gamay Trout are a pair of married scientists; his expertise is in ocean sciences and geology while hers is in marine biology.

Trotter is the nighttime desk administrator. Ms Miranda Curtis works in the FBI archives. Do not make her mad.

Morgan Manning claims to be a reporter for UK News 1. Turns out she’s deepwater-certified. Colonel Pembroke-Smythe is in charge; he’d once worked with Pitt in Sahara, 11. Thames House is their official HQ.

Isle of Skye, Scotland
Vincennes paid for the trip; the captain knows about the Bloodstone Group. The McCloud Tavern overlooks the loch.

The Punter is Professor Henry Cross, an expert in the ancient cultures of the Mediterranean and the dynastic authority on Egypt, who has a photographic memory — that sounds handy! — and who enjoys punting on the River Cam.

Villa Ducal de Lerma in Navia, Basque country, Spain
San Sebastián de las Montañas is the church where Father Torres is the priest. Sofia is the young granddaughter who helps at her grandmother’s café.

Silver Box Ravine, Navajo Nation, Arizona
Eddie Toh-Yah is an old friend of Kurt’s from his Navy days. His grandfather had been the protector, and he’ll pass the baton to Eddie.

The Bloodstone Group is…
…a conglomerate of arms dealers and thieves led by Solomon Barlow, a.k.a., Prince of the Arms Trade. Robson, a thug formerly known as Inky, leads both crews. Slocum is on the first crew. The second crew consists of childhood “friends”: Fingers, Snipe, and Daly and Gus, a part-time enforcer for a local thug, who are competitive half-brothers. Kappa‘s crew are straight-up mercenaries, including Gunther. MV Tunisian Wind is a bulk carrier used to ferry arms around the world.

The Collector is a competitor of the Bloodstone Group. Omar Kai is a flamboyant, fearless mercenary who is always broke. The Toymaker is actually a pair of assassins, a brother and sister, Fydor and Xandra. The Granzinis are a complex family of smugglers.

Francisco DeMars is the grandson of the Frenchman who found the Writings of Qsn. That DeMars had a theory that North Africans were the origin of much of European culture and its population.

May-to-December 1927, Roosevelt Field, Long Island, New York
Jake Melbourne is a showman, a daredevil celebrity aviator, a World War I ace, and a gambler in over his head, who plans to fly his Golden Ram. Stefano Cordova is a freelance mechanic and friends with Jake; he was also the nephew of Carlo Granzini, a known smuggler. The Orteig Prize will be awarded to the first pilot to fly nonstop from New York to Paris. Charles “Slim” Lindbergh is participating as well. L’Oiseau Blanc is the missing French plane piloted by Charles Nungesser and François Coli. The Wanamakers are sponsoring Byrd. Sikorsky is sponsoring Fonck.

Bags Callahan was part of the Irish Syndicate. J. Edgar Hoover is the power-mad head of the Bureau of Investigation.

1913 is…
…when the National Heritage Protection and International Stability Act was passed by Congress and is intended to classify material important to American heritage and international stability.

1074 B.C., 18th Dynasty
Qsn is also known as the Bringer of Sorrow and “Sparrow”, an insult. He left behind the Writings of Qsn. The Medjay guard the pharaohs’ tombs. Khemet is their captain. Had been. Ramses rules in Memphis and Alexandria. Herihor was a commoner who became a successful general, then High Priest of Amun, who then made himself pharaoh in Upper Egypt.

The Cover and Title

The cover is a scene from the beginning. A sky of deep reds gradating to a circular yellow, representing a sunset or the fierce fire from the helicopter firing on the ship caught in the jagged rocks as Joe Zavala races away on his JetSki through storm-tossed black and green waves. There’s a nice bit of movement with the horizon all a’tilt. An info blurb in yellow is at the very top with the authors’ names below that: the primary author is in a pale gray gradation and is outlined in white with the secondary author in white with a deep gray shadow. The title is below Joe in white with the series information at the very bottom in a paler yellow.

The title is the trail everyone follows, the Journey of the Pharaohs.

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