A Book Spy Review: ‘Celtic Empire’ by Clive Cussler


Celtic EmpireIn keeping with his one-Dirk-Pitt-adventure-every-two-years publishing schedule, #1 New York Times bestseller Clive Cussler has once again teamed up with his son, Dirk Cussler, to bring back his most popular hero. 

Follow 2016’s Odessa Sea, the Cusslers open their 25th Pitt adventure in Memphis Egypt, 1334 B.C.E., in which a ship carrying Princess Meritaten and other Egyptians desperately flee in hopes of escaping a deadly plague. Flash forward to the present day, U.N. scientists are investigating a number of deaths in El Salvador, when they themselves end up murdered. Likewise, an attack occurs along the Nile when tomb raiders destroy an archeological site.

Back in the states, a tanker sinks to the bottom of the Detroit River, promoting the president to task Dirk Pitt, Director of the National Underwater and Marine Agency, to figure out what’s going on. The story takes another turn when the diver assigned to investigate the tanker is killed, further pushing Pitt to consider that everything has to do with water samples—as he turns his attention to Evanna McKee, CEO of BioRem Global Limited, the company charged with using a new lab-engineered bacteria to clean up the multiple crash sites around the world.

While BioRem’s involvement in the chaos is all but certain, their motive is not. Things point back to Princess Meritaten, and rumor has it that she was carrying a secretive substance with her when she fled Egypt nearly 700 years ago, giving NUMA a potential lead to work with. But with the clock ticking, Dirk calls in everyone—including his children—to pitch in and lend a hand before it’s too late. 

Cussler’s 25th Dirk Pitt novel has a little bit of everything that helped make the character, who the Associated Press once called the “oceanic answer to Indiana Jones,” a household name to begin withincluding lots of cutting-edge science and plenty of action. While the set up may feel formulaic, there’s no need to re-invent the wheel, as Cussler has sold over 50 million books throughout his long career. Many of those readers know exactly what they want, and Cussler, for his part, gives it to ’em, serving up a fast-paced thriller rarely takes its foot off the gas pedal. Sure, you might have to suspend your disbelief a bit, but those who do will have one heck of a fun time. 

Celtic Empire is some of the best work between Clive and Dirk Cussler in years—proving that Dirk Pitt, one of the thriller genre’s premier heroes, has plenty more adventures left in him moving forward.

Book Details

Author: Clive and Dirk Cussler
Series: Dirk Pitt #25
Pages: 464 (Hardcover)
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Release Date: March 19, 2019
Book Spy Rating: 7.5/10



Praised as “one of today’s finest book reviewers” by New York Times bestselling author Gayle Lynds, Ryan Steck (“The Godfather of the thriller genre” — Ben Coes) has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). Steck also works full-time as a freelance editor and pens a monthly thriller column for CrimeReads. For more information, be sure to follow him on Twitter and Facebook. He currently lives in Southwest Michigan with his wife and their six children.

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