Wednesday, March 4, 2009


SPECIAL ALERT – It’s the first Wednesday of the month, time for another enticing edition of Barrie Summy’s Book Review Club! Read other blogger’s book reviews by using the nifty typewriter widget on the left.

Last month, I reviewed Rick Riordan’s PERCY JACKSON series. I’ll confess upfront. Zeus and 3 immortals helped me with that review. I thought I’d be done with the Olympians after that, but they’ve returned (more from them in a moment). So, I just couldn’t resist doing another book with a Greek connection …

2005 Flashback -- I enjoyed watching SAHARA starring Matthew McConaughey. I had no idea at the time that it was one of Clive Cussler’s Dirk Pitt novels. Then, only days later, I was browsing the bookstore looking for a Greek story and stumbled across THE TROJAN ODYSSEY. I bought it thinking I might learn more about ancient Greece to help me with my own writing. That didn’t really happen, but I loved the book and have ever since been devouring Mr. Cussler’s novels, which are every bit as clever, funny, and action-packed as the Sahara movie.

Returning to the present, allow me to recapture for you my meeting yesterday with the immortals. In case you missed last month, they enjoy meeting me at my office, which can be a bit awkward at times (e.g., Zeus nearly set the fire alarm off in February).

SIDE NOTE: Since the immortals tend to verbose, I’ve highlighted their more relevant contributions to this book review.

Me [at the receptionist’s desk]: Mr. Poseidon, Mrs. Hera! Umm … I thought just Zeus was coming today.

[Hera and Poseidon argue. Hera turns to face me.]

Hera: Stupid Zeus. He got crossed and sent me here. The oaf must’ve forgotten that he’d already told seaweed breathe here to come in his stead.

[We enter the nearest conference room.]

Me: No worries. Have you both read Clive Cussler’s THE TROJAN ODYSSEY?

Poseidon: I told you last time. Listen, we immortals read everything. We’ve ample time for that sort of thing. I took special interest in this one being that it involves a madman wanting to flood the ocean.

Hera: Look, Da, I know heroes.

Me: Excuse me, it’s actually D.A.

Hera: Nevermind that, dear, let me assure you Dirk exhibits everything a goddess likes to see in a mortal. Dirk Pitt and his sidekick, Al Giordino, use muscle some but also smarts. They’re very ingenious, just like the plot. Clive puts them against everything from a hurricane to that odious villain, Spectre.

[Poseidon waves his trident toward Hera.]

Poseidon: You’re forgetting Pitt has help from his twin children and Admiral Sandecker. They all work for NUMA [National Underwater & Marine Agency] . Curses upon NUMA! And, no, just because I’m the sea god, doesn’t mean I have to like NUMA. I like the Dirk Pitt novels, but I detest things being taken from my oceans. This Clive fellow is more than just an author. Clive founded that NUMA bunch in ‘79 and has since removed 60 of my underwater wrecks. He’s only …

Me: Mr. Poseidon, sir, we weren’t discussing Mr. Cussler. Let’s return to his book. I happen to love the characters and stumbled across this quote, which I thought captured the book’s essence as well as their appeal: “Call it luck, call it foresight or fate. Giordino’s weight and momentum striking the stern deck was the extra inducement it took to jar the boat loose. Sluggishly, inch by inch, the boat slowly slithered off the unyielding muck.”

Hera: I’m naming my next child, Clive.

[Poseidon and I look at her incredulously - she's serious.]

Hera: Clive keeps the action moving. He’s a master of the American thriller. Tell your blog friends, not to worry. TROJAN ODYSSEY might be the twentieth some odd book in the series, but they all read as stand alone works. Perhaps the son after Clive will be Dirk. I can hardly use Zeus Junior, can I?

Me: Yes, well, I was wondering what you thought about the book’s beginning.

Poseidon: It’s typical Clive. Clive always starts with some old myth. He’s like a fisherman that way, hooking you. This time, he retells that Trojan War. Then, like usual, you don’t really see how it relates to Dirk Pitt until halfway through the book.

Hera: It’s part of Clive’s charm, dear.

Me: I don’t want to give anything away, but what did the two of you think about the twist Mr. Cussler put on the facts surrounding the Trojan War? Is it true?

[Poseidon grins.]

Poseidon: Clive’s presentation of the Trojan War is all fact, or rather, researched theories. Didn’t we tell you last time, mortal, that we don’t like disclosing facts about locations?

Hera: Yes, leave it to the readers to form their own judgments. Either way, I know readers will be fascinated to learn more about the Trojan War. It was my doing, you know.

Me: Poor Helen and Paris. Well, on that note, I thank you for coming. Security being what it is, I’ll need to escort you out.

Poseidon: That’s right. We don’t have time for idling. I’ve books to read. Hmpf. I’ll say, though, that I certainly thought well enough of Clive’s work. It’s a thrilling adventure. One that befits the seas.

Hera: I hate to say it, as we never agree, but Poseidon is right. THE TROJAN ODYSSEY is everything a Clive Cussler fan such as myself expects from him. New readers to the series will be equally as impressed.

[Poseidon and Hera leave.]

Alright, that concludes my time with the Olympians. I think you can see that all three of us really enjoyed THE TROJAN ODYSSEY. It was published in 2003, so you can find it in paperback if looking for a bargain book. If I had to sum it up in one word, I’d choose “entertaining.” The numbers don’t lie -- as stated on, Mr. Cussler's books are published in “more than 40 languages in more than 100 countries with a readership of more than 125 million avid fans.”


  1. D.A., I'm impressed you stumbled across Cussler! My dad got me started in his books a couple years ago, and I've read 8 or 10 since then. They are definitely an entertaining read and a good story to lose oneself in. I will have to look up The Trojan Odyssey now!

  2. I know, I know. It's tragic, Mark. My buddy, DeWayne, had told me years ago that I'd enjoy them. I didn't even make the connection until after finishing TROJAN ODYSSEY that these were the books DeWayne had been talking about. Oh well. I've since made up for the lost time.

  3. I've read some many of his books (and really enjoyed the vast majority of them). That said, I honestly can't remember if I've read this one or not. Isn't that horrible? Is that what old age is all about?

    Fun, clever review!

  4. PJ -- Sounds like time for a re-read. Granted, I tend to re-read books much more than most folks. Hmm ... I do the same with movies I like.

  5. I've never read a Clive Cussler novel, but I did find the movie Sahara 'entertaining'. ;)

    Great review, but I think next month, you should take the Olympians out for a lunch discussion. I've got Gods Behaving Badly in my TBR stack, a story about Olympians living in modern-day London. Sounds like it'd be right up your alley.

  6. I've never read any books like these but I find your review very entertaining. I like the idea of a lunch discussion, too. :)

  7. Alyssa, Kathy -- You've got me convinced. I've jotted a note for next time. Lunch it is! Hmm ... I wonder if I should ask Zeus to pay?

  8. Godly review…. So creative!

    Happy to hear your computer isn’t dead yet. I liked your line on memories vs. events. Thanks for sharing the advice.

  9. Thanks, Sarah. Let's just say I had 'divine' help. ;-) I have to say that I never knew book reviews could be so fun.

    The computer? Wow. I can't even express how thrilled I am that my computer is again ticking. I'm repeating aloud 3X - "I will back my laptop up."

  10. Love the review! Very creative. :)

    Can you imagine 125 million fans?? :) Amazing.

  11. Hi Keri,

    Thanks! No, I can't imagine 1 million let alone 125 million -- no pressure to produce, I'm sure.

  12. Busted! I've never read Clive Cussler and I didn't see Sahara. I live a sheltered life. I liked your review, I'll have to add Cussler to my TBR pile.

  13. Can't say I'm all that into Greek literature, but it seems like an interesting book.

    Good post, as always D.A.

  14. Beth -- If you don't read the book, you should at least watch the movie. It's a definite keeper. I'd call it a witty action movie. The casting for it couldn't have been better.

  15. Don't worry, Mitch. The Greek lit is just the backdrop for the story. It's like the 'ark' in Indiana Jones.

  16. I didn't realize the Sahara movie was based on one of Cussler's works. This one sounds interesting, and I loved the input from the Immortals.

  17. You are having far too much fun with these reviews! :) I haven't seen Sahara. good to know about that. I have read and enjoyed Cussler, altho not this book. Thank you for joining in!

  18. Hi Linda -- I'm glad you enjoyed the immortals. I use them in PHAIAKIA and just couldn't resist making use of them here.

  19. Hey Barrie! There's never too much fun, is there? I admit that I do really enjoy these. Now, if only I had time to read all the new books I'm learning about!