As usual, Clive Cussler stays right on top of current world events in his latest Dirk Pitt novel, Arctic Drift. This time, not surprisingly, the book set in the year 2011 revolves around the financial crisis and global warming.
The bad guy of the story, Mitchell Goyette, is a Canadian energy tycoon with a public facade of green technology and renewable resource businesses. However, his dark underbelly conceals heavy involvement in oil and natural gas.
South of the Canadian border, the United States faces a financial crisis of unequaled of proportions, a crisis intensified by the looming boycott of the U.S. by the international community if the country does not cut its greenhouse gas emissions from coal burning and automobiles.
The American president in 2011, when the story takes place, plans to use natural gas from Canada to replace both coal and automobile gasoline, thereby killing two birds with one stone. The nation would make huge savings by cutting down on expensive oil imports, and simultaneously reduce greenhouse gas emissions by burning a cleaner fuel.
But of course, this desperate play by the U.S. gets exploited by Goyette to the fullest. Publicly, he’s a hero to the environmentalists because of his role in developing wind power and finding solutions to carbon dioxide sequestration. Out of the public eye and unknown to all but a few, Goyette has major holdings in the Melville gas field of the Canadian Arctic, as well as the Athabasca oil sands of Alberta.
The unconscionable Goyette strikes a deal with the American government to sell nearly limitless supplies of Melville natural gas at market value, which would help the U.S. avert the escalating energy crisis, a financial meltdown, and an international trade boycott. But when Goyette is able to secretly work out a better deal with China, he does not hesitate to break his agreement with the U.S. and leave the southern neighbor high and dry.
(The truth is, in the real world it is hard to see how Goyette’s business would survive the breach of such a huge and important contract. But it makes for a good story line.)
However, Goyette’s double-dealing with the U.S. and China may actually be the least of his crimes. He’s also guilty of assassination, bribing politicians, creating toxic waste that kills people and wildlife, and almost instigating a war between the U.S. and Canada.
What Goyette does not count on, of course, is Dirk Pitt, the hero of 20 Clive Cussler books, including this latest installment. In the end, good prevails over evil.
The co-authorship between father and son Cussler in Arctic Drift appears seamless. Their penmanship cannot be separated. Whatever parts of the book were written by the younger Cussler, he did a magnificent job of adopting his father’s inimitable style. (Intentional oxymoron!)
All in all, Arctic Drift is an excellent action thriller. It’s does not have the cover-to-cover non-stop action of some of the older Dirk Pitt novels by Cussler, but it does have quite enough action, plus the story line is brilliant and intriguing and keeps you wanting to read more. And as always in Dirk Pitt’s world, the villains are as clever as they are evil, and the heroes as pure as Arctic snow.
Britt Hellman resides in Western North Carolina with her spouse and three children. She operates her own copywriting company from her house. Clive Cussler has been one of her favorite writers since reading his Trojan Odyssey, a Dirk Pitt Novel, in 2003 and she writes reviews like this one on Arctic Drift for the fun of sharing that excitement.