Odessa Sea, Clive Cussler, author; Scott Brick, narrator
This book will keep you guessing until the last few pages. Numerous characters will enter and exit at will, sometimes confusing the listener. The narrator is excellent with accents and expression, but it was often difficult to discern the individual characters because the only thing separating each was the accent, which rarely varied, and not the modulation or the tone. Still, Scott Brick captured the tension and the mood at all times.
In 1917, during the Bolshevik Revolution, the Ottomans attacked a Russian sub carrying a very unique cargo, unbeknownst to them. The ship was sunk in the Black Sea, and all information on the cargo and end purpose was lost. In 1955, a Russian bomber was carrying another unique piece of cargo when it crashed into the Black Sea, during a severe storm.
In 2017, during a salvage operation, it was discovered that a possible lost shipment of gold existed, as did a treaty between the English and the Russians. It might be on the sunken submarine. In addition, there was now a lost atomic weapon which complicated matters further since it might have been on the Russian bomber. This series of discoveries led to the Russian government calling in a double agent, Viktor Mansfield, a superspy who seemed to always be one step ahead of everyone, defying reason, as he searched for the lost document and the missing gold. He, and another agent, Martina, worked together. If they failed in their effort to keep this information from reaching others, they would face dire consequences. Consequently, they would let nothing get in their way.
At the same time, behind the scenes, there is Martin Hendriks, a Dutchman who was the former head of a surveillance company. He has developed a sophisticated, undetectable armed drone. He engaged Valentin Mankedo, an owner of a salvage company and his partner Ilya Vasko, to help him carry out his diabolical plan to seek revenge, although the enemy he is seeking revenge against remains unknown until the very, very end. He needed them to supply him with what he needed in order to arm the silent, sophisticated drone he had created and wanted to sell to the Russians. They will do anything for money. His cryptic plan to attain vengeance placed Dirk Pitt, his children and the Bulgarian agents who were also involved in the search for those who would supply and transport contraband on the Black Sea, at risk. Many casualties ensued. Hendriks served to misdirect everyone in order to avoid the discovery of his real plan which was to avenge the death of his family.
The Bulgarian agents, Ana and Petar, were searching for the Ukrainians who sold the contraband to the Dutchman. The Russian agents were searching for the documents and gold. The Americans wound up searching for an atomic weapon, the missing documents and the cache of gold. The three groups seemed to be unaware of each other’s purpose, but since their needs converged, they often connected with each other with dangerous and deadly consequences as this mystery developed more and more angles.
As background, Dirk Pitt is the Director of Numa, the National Underwater and Marine Agency. He is involved in salvage operations and research. His partner, in charge of the technical side, is Al Giordino. Dirk Pitt Jr. is a Special Projects Director and his twin sister Summer is an Oceanographer. When, in 2017, an SOS is received by NUMA from a ship that appears to be a ghost ship, with all aboard dead or near dead, they all become inextricably entwined in that mystery and the mystery surrounding the ship and the plane previously mentioned. When they investigated the silent ship, they found themselves under attack, without warning. They were like superheroes, surviving one attack after another, often stretching the reader’s credulity beyond the point of no return.
It seemed that during the Romanov Empire, the Russians and the English made a deal that went undiscovered for a century because of the disconnected disasters that took the proof of their deals with them to the bottom of the sea. Simply put, the Russians, the Ukrainians and the Americans were all separately searching for something that would eventually connect each of them to impending disaster. It isn’t until the last few pages that the motives of each of the culprits are uncovered.