Skip to main content

Final Option: A Novel of the Oregon Files

Review

Final Option: A Novel of the Oregon Files

If you are seeking the breathtaking thriller/adventure of the fall season, you need look no further. With FINAL OPTION, the latest Oregon Files novel, Clive Cussler and Boyd Morrison have created the literary equivalent of candy --- the result of which is an extremely pleasurable sugar rush that leaves you wanting more.

First of all, I have to thank the authors for providing a “Cast of Characters” organized by ship or location. It really helped keep the dozens of characters straight, and I confess that I had to refer to this list many times throughout this lengthy thrill ride. The Prologue then takes us back to 1921 and a German submarine located just off the coast of North Carolina. The Bremen took down opposing ships and other watercraft in a way that only Jules Verne's Captain Nemo could come close to doing.

As we return to modern times, a similar plotline develops as the USS Kansas City is taken down by a deadly adversary off the Brazilian coast. In addition to them being caught with their guard down by an enemy craft, they find that their crew has been infected by some sort of lethal poison that is turning them into crazed maniacs full of nothing but rage.

"Cussler’s sense of adventure and ability to come up with the ideal settings every time, coupled with Morrison's imagination and plotting skills, is literary dynamite."

Of course, news of this gets back to Juan Cabrillo --- Chairman of the Corporation and captain of the Oregon --- and his crew. Navy Seal Michael Bradley, a survivor of that attack, is able to report back about what felled them. Cabrillo and his trusty second-in-command, Max, recognize that the attack was meant to send them a message. But who was behind it? To try and counter their unknown enemy, Cabrillo sends a few members of his crew undercover to meet with Ricardo Ferreira, a Brazilian crime lord. Their goal is to obtain Slipstream, a totally reusable, undetectable submersible drone.

It's not much longer before readers are introduced to the bloodthirsty villain of the tale, Zachariah Tate, who Cabrillo and his crew thought was dead. Tate holds Cabrillo fully responsible for an old mission that took him down, apparently for good. Unfortunately for Cabrillo, Tate is alive and well and has put together a crew of like-minded fiends who also have reason to hate him and his Corporation, and possess the weapons and deadly vessels to do unspeakable damage.

From this point, and straight through to the ending, we will experience a lethal game of cat-and-mouse with seemingly no end in sight until one opponent is completely obliterated.  Tate and his folks kick things up several notches when they kidnap Langston Overholt IV, the CIA liaison of the Corporation. In a move that could have been taken directly out of a James Bond novel, they tie him to a diving bell and drop him into the ocean to his death.  Tate then gives Cabrillo the option of saving some members of the crew who are targeted by one of his warships or chasing Overholt. I won't reveal what happens --- but trust me when I say that you won't be able to come up for air until the plot twist is done.

The writing here feels like something out of a 1950s serial adventure at the cinema, where each clip ended in another cliffhanger that would keep you coming back for more to see what happens next. The eventual face-off between Cabrillo and Tate will be well worth the price of admission.

Cussler’s sense of adventure and ability to come up with the ideal settings every time, coupled with Morrison's imagination and plotting skills, is literary dynamite. I hope they have more tricks up their sleeve so we can enjoy the peril that our hero faces next.

Reviewed by Ray Palen on November 15, 2019

Final Option: A Novel of the Oregon Files
by Clive Cussler and Boyd Morrison

  • Publication Date: November 5, 2019
  • Genres: Adventure, Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
  • ISBN-10: 0525541810
  • ISBN-13: 9780525541813