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Piranha: A Novel of the Oregon Files


Piranha: A Novel of the Oregon Files

Clive Cussler’s typical opening in the Oregon Files adventure series begins with a historical setup for the modern problem. “The steamer S S Roraima was sailing toward the Apocalypse.”

Saint-Pierre’s harbor in May 1802, known as the Little Paris of the West Indies, provides the backdrop to the city of 30,000, while Mt. Pelée, the mountainous volcano, spews ash nearby. A renowned German scientist, Gunther Lutzen, is a passenger on the Roraima and spends his dock time photographing the sights, especially Mt. Pelée. An instantaneous roar muffles all other sound when in a matter of seconds the entire harbor, wharf and docks become a molten sea of lava. The ship’s captain steadies himself, and gasps at the burning bodies and dead seamen on his deck. A burnt dying man reaches out, thrusting a notebook into his hand.

Later, the rescued captain keeps his word, giving the notebook to the German’s sister with Lutzen’s dying words: “Tell her I was there. I made the breakthrough. It will change everything…. I found Oz.”

"PIRANHA promises plentiful action, ocean-going vessels armed with a multitude of weaponry, and the chilling suspense that has been the hallmark of previous Oregon Files thrillers."

With the story setup complete, Cussler and co-writer Boyd Morrison moves forward to present-day Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela. The harbormaster, Manuel Lozada, and Chinese seaman Gao Wangshu inspect a Liberian-registered rusting cargo ship, Dolos, waiting to unload her cargo. The steamer’s captain, a burly ragged man named Buck Holland, greets Lozada with a vigorous handshake and smile, revealing nicotine-stained teeth. Cracked windows, rotting plywood sheets over bulkheads, foul odors in narrow passageways and grimy bare metal walls are hallmarks of a vessel badly needing repair. When told that he may be delayed from a rapid unloading, Holland hands Lozada a bribe: an envelope containing 500 American dollars.

Wangshu wanders over to the deck, the job being to identify the ship as an enemy spy ship. He is now certain that Dolos is the mysterious vessel. Dayana Ruiz, a wily Venezuelan admiral, believes what she is told and confirms it when she views a photo of Holland. She plans to attack Holland when he steams from the harbor into open water, adding a feather in her political cap on the way to becoming the next President of Venezuela.

Juan Cabrillo, the commander of the Oregon/Dolos, will prove that Venezuela is supplying arms to North Korea despite an embargo. A submersible will be launched from the docked ship, allowing Cabrillo and his man, Linc, to slip onto land in a deserted area away from the dock. Via good intelligence and a masterful makeup artist, the two become Captain Carlos Ortega and his driver. They play out the ruse of inspecting the warehouse to make certain that the payload is secure from “spies” rumored to be nearby. With time running short, they make a surprise inspection of the cargo: 20 American Bradley fighting vehicles and a dozen M1A2 Abrams battle tanks. An alarm blares, making their escape difficult. Cabrillo’s showdown with Admiral Ruiz will unfold later in the story.

Yet another evil force operates with the intent of assassinating Cabrillo and his entire crew. A traitorous American scientist, a weapons designer, plans to wield infinite unstoppable power over all transmissible communications. He must destroy Cabrillo, who has stumbled upon his extraordinary plan to dominate the world. Cabrillo and members of his crew race against time, deploying units to Jamaica, Germany, the United States and back to Venezuela to undo a maniac’s vicious plan. The traitor, Kensit, operates a step ahead of Cabrillo’s crew. How he maneuvers around them becomes the number one problem.

PIRANHA promises plentiful action, ocean-going vessels armed with a multitude of weaponry, and the chilling suspense that has been the hallmark of previous Oregon Files thrillers.

Reviewed by Judy Gigstad on June 5, 2015

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

  • Publication Date: May 3, 2016
  • Genres: Adventure, Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
  • ISBN-10: 0425280187
  • ISBN-13: 9780425280188