8 The Aleutian Portal by Christopher Cartwright
This book started out with a really cool mystery. Something (the Aleutian Portal of the title) is connecting a spot in Colorado with a spot below the Bering Strait—so much so that an amazing and destructive wind is blowing Colorado desert dirt into a mining tunnel that is 3000 miles away. I did not like the solution to this mystery, but it was a very cool problem that for most of the book Sam Reilly is not aware of. (He’s focused on one end of the problem under the Bering.)
Then there’s an ancient meteorite which is somehow connected to the end of the world and the U.S. is trying to get it back in their hands while a Russian billionaire is trying to get it into his hands. Smack in the middle is Sam Reilly who is trying to keep it out of both groups’ possession. It’s a fast-moving story, but I wish Cartwright had come up with a better explanation for his Aleutian Portal. There are moments that strain the reader’s suspension of disbelief and the secret 3000 mile train tracks certainly broke mine.
In Series Order
1 The Last Airship by Christopher Cartwright
This is a novel that reminds me a lot of Clive Cussler. It starts with an “historic” flight—the last airship trying to escape from Nazi Germany with two super wealthy Jewish families and a very high-ranking Nazi with something critical to the war effort in his briefcase—something he doesn’t want Hitler to have. The ship is damaged by machinegun fire as it lifts off and it crashes in the Alps not to be seen again for 75 years. Let me just say now that the crash and why the airship had remained hidden from the many people who searched for it, was absolutely outstanding—just brilliantly thought out by Cartwright.
The story is also a lot of fun. Cartwright has two characters—Sam and Tom—that just make great heroes. They are daring, smart, but still capable of being fooled in ways that didn’t upset me as utterly stupid. The action is fast and furious, and I was happily turning pages (actually listening, but you know what I mean) from beginning to end.
2 The Mahogany Ship by Christopher Cartwright
Cartwright continues to follow Clive Cussler’s Dirk Pit formula, linking an ancient mystery to a current problem. In this one he also throws in the Ancient Builders theory as well, and it is apparent that in future books we will continue to look for clues regarding these ancient builders. The plot is fast paced and a lot of fun, although I had to keep myself from examining things too closely lest my suspension of disbelief be broken. All in all, this was a fun novel.
3 Atlantis Stolen by Christopher Cartwright
This is the fifth Sam Reilly novel I have read and it is by far the weakest to this point. After an exciting opening in which a woman is kidnapped in a fairly bizarre and James Bond like way, the novel quickly devolves into a series of Indiana Jones like ancient booby traps (one of them reading exactly like the Leap of Faith in The Last Crusade) and no-way-out deadly situations which in fact do have a way out. Add to that that the villains were totally stereotypical and the big surprises were totally predictable and there just isn’t much to credit in this story. It’s simply a frantic rush from start to finish and that’s before you get to the totally disappointing ending. I just can’t believe that after all his ingenious solutions and escapes that Sam Reilly didn’t come up with a better option than to give the bad guy what he wanted. I mean—really? It’s one thing to set up another book in the series and another to give in to a genocidal maniac. I’m very disappointed.
4 Rogue Wave by Christopher Cartwright
I’ve always been interested in rogue waves. They rise without warning and often sink vessels caught in their paths. So when I noticed that there was a Sam Reilly novel with this title I had to take a look. There are two mysteries here (in addition to the Dirk Pitt like historical mystery). On the one hand, who killed Sam’s old friend when he refused to sign onto a deal which would make him rich in exchange for burying his discovery of a new environmentally friendly energy source that could replace fossil fuels. The other is, how the bad guys were able to use a rogue wave as the murder weapon.
This is a fun novel. There’s a little bit of science fiction technology involved, but mostly it’s a tense and exciting adventure on (and beneath) the high seas. As Sam and his team come closer to the truth, it becomes apparent that a global catastrophe is about to occur and that a powerful figure in the U.S. government is responsible for the danger. There’s a sea full of tension in this one.
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.
5 The Cassidy Project by Christopher Cartwright
This is one of the better Sam Reilly novels I’ve read. After providing an historical mystery that always features into the storyline, Cartwright introduces a woman who takes some drugs that helps her go to sleep on her cruise ship only to wake up and discover that absolutely every human being on the vessel has disappeared. It’s a great mystery and it really caught my attention. At the same time, Sam Reilly is responding to a call for help from a group of scientists in Antarctica who have also disappeared. That the two problems will be linked is a certainty, but my interest in this investigation stayed strong for the first half of the novel, and then it turned into more of a James Bond thriller which I also frankly found fascinating. Many of the challenges that Sam and his friend Tom face would feature well on the big screen so long as the budget was big enough to do them justice.
If I have a complaint, and I think I do but it’s a very minor one, the big bad guy’s acceptance of the circumstances at the very end of the story bothered me. I realize that he was religiously motivated and that he believed the destruction he was trying to inflict on the billions of people living on the planet would somehow make everyone better off (you know, except for the seven or eight billion who died), but he was just a little too happy and nice at the end for my believability factor. But seriously, that’s a small complaint in a very enjoyable novel. I’m looking forward to reading the next one.
6 The Nostradamus Equation by Christopher Cartwright
Once again, Cartwright opens his novel with a chapter from the past. This time it is Nostradamus and a group of followers and slaves penetrating deep into the Sahara Desert to hide his last book of prophecies. Those prophecies tie into the Ancient Builders theory first introduced in the second book in the series. Nostrodamus was apparently connected to the builders in some way and received his images of the future through this connection. The question is—can the future be changed? Nostrodamus is gambling that it can and has tried to establish clues to help Sam Reilly and his companions avert the destruction of all human life.
The best part of this novel occurs in the middle where Sam, Tom, and the mandatory beautiful woman scientist who appears in every book with a different name, attempt to evade a hostile army in the Sahara Desert. They end up in a deep well with amazing architectural elements that may have influenced Rome. And they solve a series of problems to use this ancient architecture as their road to freedom.
There are also some tie ins to the Roman Catholic Church and a whole lot of action revolving around a coming revolution in Africa. While not Cartwright’s best novel, this one was still a lot of fun.
7 The Third Temple by Christopher Cartwright
Cartwright draws on some serious biblical imagery to fuel the seventh novel in the Sam Reilly series. The four horsemen of the apocalypse appear to be real and acting to bring about the end of the world. Reilly, of course, intends to stop them as he hunts for the mysterious third temple and attempts to understand evidence that appears to suggest that Jesus Christ lived 12,000 years ago, not 2,000.
Cartwright did a great job with the tempo in this novel as his heroes race around the world trying to beat the horsemen to the prize—and trying to keep the horsemen from killing them. The whole problem is intimately involved with Cartwrights’ “master builder” storyline and does a lot to advance the reader’s understanding of what the master builders were trying to accomplish and hints at why they haven’t succeeded in doing so yet.
My only significant problem with the story comes from the first chapter where in Africans are trying to reach a pirate ship to recover an artifact during the seventeenth century. A storm is building, and the surf conditions are horrendous and yet these natives, caught up in a religious fervor, manage to build some kind of human bridge through the surf that allows hundreds of their fellows to reach the ship and attack it. Frankly, I could never picture the bridge. It did not seem possible that the people could have their heads above the violent surf while constructing it. It seems even less likely that they could hold the bridge for hours, as they did. I’m willing to give Cartwright the benefit of the doubt that he figured out how all of this was possible, but I never understood it while reading it.
12 Omega Deep by Christopher Cartwright
Christopher Cartwright really knows how to put the “thrill” in “thriller”. This novel opens with a bang as we watch the submarine of the title get into a most unusual problem six weeks before the rest of the novel begins. My pulse was pounding by the end of the epilogue and I really wish the author would have taken us a few pages further into the action—but then, if he had, there really wouldn’t have been a mystery for us to work through for the rest of the book.
That mystery comes in the form of two different underwater wrecks—an airplane and a cargo ship that we, the reader, quickly come to think have to be connected. Cartwright presents a mixture of technical problems accessing the wrecks, good old fashioned mystery, and sudden pulse-pounding action. It’s a lot of fun to read and things only get more exciting as our heroes, Sam and Tom, get interested in locating the submarine that we followed into danger in the epilogue.
A lot of this novel is putting pieces in place that will clearly be important to later books in the series, but that didn’t take away from the excitement as I listened to this book for the first time. (I have not read any other works by this author.) When they finally figure out what happened to the Omega Deep and go after it, you’ll be on the edge of your seat trying to figure out how everyone will survive. If you like a fast-paced, action-packed adventure, you ought to give Omega Deep a try.
I received this book from Audiobook Boom in exchange for an honest review.