I once read a Richard Zacks book titled The Pirate Coast about the capture of America’s earliest Marines along the shores of Tripoli, so this Cussler novel reminded me a great deal of those real-life events. But it wasn’t so much the familiarity that made me appreciate this one. It was that Corsair was the first Cussler installment that had virtually anything to do with Christianity.
Fiona Katamora, the US Secretary of State and a Christian woman, is kidnapped by a Muslim terrorist after a fake airline crash in the deserts of Libya was reported to have killed her. In Chapter 13, the kidnapper tells Katamora that her Jesus once said, “Blessed are the peacemakers.” Since international peace has been her goal as Secretary of State, he questions her: what does Jesus actually promise to bless, the process of peace or the person who brings it? He goes on to explain his own twisted opinion, that “peace equals stagnation,” for once the people have it, they have nothing more to strive for, resulting in “atrophied souls.” Such an explanation for why terrorists continue their violence, even when they themselves are unthreatened, actually comes across as totally viable.
When the kidnapper later comments on the fact that both Muslims and Christians share the same God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, he tells her that Jesus is a prophet in Islam, yet Christians refuse to acknowledge the later prophet. Her response (in the words of either Cussler or Jack du Brul) would put most Christians to shame, for even in the face of death she declares: “My faith starts and ends with a resurrection.” That’s a great quote!
Cussler still sticks with his normal, intricate plot lines, but one final pseudo-Christian addition to this novel is the ridiculous religious charm called “the Jewel of Jerusalem” which purportedly contains a drop of the blood of Jesus. Of this charm, one character humorously surmises that it “sounds like a legend out of a trashy novel” (Ch. 25).
All in all, Corsair is yet another fun escape by Clive Cussler for the overworked and under-entertained.