“The only problem with being a troubleshooter is that sometimes trouble shoots back.” (Chapter 4)
Polar Shift is Classic Cussler and a fine good read—plot, characters, and all. Although it has taken me some time to get into the flow of The NUMA Files series, Book 6 finally got me there. [By the way, for me the best way to enjoy a Cussler is on audio while I do the dishes or run to the store. Otherwise, I’d probably give up earlier on some of the more bizarre books.] Up to this point, none of these Kurt Austin stories have had the outlandish pizzazz of The Dirk Pitt Adventures or the well-plotted scrapes of The Oregon Files. But once I looked at Kurt Austin and Joe Zavala simply as doppelgangers of Dirk Pitt and Al Giordino, I fell right in line with their adventures and am now pleased to continue.
Polar Shift follows the dangerous exploits of several anti-elites who seek to shift the earth’s magnetic poles with powerful spurts of electromagnetism in order to disrupt trade and wreak havoc on the world’s economies. As an unfortunate result, however, they also ignite freak waves and ever-expanding whirlpools. Kurt Austin, Joe Zavala, and the Trouts not surprisingly get themselves caught up in the mix and come head-to-head with the villains responsible.
Unique among other Cussler novels, Polar Shift is one of the first books whose preface doesn’t involve the loss of an important item that plays a major role later on in the book. It’s purely for character development. What makes the book classically non-unique for Cussler, though, is the bizarre underground city which glows incandescent and is overrun with pygmy woolly mammoths (as always, “the archaeological discovery of the century”)—something only Clive would figure to be a reasonable addition to an already-great plot. Filled with scientific explanations for the goings on of the sea, Polar Shift is worth a read. I’ll mark it as the best of The NUMA Files thus far.