“This plot is as thick as clam chowder” – Paul Trout, Chapter 49
This installment to The NUMA Files started off in such a cloudy mess of befuddlement, stretching across time in who knows how many locales around the world, that I had a hard time getting my bearings at first. I’m no enemy to the convoluted plot, but such a plot (which always inevitably makes sense in the end) has to draw the readers in like bait, not get them so confused that they give up early on. Luckily, I’m such a fan of Cussler that I didn’t give up so easily, so I was able to learn (once again, from the man who changes history every step of the way) that the earliest visitors to these beautiful ‘merican shores weren’t Spaniards or Portuguese or even Asians. They were obviously the descendants of King Solomon and Queen Bathsheba’s illicit love affair (of course!).
As one might guess from that little spoiler, Cussler delves a bit into “biblical” history throughout this novel, though as he’s done in a few others, he gets the true historical accounts all wrong—for the sake of the plot. In this particular instance, his antagonists claim that Moses was a man with pagan leanings who wanted to convince the Hebrews towards his new religion. Thus, he wrote an original set of paganized Ten Commandments on a golden tablet (“mistakenly” referred to as “the golden calf” in Exodus), which his true followers passed down for generations until King Solomon, fearing that its truths would disrupt his monotheistic kingdom, let them be secreted back to Africa through the efforts of his and the Queen’s illegitimate son. It’s that very bloodline that runs through the veins of Kurt Austin’s current nemesis (a man with a fancy for jousting, of all things), and as it turns out, also his current lover.
Not shockingly, The Navigator was not my favorite Cussler novel. In fact, I’d say it ranks right down there with Black Wind, the only book of his that I’ve given up on. I’m hoping that its follow-up, Medusa, fares better.