Book Six of the Dirk Pitt Adventures, Night Probe!, takes our hero on a desperate search for a single piece of paper which could change the political landscape of the entire North American continent. The so-called “North American Treaty”, purposefully destroyed and forgotten in the early part of the century, supposedly records the long-ago sale of Canada to the United States by a financially pained British Crown. And now (in Cussler’s 1981, at least), while America sits on the brink of bankruptcy, a group of Quebec terrorists toys with the US’s dependency upon Canadian power while also threatening to overthrow their own government. With an identity-stealing assassin at their helm, it almost seems as if they’re going to pull it off.
This book offered much more political intrigue than most of Cussler’s novels to date. I wouldn’t call this one an action-thriller, and I have to admit it had me snoozing from time to time. Perhaps five Clive Cusslers in a row is my limit, but when I finally got through this book, I took a month-long break before getting interested in starting another. That being the case, I don’t know if my Cussler-exhaustion made this installment a low-point in the series for me or not, but I certainly didn’t enjoy it as much as I have his others.
Morally speaking, this book also took a turn for the worse. Having already met Pitt’s future wife in Vixen 03, I was hoping that his mustang behavior would cool down a bit. Alas, he hooks up with a Navy girl from a previous book and continues sowing his wild oats.
It was nice to see Pitt stick to his home continent for the entirety of this book, staying mostly in the St. Lawrence and Hudson Rivers. While I enjoy learning about new sites along the way, it’s exciting that Cussler had likely visited these locations while writing, giving them a thicker air of validity.