Summary: Juan Cabrillo is busy skippering the Oregon around the Middle East, dishing out his own, CIA-sanctioned form of justice with his elite hit squad, when they happen across a ship apparently ravaged by a fast-acting virus. When his right-hand-man's son is kidnapped, Juan won't stop at anything to get him back… and he wants to know what happened on that ghost ship.
This, like The Navigator, was lots of fluffy, suspended-disbelief fun. The fact that almost all the action took place on a ship was very educational for me (while I know you can't take any facts for granted in these types of books, Cussler seems to know his way around a boat), and I enjoyed the stop-offs in the Philippines, Iran, Monaco… in fact the ship setting meant that we weren't flying around everywhere at a moment's notice – definitely a positive change.
One of the aspects of Cussler's writing that I really enjoy is that the minor characters in the good team get more development than I think they would in another author's efforts. I enjoyed knowing a bit more about the weapons expert, the doctor, even the chef/butler, rather than having all the character development be of the leader.
Philosophically this book gave me a bit to think about too – the idea behind it is that there is a society/group/movement attempting to artificially limit human reproductive capabilities on a huge scale, through the argument that population explosion is limiting development and overconsuming resources. I'm not sure what I think about the population explosion theory, but I know exactly what I think about people playing God, and I was intrigued that Cussler chose to take on a moral issue as his "the world is at threat" plot device. Good on him.
I have one more Cussler in my bookshelf and I might just be going on a little Cussler-binge the next time I'm at the Lancaster book market!