What I’m Reading: Spartan Gold by Clive Cussler

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It’s highly possible that this book was more an effort by collaborator Grant Blackwood than Clive Cussler but, by design, its very much written in the vein and style that Cussler made famous with his Dirk Pitt books.

This is the first of a series of books featuring husband and wife treasure hunters Sam and Remi Fargo. Though I certainly enjoyed the book, there were times when I felt that Sam Fargo might have been interchangeable with Dire Pitt (if he were the marrying sort).

There were a number of lines where I thought the author could have swapped Sam’s name for Dirk Pitt’s name, because the quips coming out of Sam’s mouth sounded very much like what Pitt would say.

Perhaps, to be so adventurous one must be cut out of a very similar mold and might speak similarly. However, to differentiate Sam from Pitt the author does play up the aspect of Sam Fargo being an engineer and he uses this know-how to engineer a trap and an escape or two. This does help draw a distinction between the two characters, along with Sam being in a monogamous marital relationship.

When I first read one of Cussler’s other non-Dirk-Pitt series, featuring Kurt Austin (again cut from a similar mold to Dirk Pitt), I wasn’t completely sold. However, Kurt Austin gradually grew on me and I found I enjoyed those books just as much as the Pitt books.

The Kurt Austin books often feature the recurring characters of another husband and wife team: Marine Biologist Gamay Trout and her husband, the bow-tie wearing Paul Trout. At the moment, Paul and Gamay still stand as my favorite Cussler-related  husband and wife team–but I will be checking out the further adventures of Sam and Remi.

P.S. In an honored pulp tradition, Sam and Remi Fargo are fabulously rich–which greatly facilitates their ability to jet around the world searching for lost treasures. However, I somehow managed to miss how they had gained their wealth. Perhaps it was an inheritance, a brilliant invention or just the fact they are so good at finding ancient treasures. If anybody knows, please comment below!

-Joel Jenkins
Author of Weird Action & Adventure Fiction

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