It turns out this book is the eight in the series, so I accidentally skipped over three Isaac Bell novels. I suffered some initial confusion because Isaac Bell and his old friend Archibald Abbott are suddenly single and there is no sign or mention of their wives.
As it turns out, rather than being some sort of reboot that wiped out their past relationships, this novel chronologically takes place prior to the first book in the series, so it was no issue at all that I was reading the book out of the order it was written.
This series has the advantage of distinguishing itself from the other series that Cussler and his co-writers (and I use that term loosely because they are probably doing all of the scrivening) have been producing, because it takes place in an entirely different time period and NUMA (The National Underwater and Marine Agency) which figures prominently into The Dirk Pitt novels, The NUMA Files, featuring Kurt Austin, and the Oregon Files (though I have yet to read a single book of that series) is nowhere to be seen.
As a result of being placed in the late 18oo’s the Isaac Bell books take on a different aspect that really makes them stand apart from the other series.The author(s) also incorporate a wealth of historical detail and historical characters which add a unique flavor.
On a completely unrelated side note: Though Bell is certainly a sympathetic and relatable character, you probably wouldn’t want to work for him. His catch phrase is “On the jump!” which he likes to bark at his underlings–all of which, apparently, work way too slow for his taste. Having once worked for a fellow who would demand a tool while we were on a two story house and expect me to be down the ladder, locate it in the work truck, and be back up the ladder and have it in his hand within five seconds, I can say I probably wouldn’t enjoy working for Bell, either.
Author of Weird Action & Adventure Fiction