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Clive Cussler's Oregon Series


bomberpunk

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[#053] vacationing in early June, one particular evening my entire family sans me and my youngest daughter went to some dinner that I didn't want to go to and didn't feel like the 5-year-old would be on her best behavior. she's normally good but it's something about restaurants where she can't sit still through a whole meal and wants to walk around or sit on my lap or run her mouth (that last part she does 24/7, even talking in her sleep).

 

anyway, we went to the local mall and into a bookstore. i picked out a true crime book called "Evil Women" for as a birthday present for my wife. she likes that kind of stuff (so do I; huge fan of Forensic Files on PlutoTV). then there was another book that caught my eye. a hardcover action/thriller story called Final Option. I've been meaning to pick up something like that from either Tom Clancy or Clive Cussler or that other guy who's name I can't remember at the moment. James Patterson, i think.

 

i don't remember what book or toy i bought my daughter but after the bookstore we hit Chik-Fil-A (her favorite) and then got slices of cookie cake from Great American Cookie Company. on the way out I stopped at a vape shop and bought this thing called Pod King, bubble berry flavor. i've never owned a "douche-flute" but i've been intrigued by all the different flavors and a neighbor let my try his blueberry one last summer. that thing was as big as a small bong. the Pod King is a small device about the size of a box of TicTacs. in hindsight, i should have checked for something vanilla-flavored because back in the early 2000s, Camel used to make Vanilla Turkish Blend cigs. they came in a tin. those things were amazing.

 

fast-forward to the Cussler book I bought. I didn't notice the text "Oregon Series" on the cover. surely this wasn't the first book of the series so I had to research the list of titles. well i definitely bit off more than i can chew as this series has 17 books in it, with the last two being written by someone else but still carrying Cussler's name in bold on the cover even though he died a few years ago. Final Option is Book 14. i put the hardcover in one of my bags and forgot about it until I got home from vacation.

 

within a few days i found myself at a second-hand store called 2nd & Charles in my city, and I walked out with six books (1, 3, 4, 6, 7, 11) from the series. some eBay and Thriftbooks later, I have 14 of the 17 titles and no rush to buy the final three because i've got a lot of pages ahead of me... a bit about me and books - i get distracted easily, and if i can't visualize a sentence i have to reread it, sometimes multiple times. sometimes my mind drifts off and i've looked through a whole paragraph without absorbing any of it. with two young girls in the house i have to either wait until at least the younger one (the chatterbox) is asleep, or i'll put on my old soupcan headphones (the ones that completely cover your ears) and play some white noise from the YouTube app to drown out the sounds of the house,

 

anyway, I spent less than $80 on all these titles, all used, most of them in near-perfect condition. I also have a kindle paperwhite (or whatever it's called) collecting dust. i like actual books, when i do have the time to read them.

 

I'm currently 1/3 through the second book, called Sacred Stone.

 

 

Here's my thoughts on book one, Golden Buddha:

 

There is one page of backstory; the main character is a guy named Juan Cabrillo who along with a very large team of players, work various missions from their technologically-advanced ship called the Oregon. on the outside it looks like a rust bucket. even the main deck is dirty, stinks, and various things inoperable. below deck is where all the magic is and where all the members work, eat, and sleep. It's kind of like taking the team from the Mission: Impossible tv series, adding a ton more people, and putting them in the water. The ship also houses a helicopter and several small boats of varying sizes.

 

There are two main objectives in this story, the first being removing the Dalai Lama from exile back into Tibet where he belongs. The other is recovering a 600 lb Buddha statue made of solid gold, which changes hands several times, with some worthless decoy statues sprinkled in.

 

This story was mostly engaging, jumping from scenario A to scenario B, to C, back to A, etcetera, but overall slow-paced. at times I kept thinking to myself "what in the hell is going on?" In 420 pages, only two or three scenes were page-turners, my favorite being the guys stuck in the sewers on inflatable rafts. one raft held the statue and one guy, the other raft holding two guys, one with injured ribs. there was a hard rain and the water level kept rising while the current blasted them into walls while they were pushed to the outlet. the quick-rising water gave them panic as there was less and less space to keep their heads up to prevent drowning while still trying to maneuver the inflatables. meanwhile a rescue team presumed them dead and was going to abandon them at a certain time. then you had the local police pouring paint into the sewer as a means of tracking them down by figuring out which tunnel draining into the ocean would start having paint spew out.

 

i'm doing that whole substory an injustice with what i just typed in the previous paragraph, but that was a wild ride.

 

I remember having like 40 pages left and there was still so much that needed to happen for the mission to be completed. the final confrontation was not as epic as one would imagine, in fact it was a lot more realistic. one bridge was blocked, effectively taking out one of two armies; a few fighter jets taken down immediately; the crook who double-crossed another crook was quietly murdered by a hired hand while on his way to salvation from his former identity.

 

What I hope to see in the next books is more character development for the people who are not Juan Cabrillo. I spent a whole book with close to three dozen people and I can only really imagine five or six in both personality and appearance.

 

There's another brand new book that caught my interest called The Wager, by a different author. This one is non-fiction, historical accounts of a shipwreck and a crew turning on each other. That sounds amazing. However, it will wait. I'm going to finish this Oregon series. Even if it takes me 5 years.

 

The best thing that came out of all of this is that my oldest daughter and I have reading time almost every night. truthfully, she peaces out after 20 minutes or so but that's a start. i can go two hours or so before i start zoning out for the night.

 

Alright, this one's long enough. I hope someone out there enjoyed at least something from it.

 

Edited (twice now) to correct typos.

Edited by bomberpunk

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Book 2, Sacred Stone, was better than the first book in some ways and worse in others.

 

The best improvement was not having all the good guys in the right place at the right time. In this adventure, plans go to shit on more than one occasion, making it more realistic with a couple dozen of protagonists having to regroup and rethink their strategy. It takes them some time to correctly identify the main antagonist, who has plans for a meteorite (containing a deadly virus inside) that was recently uncovered by a scholar, then stolen by someone just before the main character could steal it first. After that, most of the story is a double wild goose chase for not only the meteorite but also a bomb.

 

Are these two items going to be joined for one big kaboom? Are there separate factions brining each item to separate locations for two major disasters?

 

Similarly to Golden Buddha's Tibet liberation, this story also includes a 'war on religion' subplot as the endgame eventually turns into a threat on Muslim practices, specifically the thousands of worshippers who will be pilgrimaging to Mecca being the targeted audience.

 

What I didn't like about Sacred Stone was its lack of humor compared to the first book. I also liked the bad guys better. They seemed to have more personality. Another downer for me was being even more confused as to what was going on and who was doing it. This story has more than good versus evil. There were just so many players; hired hands who had their own hired hands, neutral parties; etc.

 

The takedown of the main antagonist was definitely better than Spencer's abrupt strangulation death in book one, but even this scenario was kind of quick. The ending was not as moving as the Daila Lama's final scene in the first book. Honestly I don't even remember how it ended!

 

Man, after thinking about it during this entry, I actually liked Golden Buddha better. That's weird. Because Sacred Stone started off strong, Ah well.

 

On to Book 3.

Actually, not yet; I'm currently reading up on the Travis Walton / Liar In The Sky information (stuff as recent as from 2022) that confirms the hoax. The website is called ThreeDollarKit. Check it.

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