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on 2 March 2012
Isaac Bell returns for another early 20th Century adventure. As the German war machine is building, they attempt to kindap two scientists from a trans-Atlantic liner, but Bell can't fathom why.

This is far from the most exciting of the Isaac Bell novels, with actually surprisingly little by way of action and much more investigation, but as such it feels like a better constructed plot. It does lack the trademark technological focus of some of the earlier stories which focussed on cars, trains, planes, though there is a little of this in the treatment of early film production.

Despite this, I'm continuing to enjoy the Bell stories more than Cussler's other spinoffs. Perhaps it's the historical setting, but I notice less of the plot holes that appear in the modern-day stories and things seem much more believable.

It's also worth noting that there are a number of typos in my copy - I wonder whether the extreme three-month turnaround between books is making the proof-reading process rushed. I find this quite irritating in a novel as it tends to break me out from the flow of the story. I also find the illustrations laughable and filled with spoilers - what's the point of showing me a picture of a pivotal scene that hasn't happened yet?

Overall, a well constructed story that could perhaps do with a tiny bit more excitement. Cussler's output has yet to return to its peak but has definitely picked up from recent lows.
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on 28 January 2016
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 13 March 2012
I have to admit from the start that of all the Cussler characters Bell is my least Fav, I read cussler to get away from reality with an over the top action novel. All of this leads me to finally get that i need to stop looking at Issac Bell in the same way as other Cussler books, you do need to put some thought into this book, its not a brain off thrill ride.
When i read the book with this in mind i found that i really enjoyed it and i think i will go back and reread the other Issac Bell books.
The book still has cussler pace and very real characters, but lacks the usual cheesy edge...that i quite like, but even without leaves a fun fast novel, with a well planned and well plotted story. Add to this the old foe Germany, Spies and the historical setting and you have a fun read to while away the hours.


Description: From Back of Book
On the ocean liner Mauretania, two European scientists with a dramatic new invention are barely rescued from abduction by the Van Dorn Detective Agency's intrepid chief investigator, Isaac Bell. Unfortunately, they are not so lucky the second time. The thugs attack again-and this time one of the scientists dies. What are they holding that is so precious? Only something that will revolutionize business and popular culture-and perhaps something more.

For war clouds are looming, and a ruthless espionage agent has spotted a priceless opportunity to give the Germans an edge. It is up to Isaac Bell to figure out who he is, what he is up to, and stop him. But he may already be too late . . . and the future of the world may just hang in the balance.
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on 25 June 2013
I've been reading Clive Cussler since my teens and I'm now in my 50's! I started getting a bit bored with some of the Dirk Pitt offerings and looked at this series when the first book was issued, I've read everyone since and this one is as good as the previous ones. OK it's not your deep dark philosophical mind stretching book, but if you just want to lose yourself in a crazy adventure with excitement at every turn, this is a good choice. It's a cross between the wild west and Dirk Pitt where the latest technical innovation is a telegraph and a massive steam driven trans Atlantic ship. I'm still reading as I write but I look forward to picking it back up an continuing the story. All in all a very enjoyable read. looking forward to the next one...
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on 27 May 2013
Having enjoyed the other books in the Isaac Bell series I was really looking forward to this one, but was I in for a big disappointment , this story ambles along without any real plot to speak of , I was struggling to summon up the interest to turn the page. Cussler seems to have collected various paragraphs of action and dialogue from his other Bell novels and thrown them together into this travesty of a book.
After the high peak of The Wrecker this was a real disappointment.
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on 18 April 2013
I was never a fan of Issac Bell and found his stories sometimes hard to follow and have to any characters and sub-plots, but the last couple have been much better.
Ths one is based around the invention of talking pictures and the growing threat of fthe German War machine, with Bell as usual chasing around America on various trains and other modes of transport after the said Theif of the title. Agood all round tale and I have to say I am looking forward o the next installment.
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on 30 July 2014
I love Clive Cussler. However I have not enjoyed this one as much as previous books. True, the Issac Bell books are nit my favourite but I have found this book unbelievable and, hate to say it, rather boring
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on 20 November 2013
This book kept my attention and I quickly found that I couldn't put the book down at all once I started to read it. All Clive Cussler fans will love this book and will want to add it to their collection.
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on 18 March 2013
Haveing read most of Clice Cusslers books, i.e. Dirk Pitt adventures, The Kurt Austin Adventures, The Oregon Files, and the Fargo Adventures. And the first five of these Issaac Bell novels, that take us back to a bygone age, I fined them hard to put down.
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on 13 May 2013
Yet again, Clive Cussler brings us another gripping Isaac Bell adventure. With historical detail that suggests massive amounts of research, he takes us back to the early 1900's and allows us to enter a bygone age that is alien to us today. I do hope there are far more Isaac Bell adventures to come.
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