cover image Clive Cussler: Condor’s Fury

Clive Cussler: Condor’s Fury

Graham Brown. Putnam, $29.99 (416p) ISBN 978-0-5935-4397-9

Mind control, 21st-century airships, and mysterious glowing orbs form the core of Brown’s protracted latest entry in the late Clive Cussler’s NUMA Files series (following 2022’s Dark Vector). Off the coast of the Bahamas, the freighter Heron is towing an incapacitated trawler when blinding lights begin to circle the craft and the crew appears to lose their minds, attacking the Heron’s captain before leaping overboard into the sea. Thirty miles away, NUMA director Kurt Austin and his sidekick, Joe Zavala, are aboard a training vessel when they receive a mayday signal from the floundering Heron. Kurt and Joe speed to the rescue, and before long, discover that the Ostrum Airship Corporation has been infiltrated by revenge-bent Cuban supervillain Martin Colon, who’s using one of the company’s helium airships in an attempt to cripple America—but this particular model has far-fetched mind control capabilities that go way beyond the hydrogen-fueled zeppelins of yore. What begins as a standard NUMA adventure grows tiresome quickly as Brown introduces too many secondary villains and fails to sufficiently explain their motives or the mechanics of the book’s central threat. In the end, this bloated adventure resembles one of Colon’s airships: tough to maneuver and sluggish. Series fans will hope the next entry is a return to form. Agent: Peter Lampack, Peter Lampack Agency. (Sept.)