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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Book Review: Isaac Bell Adventures

Isaac Bell Adventures
Why no real cover?

In the adventure novel series Isaac Bell Adventures by Clive Cussler, the handsome detective Isaac Bell solves crimes at the beginning of the 20th century. Isaac is a banker’s son with great wealth, but prefers the thrill of detective work. His family’s wealth does help, though. Together with his sharp mind, he has become the top agent of the Van Dorn private investigation agency.

Adventure novels. A strikingly smart, handsome, good and friendly protagonist. A smart, corrupt, evil and cruel antagonist. Some beautiful women who madly fall in love with the protagonist. If you are by now feeling all sick and wonder why you’re reading this, this series is not for you. If you went “oh, sounds fun”, then you should look at Cussler’s books.

The Isaac Bell series combines Cussler’s adventure book style with the somewhat unusual time of the very beginning of the 20th century, which is a refreshing change and interesting to read.

My main gripe with adventure novels is the portrayal of women. The white knighting theme is pretty strong, and that generally requires a damsel in distress. I know from the Fargo adventures that Cussler can and does write strong female characters, though. In the first book of the series, The Chase, the two main women are surprisingly strong when you consider the time it is set in. I do hope this is the lower bar for the rest of the series, not the upper end.

So, if you like adventure novels, especially of the Cussler kind, and would like to read them in a refreshingly new setting, Isaac Bell might be of interest to you.