Monday, December 3, 2012

The Thief by Clive Cussler and Justin Scott

Isaac Bell #5

          The Isaac Bell series celebrates the dramatic changes that were taking place at the turn of the previous century: the telegraph, the airplane, moving pictures. This story revolves around the budding movie industry and the holy grail of "talking" pictures.

          The story starts with Bell foiling the kidnapping or two men off a steamship that is preparing to cross from Europe to America. It is simply a case of Bell being in the right place at the right time. The two men, while grateful for the rescue, are reluctant to share the reason for the kidnapping. Bell, being a Van Dorn detective, determines to keep an eye on them to find out why they are so important.

          As it turns out, they have developed the first effective method for syncing motion and sound on film. They are traveling to America to offer their invention for sale to Thomas Edison. But the German Kaiser wants the invention for himself. He has a plan to use this invention to create propaganda videos aimed at getting America to back them in the approaching hostilities that will lead to WWI.

          The man known as The Acrobat, who masterminded both the kidnapping and the talking picture propaganda scheme, is certainly a worthy opponent for Bell. He is smart, physical, well trained and determined. He nearly succeeds in killing Bell more than once. Of course, Bell nearly succeeds in killing him several times as well.

          The action, the intrigue and the peek into history make this a very enjoyable read. I liked it better than the last installment, The Race [see my review]. Perhaps because I am now familiar with the main and recurring characters, or perhaps because I find these aspects of the history more interesting than the birth of aviation that was the basis of the last story.

          I recommend this book, and for those of you who like turn of the twentieth century history, this series.

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