Off the coast of Cuba is a small isle and a shipwreck unconnected with one another until a wealthy financier off treasure hunting in his blimp disappears, soon they’ll connect everything from the moon to a lost Amazonian treasure. Cyclops is Clive Cussler’s 8th Dirk Pitt book in which his titular character flies the skies in an antique blimp, escapes then returns to a secret Soviet base, and save the city of Havana from a fiery fate.
A U.S. ship named Cyclops is carrying a legendary gold statue from a fabled Amazonian city when a rogue wave sinks the vessel in 1918, roughly 70 years later financier Raymond LeBaron with his two men crew goes searching for the ship in his antique blimp and disappear. Several weeks later, Dirk Pitt’s sailing race is ruined when LeBaron’s blimp reappears on a crash course towards a beach front hotel that Pitt stops thanks to help from people on the beach. But instead of LeBaron and crew in the blimp, there are three dead Soviet Cosmonauts that Feds quickly get from the Miami police after they learn from Fidel Castro that he put them in the blimp in a secret communique because he wants to separate from the Soviets. This is just something more on the President’s plate as he has just learned that a group of industrialists, government officials, and military officers had for two decades planned, constructed, and ran a colony on the moon with the colonists about to return after six years. Unfortunately for the secret group, the Soviets have found out about the colony and attempt to capture it only for the colonists to kill the Soviet soldiers who had only five days to prepare. Pitt is recruited by LeBaron’s wife to find her husband, but Mrs. LeBaron plans to fly to Cuba to give Castro the President’s answer but the Cuban military attacks the blimp resulting it in crashing into the sea close to the site of the Cyclops demise but they find the treasure is missing after diving the wreck but find a body of a old time diver. Pitt, Mrs. LeBaron, Al Giordino, and Rudy Gunn then make their way to a nearby isle off Cuba only to stumble upon a secret Soviet base. This base is a top secret listen station as well as the headquarters from a planned Soviet takeover the Cuba to install a puppet Communist government while planning the Americans. Pitt escapes, but the CIA spreads the story that he is dead as disinformation to the Soviets as they plan to attack the base and knock it out. But they move up the timetable after they learn the Soviet government wants to use the base to get a suddenly stuffed Space Shuttle to land in Cuba to take all the information from the moon colony. Pitt and the CIA capture and destroy the base just in time for the Shuttle to land in Keys though Raymond LeBaron dies, but on their return to the CIA transport Mrs. LeBaron puts a gun in Pitt’s gut and forces him to head to Cuba and Castro. The two make their way to Havana and the Swiss Embassy where they’re informed of the Soviet plan to assassinate Castro but they can’t find the supposed low yield nuclear, but after learning what the cargos of the three ships the Soviets sent to Havana were Pitt figures out the plan to firebomb the city. Pitt and roughly two dozen CIA agents hijack two of the Soviet ships and get them out as far as they can out of the harbor before the Soviet’s destroy them hours early that results in roughly 3000 casualties instead of essentially the entire city. Castro survives and kicks the Soviets out while accepting aid from the U.S. under the Red Cross then gives Pitt a ship with a crane after figuring out where Raymond LeBaron, who had found the Amazonian treasure to start his financial empire and killed his partner 30 years before, left it.
Unlike the previous two books, Cussler steered clear of Constitutional issues which was a welcome development however there were major chronological issues in connection with events in the last two books but that didn’t really matter much overall. Although due to the time period when this and other novels in the series were published, the Cold War aspect along with the horrible cliché Soviet characters and Communist world takeover agenda just drags down the enjoyment of the novel especially since real life showed that this was a paranoid American idea. Cussler’s characterization of women improved overall, though there were one scene which was gawd awful, with Mrs. LeBaron especially in relation with Pitt. As to the main character, Dirk came off as incredibly lucky throughout the novel though did have moments of brilliance that didn’t come off as Gary Stu.
Cyclops improves in quality over its predecessor as Clive Cussler works together three different story arcs into a fun, intriguing novel. Though the Cold War aspect and associated stereotypes connected with it got annoying, it didn’t ruin the book. Overall this is a fun action-adventure novel for anyone wanting to spend a few days reading.