By Matthew Bitz
As I strolled by the bestseller rack in the grocery store, out of sheer impulse, I grabbed a book off of the rack and read the back cover, sounded interesting to me, so I bought it.
Simple enough. We as American are impulse shoppers after all and I really didn't give it a second thought, but now as I finish it, I realize that it was a waste of $7.99. Of course the book was Serpent by Clive Cussler. I am sorry to say that I was let down by this author who has in the past delivered well written and fast paced novels.
Serpent is a well conceived but poorly written story about a search for Mayan ruins and Christopher Columbus' lost last voyage. It involves more National Underwater and Marine Agency heroes. So far so good, but at this point things began to fall apart.
The storyline is basically one that has been told time and time again, tough archeologists off looking for something old, run afoul of some evil plot and must thwart it and fall in love all at the same time by page 470. I don't mind reading a book like this, they are fun and entertaining and certainly don't strain the brain like War and Peace, or some of the other classics, but when the dialog and the reading level sink to the point where I am hoping that the bad guys will hurry up and win, and that maybe the other 200 pages of the book are a bibliography, something tells me that this is pretty boring.
A few things in the book are decently interesting, there is lots of history and a fair amount of the text dealing with the Maya and their civilization actually holds your attention for a short span of time. But it all comes back to the fact that this seems like some poor Indiana Jones rip-off that, thank God, got locked in some vault and stayed there.
I don't mean to be hard on Clive Cussler, the man is a good novelist and a better writer than I will ever be, but I still want my $7.99 back, he can keep the book.