Black Wind, Cussler



Black Wind
Black Wind,
by Clive Cussler

Black Wind Book Review (wikip. paraphrased)

The central theme of Clive Cussler's Black Wind is a North Korean plot to instigate war against the United States through the use of biological warfare agents. With the United States thus distracted, North Korean forces then plan to invade South Korea and re-united all of Korea under one leadership; in this scenario, a communist dictatorship. The only threat to their 'evil' plans is Dirk Pitt Jr., who works with his sister Summer Pitt, and their father Dirk Pitt Sr. to foil the North Korean plans and stop the release of a deadly toxin over Los Angeles.

The story begins in 1944 Japan as the captain of submarine I-403 is ordered on a highly classified mission to attack the United States. The sub carries canisters with a chemical warfare agent mixture dubbed "black wind." Before reaching its destination, I-403 is sunk off America’s northwest coast.

We then skip ahead to present-day Aleutian Islands, where a team of epidemiologists, including the attractive field researcher Sarah Matson, become infected with a mysterious illness. Stationed on a nearby NUMA research ship, Dirk Pitt Jr comes charging to the rescue. Pitt and his coworker and friend Jack Dahlgren later return to the Island to investigate, only to have to make a forced landing with their helicopter after taking fire from a trawler of unidentifiable nationality. In spite of the dire circumstances, Pitt and Dahlgren are able to determine that the illness was caused by a cloud - Black Wind - containing cyanide and smallpox virus in a rapidly lethal combination.

The U.S. ambassador to Japan gets assassinated while playing a round of golf, an act that is later followed by more assassinations of U.S. representatives in Japan.

Meanwhile, Pitt Jr has contacted marine history expert St. Julien Perlmutter, who had dug up information on submarine I-403. But when diving on the sunken sub, Pitt and Dahlgren discover that the cargo of canisters carrying the chemical warfare agent known as "black wind" have disappeared. However, a sister submarine discovered by Pitt Sr and Al Giordino in the waters of the Philippine archipelago has not yet been raided. On the contrary, the canisters on this sub have corroded to the point of leaking and killing marine life in the area.

The master-mind behind the scenes is Dae-jong Kang, a North Korean agent who over the course of decades has built up a facade as a South Korean multi-millionaire industrialist. Kang uses bribes and extortion to push for rapid reunification, including the framing of a U.S. serviceman for the murder of a South Korean girl in order to stir up Korean malcontent with U.S. presence in the area. Naturally, he is also behind he plot to attack L.A. with the "black wind" toxin from the sunken subs.

Kang sends his favorite assassin Tongju (whose description conjures images of the James Bond character "Jaws") to take care of the nuisance Pitt Jr. After a wild car-chase on Vashon Island (WA) headed by Pitt Jr and Matson in Pitt's newly purchased 1958 Chrysler 300-D convertible, our heroes narrowly escape by jumping onto the ferry boat as it is leaving, while the assassins crash their car against the stern of the boat while trying to follow them.

Back at NUMA's home office, researcher Hiram Yeager discovers that the same warfare agent was carried by an additional Japanese submarine, which was lost in the South China Sea. But this time Tongju gets to it first, and also manages to kidnap Dirk Jr and Summer. Tongju sabotages the salvage ship and leaves the crew to drown as it sinks. Fortunately, Pitt Sr arrives in time to rescue them.

On board Kang's private yacht, the criminal mastermind first taunts Pitt Jr and Summer with the threat of infecting the U.S. with the hybrid smallpox/cyanide toxin. He then leaves them to drown. They are able to escape with the help of Clive Cussler in one of his fictional "cameo" appearances.

In an attempt to intercept Kang's plans, NUMA joins forces with government agencies to search for suspicious cargo vessels that could potentially carry the toxic load. But due to faulty intel, Tongju and his commandos can move forward with their work pretty much unimpeded unimpeded, preparing to launch rockets carrying the toxin toward the G8 summit in Los Angeles.

Dirk Pitt Sr and Al Giordino spot the launch pad from a blimp as the countdown is underway. Will they manage to stop the launch from taking place? You'll have to read the book to find out.


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