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April 22, 2012 / Leslie

Review – Audiobook: The Thief by Clive Cussler

The Thief
An Isaac Bell Adventure
by Clive Cussler and Justin Scott
Narrated by Scott Brick

Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Publish Date: March 6, 2012
Format: Audio, 9 hours | 53 minutes
Audio Listening Level: Easy to Intermediate
Rating: 3 of 5

It’s the beginning of the 19th century and two European scientists have developed a new method of combining sound with pictures. In the early days of film, sound and image were recorded separately and usually were out of sync. This revolutionary invention could be worth a fortune and someone wants to get their hands on it through any means possible.

While traveling to America on the ocean liner Mauretania, the scientists are the victims of an attempted kidnapping. Only the intervention of another passanger, Isaac Bell of the Van Dorn Detective Agency, foils the abductor’s plan. The thieves are not easily deterred and make a second attempt, killing one of the scientists. Isaac Bell now takes on the responsibility of protecting the surviving scientist for the thief now appears to be more dangerous than originally suspected.

I have read and enjoyed a few of Clive Cussler’s Dirk Pitt novels but this is my first in the Isaac Bell series. Although The Thief is the fifth Isaac Bell novel, it didn’t matter that I hadn’t read the earlier books. I quickly picked up on the characters in this fast-paced adventure story.

There was a mystery, lots of action and what I would call high-tech for the time gadgetry in an historical setting (though not steampunk). At times it got a little unbelievable but that just added to the fun. Isaac suspected there were several individuals that wanted to get their hands on the plans for the invention and it was up to him to stop them.

There was some history that I needed to look up, namely Edison Trust, as I didn’t know if it was fiction or truth. Apparently Thomas Edison owned most of the major American patents relating to motion picture cameras in the early 1900s. He went to great lengths to enforce those patents and ruin any competitors. There was also war with Germany looming on the horizon and the German army wanted to get the invention to create their propaganda films.

I always notice attractive, well-composed, original artwork covers. This one screams action and adventure at sea and immediately grabbed my attention. Action and adventure, yes, however, only the very beginning of the story takes place on an ocean liner, and to my recollection, there are no fires or explosions. If one were looking for a Titanic like adventure, the cover is a little misleading.

The audiobook was nicely dramatized by Scott Brick using just the right amount of excitement while keeping the pacing fast and steady. Enjoyable and fun this was a quick read/listen with entertaining characters that kept my attention until the end.

Source: Review copy.
© 2012 Under My Apple Tree. All rights reserved.


Leave a Comment
  1. BermudaOnion / Apr 22 2012 12:53 pm

    I’ve never read Cussler’s work and I’m not sure why because it sounds like something I’d like.


  2. Suko / Apr 22 2012 8:13 pm

    I’m glad you enjoyed this one, Leslie. The cover does scream, “Action!”.



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