The Titanic Secret (An Isaac Bell Adventure)

Written by Clive Cussler Jack Du Brul
Review by Bryan Dumas

Though this Cussler story begins with Dirk Pitt—of the National Underwater and Marine Agency—in the present, this is really an Isaac Bell mystery. And a well told one at that.

Pitt is on his way to the excavation site of the famous Turtle submarine when he’s handed a journal written by Isaac Bell. This journal details how Bell became involved in the mysterious disappearance of nine hard rock miners in Colorado and how a secret new rare element—byzanium—finds its way aboard the Titanic.

Hired by brothers to find out why nine miners died in their mine, Bell heads into the hills outside Denver. Quickly, Bell discovers that the miners didn’t die and probably never meant to stay in Colorado, but someone doesn’t want him to know this and tries to kill him. Escaping death, Bell learns that the U.S. government has tasked these nine miners to extract the byzanium ore from a desolate Russian island. Standing in the way is the Société des Mines who wants the mineral for themselves. Bell hires an Icelandic whaling captain, Ragnar Fyrie, to sail him into the icy waters of the Arctic where he has to blast his way through sea ice and retrieve the nine men—near death—and get them and the mineral back to the states. But a traitor is in their midst and fights. Murder and betrayal await their voyage to Scotland.

The action never lets up in this page-turning thriller. Bell is as clever as ever—from his deductive skills to his ingenious use of chemicals and new tech. Fyrie is an immediately likeable character, and the thugs hired by the French firm are the perfect foils. The bookending of Pitt’s reading of the journal is a wonderful way to tie both Pitt and Bell together through time.