Clive Cussler and Paul Kemprecos, “Lost City”

In another installment of the NUMA series, Lost City follows the Fauchards, a mother-and-son team who are ruthless in their thirst for domination; with an impressively complex plan, the two are planning to take over the world using the Earth’s most precious resource: water. When the NUMA team uncovers their scheme, the mother-son duo will confront their greatest challenge: the world’s go-to James Bond, hero of the day, savior of the seas, Kurt Austin.

Plot Overview: Seaweed, Glaciers and Ambition

With a precious lockbox between his feet and an ancient helmet atop his head, Jules Fauchard is flying to Switzerland. When his plane is shot down, he lands in a glacier and is frozen, only to be discovered by a NUMA team and attractive archaeologist Skye Labelle nearly 100 years later.

Across Europe, Dr. Angus MacLean is seeking refuge in a remote Greek monastery. After working on a top-secret project, MacLean discovers that his colleagues have all died in apparent accidents – and he is next in line. Captured and taken to a remote island off the coast of Scotland, he discovers the horrific effects of his work; MacLean and a group of scientists have inadvertently created cannibalistic, red-eyed mutants.

The Trouts, meanwhile, have recently learned about Gorgonweed, a vicious species of seaweed that threatens to take over the oceans. As they investigate, Paul and Gamay take a side trip to see the Lost City, a collection of underwater towers that contain a useful enzyme, one that the Fauchard family is harvesting for unknown reasons.

Kurt Austin and Joe Zavala, with a bevy of underwater vehicles and tools at their disposal, will unravel the connection between the Fauchards, the mutants and the Gorgonweed. Although their lives will be put in danger, the NUMA team will escape unharmed and save the world in the process.

Criticisms and Compliments

Clive Cussler has an established recipe for his NUMA series: start with one or two historical anecdotes that conclude with a death, disappearance or otherwise unresolved element; add present-day Kurt Austin and his merry band of scientists, busy investigating various oddities that seem unrelated to one another and to the previously mentioned anecdote; toss in a dash of psychopathic or otherwise megalomaniac character seeking world domination; add a pinch of romance with a beautiful woman who cannot help but be attracted to the virile, platinum-haired and blue-eyed Austin; cook for approximately 500 pages. Should serve one reader for a period of two to five days.

Cussler and Kemprecos’s NUMA Files series is predictable, but they stick with their formula for one reason: it works. As the fifth book of the series, Lost City is a fast-paced novel that contains all the thrills and conspiracies guaranteed to entertain a reader. The NUMA Files should not be read for the lackluster quality of the writing, the character development or even the authenticity of the stories; it should be read for the action-packed plots. It doesn’t really matter who Austin, Joe Zavala and the Trouts are; what matters is how quickly, and with what fancy underwater devices, they can thwart an outrageous plan that threatens the world order. This series is a good read for those with a taste for excitement – and corny one-liners.


  • Cussler, Clive and Paul Kemprecos. Lost City (The NUMA Files). Berkley, 2005 ISBN 9780425204191