The California Gold Rush After 1849 (Part One) The Comstock Lode (Part Two) (The Landers Trading Company) Reviews

The California Gold Rush After 1849 (Part One) The Comstock Lode (Part Two) (The Landers Trading Company)

The California Gold Rush After 1849 (Part One) The Comstock Lode (Part Two) (The Landers Trading Company)

The Comstock – Virginia City, Nevada – 1872

Charles, Frederico and Mayhew were walking down the main street of Virginia City when Charles saw an oddly clad person riding a huge gray horse toward them as they waited to cross. He knew who it was, but he was puzzled due to the fact that she was dressed like a Mexican peon.

“Lu, is that you?” His query was pleasurable, so he was surprised when she stated, “Release that bridle, Charles. I have no idea you and you have no idea me.


Spartan Gold (A Sam and Remi Fargo Experience)

Spartan Gold (A Sam and Remi Fargo Adventure)

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3 thoughts on “The California Gold Rush After 1849 (Part One) The Comstock Lode (Part Two) (The Landers Trading Company) Reviews

  1. 101 of 109 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    You do NOT want to play Trivial Pursuit with these two!, August 5, 2009
    Susan Tunis (San Francisco, CA) –
    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)

    “Fortune favors the bold.” That’s the oft-quoted motto of Sam and Remi Fargo, the husband and wife protagonists of Clive Cussler’s latest co-authored offering. Spartan Gold is the first book in a new series penned by Grant Blackwood. The Fargos are “treasure hunters and adventurers.” Sam’s background is mechanical engineering and Remi’s is in anthropology and history, but both appear to be polymaths. In their line of work, they have ample opportunity to put their numerous skills to good use.

    As the novel opens, they’re hip deep in the muck of a Maryland swamp. They’re looking for buried treasure, but what they find is something altogether unexpected. It’s a Nazi-era German mini-sub, very, very far from where one would expect to find such a thing. An attempt to get the scoop on local rumors of such an anomaly is aborted by their source’s kidnapping right before their eyes. After the Fargos free their friend from the professional operative interrogating him about a shard of a wine bottle he found in the Pocomoke, the plot really takes off.

    It comes as no surprise when the Fargos’ crack research team (back at their home base in La Jolla) links the wine bottles to “Napoleon’s Lost Cellar,” and then links these 12 wine bottles, secreted around the world, to a major hidden treasure. This is because we’d seen the great man make his (unseen) discovery of ancient treasure in the novel’s prologue. It is this unknown treasure that Sam and Remi are seeking, but they’ve got competition in the form of a ruthless, Ukrainian crime boss and his henchmen. Unlike the Fargos, Hadeon Bondaruk knows exactly what they’re seeking and he’ll stop at nothing to possess it. So begins a cat and mouse chase across the globe. It’s an epic scavenger hunt with high stakes. Along the way, there’s breath-taking scenery and a few history lessons leading up to the inevitable showdown between the good guys and the bad guys.

    It’s an okay start, as these things go. The characters are more archetypes than flesh and blood people. But, hey, it’s a series; there’s time for character development later. There are some fun supporting characters, most notably Yvette Fournier-Desmarais. I expect we’ll see more of her. Sadly, I can’t say the same for their sidekick researcher, Selma. She was a cardboard cutout masquerading as a character. For now, Sam and Remi display that typical Cusslerian insouciance in the face of danger, and snap off witty banter whenever possible. It’s easy to joke about their arcane knowledge. (The rugs of Yoruk nomads? Really?) And an early reference to Henri Archambault elicits the response, “THE Henri Archambault?” Why, yes, Napoleon Bonaparte’s chief enologist. He’s practically a household name.

    Still, despite their ridiculous knowledge base, the Fargos are refreshingly fallible. This is probably my favorite thing about the novel. They’re chasing cryptic clues. They have to work really hard to solve them. Sometimes they even have to sleep on it. The puzzle solving is depicted unusually realistically. (I mean, in those National Treasure films, riddles are solved in a matter of seconds.) And Sam and Remi make other mistakes, too. They get lost occasionally. They screw up. What can I say? Imperfect protagonists are infinitely more interesting in my book.

    The story is light, very light, and fast-paced for the most part–though my interest did flag a bit in the middle. But then our heroes took the action into the proverbial lion’s den, and that picked things up straight through the ending. By and large the writing is fine, though there are some quirky redundancies to the text.

    Fans of Cussler’s signature mix of history and adventure will likely give this one a thumbs up. It’s nothing to write home about, but Grant Blackwood is off to a respectable start.


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  2. 67 of 73 people found the following review helpful
    3.0 out of 5 stars
    The Cussler formula continues, September 18, 2009
    I am a fan of Clive Cussler’s books. I find them to be consistently entertaining and that usually includes the ones with co-authors. Spartan Gold is a Clive Cussler book written with Grant Blackwood. I assume that means that Mr. Blackwood did most of the writing. The book is a quick read with short chapters, exactly what you would expect from a Clive Cussler book. The story moves along, and I found that I always wanted to see what would happen next. So, on the whole, the book was fun to read.

    However, I have some problems with the Cussler industry and the number of books being turned out in recent months. This is the third one I have read in the last few months – Corsair, Medusa, and Spartan Gold. All were written by co-authors. The books are becoming extremely formulaic, and Spartan Gold is no exception. We always have the following:

    – Heroes who perform unbelievable feats. Either two heroes with equal billing or one hero with an equally capable sidekick. Spartan Gold unveils Sam and Remi Fargo, a husband and wife team with great skills and an unlimited budget.
    – A back office support team that can provide anything needed in an amazingly speedy fashion
    – Plots that grow increasingly convoluted and that usually require considerable historical explanation
    – An evil bad guy with huge resources and equally huge plans
    – A brief appearance by Cussler himself

    Having made those points, I have to admit that I enjoyed Spartan Gold. I would not want to have to take a test on my understanding of all the history, and I found some of the feats slightly hard to accept. I look forward to the day when Mr. Cussler writes the next book by himself and possibly includes some twists and turns that we don’t find very familiar.

    As a final point, I wonder if the authors receive compensation for product placement as in films. Our heroes in the book make constant use of their Macbooks and iPhones and also rely heavily on Google. All good products. I think Apple should be pleased.


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  3. 19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Love this book! Love Sam and Remi Fargo!, September 6, 2009
    J. Blackwood (Arizona) –

    From start to finish, this book was just plain fun. Wish it would have come out earlier this summer, because it is the perfect beach read. Had a great time following the Fargos around the world as they tried to solve this riddle — equal parts mystery, adventure, secret history, hidden treasures, and exploration. The rapport between Sam and Remi is natural, the dialogue light where it needed to be light, and serious where it needed to be serious. (On a side note, my wife picked up the book when I finished and she’s enjoying it too. Remi Fargo holds her own as a heroine)

    Cussler and Blackwood weaved the history behind this story nicely into the action, and the Lost Cellar riddles were a blast to unravel. I never felt like I was getting a history lesson while I was following the plot, which is something I can’t say about all of these kinds of thrillers. I read these kinds of books for their “escapist pleasure” quotient, and SPARTAN GOLD gave me just that.

    Highly recommended, can’t wait for the second installment of the Fargo adventures.


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