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Literature / Trojan Odyssey

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Trojan Odyssey is a novel by Clive Cussler. It was published in 2003 as the 17th book in the Dirk Pitt Adventures series.

NUMA director of operations Dirk Pitt and his children Dirk Jr. and Summer are investigating the origin of a strange brown contamination that is killing all sea life around Nicaragua, when they get suddenly involved in the rescue of a floating hotel, the Ocean Wanderer, from a not less strange hurricane. They soon get proof that the Odyssey corporation, the cruiser's backer, is behind a diabolical plot that sinks its roots deep into ancient history.

The book's story draws heavily from Iman Wilkens's Where Troy Once Stood, a controversial work which claims that the city of Troy was located in England and that The Trojan War was fought between groups of Celts.

This book provides examples of:

  • Aborted Arc: Simone Raizet. She's clearly one of Odyssey's amazons, as well as probably the spy that outs Dirk and Summer, but the way she is described and the fact that she has a name to begin with give the impression she will be an important character. Instead, she is never mentioned again and is not even present among the coven members at the end.
  • A God Am I: Epona and company call themselves goddesses.
  • Amazon Brigade: Specter has one, given that most of Odyssey's executives, agents and security commanders are women.
  • Ambiguous Situation:
    • Pitt and Giordino believe Rathbone to be a disguised Odyssey agent, but his physical description doesn't clearly imply it. For instance, he is described as being sweating by his head, something that shouldn't be visible under a latex mask, and his dialogue lines reveal a lot of true information for someone that should be trying to misinform strangers. Still, the fact that he is an obese guy in a white suit echoes Specter himself, whose fatness is meant to be a comfortable disguise for a curvy woman, thus implying Rathbone is another Odyssey woman in disguise.
    • Dirk notes one of the female guards looks brainwashed. It's unknown if those women are literally brainwashed or they are simply that fanatical.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Hiram Yaeger is weirdly opposed to believe Max's explanations about lost civilizations, despite he and Max were precisely the ones who collected all the info about Atlantis in the previous book, the aptly named Atlantis Found. To make things weirder, the latter's events are actually mentioned in this book, meaning they are still canon.
  • Artistic License – History: See article.
  • Big Bad: Specter who is actually Epona Eliade in disguise.
  • Bad Boss: Flidais is implied to be one, given that she is effectively abandoned to die by her own crew in the Epona after being knocked out.
  • …But He Sounds Handsome: Rathbone describes the Odyssey women as being beautiful and professional. It's implied he's one of them under a disguise.
  • The Cameo:
    • Kurt Austin and Joe Zavala (who had been mentioned as having worked with Giordino to create the Pisces) make a cameo in the NUMA headquarters.
    • Yet another character named Leigh Hunt appears in the story, this time as a 17th century pirate.
  • China Takes Over the World: China is explicitly backing Odyssey in their evil plans.
  • Continuity Porn:
    • The story mentions or references the events of a ton of books of the saga, namely Raise the Titanic!, Sahara, Inca Gold, Shock Wave, Atlantis Found and of course Pacific Vortex!. Valhalla Rising is also indirectly referenced through the Sea Sprite's MH engines.
    • Kurt Austin and Joe Zavala from NUMA Files make a cameo in the story, which, judging by their dialogue, happens at the same time as White Death.
  • Continuity Snarl:
    • As in the previous book, Valhalla Rising, Summer Moran is stated to have died when her father's submarine city was destroyed in a sea earthquake. In Pacific Vortex, the base was destroyed by a missile launched from a warship. This could be considered a poetic license, given that the missile more or less caused an earthquake within the city, but it is still an oddity.
    • The narration also claims Pitt met Summer Moran for the first time while he was in the Moana Towers hotel with the daughter of Admiral Sandecker. Now this is correct, except by the last bit: it was the daughter of Admiral Leigh Hunter, a completely unrelated character. The change might be a typo, but Sandecker is later mentioned to have a daughter with children living in Hong Kong, vaguely implying this is the mysterious daughter Pitt was dating back then.
    • Earlier in the series, Sandecker's birth year had been established to be 1918, but here it is pushed forward to 1945 in order not to make him impossibly old.
    • In Atlantis Found, Giordino speaks Spanish because his family had a Latin American maid, so he is called to translate for Pitt, who has no clue of the language. In this book, the roles are reversed: Giordino doesn't speak Spanish, only a bit he learned in Tijuana, while Pitt does, claiming to have studied it back in high school.
    • Loren's father appears here inexplicably alive and well despite having been killed in Vixen 03.
  • Contrived Coincidence:
    • Loren happens to be part of a committee investigating Odyssey Corporation, although this doesn't have much weigh in the plot.
    • Flidais invades the hotel room of a woman who happens to be an Identical Stranger to her, allowing her to use her passport.
  • Dark Action Girl: An entire Amazon Brigade of them, although most of them offscreen. Flidais is also a trained fighter.
  • The Ditz: One of the college students in the Sea Sprite believes that the Celtic amphora might be a modern cooking pot. Seriously, how do you even mistake one thing for the other?
  • Does Not Like Men: Epona and company believe that most men are intrinsically dumber. This is clearly connected with them being a matriarchy-like cult.
  • The Dragon: Flidais appears to play this role towards Epona.
  • Evil Counterpart: In a thematic sense. While the NUMA has all their vehicles painted turquoise, Odyssey does the same in lavender.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: As it is typical in the series, the level of security in the Odyssey complex is frankly pathetic, with the guards failing to react quickly to an obvious trap like a burning vehicle and not calling for the alarm in hours. Their field agents are also incredibly unprofessional, with two of them being spotted and panicking after realizing so in midst of their missions.
  • Hand Cannon: Giordino wields a Desert Eagle of all things in this adventure. Nothing against the kickback is mentioned, probably because he's so strong.
  • Hollywood Satanism: The Neo-Paganism version. The coven is portrayed as a cult of misandric loons who preach pseudohistory and practice Human Sacrifice.
  • Hologram: Odyssey uses a futuristic hologram of a rather trite pirate ship to make it look like their kills in the sea are victims of a ghost pirate.
  • Honey Trap: Rita claims the men in the Epona left her alive to make her act as a bait for other ships. This part of her cover is actually plausible; assuming she was not lounging in a bikini for her personal commodity, Flidais might have really served this purpose in the ship's operations.
  • Informed Ability:
    • Sandecker explains the Poco Bonito is essentially a shapeshifting ship, being able to alter her structure to assume different disguises. This is sadly never demonstrated in the book.
    • The Odyssey women claim constantly to have transcended sexist expectations of female efficiency, but the truth is that none of them happens to be really competent in any sense: Epona does a terrible CEO work, Flidais blows her own cover in rage while being interrogated even although she had built a relatively flawless alibi, her own mooks abandoned her previously because she was probably an awful commander, the female field agents are humorously clumsy, the security women are not very tight in their work, and the corporation itself seems to be quite badly managed for an organization of such size and power. Of course, many male villains in the series are just like this, so it might not even be an actual point; it only stands out because those women claim to be otherwise.
  • Meaningful Name: There's a helicopter pilot named Marvin Huey.
  • No Name Given: The Neo-Pagan coven seems to have no name, although they refer to themselves as the daughters of Ulysses and Circe in their prayers.
  • Only One Name: Specter. Even his lawyers refer to him as "Mr. Specter", implying it is legally registered as an artistic name or something similar.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Zig-zagged. Both Pitt and Giordino easily deduce Percy Rathbone is actually someone in disguise, though not because his face looks wrong or anything, but because his hands' skin looks different from his face's. They also perceive that his voice sounds slightly like passed through a voice deformer. However, it can be said the disguise actually fulfilled its mission to some degree, because if the wearer was a woman as it was later implied, they didn't realize.
  • Sadly Mythtaken: The prologue is written from a (supposedly) Greek perspective, yet a character namedrops the goddess Minerva, who is a Roman deity. The Greek name should have been Athena.
  • Series Continuity Error: A helicopter that is described as blue turns red and yellow at the next scene.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Specter's name is probably a reference to SPECTRE from James Bond.
    • Epona Eliade's surname is an obvious reference to famous historian and writer Mircea Eliade, known for his work in the field of comparative religion.
    • All the named coven members go under names of Celtic goddesses, and one of them uses that of Druantia, a reconstructed deity invented by historian Robert Graves that is popular among real life Neo-Pagans.
    • The captain of the Sea Sprite is named Paul T. Barnum, a reference to the famous circus showman P. T. Barnum.
    • With his build, white suit and and speech pattern, Rathbone seems to be trying to evoke Sydney Greenstreet. His name also brings to mind Basil Rathbone and Percy Herbert, two British actors also famous for their work in mystery fiction.
  • Sigil Spam: The Uffington White Horse for Odyssey, used unsubtlety and all over the place. They even mark it in their ritual victims.
  • The Sociopath: Epone describe her coven members as such, noting it to be an advantage.
  • Straw Feminist: The villains of the book, mixed with straw Wicca-esque neo-paganism. Epona and company remind of your typical third wave feminist blogger: they voice constantly the opinion that most men are naturally vulgar and stupid, claim that women are essentially enslaved by men and restricted from business, accuse Pitt of "paternalism" every time he refutes their villainous nonsense, are offended by the mere concept of tolerance, and behave with gratuitous rudeness towards all her male employees (with Flidais even being implied to be such a Bad Boss that her own crew left her to die). In an extra twist, they also hypocritically celebrate that their cult members are capable to "enslave" rich men to capitalize on their wealth, a negative stereotype they should theoretically be against.
  • Super Gullible: Professor Dodge, possibly on the account of being an Absent-Minded Professor. He fully believes Rita's claims, even although Pitt and Renee refuted them clearly, and he also thinks the Epona crew are being honest when they claim they will release them alive if they surrender, despite those same mooks tried previously to destroy the Poco Bonito not once, but twice.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: Epona disguises herself as the obese masked man Specter for public appearances. The obesity or her disguise is probably meant to hide comfortably her female frame, as it's implied that the also obese Rathbone is actually one of her henchwomen under a similar disguise.
  • Tap on the Head: Used by both heroes and villains, all with the usual effect.
  • Textual Celebrity Resemblance: Captain Barnum is described as basically a bald version of Jacques Cousteau.
  • Underwater Base: The Pisces, although one wonders what's its point in a mission that takes place only 30 ft deep - enough for Barnum to freedive up to the Sea Sprite from there.
  • Women Are Wiser: Epona endorses this belief, although the facts don't exactly back it up.
  • Word Salad Title: Downplayed. The NUMA deploys a disguised ship named Poco Bonito to investigate in the Spanish-speaking Nicaragua, but this chosen name, while grammatically correct (it translates roughly to English as "not very beautiful" or, in a possible pun, "not much bonito fish"), is a sort of Spanish Buffy Speak that doesn't sound entirely natural as a Spanish ship's name.
  • Would Not Hit a Girl:
    • Pitt thinks he would not be able to kill the female cultists because it goes "against his natural instinct and all he had learned". He then opts to shoot their feet off in order to disable them.
    • Played straight, even exaggerated, with the US soldiers that assault the Odyssey base. After being forced to gun down the resident Amazon Brigade, Commander Nash states many of his men will have to seek therapy because they "weren't trained to shoot women".