Cyclops - Prologue Summary & Analysis

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This section contains 545 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)

Prologue Summary

Cyclops, another Clive Cussler techno-thriller, brings protagonist Dirk Pitt back to fight for justice and peace. Amid the Star Wars battle between the United States and Russia, with battlefields both on the moon and on the beaches of Cuba, Pitt and his friend, Al Giordino, are tasked with preventing world-wide disaster. Russia has taken offense to the loss of their Selenos lunar probes, because the probes were manned. They told the world, however, that the probes were unmanned. Jersey Colony, the secret moon colony established by American industrialists, shoots down any of the Russian probes merely to keep their colony a secret, unaware that the probes are manned. Even the highest powers of the U.S. are unaware of the existence of a moon colony. Russia, believing that to be a superpower they must dominate, stands poised to take over both the moon colony, and use Fidel Castro and Cuba as merely game pieces in their desire for world dominance.

Lieutenant John Church, a 29-year-old man with twelve years in the Navy as of March 9, 1918, believes that this trip in the Cyclops is the strangest yet. They carry 309 passengers, and are bound from Rio de Janeiro where an odd cargo crate was carefully loaded aboard, accompanied by a very ill patient and a mysterious man, to their destination of Baltimore, Maryland. The captain, Lieutenant Commander George Worley, places crew members under house arrest when he is not too drunk to function when they do not strictly adhere to his orders. For Church, the final straw comes when they intercept a distress call and he orders the radioman to replay that the Cyclops will come to their aid. He discovers that the captain has placed the ship under a complete communications blackout order. Confronting the captain with this, Church finds himself ordered to his quarters for the remainder of the voyage. Rather than completely obeying the captain, Church adheres to his personal standards and chooses instead to inspect the ship. He meets Alfred Gottschalk, who asks to be escorted to the cargo hold to inspect the crate, which has evidence of being opened, upsetting Gottschalk. His anxiety is eliminated when a figure in the shadows jumps out and kills the American consul to Brazil. Church has little time to react, for the Cyclops reaches the unsettled seas off the coast of Cuba and her bow points directly down into the ocean, shifting her cargo, and accelerating her dive to her watery grave.

Prologue Analysis

Cussler starts his tale with a mystifying event that happens in 1918, when a ship carrying a mysterious cargo and even more mysterious passengers. A distress signal is ignored, for the Captain has issued a communications blackout and arrests any crew member who chooses to cross him. The mysterious passenger is killed by a South American Indian disguised as a crew member. The crate has been opened despite chains and locks. Before anyone can take steps to solve the puzzling events, the Cyclops encounters the treacherous seas that prompted the earlier distress call and she sinks to the bottom of the ocean, leaving the reader wondering at the Captain's actions, and the contents of the mysterious crate that prompts a murder immediately before the demise of the Cyclops.

This section contains 545 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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