Married treasure hunters Sam and Remi Fargo stumble upon a globe-spanning mystery involving legendary figure Napoleon Bonaparte, some lost wine, Xerxes, and a lost treasure. With this premise, I went into Spartan Gold ready for an exciting adventure. Unfortunately, the only thing I got was disappointment.
We’ll start with Sam and Remi, since they’re our intrepid and wealthy protagonists. They’re also the main reason that it was impossible to take this book seriously. These two are literally not afraid of anything. Russian mob bosses with automatic weapons? Trained hit-men following them across the planet? Nothing makes Sam and Remi Fargo fear for their lives. There is no gravity to any situation because Sam and Remi approach it as though they’ll achieve their goal and escape and save the day. Which they do. Repeatedly. Bondaruk must be one of the luckiest criminals ever, to become the leader of an entire mafia and still be completely incompetent.
I also am entirely unsure why Remi is even in this story, other than the token representation for women. She obediently does everything that Sam says, rarely has any ideas of her own, and exists to simply fawn over her husband. I rolled my eyes every time Sam had a brilliant idea and had to explain it to his poor, less intelligent wife. Gross.
I’m not sure who actually wrote Spartan Gold, whether it was Cussler or Blackwood, but the prose is so heavy and bland. This book is seriously boring. Not only that, but the descriptions were confusing and wordy. Is it possible to be too specific when describing something? I don’t really need to know the exact measurements of every room that the characters walk into. The dialogue is horrific. No one talks to one another the way that actual human beings do.
A lot of the clues in Spartan Gold were extremely obscure and required a lot of disbelief suspension. I was just about over the whole treasure hunt when Remi figures out a clue based on watching a woman with crutches. And the hunt goes on, and on, and on. I mean, I realize that this is an adventure book and it’s kind of the way things are… but the last hundred or so pages of this book were excruciating.
Not only am I completely disappointed with Spartan Gold, but it has also dissuaded me from reading anything else by Cussler or Blackwood.