Lost City: A Kurt Austin Adventure (NUMA Files Series)

Lost City: A Kurt Austin Adventure (NUMA Files Series)

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The key to eternal life has been found beneath two thousand feet of icy water in an area known as the "Lost City." To a family of ruthless French arms dealers the Lost City is the key to world domination. To Kurt Austin, leader of NUMA's Special Assignments Team, and his colleague Joe Zavala, it may be their greatest-and deadliest-challenge of all.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781594130960
Publisher: Large Print Distribution
Publication date: 07/26/2005
Series: NUMA Files Series , #5
Edition description: Large Print
Pages: 653
Product dimensions: 5.52(w) x 8.48(h) x 1.12(d)

About the Author

Clive Cussler is the author or coauthor of over fifty previous books in five bestselling series, including Dirk Pitt®, NUMA® Files, Oregon® Files, Isaac Bell, and Sam and Remi Fargo. His nonfiction works include Built for AdventureThe Classic Automobiles of Clive Cussler and Dirk Pitt, and Built to Thrill:More Classic Automobiles from Clive Cussler and Dirk Pitt, plus The Sea Hunters and The Sea Hunters II; these describe the true adventures of the real NUMA, which, led by Cussler, searches for lost ships of historic significance. With his crew of volunteers, Cussler has discovered more than sixty ships, including the long-lost Confederate ship Hunley. He lives in Colorado and Arizona. 

Paul Kemprecos has coauthored all five previous NUMA Files novels with Cussler and is a Shamus Award-winning author of six underwater detective thrillers.


Phoenix, Arizona

Date of Birth:

July 15, 1931

Place of Birth:

Aurora, Illinois


Pasadena City College; Ph.D., Maritime College, State University of New York, 1997

Read an Excerpt



JODIE MICHAELSON was steaming with anger. Earlier in the evening, she and the three remaining contestants of the Outcasts TV show had had to walk in their heavy boots on a thick rope stretched out along a three-foot-high berm made of piled rocks. The stunt had been billed as the "Viking Trial by Fire." Rows of torches blazed away on either side of the rope, adding drama and risk, although the line of fire was actually six feet away. The cameras shot from a low side angle, making the walk seem much more dangerous than it was.

What wasn't phony was the way the producers had schemed to bring the contestants to near violence.

Outcasts was the latest offering in the "reality" shows that had popped up like mushrooms after the success of Survivor and Fear Factor. It was an accelerated combination of both formats, with the shouting matches of Jerry Springer thrown in.

The format was simple. Ten participants had to pass a gamut of tests over the course of three weeks. Those who failed, or were voted off by the others, had to leave the island.

The winner would make a million dollars, with bonus points, which seemed to be based on how nasty the contestants could be to one another.

The show was considered even more cutthroat than its predecessors, and the producers played tricks to ratchet up the tension. Where other shows were highly competitive, Outcasts was openly combative.

The show's format had been based in part on the Outward Bound survival course, where a participant must live off the land. Unlike the other survival shows, which tended to be set on tropical isles with turquoise waters and swaying palm trees, Outcasts was filmed in the Scottish Orkneys. The contestants had landed in a tacky replica of a Viking ship, to an audience of seabirds.

The island was two miles long and a mile wide. It was mostly rock that had been tortured into knobs and fissures aeons ago by some cataclysm, with a few stands of scraggly trees here and there and a beach of coarse sand where most of the action was filmed. The weather was mild, except at night, and the skin-covered huts were tolerable.

The speck of rock was so insignificant that the locals referred to it as the "Wee Island." This had prompted a hilarious exchange between the producer, Sy Paris, and his assistant, Randy Andleman.

Paris was in one of his typical raves. "We can't film an adventure show on a place called 'Wee Island,' for godsakes. We've got to call it something else." His face lit up. "We'll call it 'Skull Island.'_"

"It doesn't look like a skull," Andleman said. "It looks like an overdone fried egg."

"Close enough," Paris had said, before dashing off.

Jodie, who had witnessed the exchange, elicited a smile from Andleman when she said, "I think it rather resembles the skull of a dumb TV series producer."

The tests were basically the kind of gross-out stunts, such as ripping live crabs apart and eating them or diving into a tank full of eels, that were guaranteed to make the viewer gag and watch the next installment, to see how bad things would get. Some of the contestants seemed to have been chosen for their aggressiveness and general meanness.

The climax would come when the last two contestants spent the night hunting each other using nightscopes and paint-ball guns, a stunt that was based on the short story "The Most Dangerous Game." The survivor was awarded another million dollars.

Jodie was a physical fitness teacher from Orange County, California. She had a killer body in a bikini, although her curves were wasted under her down-filled clothes. She had long, blond hair and a quick intelligence that she had hid to get on the program. Every contestant was typecast, but Jodie refused to play the bimbo role the producers had assigned to her.

In the last quiz for points and demerits, she and the others had been asked whether a conch was a fish, a mollusk or a car. As the show's stereotype blonde, she was supposed to say "Car."

Jeezus, she'd never live something like that down when she got back to civilization.

Since the quiz debacle, the producers had been making strong hints that she should go. She'd given them their chance to oust her when a cinder got in her eye and she'd failed the fire walk. The remaining members of the tribe had gathered around the fire with grave looks on their faces, and Sy Paris had dramatically intoned the order to leave the clan and make her entry into Valhalla. Jeezus.

As she headed away from the campfire now, she fumed at herself for failing the test. But there was still a bounce to her step. After only a few weeks with these lunatics, she was glad to be off the island. It was a rugged, beautiful setting, but she had grown weary of the backbiting, the manipulation and general sneakiness in which a contestant had to indulge for the dubious honor of being hunted down like a rabid dog.

Beyond the "Gate to Valhalla," an arbor made of plastic whalebones, was a large house trailer that was the quarters for the production crew. While the clan members slept in skin tents and ate bugs, the crew enjoyed heat, comfortable cots and gourmet meals. Once a contestant was thrown out of the game, he or she spent the night in the trailer until a helicopter picked him or her up the next morning.

"Tough luck," said Andleman, who met her at the door. Andleman was a sweetheart, the complete opposite of his hard-driving boss.

"Yeah, real tough. Hot showers. Hot meals. Cell phones."

"Hell, we've got all that right here."

She glanced around at the comfortable accommodations. "So I noticed."

"That's your bunk over there," he said. "Make yourself a drink from the bar, and there's some terrific paté in the fridge that'll help you decompress. I've got to go give Sy a hand. Knock yourself out."

"Thanks, I will."

She went over to the bar and made herself a tall Beefeater martini, straight up. The paté was as delicious as advertised. She was looking forward to going home. The ex-contestants always made the rounds of the TV talk shows to rake over the people they'd left behind. Easy money. She stretched out in a comfortable chair. After a few minutes, the alcohol put her to sleep.

She awoke with a start. In her sleep, she had heard high-pitched screams like the sound of seabirds flocking or children in a playground, against a background of yells and shouts.


She got up, went to the door and listened. She wondered if Sy had come up with yet another means of humiliation. Maybe he had the others doing a wild savage dance around the fire.

She walked briskly along the path that led to the beach. The noise grew louder, more frantic. Something was dreadfully wrong. These were screams of fright and pain rather than excitement. She picked up her pace and burst through the Gate to Valhalla. What she saw looked like a scene from a Hieronymus Bosch depiction of Hell.

The cast and crew were under attack by hideous creatures that seemed half man, half animal. The savage attackers were snarling, pulling their victims down and tearing at them with claws and teeth.

She saw Sy fall, then Randy. She recognized several bodies that were lying bloody and mauled on the beach.

In the flickering light from the fire, Jodie saw that the attackers had long, filthy white hair down to their shoulders. The faces were like nothing she had ever seen. Ghastly, twisted masks.

One creature clutched a severed arm which he was raising to his mouth. Jodie couldn't help herself, she screamed . . . and the other creatures broke off their ungodly feast and looked at her with burning eyes that glowed a luminous red.

She wanted to vomit, but they were coming toward her in a crouching lope.

She ran for her life.

Her first thought was the trailer, but she had enough presence of mind to know she'd be trapped there.

She ran for the high rocky ground, the creatures snuffing behind her like bloodhounds. In the dark, she lost her footing and fell into a fissure, but unknown to her the accident saved her life. Her pursuers lost her scent.

Jodie had cracked her head in the fall. She regained consciousness once, and thought she heard harsh voices and gunshots. Then she passed out again.

She was still lying unconscious in the fissure the next morning when the helicopter arrived. By the time the crew had scoured the island and finally found Jodie, they had come to a startling discovery.

Everyone else had vanished.

--from Lost City by Clive Cussler with Paul Kemprecos, Copyright © 2004 by Sandecker, RLLLP, published by G. P. Putnam's Sons, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., all rights reserved, reprinted with permission from the publisher

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Lost City 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 52 reviews.
DerMeister More than 1 year ago
This book is one in a series that retells the adventurous exploits of Cussler's dashing protagonist Kurt Austin. The plot of this book is a decidedly dynamic one. In fact, it is probably a little too dynamic for my tastes. The overall scheme of the chain of events is exceedingly busy and a little bit on the frantic side. The epic scale of the setting allows it to encompass a wide variety of locales, such as the Greek Peloponnese, the Scottish Orkneys, and even the French Alps. This is largely due to a sporadic branching of sub-plots in the exposition that links several seemingly isolated events to a single disturbing conspiracy involving a wealthy family named Fauchard and their sinister attempts to stage a cover-up of their unspeakable atrocities. Given there are multiple elements of this novel, such as genetically-engineered monsters and a secret quest for immortality, that keep it an interesting read, it becomes a trifle difficult to remember the plethora of names and places that compose the bulk of the story's content chapter by chapter. There are also several instances where the suspense can literally boil you down to a cold sweat, such as the pursuit and eventual kidnapping of Professor Maclean, but most of the thrills in this book aren't as subtle as sparse cat-and-mouse affairs like this one. An obstacle I found particularly disheartening was the necessity to have read previous Cussler novels to understand aspects of this segment of the greater story line. I couldn't help but feel like I was running smack into a variety of nuances that where meant to be detected by a veteran aficionado of the series. Some details, like the relationship between Austin and his female counterpart/colleague Skye were left almost exclusively to inference. On the other hand, though there was something to be desired in clarity for certain parts; I'd be lying if I said you don't get utterly hooked after the first ten pages. In summation, I wouldn't recommend this for anyone new to the series.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Lost City is the best of the Kurt Austin books published to date - but still not as good as the 'vintage' Cussler Dirk Pitt stories. Still, if you are looking for a quick, enjoyable read, you should find it with Lost City.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Lost City is a novel of a mixture of suspense, hope, and treachery. This is a ¿Can¿t put down `til I¿m done¿ type of book. This story deals with the troubles and obstacles that the main character, Kurt Austin deals with as a part of the NUMA agency. Creating a tremendous theme, the author, Clive Cussler, also sets up the characters characteristics that all falls into place. The riveting and heart pounding action keeps you focused to every detail of the book. The need for wanting to know what happens next will keep your head in the book. Cussler¿s realism of events in the book will have you thinking that things in the novel can possibly be real. The theme of this novel is how good almost always triumphs over the seeds of evil and not to underestimate the desperation and the science if in the hands of evildoers. The novel not only tells us about these things but also gives us examples throughout the story of everyday advantages we have in life. The significance of the main character, Kurt Austin, is to be the protagonist in the novel and create trust in other characters to follow his actions. He also takes on the responsibility of protecting another character in the story possibly for his feelings or that character may be a burden. A major conflict in the novel is when the main character faces his nemesis for the second time face to face that end up in a dramatic turn of events and leaves the reader shocked. This conflict is the climax of the novel and ends up at the living quarters of the antagonist. In the novel, the author uses metaphors to announce the beauty of the antagonist as an eclipse because it¿s beautiful and ugly at the same time. He doesn¿t use a lot of verbal irony in this story. It uses a lot of dramatic irony. The significant quote in the novel is when Kurt Austin tells the adversary that the ¿bigger they are the harder they fall.¿ He talks about the family of the Fauchards
Eskypades on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was my first Cussler book and I must say I enjoyed it, mainly for the lack of brainpower required to process the adventures and plots. And Lost City certainly has adventure.After a couple of opening vignettes that aren¿t really explained until further in the book, the book launches into a mixture of plot lines that inevitably and predictably converge. We are introduced to a cast of characters including, among others: the hero, Kurt Austin; his wisecracking sidekick Joe Zavala; the damsel-in-almost-continual-distress, Skye Labelle; Angus MacLean, a Scottish scientist with a mysterious background; and the evil Fauchard clan, the dynasty supposedly responsible for most, if not all the wars in the history of planet Earth. Along the way, we come across a frozen Fauchard, murderous mutants, exceptionally expanding enzymes, and a plot for permanent, perpetual power. The pace is swift with excitement at every turn of the page.The story follows our heroes as they try to unravel the mystery behind a frozen man found in a glacier in the French Alps, along with a peculiar helmet. The helmet is apparently important to someone since it becomes the focus of several bad guys trying to steal it and doing whatever they can to ensure it's kept secret. Meanwhile, in an area known as the Lost City (hence the title), underwater scientists have discovered an enzyme with peculair traits. These scientists are kidnapped and forced to join a research team who, along with Angus, are trying to manipulate the enzymes to produce a life-prolonging elixir or philosopher's stone. Unfortunately, previous attempts have resulted in hideous and dangerous mutations in the first human "volunteers." Behind it all is Racine Fauchard, current head of the arms industry dynasty mentioned before. Along the way, we also learn that the enzymes are starting to produce a rather nasty side affect and threaten to take over the entire world's waterways.The characters and general storyline are very predictable. Austin is every bit the embodiment of Hollywood heroics -- daring, handsome, quick witted, and having a plan for every dangerous spot he or any other character finds themselves. I almost expected him to introduce himself as ¿Austin -- Kurt Austin.¿ The Austin-girl, Skye, is smart, beautiful and just as quick witted. The good guys are extraordinarily good and the bad guys despicably evil. You can pretty much guess the ending, including how the ever-spreading water enzymes are battled.Even though the book is quite predictable, it is enjoyable nonetheless. At the end of a long, stressful day, it¿s nice to sit down with a book and disengage your brain for awhile with some good adventure.
MSWallack on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I continue to read the Kurt Austin books because they are a form of fast-paced, light entertainment. Unfortunately, they never rise to the level of interest and excitement that Cussler seems to reserve for the Dirk Pitt novels. Lost City had its interesting moments, but it never quite rose above being anything other than marginally entertaining. If you're not already a fan of the Kurt Austin series, you can probably find better things to read.
labelleaurore on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Good read this book, it could have been cut in half for again, too much details on situation not needed to tease my brain.A good book about adventure and archaeology, mixed with a touch of romance to bring color to it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Been reading CC for 25 years and the Numa files are just plain terrible. Period!
quibecca More than 1 year ago
I had this audio book in my car to listen to while I drove around running errands.  Like in CD form...so old school ;).  I love to have a book to listen to.  This was one I could leave in my car and now have to remember to take my ipod every time I left the house. I didn't realize it was a series, and just happened to see it at my mothers house, and took it to listen to.  If I missed anything from it being  #5 in a series, then I didn't know it.  It worked well as a stand alone in my opinion.  Although I can see where the next book will be taking me. This was an enjoyable listen.  It was a pretty exciting book.  Kurt Austin is like 007.  He is good at everything, and can escape any situation ;).   This story is about greed, money, and a buried body.  Yup buried body.  In ice!  I thought the book would all be about Atlantis because of the name.  Atlantis is mentioned but that isn't what this part of the story was about in particular.   When out on a mission for NUMA in the French Alps, during one of his dives he finds something that looks like a airplane in the ice.  Meanwhile at the power plant where another team was doing some research they found a body in the ice.  They freed the helmet that the man in the ice must have been wearing and a box holding some papers. When the discovery was found a team of reporters was called in to witness this wonderful discovery.  During the filming of what the team had found a man walks in with a gun and takes the box away from them and floods the tunnels. Now it is a fight for survival.  You would think that is where the action stops but no.  There is more going on, on the surface that goes along with the discovery this team had made. One of the women on the research team was able to conceal the helmet they found and took it to antique dealer to see if he could help her find out the age of the helmet, and exactly what it was made of. This is where Kurt and his gal encounter problem, after life threatening problem. The story moves well, and the narrator was awesome.  There were many twists and turns, but I felt like it ended well.  I can see where the next Kurt Austen adventure will take us.  It was exciting to listen to, and sometimes when I got home I would just sit in my car for just one more chapter ;).    I had never heard of this series before until I saw it lying on my moms counter.  I think I will have to look into getting the rest on audio book....or maybe even CD...I know going old school again ;). I am glad I picked it up because I enjoyed it from the beginning to the end.  I hope the narrator is the same for the other books, because I really liked him. Source:  I borrowed this from my mother.  I was not compensated in any way for this review.  These are my own PERSONAL thoughts on the book.
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