Juan Cabrillo’s group of mercenaries are like a modern-day crew of pirates on the ship Oregon, operating like a maritime weaponized G.I. Joe team. Their technology, vehicles, gadgets, and weapons are awesome enough to make James Bond jealous. This book(released – 2017) in The Oregon files series is written by Boyd Morrison and takes the action to South East Asia.
The Oregon is a ship which looks like an old, useless rust-bucket from the outside and on the top deck(for fooling the port authorities), but contains a luxurious, base of ops(and a home) for The Corporation, a mercenary company, headed by Juan Cabrillo who’s a contemporary one-legged good pirate who has many prosthetic and mechanized legs to choose from for his ops. Though they take private jobs from rich clients including Saudi oil tycoons, they don’t work against American interests and their main client is the CIA. The crew is made of former navy people, engineers, doctors, operators from many special forces groups and the CIA, pilots, and a former Oscar-winning Hollywood costume/prop designer.
Typhoon Fury revolves around a steroid-based supersoldier drug from World War Two which speeds healing, increases strength and speed, and drastically reduces pain but is very addictive. Stopping regular doses leads a few characters to a gruesome death where the human biological systems degrade without the drug Typhoon. This drug is found by a communist insurgent group in the Philippines in a cave system. As the plot spirals into chaos, many forces including a ruthless South African mercenary, The Oregon, and the communist insurgent group are after the drug when they find a larger stash stored within a sunken Naval ship from the second world war.
Adding to the plot is an art theft investigator and art appraiser Beth Anders and her bodyguard Raven Malloy who are chasing stolen legendary paintings that get into the hands of Salvador Locsin – the leader of the communist insurgency. Beth is a fun and a crazily motivated character who’s a friend of Cabrillo as he’s bought paintings from her for the Oregon’s inner decks. Raven, formerly in the US Military Police, is a dangerous and fun bodyguard who ends up on the Oregon’s crew for their team of field operators by the end of this book, to fill the role left by Mike Trono’s death in the previous book of the series.
Around 70 pages of the opening is an epic action sequence of a complex Oregon operation happening in many parallel parts, with numerous characters, leading to an explosive, deceptive, bullet-ridden sequence on a moving train going past green hills in Vietnam. This operation is a smart and fun intelligence coup on the Triads and the MSS. But the very first page of the book is action-packed in the prologue set in the Pacific campaign of the second world war.
The villains in this book are ruthlessly dangerous killers who keep outsmarting each other while handling Cabrillo’s crew. Gerhard Brekker the South African mercenary is approached by two US bio-weapons researchers who have hit a block in finding a solution for VX poison gas and want the Typhoon to save their research funding. But those two naive characters are soon killed by Brekker as he wants to profit from the supersoldier drug for himself. Brekker’s interactions with Locsin and his insurgents are hilariously serious, brutal, and filled with smart mutually destructive stalemates. But Brekker does operate smarter and more viciously than Locsin in many awesome moments.
Cabrillo’s truck, which looks old and useless on the outside is filled with hi-tech touchscreen computers, scanners, comms, drones, and weapons like many Bond cars. It fires small rockets and missiles at targeted locations managing to take out Loscin’s helicopter once when he’s still inside but doesn’t kill the drugged up superhuman combatant.
Loscin’s second in command, a marine engineer, has a swarm of water-borne drones that hones into a target and explodes on contact. The Oregon and her crew face a real challenge in outsmarting these explosive drones and trying to survive them. Though most of the action happens under, on, above, or near water like most Clive Cussler books, this book ends with an epic explosive, heavy action-packed battle inside a large, hidden cavern within a network of caves somewhere in the Philippines which would a good cinematic spectacle of destruction and mayhem.
The spycraft and operational tradecraft used by the characters are comedic at times like expected in any Cussler book. An exciting open-ended conspiracy concept of this book connects the Typhoon drug to the nuclear bombing at Hiroshima, but the story intentionally leaves it vague and mysterious as the Typhoon supersoldier drug is fortunately just fictional.
This is a fast, easy read for a fun time with an action-adventure story filled with deadly and smart mercenaries, a clear separation between the good characters and the bad characters, heavy speculative technological concepts, historical intrigue, and a weaponized tactical entertainment.