Adventure for Adventure's Sake

Article excerpt

"THE SEA HUNTERS: TRUE ADVENTURES WITH FAMOUS SHIPWRECKS"

By Clive Cussler and Craig Dirgo (3 hours, abridged, Simon & Schuster Audio, $18)

The authors are the kind of men who seem driven to piece together old mysteries of the sunken variety. Unlike their landlubber contemporaries, they engage in searches that almost always involve some personal jeopardy and considerable expense. Different from the treasure hunters of my acquaintance, they seem to reap no tangible rewards for their efforts other than writing about their finds and the momentary notoriety that accompanies the risk-taking involved in such pursuits. So it is the armchair adventurers among us who really benefit from what they do. Not only do we learn more about the sea and the kind of individuals who are willing to dive into the unknown, we also get to reduce or eliminate the speculation regarding these mysteries as new data is uncovered. And the way these marine explorers have offered their facts is very entertaining indeed. In the four parts given here, George Grizzard is the voice of Clive Cussler, and James Naughton narrates the dramatic material involved in each of the searches. The projects include the steamboat Lexington, which caught fire and sank in 1840; the Confederate submarine Hunley, which was swamped after it sank the Union frigate Housatonia blockading Charleston in 1864; the troop transport Leopoldville, which was torpedoed by a U-boat off France on Christmas Eve, 1944; and the so-called lost locomotive of Kiowa Creek, which disappeared in 1848. The dramatizations in each of these stories is what make the dangers involved in finding the wrecks seem worthwhile. That, of course, is an emotional evaluation. Intellectually, one has to assume that most of the dramatic stuff was gleaned from all the research that took place before any of the on-site hunts ever began. So when you get to the core, it's the adventure that drives the men who do it, and for the rest of us to listen to what they've done. Simon & Schuster Audios may be found in bookstores. "SILENT HONOR" A novel by Danielle Steel (6 hours, abridged, BDD Audio, $24.95) Often the thing that makes the difference in our lives is timing, bad as well as good. For Hiroko Takashimaya, choosing to go to California in August 1941 was auspicious in one way and terrible in another. Actually, she didn't make the choice. It was her father - thoroughly modern Masao - who wanted her to study in the United States. Masao, a university professor in Kyoto, Japan, with a passion for new ideas, was determined to free his daughter from the mind-numbing bonds of her Japanese heritage, and he decided that America was the place to do it. …