“The Rising Sea: a Kurt Austin Adventure” (G.P. Putnam’s Sons), by Clive Cussler and Graham Brown

Kurt Austin heads the Special Assignment division of NUMA, the U.S. National Underwater and Marine Agency. His latest mission has him exploring various glaciers as he attempts to determine why they are melting faster than expected. The answer should be climate change, but what he uncovers is something far more sinister and disturbing.

The ocean levels are increasing at a rate that doesn’t match his scientific calculations. When he presents the findings to the rest of his team, they soon learn of a mining operation in the East China Sea that’s looking for a rare alloy, and the rapid methods used have caused catastrophic environmental issues as a result. The metal has indestructible properties, but obtaining it has the potential to raise the sea level so drastically that billions of people would be displaced if not outright killed.

Can Austin and his allies stop a man determined to win at all costs? Toss in a ruthless assassin so brutal in his methods that even his former employers, the Yakuza, have disavowed him. Sprinkle in major action sequences involving the latest advances in the future of technology, and add missing Japanese samurai swords. The end result is “The Rising Sea,” another entertaining and diverting read from a true legend in the adventure business. Unlike the other series in the Cussler brand of novels, the NUMA Files runs the closest to invoking the classic feel of James Bond reimagined as an oceanographer.