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aka: Clive Cussler
The NUMA series is a large series of novels featuring oceanographer and Adventurer Archaeologist
Dirk Pitt and his motley pals in the National Underwater and Marine Agency
(which is described shortly but aptly as "the maritime counterpart of NASA"). The series were created by Clive Cussler, although he has teamed up with other authors to write his books, notably Craig Dirgo and his son, Dirk Cussler.
There are three actual series:
- Dirk Pitt — 22 books so far. Co-written with his son Dirk from the eighteenth book onwards.
- The Mediterranean Caper (1973): Dirk Pitt and his childhood friend/sidekick Al Giordino contend with a World War I Albatross biplane which attacked cities and eventually the World War II plane he was on, then disappears just as quickly. Along the way he gets to encounter a psychotic ex-Nazi, a narcotics agent, a Greek strongman, an amateur commando group, and a beautiful double agent.
- Iceberg (1975): A Coast Guard patrol plane mysteriously disappears after encountering a massive iceberg with a warship concealed inside. Dirk flies to Iceland to investigate who could possibly want to conceal this discovery.
- Raise the Titanic! (1976): Dirk is sent to obtain the extremely rare element "byzantium" from the RMS Titanic, needed to fuel a powerful anti-missile defense system covering the whole USA — by raising it. Easy enough a job for him — except he has to contend with Soviet interests and a hurricane.
- Vixen 03 (1978): Dirk rewrites history books when he discovers the remains of a plane carrying canisters of a powerful virus, long thought to have vanished in the Pacific, actually lying beneath a frozen lake in Colorado. But all is not well — two such canisters are under an African terrorist group's possession, and they are about to unknowingly wage biological warfare on Washington, DC itself.
- Night Probe! (1981): America is facing an energy crisis. When a beautiful naval commander discovers a reference to a long-forgotten 1914 top-secret treaty between America and Britain, long-thought to have been lost somewhere in eastern Canada, both countries scramble to find both documents — America sends Dirk, while Britain sends former SIS agent Brian Shaw. Both men clash against each other in a battle of wits, with the future of America, Canada and Britain at stake.
- Pacific Vortex! (1983): Reported written in the 1970s, but not published before. The first chronological Dirk Pitt adventure, where he was tasked with finding a nuclear submarine which inexplicably disappeared off the coast of Oahu, while being followed by mysterious assassins — and traps him in the arms of Summer Moran, an exotic assassin.
- Deep Six (1984): The discovery of a crab boat full of dead bodies drives Dirk to investigate its origins, tracing it all the way to an ambitious Korean shipping company which has struck a pact with the impoverished Soviet Union to mind-control the President, Vice President, Senate President and House Speaker of the United States into doing their bidding.
- Cyclops (1986): The disappearance of a blimp containing an American research searching for a collier sunken off the Cuban coast — and its reappearance in Florida containing dead Soviet scientists — serves as the impetus for Dirk to embark on another adventure, discovering the existence of a secret base on the moon and an audacious Soviet plot to take out their former ally — Fidel Castro himself.
- Treasure (1988): While on an exploration in Greenland, Dirk and Al rescue Hala Kamil, the new UN Secretary-General, from a hijacked plane that crashed on the same area — then discovers a Roman ship detailing a secret mission to hide surviving treasures from the Library of Alexandria. This brings him to a direct conflict with two aspiring dictators from Egypt and Mexico, both with their designs connected to this lost cache.
- Dragon (1990): A rising Japanese imperialism and the discovery of a third atomic bomb meant to serve as backup for those which destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki drove Dirk to stem the tide of rising belligerence before it reasserts its dominance in the Far East.
- Sahara (1992): Dirk's rescue of a beautiful UN scientist intersects with an ecological disaster in the making to lead him and his to Mali, whose dictator is in league with a shady industrialist. As they fight to uncover the plans of this ruthless duo, they will discover a long-lost legend and things that force them to rethink history's view of a certain famous American Civil War personage.
- Inca Gold (1994): Dirk rescues a research team investigating rumors of a massive trove of Inca treasures, sone of which were already discovered by Sir Francis Drake during the 16th century, only to find himself at the crosshairs of a powerful smuggling syndicate.
- Shock Wave (1996): A wave of sonar-related deaths in Antarctica puts Dirk on a rescue mission, only to get caught in a tragic family feud involving an Australian diamond mining company and its patriarch's rebellious daughter, whose two sons her father kidnapped.
- Flood Tide (1997): A rising wave of illegal Chinese immigrants being shipped across the world by a wealthy tycoon sends Dirk and Al on a mission to stem this trade — in the process discovering the resting place of a ship containing treasures salvaged by Chiang Kai-shek as he fled China in 1949... amongst which were the bones of the missing "Peking Man".
- Atlantis Found (1999): Dirk, Al and Rudy discover a pair of black obsidian skulls, all the while eluding mysterious assassins. Both skulls point to the existence of a powerful prehistoric global superpower destroyed by a meteor fall — a catastrophe which was supposedly about to repeat itself in the present, and one which a group of Nazi stragglers are more than willing to exploit.
- Valhalla Rising (2001): Dirk and his allies save the passengers of a technologically-advanced cruise ship, which puts them in the crosshairs of a vicious oil magnate and his death squad. Even as they struggle to elude the assassins and stop the villain's plans, Dirk discovers not only its connections with a thought-lost Viking settlement on the Hudson River and another technologically-advanced ship from the recent past — but also that he has children with Summer, whom he thought he lost long ago: Dirk Jr. and Summer.
- Trojan Odyssey (2003): Dirk Sr. has assumed directorship of NUMA after his boss, Admiral Sandecker, ascends to Vice President of the United States. But when his twin children are caught in a storm while on an underwater expedition, he and Al naturally set off to their rescue — only to open a can of worms involving a black tide, a mysterious assassin named "Spectre", a group of Celts desirous of world domination, and a startling truth that may rewrite what history knew about the Trojan War.
- Black Wind (2004): The discovery of Japanese kamikaze submarines containing toxic weapons somewhere in the South China Sea prompts an ambitious South Korean businessman to use the weapons to blackmail America and the whole world. Dirk and his children set out to track this ambitious businessman and his hitman — all the while discovering a conspiracy involving a certain "hermit kingdom".
- Treasure of Khan (2006): An ambitious Mongolian tycoon has stolen an earthquake machine and is about to go on a quest to restore the Mongol Empire. Dirk and his children set out to stop his plans, while discovering the truth about a failed expedition by Genghis Khan to Japan.
- Arctic Drift (2008): A series of inexplicable deaths off the coast of British Columbia threaten to pit both America and Canada against each other. Dirk, Dirk Jr., Summer and Al travel to attempt to prevent a shooting war between both countries while trying to find links between the deaths, a failed 19th-century expedition to the Northwest Passage, and a formula for artificial photosynthesis perceived as a solution to global warming, while contending with a corruption ring within Ottawa.
- Crescent Dawn (2010): An ambitious fundamentalist group is setting up to restore the Ottoman Empire. Dirk and his children are on an adventure to discover links between this group, the sinking of a Roman ship during the 300s, the sinking of a British warship on the North Sea, and artifacts which could change the way the world sees Christianity and Islam.
- Poseidon's Arrow (2012): America has developed a powerful, incredibly fast submarine — but part of its blueprint is missing, and its project chief is found dead. As always, Dirk and his children investigate links between this super sub, inexplicable burnings of entire ship crews, and a missing Italian World War II submarine.
The NUMA Files
- The NUMA Files — A Spin-Off featuring professional soldier Kurt Austin, his sidekick Joe Zavala, and the Special Projects Team. Co-written with Paul Kemprecos for the first eight books, then Graham Brown for the rest.
- Serpent (1999): Austin saves scientist Nina Kirov from an ambush as she unearth a headstone off the coast of Morocco proving that Christopher Columbus may not have been the first medieval European to discover the Americas. Along the way Kurt, Nina and the NUMA team set out to stop a wealthy Texan industrialist from carving his own nation stretching from California to Mexico, all the while seeking connections between a precolonial treasure found in an Italian shipwreck off the coast of Massachusetts and Columbus' fifth, unknown voyage in search of a magnificent treasure.
- Blue Gold (2000): Kurt investigates mass deaths of whales off the east Mexican coast, while another NUMA team investigates rumors of a technologically-advanced Venezuelan tribe led by a "white goddess". Both teams, however, realize that both may have something to do with a Californian tycoon's ambitious scheme to monopolize all the world's freshwater resources. Kurt must now seek this "goddess", who may have the key to a formula for turning saltwater into freshwater, before it's too late.
- Fire Ice (2002): While on a public-relations jaunt on Russia's Black Sea coast, Kurt learns that Mikhail Razov, mobster and Romanov pretender, has been buying off government facilities and utilities, including a mothballed submarine, for his goal of mining volatile underwater solid methane deposits with which he can usurp Moscow while terrorizing America into not interfering. Kurt has no choice but ally with his former nemesis, ex-KGB agent Vladimir Petrov, to stop Razov before he causes a drastic shift of the world's balance of power.
- White Death (2003): A clash between radical environmentalists and a Danish cruiser drove Kurt and Joe to rescue a handful of men trapped in the crossfire, only to get caught in a greater conspiracy led by a multinational corporation seeking to rule the high seas through staging an environmental catastrophe — one only Kurt and Joe can stop.
- Lost City (2004): Kurt and his team investigates links between a corpse found frozen high up the Alps, inexplicable disappearances in a Greek laboratory, and an enzyme which can prolong life found in a sunken city in the Atlantic Ocean.
- Polar Shift (2005): The NUMA team travels to stop an anti-globalization group from using a technology discovered by an eccentric Hungarian scientist during World War II to reverse the world's poles, realizing it cannot be undone.
- The Navigator (2007): Kurt and Joe are caught in the middle of an archaeological war after rescuing a UN agent investigating a struggle involving a Phoenician statue stolen from the Baghdad Museum. The adventure brings the team through the mysteries of King Solomon's treasures, a bunch of documents encoded by Thomas Jefferson, and a top-secret scientific project.
- Medusa (2009): A Bermudan bathysphere is bombed, and Kurt has to save its stranded visitors, including Joe. But from there he and his team has just opened a Pandora's box of hideous medical experiments connected to a Chinese crime syndicate and a powerful virus that can kill millions — all connected to the sudden disappearance of a Micronesian laboratory researching a rare type of jellyfish.
- Devil's Gate (2011): Kurt, Joe and the NUMA Special Assignments Team investigate the inexplicable explosion of both a Japanese cruise ship and a pirate ship off the coast of the Azores islands. They end up having to contend with the ambitious new dictator of Sierra Leone, who has hatched an audacious plan to extort the world's nations.
- The Storm (2012): The destruction of a NUMA vessel by a swarm of black particles in the Indian Ocean means a more personal quest for the Special Assignments Team, only to discover an even greater plot to forcibly shift the climate.
- Zero Hour (2013): A scientist manages to find a way to harness the power of zero-point energy through his inventions — except they prove incredibly volatile, causing earthquakes and volcanic activity on a whim. And unless Kurt, Joe and the NUMA SPT finds two of his machines — one underground, the other buried at sea — they may prove pretty useful for a group of terrorists.
- The Oregon Files — A series involving an advanced freighter and the mercenary group known as the Corporation, led by former CIA agent Juan Cabrillo, who first appeared in Flood Tide.
Pitt is described by The Other Wiki
as a combination of James Bond
, Angus MacGyver
and Indiana Jones
There have been two movie adaptations- Raise the Titanic!
. Both are considered to be very poor and major box office flops (the former basically killed the career of Lew Grade
), to the point that Cussler refused to sell the film rights
to his novels for some years. Cussler and the producers sued each other over the latter (Cussler for going too far off the book, the producers for his telling fans to boycott it). Cussler lost.
Has nothing to do with guys enthusiastically singing Romanian pop songs on camera
The NUMA Series novels contain examples of:
open/close all folders
- The Ace: Dirk Pitt swings in and out of this trope's territory, usually in.
- Airport Fantasy: Cussler books are a common sight in airport bookshops, and most of them are long enough to last an entire transoceanic flight.
- All Bikers Are Hell's Angels: Inverted in one of the Pitt novels.
- Almost Out of Oxygen: used frequently, usually when the character is underwater and their line has been cut or their oxygen tanks are about to run dry.
- America Saves the Day: Well, as NUMA is based in Washington, D.C. and the main characters are patriots ...
- Often Lampshaded by one of the main characters, as the Washington politicians frequently use one of NUMA's achievements to further their own ends.
- Arm Cannon: Juan Cabrillo, the Corporation's leader, has a false leg in which he keeps—among other things—a rather high caliber pistol.
- Author Appeal: Pitt's large collection of classic cars.
- As well as NUMA's fictional budget. Cussler runs the real-life NUMA, and would kill for the kind of cash that Pitt gets.
- The fictional NUMA is a US Government department. Cussler's real life NUMA is a private organization with no official recognition.
- And the startling number of blue and green eyed people in his works.
- Author Avatar: Ever since Dragon, Cussler is a recurring character in the Pitt series, usually showing up to put the heroes back on track with a minor Deus ex Machina. May also count as a Self-Insert Fic, although Word of God says it grew out of an attempt to see just how much his editor would put up with.
- Badass Driver: Pitt and Giordino, in cars, boats, submarines, and helicopters. All the novels feature some sort of chase scene in them.
- Battle Couple: Sort of, but Paul and Gamay Trout.
- Big Bad: One in every novel, along with The Dragon, and sometimes The Dark Chick.
- Big Damn Heroes: Used in the very beginning of books. It usually goes like this: The Girl Of The Novel and her team has just landed in big trouble. They're in a life-or-death situatipn and no one can help them. Then Pitt and Giordino come along and save them, becoming wrapped up in their problem and kick-starting the plot.
- Break Out the Museum Piece: Used frequently.
- Canon Discontinuity: A number of the early Dirk Pitt books end with sweeping scientific or political changes (the development of a Star Wars system that makes nuclear war impossible, the merging of the US and Canada into a single country) that are then completely ignored by subsequent books since they conflict with the by-and-large real-world setting.
- In Cyclops, Dirk Pitt is hinted to have been born in 1951 (his given age was 38 in-universe 1989), yet Admiral Sandecker never ages, is always described as a man in the late middle age. In other books, the good ole' Admiral is described as born in 1918, which would make people wonder if he is human at all.
- Also, the Titanic is raised whole in the book of the same name. After it was discovered in real life to have broken in half, and that raising it was impossible, the whole incident is erased from canon.
- Casual Danger Dialogue: Pitt and Giordino are masters of this, especially when all the other characters are terrified out of their wits.
- The Casanova: Subversion - Pitt always seems to patiently wait and let the woman do the first step, if ever.
- Cool Boat: The Oregon definitely qualifies for this one. The series features lots of these, given that it centers around a marine science agency.
- Cool Car:
- Pitt owns an entire garage full of them.
- And the author actually owns many of them, which are on display in the Cussler Museum in Arvada, Colorado.
- Cool Garage: Pitt lives in a former airport hanger, which he uses to store his car collection.
- Crowning Moment of Awesome: One of the biggest draws of the NUMA Series is seeing how Cussler will manage to top his previous climax in raw, unfettered awesome. So far, he hasn't failed to deliver.
- Deadpan Snarker: Giordino, but also Pitt, Gunn, and Sandecker
- Dead Person Impersonation: In Inca Gold and Atlantis Found. (Possibly others.)
- Defictionalization: As alluded to above, the NUMA organization has existed in Real Life since 1979, being Clive Cussler's shipwreck hunting non-profit organization, of which he wrote The Ship Hunters books and documentaries.
- Disney Death: Pitt and many other supporting characters
- Departmentof Redundancy Department: The National Underwater AND Marine Agency
- Girl Of The Novel (although Pitt has now settled down with Representative Loren Smith, the only girl he sleeps with in more than one story - some of his other lovers appear in multiple novels, but only sleep with him in one of them)
- Of special note is Summer Moran, who was presumed dead at the end of Pacific Vortex, later turned out not only to have survived (though she later died offscreen), but been pregnant with two kids by Pitt, the grown-up versions of whom would later feature in the novel. Despite the fact that over the course of the book, they spent about two hours in the same room as each other, which weren't used doing the nasty.
- Green Eyes: Dirk Pitt himself. They are described as "opaline" and "like the sea."
- Guile Hero: Pitt's often a man with a plan.
- Guilty Pleasures
- Hilarious in Hindsight: The new genetically enhanced salmon trying to get on the market are being called Frankenfish. Sounds like someone is a fan...
- History Marches On: 1976's Raise The Titanic, and the movie based upon it, both assume the R.M.S. Titanic sank as a single piece, remaining intact enough to be salvaged. In Cussler's defense, this was the official position on the sinking until the ship was actually found, which was in 1985, almost 10 years after the book was written.
- Heroes Want Redheads: Summer Moran and Loren Smith.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: Dirk Pitt and Al Giordino. They met in kindergarten and they've been together ever since.
- Karmic Death: Most of the villains get taken out in this manner.
- Kiss Me, I'm Virtual: Hiram Yeager's computer GUI "Max" is a sometimes scantily-clad representation of his wife.
- Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: In Night Probe, it is strongly implied that Brian Shaw (British agent) is really James Bond.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: In some of the later books people looking over reports of Dirk's career mention that his life reads like a series of adventure novels.
- Mineral MacGuffin: Several of the books, including Raise the Titanic and Arctic Drift, hinge on the need to find a supply of some exotic substance which seems to be available only in the sunken ship du jour.
- One Steve Limit: Averted, there seems to be an infinite number of Leigh Hunts mentioned in the series (Though only one in any given book). Also, Dirk Pitt Jr. After he is introduced, the elder Dirk Pitt is referred to as Pitt and the younger as Dirk so that the reader can tell them apart in scenes where both are present.
- Purple Eyes: Loren Smith has them.
- Rule of Cool: what most of the books live on.
- Running Gag: Sandecker never finds any of his special cigars missing, but Giordino always seems to be smoking one. Al secretly tracked down the source of Sandecker's cigars and has been quietly purchasing them himself.
- Ruthless Modern Pirates: Pacific Vortex
- Series Continuity Error: While not exactly an error, Fridge Logic sets in when in one book there is a secret moonbase but in another the moonlandings were faked. Not exactly contradictory but it's an oddity that is never explained.
- Shown Their Work: Very often, sometimes to the point of overdoing it. This predominantely shows up whenever cars, ships, historical moments, or diving equipment is mentioned.
- Status Quo Is God: In Night Probe, Pitt retrieves an old treaty that proves that the US legally owns Canada. The president uses it as part of a plan to unite the two countries. It never happens. Possibly explained by the fact that in the next book, Deep Six, which takes place a few months later, the same president is kidnapped, brainwashed into acting as a Soviet agent, and impeached after trying to dissolve Congress in order to push a pro-Soviet agenda. This may very well have killed the credibility of his other proposed policies.
- Stripped to the Bone: Played straight at least once, in Vixen 03. Subverted in Serpent.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Kurt Austin is more or less a replacement Dirk Pitt.
- Universal Driver's License
- Where Does He Get All Those Wonderful Toys?: No one ever explains how Dirk can afford two dozen antique cars and two airplanes on his salary as a senior employee of an obscure government agency. His father's rich, but Pitt doesn't seem like the type of person to blow his trust fund.
- Technically, he only had to buy one of the airplanes, and most of the non-car portions of his collection (and some of the car portion) were picked up and/or gifted to him throughout his adventures. Still, the point does stand, since his antique car collection is enormous regardless (it actually parallels the real-life collection owned by Cussler, who used his book sales profits to assemble the collection).
- If memory serves, he had received a notable inheritance from either a beloved uncle or grandfather which he uses to buy classic cars at auction. I think it was in the beginning of Dragon.
- He inherited a vast amount of money from his grandfather, and as it's hinted he did not live on it (9 days out of 10 he was on assignment in the middle of the ocean) he invested in in the classic cars. It's in Inca Gold, the beginning of Chapter 3 - "The Demon Of Death".
- Artistic License - Physics: The plots of many of the books, notably Shock Wave.
Tropes found in Crescent Dawn
Tropes found in Cyclops
- Defrosting the Ice Queen: It takes weeks of hardship, toil and torture at the hands of the Russians until an escaped Jessie has sex with Pitt under a Cuban bridge.
- The Last Dance: Pitt and the sailors sent by CIA are fully determined to move the explosive-laden ships to open water, even if they are 99 percent convinced they will die with them.
- Rich Bitch: Jessie LeBaron insults Pitt manifold in just a few hours, until she throws him out of her party, for no logical reason whatsoever. Cue the Oh Crap moment when she hears from the US Secretary of State who is Pitt and how much power NUMA actually has over any marine business.
- Shout-Out: The in-universe ruthless President of the USSR Georgi Antonov is clearly based on Yuri Andropov, down to the supposed 1970s plot of Andropov and Mikhail Suslov "staging a tragic accident" by detonating a nuclear bomb.
- Germans Love David Hasselhoff: Played straight and dark in-universe with Fidel Castro, when a character says something like this: "we may think him a buffoon, and the Soviets may think the same, but remember, for the common Cubans he is a hero and a god".
Tropes found in Deep Six
Tropes found in Dragon
- Artistic License - Nuclear Physics: The hidden nuclear devices are the size and shape of a car A/C compressor and powerful enough to blow ships to pieces over dozens of miles and trigger an underwater earthquake. First, to trigger an underwater earthquake megaton-sized weapons are needed, the quoted "maybe 10 to 20 kilotons" is too small, second, only the smallest nuclear devices ever made, W48 and W54 Davy Crockett could fit the size of an automotive A/C compressor, maybe 60x15 centimeters, and their yield was just 72 to 20 tons of TNT respectively, enough to blow to pieces a large ship if hit directly, but never to lay waste to hundreds of square miles.
- Also, Pitt's Uncle Percy, retired nuclear physicist, claims the smallest possible nuclear bomb is the size of a baseball. The smallest critical mass of plutonium is a sphere 10.8 centimeters across and it still needs a case, a tamper and a pit, plus detonating devices around.
- It's next to impossible to take down the electronics of a large country with multiple nuclear EMPs generated on the ground. The nuclear explosions have to happen in the upper atmosphere to allow the radiation to travel far enough before fading. Otherwise a few thousands of computers and installations may be fried near the explosion sites, but the vast majority of them would be outside the pulse's range.
- Simply being on the same ship as a bunch of nukes would not give someone acute radiation poisoning. An undetonated nuke gives off very little radiation. For someone to be as badly affected as the book describes they would have had to do something like take one of the nukes apart and submerge the core in water, or eat bits of it, or something equally daft and improbable.
- A Fat Man type nuclear weapon would not be in functional condition after spending several decades under the sea. Even if it had been sufficiently well waterproofed to keep water out of the electrical systems, and they had power to them, the polonium in the initiator (half-life 138 days) would long ago have decayed into uselessness. It would therefore go off with all the alacrity of a wet fart. (Not to mention that the US has many other far more practical systems to deliver a nuke in any case...)
- Badass Driver: Pitt chases a modern car at triple-digit speeds in his Stutz DV32. Which would be like chasing it with a small truck: high center of gravity, solid axles with leaf springs and drum brakes. (Don't try to run a truck at triple digit speeds in kilometers. It may be the last thing you do in life.)
- Cool Car: The Murmotos - either a V12 engined sedan of 600 hp, or a 5.8 liter V8 sportscar. In Real Life, the JDM cars are electronically limited to 180 kph and all Japanese sportscars were limited to 280 metric hp prior to 2004 to get through the homologation rules for Japan Grand Touring Championship. Full blown Toyota Supras and Nissan Skylines were for export to US mainland or Europe.
- Japan Takes Over the World: Exaggerated. Not by the fact plot revolves around a Japanese nuclear blackmail, but by the characters' speech, comments and attitude. When Rep. Loren Smith talks to Japanese businessmen, it sounds like two enemy countries are having the last talks before full blown war.
Tropes found in Atlantis Found
Tropes found in Inca Gold
Gunn: The State Department experts and the Congressional Committee on Latin American Affairs think you both should hang around and make the dirty Yankees look good by helping to halt the looting of Peru's cultural heritage.
Pitt: In other words, our esteemed government wants to milk our benevolent image for all it's worth.
- Badass: Dirk Pitt founds himself on an underground river, battered with critical injuries, in pitch black darkness. He bets his life on the last chip, leaving the river to flow him into the sea over 100 kilometers away, hung by a torn and half-deflated rubber boat. It takes balls to find yourself injured in the very bowels of the Earth and not give up.
- Dead Person Impersonation
- Hard Work Hardly Works: When trapped in a cenote (sinkhole with vertical limestone walls dozens of feet tall), Dirk Pitt muses for some time on how he never climbed and could not even name the tools used by true climbers, then fashions two crude aids from a small pick, a large steel buckle and two pieces of divers' safety string and slowly and painfully climbs the wall.
- Hollywood Tactics: Pitt hesitates to shoot the main antagonist in the treasure cave, wasting a lot of time to taunt, threaten and ridicule him even as he knows he's injured and the opponent is a cold-blooded murderer. It still ends in a physical fight, but it doesn't end well for our hero.
- Karmic Death: Played with in a rapist's case. Dirk shoots his genitals off, but he survives that. Just not the book.
- Mighty Whitey: 16th century sail master Thomas Cuttill is found nearly dead by a primitive tribe in Amazonia and nursed back to health, but becomes a respected tribal elder after teaching them how to build labor saving devices like pulleys and levers from wood.
- Obstructive Bureaucrat: Averted. Admiral Sandecker never seems to be bothered by Pitt and Giordino deserting a research mission to fight a little personal war with machine guns and downed helicopters, he covers them up in front of Peruvian and American authorities and gladly helps with money and resources by bucketload when they act on a suspicion and an old maritime log. Everyone would love such a Benevolent Boss, if he existed in Real Life.
- Rule of Cool: Exaggerated to childish level and mixed with Description Porn in the scene where Rep. Loren Smith picks Dirk Pitt up at the airport. US Congresswoman from a rural district who looks like a MILF fantasy and dresses herself in red? Road race through Washington, D.C., in a former track car of the 1950s? US Government official living in the above-quoted Cool Garage hangar turned museum with dozens of Cool Cars? (How comes none of them is bothered by the noise of dozens of planes taking off daily in the vicinity?) And no lousy journalist ever bothering either of them? Too much spoof of James Bond to be 100 percent in touch with reality.
Tropes found in Sahara
Tropes found in Iceberg
- Absent-Minded Professor: Hunnewell.
- Deconstructed Trope: When Dirk wakes up in a hospital in Iceberg, Sandecker's secretary, Tidi Royal, starts hitting on him. He shuts her down. She protests he doesn't even know she exists, whereupon he reels off her vital statistics—including the location of a mole—and informs her he will never "play games" that close to the Admiral. At the end of the book, Tidi has hooked up with a secondary character, and is never seen again. This explains why James Bond only flirts with Moneypenny.
- Flamboyant Gay: Dirk (yes, Dirk) pretends to be one in order to deceive Rondheim.
- Out-of-Character Alert: Pitt describes a steak to Kirsti, who has spent most of her life in New Guinea, as being wrapped in echidna seaweed. For those of us unfamiliar with the animal-who who haven't played Sonic the Hedgehog recently—he explains to his friend after Kirsti leaves that an echidna is a type of spiny anteater native to New Guinea. He just said he'd eat the equivalent of a "New York steak wrapped in porcupine quills".
- Unwitting Pawn: F. James Kelly initially looks like the book's Big Bad, but he is only a puppet of Rondheim.
- White Hair, Black Heart: Oskar Rondheim.
Tropes found in The Mediterranean Caper
Tropes found in Pacific Vortex
Tropes found in Vixen 03
Tropes found in Valhalla Rising
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: The Big Bad is an oil magnate who wants to sabotage the prototype magnetohydrodynamic drive because of what its mass production would do to the maritime oil business.
- Dissonant Serenity: In one scene Al calmly chokes out The Brute who was simultaneously trying to crush him. In contrast, when Dirk was earlier fighting the same guy, he was desperately hurling random stuff.
- Would Hurt a Child: The leader of the death squad attacks a plane being flown by Dirk that was conducting a charity flight for sick kids.