Clive Eric Cussler (July 15, 1931 – February 24, 2020) was an American Action-Adventure writer, often referred to as the grandmaster of adventure.
While he was most known for his Dirk Pitt Adventures series, he wrote over 50 different adventure novels in five separate series of books, although he more recently cowrote them with other authors. Cussler also has a son, Dirk, who often cowrites the series with him as well as a collection of classic cars, specimens of which often pop up in his books.
Novel series by Clive Cussler:
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Dirk Pitt Adventures
Clive Cussler's main series, which chronicles the adventures of Dirk Pitt, Special Projects Director of the National Underwater and Marine Agency, a government agency that specializes in exploring the ocean and excavating underwater artifacts. Later on in the series, he becomes the director of the agency as well as learns he has children who join the main character cast.
- The Mediterranean Caper
- Raise the Titanic!
- Vixen 03
- Night Probe!
- Pacific Vortex!*
- Deep Six
- Inca Gold
- Shock Wave
- Flood Tide*
- Atlantis Found
- Valhalla Rising
- Trojan Odyssey
- Black Wind
- Treasure of Khan
- Arctic Drift
- Crescent Dawn
- Poseidon's Arrow
- Havana Storm (to be released)
The NUMA Files
Cussler's second series, which focuses on Kurt Austin, the leader of NUMA's Special Assignments division. While Austin was meant to replace Pitt as the new protagonist, the two series ended up running concurrently.
- Serpent : Austin becomes the target of a ruthless Texas industrialist Don Halcon, who plans to forge his own empire out of Mexico and the American Southwest. The key to Halcon's plan is a pre-Colombian artifact sealed within the sunken Italian cruise liner Andrea Dorea, so Austin races to recover it before Halcon does - while avoiding Halcon's hitmen along the way.
- Blue Gold : Fresh water is something often taken for granted - and is becoming more scarce than people think amid the world's rising population. When an American tycoon schemes to monopolize Earth's freshwater sources, only Austin and NUMA stand in her way, but they face down many challenges, from ruthless bio-pirates and hidden experimental Cold War bomber aircraft to technologically-advanced Amazon Rainforest tribes and mysterious tales of a White Goddess...
- Fire Ice : Austin finds himself working with an old adversary from the Cold War after he rescues a film crew from an abandoned Soviet submarine base taken over by Russian mobster-turned-businessman Mikhail Razov. Razov, who claims to be the sole surviving ancestor to the former czar of Russia, wishes to re-forge Russia into the kingdom it once was, and Austin and his erstwhile enemy are the only two men who can stop him. However, the wannabe czar has a weapon up his sleeve: "fire ice," a new mining resource that he intends to use to devastate the United States to keep them from interfering with his plans.
- White Death : Austin narrowly comes to the rescue in saving the trapped crews of a Danish cruiser and the environmentalist ship that collided it, but while investigating the incident, he begins to realize that there is more to the environmentalists that meets the eye - and that he has just become a target. Narrowly escaping assassination attempt after assassination attempt, Austin and NUMA race to prevent a massive environmental disaster that could devastate the world's natural fish population and replace them with vicious genetically-engineered superfish.
- Lost City : Austin discovers an ancient military helmet that links to an equally-ancient family of arms dealers with sinister ties to some of the deadliest conflicts in human history. As he unravels the mystery surrounding the family, NUMA must also deal with a mounting ecological disaster that threatens the world's oceans - but the two incidents may have more in common than they seem, and Austin may have just made himself and his friends targets.
- Polar Shift : As World War II drew to a close, a Hungarian scientist made a startling discovery on how to artificially set off a global polar shift, but then he and his work disappeared. Now, that work has resurfaced in the hands of an anti-globalization group who intends to trigger such a shift. But what is started cannot be stopped, and if Austin can't halt the group's plans before they go in motion, it may spell the end of the human race.
- The Navigator : After a Phoenician-era statue known as the Navigator is stolen, the culprits start leaving a trail of blood and murder in their wake. Austin is on the case, narrowly saving the life of a UN investigator from their clutches. It becomes clear early on that this statue is special, but what no one can expect is how deep its mystery goes, and its link to not only the lost treasure of King Solomon but one of America's founding fathers.
- Medusa : After narrowly saving his best friend from a watery grave after a mysterious attack on his bathysphere, Austin learns that an entire top secret undersea lab has gone missing; and most alarmingly, its purpose was to research the deadly Blue Medusa jellyfish. Nothing good can come of stolen research of that nature, but what Austin uncovers stretches far beyond, entangling him in a deadly struggle involving a ruthless Chinese underground organization, horrifying medical experiments, and an engineered virus that could claim millions if it were released upon the world.
- Devil's Gate : Now with its own Page Entry!
- The Storm : A NUMA research ship is attacked at sea, not by pirates but by something far more ominous; nanobots, designed originally to fight pollution but now hijacked by someone for their own means. The only things left of the ship are a smoldering hulk and no signs of the crew, and NUMA is on the case to bring the culprit to justice. But the perpetrator in question has far more resources up his sleeve than just deadly nanobots, including a massive artificial island created by the nanobots' inventor. Austin will have to use his own tricks to thwart this newest adversary, or else the madman will trigger off a global climate change that could kill millions.
- Zero Hour : Around the turn of the 20th century, a protege of Nikolai Tesla himself unveils an amazing device capable of harnessing the potentially limitless Zero Point energy contained in all matter - with disastrous results. Today, a shunned scientist intends to use his own version of the device to take revenge on those who wronged him. However, as Kurt Austin and NUMA find out, Tesla's research on Zero Point energy was buried for a very good reason, and unless they stop the vengeful madman, he may inadvertently set off a chain reaction that will wreak havoc on a global scale.
- Ghost Ship : Austin narrowly escapes with his life from a sinking yacht belonging to an old friend, but what he remembers doesn't make sense - Was she dead when he arrived? Or was the ship empty? He takes on a desperate search for answers, but he only gets more and more questions and deadly challenges that begin to make him question what is real and what is not, as he gets caught in a century-old mystery involving the dark world of cybercrime, a deadly yet somehow familiar femme fatale hailing from a family of thieves, and an abandoned steamship thought to be lost at sea in 1909.
- Nighthawk: An unmanned U.S. Air Force spaceplane carrying a volatile but priceless scientific cargo comes in for a landing - and promptly disappears completely. Austin and NUMA scramble to locate it while competing with China and Russia who wish to claim the cargo first, but there is a much more ominous reason for finding the plane quickly: The cargo is highly unstable unless it remains frozen, and should the systems that keep it locked in cold storage fail, the resulting explosion would vaporize a continent. And someone, perhaps even someone Austin knows, is trying to make precisely that happen as part of a mad gambit of revenge against the industrialized world.
- The Rising Sea : The ocean's sea levels are rising, and no one knows why. Global warming has been ruled out, but Austin gets word of an eccentric Japanese technophobe who might have an answer. As he sets out to meet with him, however, he attracts the attention of a ruthless Chinese businessman and his murderous Yakuza assassin. Who are these new adversaries? And how are they linked to the rising seas? It is up to NUMA to find out, before they commit an act that will shatter American/Japanese relations and give them access to a priceless advanced alloy that may have links to one of the greatest legends in Japanese history.
- Sea of Greed : Austin is given a case by the President of the United States to solve the mystery behind the destruction of three oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. What Austin's team discovers, however, is something much more alarming: Oil, the lifeblood behind the modern world, is being eaten away by a form of bacteria, one that was thought lost in the Mediterranean Sea more than 60 years ago. His investigation results in him crossing paths with a genius billionaire in the alternative fuels industry, but she has her own agenda to follow, one that may require Kurt and his friends meet a gristly end lest they interfere.
- Dark Vector : The ex-husband of one of Austin's colleagues botches a multimillion-dollar heist at sea...and unfortunately, the debt for his failure passes to her. The mastermind of the heist intends to press her into his service to succeed where her ex failed, but matters are complicated when Austin is ordered by the American Government to locate the heist's loot as well. Now, the both of them, and the rest of NUMA, get involved in a global cyber-war, one involving criminal masterminds, shady government agencies, and those who would stop at nothing to get their hands on a prize that could grant them control of the world's flow of digital information.
- Fast Ice : On the eve of World War II, a Nazi expedition to Antarctica ends in a crash landing—and a startling scientific discovery. In the modern day, a former NUMA researcher—and Austin's longtime friend—disappears when her research ship is attacked by unknown gunmen in the Antarctic Circle. Kurt, Zavala, and NUMA are on the case, but the assailants are elusive...and much more than what they seem. And those in charge have big plans, using the Nazis' discovery from the last century to turn the world's climate on its head and endanger all of humanity.
- Journey of the Pharaohs : A chance encounter with a foundering trawler of the coast of Scotland results in a daring rescue by none other than Austin and Zavala—but the trawler's mysterious cargo, also recovered in the attempt, raises more questions than answers. Teaming up with an intrepid MI-5 agent, Austin resolves to get to the bottom of this unexpected mystery in hopes of uncovering a massive Egyptian treasure thought lost to time three thousand years ago. His search, however, comes with dangerous enemies, in the form of ruthless arms smugglers who aren't afraid of resorting to murderous means to ensure Austin doesn't find the treasure first.
The Oregon Files
Cussler's third series features Juan Cabrillo, leader of the mysterious Corporation and captain of his ship called The Oregon. The ship and its crew functions as a business that takes jobs for organizations such as the CIA.
- Golden Buddha
- Sacred Stone
- Dark Watch
- Skeleton Coast
- Plague Ship
- The Silent Sea
- The Jungle
- The Emperor's Revenge
- Typhoon Fury
- Shadow Tyrants
Isaac Bell Adventures
Cussler's fourth series is set in early 20th century United States and follows the adventures of Isaac Bell, an investigator for the Van Dorn Detective Agency.
- The Chase : A string of deadly bank robberies plague 1906 America, perpetrated by an unknown assailant who kills all witnesses then vanishes without a trace. When the Van Dorns are contracted to hunt him down, Detective Bell finds himself in a deadly pursuit where the hunter becomes hunted, and facing down threats not only from a sociopathic killer, but the forces of Mother Nature itself.
- The Wrecker : The Van Dorn Detectives are hired to protect a new rail line with ambitions to span the Cascade Mountains from the machinations of a mysterious saboteur. Nicknamed "The Wrecker," this enigmatic character has been causing havoc for the railroad since work started, but Bell is determined to stop him, lest the Wrecker commit an act that will shake not just the Cascades railroad, but the entire country.
- The Spy : As tensions begin to mount around the globe and war appears on the horizon, the United States begins working on a revolutionary new battleship design to secure their territorial waters. But when a series of suspicious deaths begins picking off the lead designers one by one, it is up to Bell and the Van Dorns to uncover whoever is behind the deaths and keep them from setting off a chain reaction that could compromise America's newest project and plunge the world into war.
- The Race : A daring aviatrix enters an aerial cross-country race, but the skies are more treacherous than they seem as she also struggles to escape the clutches of her estranged, and very dangerous, ex-husband, one whom Isaac has personal history with. Armed with a plane of his own, Isaac Bell must risk life and limb to protect her, but it isn't just the aviatrix's violent ex that he needs to worry about...
- The Thief : It is 1910, and there are few who doubt that the world is approaching the eve of war. Aboard the cruise liner Mauretania, Bell thwarts a kidnapping of two scientists who posses the designs to an innovative secret device. As Bell tries to determine the nature of the device and why German agents want it so badly, he finds himself contending with one such agent, one who is ready and willing to spill blood in order to take possession of the scientists' work.
- The Cutthroat : Isaac Bell and the Van Dorns find themselves in the middle of the dazzling world of plays and acting as they work to solve the murder of a young woman reported missing by her father. But the investigation takes an alarming turn as the killer claims more victims, each one matching the same list of traits. As the Van Dorns realize they're dealing with a serial killer on the loose, Bell begins to suspect that the culprit may just have connections to one of the most brutal unsolved murder sprees in 19th-century London...
- The Assassin : As the Van Dorns investigate into Rockefeller's Standard Oil, things become deadly when an unknown sniper begins targeting Standard Oil opponents and sabotaging independent operations. As Bell tracks his adversary, he finds himself racing across the globe, dogged every step of the way by not just the unknown sharpshooter, but other enemies as well. And with treachery in every step, this killer may be much closer to him than he thinks.
- The Striker : When a saboteur begins targeting coal mines, the Van Dorn Agency and their newest detective, Isaac Bell, suspect that they may be tied to mounting tensions between radical unionists and the owners of the coal mines themselves. As Bell investigates, however, it becomes clear that someone may be playing both sides, with a goal of nothing less than all-out war.
- The Bootlegger : World War I has ended, but troubles still loom in 1920's America. The Van Dorns, still struggling to regroup after the chaos and death of the Great War, fight an almost hopeless fight against bootleggers and rumrunners who are circumventing the new prohibition laws. But when Bell discovers links to the Russian secret police, it becomes clear that some of these bootleggers have much darker designs in mind, seeking not just profit but the downfall of the United States government...
- The Gangster : A ruthless criminal organization known as the Black Hand has an iron grip on the Italian immigrants of America, and they rule with fear and death. Isaac Bell is tasked with bringing them to justice, but when he finds his attention divided between this and disturbing news about someone planning an assassination of one of the most powerful men in the world, he has his work cut out for him as he juggles two cases and two equally dangerous suspects, both of which are more than what they seem.
- The Sea Wolves : In 1914, amidst the Great War raging overseas, Bell is tasked with investigating a more local incident in New England, involving a cache of missing Winchester Rifles. What he discovers, however, isn't signs of theft, but signs of espionage: an advanced radio transmitter, which ships out at sea—such as Imperial Germany's dreaded U-boats—can hone in on to find and sink the ship unknowingly transporting the device. It becomes apparent that this new technology is being planted on shipments bound for England, with the intent of disrupting the flow of much-needed supplies to the beleaguered Allies and turning the war in the Central Powers' favor...but these spies did not count on Detective Isaac Bell to take the job, and it is up to him to stop them before they strike again.
Cussler's fifth series centers around professional treasure hunters Sam and Remi Fargo.
- Spartan Gold : While investigating the Great Pocomoke Swamp in Maryland, Sam and Remi come across a startling discovery: An abandoned German U-boat, containing an ancient wine bottle. They soon realize the bottle is part of a set of twelve, each one inscribed with a map created by Napoleon Bonaparte that leads to a fantastic treasure. But even as they begin their search, they must contend with a ruthless millionaire who has no qualms about killing the Fargoes to claim the treasure for himself.
- Lost Empire : Sam and Remi come across a ship's bell which formerly belonged to the Civil War-era steamship CSS Shenandoa while scuba-diving in Zanzibar. Intrigued by the anomaly, they begin to pursue leads and track down just how the bell ended up there. However, their search earns them the attention of a Mexican ultra-nationalist ruling party, who seek to stop the Fargoes before they uncover a secret that could threaten their hold on the government...even if it means murdering the adventuring couple in cold blood.
- The Kingdom : Sam and Remi find themselves contacted by an old friend to locate his missing father-and the investigator initially sent to find him. The circumstances are anything but ordinary, and from there things become only more bizarre and dangerous as the Fargoes fight for their lives from Bulgaria to the heights of Nepal. Each turn takes them deeper into the mystery, but the discovery that lies in wait may just turn the story of humanity's origin on its head-if the Fargoes survive to see it.
- The Tombs : One of history's greatest secrets is the final resting place of Atilla the Hun...but a friend of the Fargoes may have just found a site with a vital clue. They move in to investigate, but they're not the only ones searching for the treasure, and soon they find themselves contending with others in the search: dangerous thieves, a devious businessman, and a madman who claims to be a descendant of Atilla himself, and will ruthlessly kill anyone between him and his prize.
- The Mayan Secrets : Sam and Remi have just made an astonishing discovery in Mexico: A skeleton, clutching a pot containing an enormous Mayan book with unprecedented information about the long-lost civilization. Such a find is priceless...and there are many who would resort to monstrous acts to posses it. However, the Mayans are not the only ones who keep deadly secrets, and the couple is confronted with dangerous revelations, not just from their enemies, but from themselves as well.
- The Eye of Heaven : A Viking ship has just been discovered frozen in the Arctic-filled with pre-Colombian artifacts from the New World. The find sparks a race to find a fabled artifact known only as "The Eye of Heaven," but the race soon turns deadly. Contending against cartels, rival treasure hunters, and dangerous enemies with their own personal reasons for obtaining the artifact, Sam and Remi have their hands full as they struggle to survive their rivals' murderous schemes and search for the Eye, which could be the key clue in solving a millennium-old mystery.
- The Romanov Ransom : A century ago, a massive ransom was paid to the Bolsheviks to free the Romanov family-in vain, as history will tell you. The ransom disappeared during WWII, but while searching for a friend's relatives in Northern Africa, the Fargoes discover a wrecked plane that might hold clues to the its whereabouts. However, the treaure is also sought by a sect of neo-Nazi guerrillas known as the Werewolves, who intend to obtain the ransom in order to fund the rise of their Fourth Reich...and they are willing to kill anyone who gets in their way, including the Fargoes...
- The Grey Ghost : A man contacts the Sam and Remi with a desperate plea: Prove his grandfather's innocence in a crime that happened more than a century ago, involving the theft of a Rolls Royce prototype known as the Grey Ghost. Now, the Grey Ghost has disappeared again, and the treasure hunting duo is the man's only hope in clearing his family name. But the Fargoes are not the only ones after the Ghost...and their rivals are not opposed to eliminating the couple should they stand in their way.
- The Oracle : When the Fargoes go to visit a girl's school funded by their foundation deep in rural Nigeria, they get more than they bargain for when the school is invaded by murderous robbers, who aim to take Sam and Remi hostage for ransom. With the fate of the school's students in their hands, the Fargoes must use their wits to outsmart the thugs and discover their true motives, and how the robbers' benefactor may be connected to a centuries-old curse...
- Wrath of Poseidon: Ten years ago, Sam Fargo and Remi Longstreet met by chance while each was hunting the stolen treasure of the Persian King Croesus. While they failed to find it, they did defeat a drug smuggling operation while falling in love. Now, the pair have a second chance to resume the search and put the mystery to rest...but they must contend with the drug lord they foiled a decade ago who's now out for revenge.
Works by Clive Cussler with their own pages include:
- Dirk Pitt Adventures series
- The NUMA Files series
- The Oregon Files series
Other works by Clive Cussler contain examples of:
- Another Side, Another Story: The Isaac Bell novel The Titanic Secret reveals how Bell had much to do with the events leading up to the 1912 part of Raise the Titanic with no idea how his case would intersect with Pitt's famed adventure decades later.
- Cargo Cult: The NUMA Files book The Storm features a cargo cult in the climax of the book, one formed when a damaged, out of control American cargo ship fleeing Japanese attack ran aground on the island. Not only that, but the natives still had in their possession the top secret superweapon entrusted to them by the injured American sailors, which the main character uses to rescue a hijacked artificial island.
- Cool, Clear Water: In the Isaac Bell novel The Wrecker, a temperance group tries to demonstrate how dangerous alcohol is by showing how a few drops of alcohol can kill all the various microbes living in a small container of water. The audience, seeing how many things were living in their well water, resolve to never touch it again.
- Evil Plan: Some examples from the NUMA Files series:
- Blue Gold: Take control of the world's fresh water supply for global dominance.
- Fire Ice: Unleash methane to create tidal waves to ravage the U.S. while turning Russia's climate more temperate.
- White Death: Create special mutated super-fish to change the ocean eco-system to push your own supply of fresh fish.
- Foregone Conclusion:
- The Chase had been intended to be a simple stand-alone novel and thus Cussler put in an epilogue revealing that in 1953, Isaac Bell was still alive and married to Marion (the bank manager he met in the adventure) with several children. When the book became a big enough success to start a series, it meant readers already knew Bell and Marion would survive any adventure set in the early 1910s and '20s.
- The Titanic Secret is one both for the Issac Bell and Dirk Pitt novels. As stated above, Bell will survive the 1912-portion of the novel. Those who've read Raise the Titanic will likewise know that of all the Colorado miners, Joshua Brewster alone will survive the chase to Southampton...or at least up until he boards the titular ocean liner.
- Gilligan Cut: Used humorously in The Eye of Heaven where Remi puts her foot on the ground says on no uncertain grounds that she is not going to let her and Sam be dragged to the ass-end of Laos to look for a disgraced professor-turned Indiana Jones wannabe, and the chapter ends there. The next chapter begins with the Fargoes' jet touching down in Laos.
- I Have Your Wife: This is attempted on Sam Fargo in The Tombs. It fails miserably. Sam mounts a rescue while Remi plots a daring escape. For good measure, they set fire to the kidnapper's house on the way out.
- Know When to Fold 'Em: A rather humorous moment in The Pharaoh's Secret sees an elevator full of security guards open the lift doors, be met by Joe holding two machine guns, stare at him for a moment, then silently press the button to go back to the floor they came from.
- Origins Episode: The Fargo Files novel Wrath of Poseidon has the modern action spliced with flashbacks showing how Sam and Remi first met.
- Revealing Cover Up: A recurring plot device in the Fargo Adventures. Oftentimes the only thing that tells the Fargoes that they found something other than just another flashy artifact is that someone tried to kill them over it, which more or less clues them in that they're on the trail of something hot. Had the villain just purchased the item at a fair price, or simply ignored them entirely, they would have succeeded without crossing the Fargoes.
- Time Skip: Invoked in the Isaac Bell series with the novel The Bootlegger, which takes place in the 1920's as opposed to the early 1900's and 1910's. Sadly, it turns out that the years were not kind to the Van Dorn Detective Agency; The outbreak of the first World War had upended the agency, with many of their men dying in the trenches or from the influenza epidemic. To make things worse, the Prohibition and resulting bootlegging industry caused an upsurge in corruption, both from the organizations the Agency worked with and from within the Agency itself.
- Two Lines, No Waiting: The NUMA Files books do this. Kurt Austin and Joe Zavala are plot A, Paul Trout and his wife Gamay Morgan-Trout are Plot B. Then because of various reasons there will be parts where Austin will work with Trout while Zavala and Gamay work together. Which gets humorous when Kurt and Paul have to sneak around because Trout is nearly 7-feet tall.