The Mediterranean Caper (Dirk Pitt Series #1)

The Mediterranean Caper (Dirk Pitt Series #1)

4.0 195
by Clive Cussler
     
 

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Dirk Pitt rides a tidal wave of intrigue in this classic Cussler.

On an isolated Greek island, a World War I fighter plane attacks a modern U.S. Air Force base—a mysterious saboteur preys on an American scientific expedition—and Dirk Pitt plays a deadly game of hunter and hunted with the elusive head of an international smuggling ring.

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Overview

Dirk Pitt rides a tidal wave of intrigue in this classic Cussler.

On an isolated Greek island, a World War I fighter plane attacks a modern U.S. Air Force base—a mysterious saboteur preys on an American scientific expedition—and Dirk Pitt plays a deadly game of hunter and hunted with the elusive head of an international smuggling ring.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Get-to-the-next-page excitement...Dirk Pitt is a combination James Bond and Jacques Cousteau." -New York Daily News

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780425197394
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
04/06/2004
Series:
Dirk Pitt Series, #1
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
384
Sales rank:
66,747
Product dimensions:
7.48(w) x 10.92(h) x 0.99(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One Major Dirk Pitt adjusted the headset on his thick black hair and slowly turned the channel crank on the radio, trying to fine-tune the reception. He listened intently for a few moments, his dark, sea-green eyes rejecting a trace of bewilderment. A frown cut his forehead in a series of grooves and hung there in the tanned leathery skin.

It wasn't that the words crackling over the receiver weren't understandable. They were. He just didn't believe them. He listened again, and listened hard over the droning roar of the PBY Catalina's twin engines. The voice he heard was fading, when it should have been getting stronger. The volume control was turned to fu11-on, and Brady Field was only thirty miles away. Under those conditions, the air trainee operator's voice should have blasted Pitt's eardrums out. The operator is either losing power or he's seriously injured, thought Pitt. He pondered a minute and then reached over to his right and shook the sleeping figure in the co-pilot's seat. "Come out of it, sleeping beauty." He spoke in a tone that was soft and effortless, yet had a way of making itself heard in a throbbing airplane or a crowded

Captain Al Giordino wearily raised his head and yawned loudly. The fatigue of sitting in an old vibrating PBY flying boat for thirteen hours straight was evident in his dark, bloodshot eyes. He flung his arms upward, puffed out his barrel chest and stretched Then he came erect and leaned forward, peering out in the distance beyond the cockpit windows.

"Are we over the First Attempt yet?" Giordino mumbled through another yawn.

"Almost," replied Pitt. "There's Thasos dead ahead."

"Oh hell," Giordino grunted; then grinned. "I could have slept another ten minutes. Why'd you wake me?"

"I intercepted a message from Brady Control that said the field was under attack by an unidentified aircraft."

"You can't be serious," Giordino said incredulously. "It must be some kind of a joke."

"No, I don't think so. The control operator's voice didn't sound like it was faking." Pitt hesitated and kept an eye on the water only fifty feet away as it flashed under the PBY's hull Just for practice he had wave- hopped the last two hundred miles; a means of keeping his reflexes honed and sharp.

"It might he that Brady Control was telling the truth," said Giordino, peering through the cockpit windshield "Look over there toward the eastern part of the island."

Both men stared at the approaching mound rising out of the sea. The beaches bordering the surf were yellow and barren, but the round sloping hills were green with trees The colors danced in the heat waves and vividly contrasted against the encircling blue of the Aegean. On the eastern side of Thasos a large pillar of smoke rose into the windless sky and formed a giant, spiral-shaped, black cloud. The PBY a bow soared closer to the island, and soon they could distinguish the orange movement of flames at the base of the smoke.

Pitt grabbed the mike and pressed the button on the side of the handgrip. "Brady Control, Brady Control, this is PRY-086, over." There was no response. Pitt repeated the call twice more.

"No answer?" queried Giordino.

"Nothing," returned Pitt.

"You said an unidentified aircraft. I take it, that means one?"

"That's precisely what Brady Control said before they went off the air."

"It doesn't nake sense. Why would one plane attack a United States Air Force Base?"

"Who knows," Pitt said, easing the control column back slightly. "Maybe it's an irate Greek farmer who's tired of our jets scaring his goats. Anyway. it can't be a full-scale attack, or Washington would have notified us by now. We'll have to wait and see." He rubbed his eyes and blinked away the drowsiness. "Get ready, I'm going to take her up, circle in ever those hills and come down out of the sun for a closer look."

"Take it nice and easy." Giordino's eyebrows came together and he grinned a serious grin. "This old bus is way overmatched if that's a rocket firing jet down there."

"Don't worry," Pitt laughed, "My main goal in life is to stay healthy as long as possible." He pushed the throttles forward, and the two Pratt & Whitney Wasp engines increased their beat. His large, brown hands moved effciently, pulling back on the control column, and the plane aimed its flat snout at the sun. The big Catalina rose steadily, gaining altitude by the second, and circled above the Thasos mountains in the direction of the smoke cloud.

Suddenly, a voice broke in over Pitt's headset. The unexpected sound nearly deafened his ears before he could lower the volume -- the same voice he heard before, but stronger this time.

"This is Brady Control calling. We are under attack! I repeat, we are under attack! Come in... anybody, please reply!" The voice was near hysteria.

Pitt replied, "Brady Control, this is PRY-086. Over."

"Thank God, someone answered," the voice gasped.

"I tried to raise you before, Brady Control, but you faded and went off the air."

"I was hit in the first attack, I...I must have passed out. I'm all right now." The words sounded broken, but coherent.

"We're approximately ten miles west of you at six thousand feet." Pitt spoke slowly and did not repeat his position. "What is your situation?"

"We have no defense. All our aircraft were destroyed on the ground. The nearest interceptor squadron is seven hundred miles away. They'll never get here in time. Can you assist?"

Pitt shook his head from side to side from habit. "Negative Brady Control. My top speed is under one hundred ninety knots and l only have a couple of rifles on board. We'd be wasting our time engaging a jet."

"Please assist," the voice pleaded. "Our attacker is no a jet bomber but a World War I biplane. I repeat, our attacker is a World War I biplane. Please assist."

Pitt and Giordino merely looked at each other, dumbfounded. It was a full ten seconds before Pitt could pull his senses back into reign.

Copyright © 1973 by Clive Cussler

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From the Publisher
Praise for Clive Cussler and Dirk Pitt

“Dirk Pitt is oceanography’s answer to Indiana Jones. Exotic locations, ruthless villains and many narrow escapes—Cussler’s fans come for swashbuckling [and] he delivers.” —Associated Press

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