Raise the Titanic! (Dirk Pitt Series #3)

Raise the Titanic! (Dirk Pitt Series #3)

4.1 157
by Clive Cussler
     
 

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The President's secret task force has developed an unprecedented defensive weapon that relies on an extremely rare radioactive element—and Dirk Pitt has followed a twisted trail to a secret cache of the substance. Now, racing against brutal storms, Soviet spies, and a ticking clock, Pitt begins his most thrilling mission—to raise from its watery grave the

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Overview

The President's secret task force has developed an unprecedented defensive weapon that relies on an extremely rare radioactive element—and Dirk Pitt has followed a twisted trail to a secret cache of the substance. Now, racing against brutal storms, Soviet spies, and a ticking clock, Pitt begins his most thrilling mission—to raise from its watery grave the shipwreck of the century...

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780425194522
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
02/03/2004
Series:
Dirk Pitt Series, #3
Edition description:
Reissue
Pages:
560
Sales rank:
125,096
Product dimensions:
4.20(w) x 7.50(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter TwoSid Koplin was sure he was dying.

His eyes were closed and the blood from his side was staining the white snow. A burst of light whirled around in Koplin's mind as consciousness gradually returned, and a spasm of nausea rushed over him and he retched uncontrollably. Had he been shot once, or was it twice? He wasn't sure.

He opened his eyes and rolled up onto his hands and knees. His head pounded like a jackhammer. He put his hand to it and touched a congealed gash that split his scalp above the left temple. Except for the headache, there was no exterior sensation; the pain had been dulled by the cold. But there was no dulling of the agonizing burn on his left side, just below his rib cage, where the second bullet had struck, and he could feel the syruplike stickiness of the blood as it trickled under his clothing, over his thighs and down his legs.

A volley of automatic weapons fire echoed down the mountain. Koplin looked around, but all he could see was the swirling white snow that was whipped by the vicious arctic wind. Another burst tore the frigid air. He guessed that it came from only a hundred yards away. A Soviet patrol guard must be firing blindly through the blizzard in the random hope of hitting him again.

All thought of escape had vanished now. It was finished. He knew he could never make it to the cove where he'd moored the sloop. Nor was he in any condition to sail the little twenty-eight-foot craft across fifty miles of open sea to a rendezvous with the waiting American oceanographic vessel.

He sank back in the snow. The bleeding had weakened him beyond further physical effort. The Russians must not find him. That was part of the bargain with Meta Section. If he must die, his body must not be discovered.

Painfully, he began scraping snow over himself. Soon he would be only a small white mound on a desolate slope of Bednaya Mountain, buried forever under the constantly building ice sheet.

He stopped a moment and listened. The only sounds he heard were his own gasps and the wind. He listened harder, cupping his hands to his ears. Just audible through the howling wind he heard a dog bark.

"Oh God," he cried silently. As long as his body was still warm, the sensitive nostrils of the dog were sure to pick up his scent. He sagged in defeat. There was nothing left for him but to lie back and let his life ooze away.

But a spark deep inside him refused to dim and be extinguished. Merciful God, he thought deliriously, he couldn't just lie there waiting for the Russians to take him. He was only a professor of mineralogy, not a trained secret agent. His mind and forty-year-old body weren't geared to stand up under intensive interrogation. If he lived, they could tear the whole story from him in a matter of hours. He closed his eyes as the sickness of failure overcame all physical agony.

When he opened them again, his field of vision was filled with the head of an immense dog. Koplin recognized him as a komondor, a mighty beast standing thirty inches at the shoulder, covered by a heavy coat of matted white hair. The great dog snarled savagely and would have ripped Koplin's throat open if it hadn't been kept in check by the gloved hand of a Soviet soldier. There was an indifferent look about the man. He stood there and stared down at his helpless quarry, gripping the leash in his left hand while he steadied a machine pistol with his right. He looked fearsome in his huge greatcoat that came down to booted ankles, and the pale, expressionless eyes showed no compassion for Koplin's wounds. The soldier shouldered his weapon and reached down and pulled Koplin to his feet. Then without a word, the Russian began dragging the wounded American toward the island's security post.

Koplin nearly passed out from the pain. He felt as though he'd been dragged through the snow for miles when actually it was only a distance of fifty yards. That was as far as they'd got when a vague figure appeared through the storm. It was blurred by the wall of swirling white. Through the dim haze of near unconsciousness, Koplin felt the soldier stiffen. A soft "plop" sounded over the wind, and the massive komondor fell noiselessly on its side in the snow. The Russian dropped his hold on Koplin and frantically tried to raise his gun, but the strange sound was repeated and a small hole that gushed red suddenly appeared in the middle of the soldier's forehead. Then the eyes went glassy and he crumpled beside the dog.

Something was terribly wrong; this shouldn't be happening, Koplin told himself, but his exhausted mind was too far gone to draw any valid conclusions. He sank to his knees and could only watch as a tall man in a gray parka materialized from the white mist and gazed down at the dog.

"A damned shame," he said tersely.

The man presented an imposing appearance. The oak- tanned face looked out of place for the Arctic. And the features were firm, almost cruel. Yet it was the eyes that struck Koplin. He had never seen eyes quite like them. They were a deep sea-green and radiated a penetrating kind of warmth, a marked contrast from the hard lines etched in the face.

The man turned to Koplin and smiled. "Dr. Koplin, I presume?" The tone was soft and effortless.

The stranger pushed a handgun with silencer into a pocket, knelt down to eye level, and nodded at the blood spreading through the material of Koplin's parka. "I'd better get you to where I can take a look at that." Then he picked Koplin up as one might a child and began trudging down the mountain toward the sea.

"Who are you?" Koplin muttered.

"My name is Pitt. Dirk Pitt."

"I don't understand...where did you come from?"

Koplin never heard the answer. At that moment, the black cover of unconsciousness abruptly lifted up, and he fell gratefully under it.

Copyright © 1976 by Clive Cussler

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