The Mediterranean Caper (Dirk Pitt Series #1)

The Mediterranean Caper (Dirk Pitt Series #1)

by Clive Cussler

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Overview

The adventure that started it all, introducing readers to Dirk Pitt, "oceanography’s answer to Indiana Jones" (Associated Press), and a #1 New York Times-bestselling series.

On a quiet Greek island, a U.S. air force base has come under attack—by a World War I fighter plane . . . a famous yellow Albatros supposedly lost at sea in 1918.

Now it is up to Dirk Pitt, Al Giordino, and the rest of the NUMA team to root out the elusive truth behind the incident—and find out how it’s connected to mysterious acts of sabotage against a scientific expedition, an international smuggling ring, and a dark-haired beauty with some dangerous secrets.  The search for answers will lead Pitt from a lavish island villa, to a moving freighter eerily empty of crew, to a massive underwater cavern housing the heart of a criminal operation that is larger and more elaborate than he ever could have imagined . . . a lucrative operation that its mastermind would kill to protect.

With its fearless and dashing hero, high-stakes action, and non-stop excitement, The Mediterranean Caper is classic Dirk Pitt . . . and classic Cussler.

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: 13,856
Product dimensions: 7.48(w) x 10.92(h) x 0.99(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Clive Cussler is the author of more than fifty books in five bestselling series, including Dirk Pitt, NUMA Files, Oregon Files, Isaac Bell, and Fargo. His life nearly parallels that of his hero Dirk Pitt. Whether searching for lost aircraft or leading expeditions to find famous shipwrecks, he and his NUMA crew of volunteers have discovered more than seventy-five lost ships of historic significance, including the long-lost Confederate submarine Hunley, which was raised in 2000 with much press publicity. Like Pitt, Cussler collects classic automobiles. His collection features more than eighty examples of custom coachwork. Cussler lives in Arizona and Colorado.

Hometown:

Phoenix, Arizona

Date of Birth:

July 15, 1931

Place of Birth:

Aurora, Illinois

Education:

Pasadena City College; Ph.D., Maritime College, State University of New York, 1997

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

Table of Contents

What People are Saying About This

Tom Clancy

A new Clive Cussler novel is like a visit from your best friend.

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

Interviews

A 40th Anniversary Q&A with Clive Cussler

"The Grand Master of Adventure"

Q: So many of your great adventure novels revisit a key legend or occasion in history as the impetus for the story...What is the historical event you most wish you had been present to witness?

A. The Battle of Gettysburg

Q: Your vintage car collection is legendary?What classic car do you regret not getting when you had the chance?

A: 1932 Maybach Zeppelin.

Q: Is there one villain of the scores you have created in your books over the past forty years of whom you remain particularly fond? And if so, why?

A: His name is Foss Gly. I killed him off in two books—NIGHT PROBE! and CYCLOPS. He was as nasty as they come. I took his name off a tombstone in Green River, Utah.

Q: If you could share a beer with any person from history, who would it be? And if you could have a shot of tequila with any historical figure, who might *that* person be?

A: Abraham Lincoln. And George Washington.

Q: If you were not a writer, what career would you have wanted to undertake? During the Sixties you had a successful stint in advertising...But what about a profession that you never had the chance to try?

A: Acting.

Q: Do you recall where and when you had your first taste of tequila? Your dedicated fans know it has long been one of your favorite libations.

A: When I was in the longest bar in the world in Tijuana, when I was eighteen.

Q: As the author of five different bestselling adventure series—Dirk Pitt, the NUMA Files, the Oregon Files, the Isaac Bell novels and the Fargo adventures—with four of them appearing each year, how are you able to manage all of those complicated plots and the ever-growing stable of characters? It must require a flow-chart the size of an entire wall.

A: I lean to my coauthors, who are very creative. Overall it's like a juggling act.

Q: Does it seem to you that there are fewer Adventure writers these days, compared to other popular fiction categories such as Mystery and Espionage? When you were growing up, it was the dominant form of fiction, wouldn't you say?

A: Thriller and adventure tales are actually booming. Mystery and spy novels are still out there, but they are not as strong as they once were.

Q: If you ever met Dirk Pitt in person, is there anything for which you'd like to apologize, putting him in constant peril as you do time after time?

A: As long as he is still alive, I have no guilt.

Q: What is the best advice anyone has ever given to you?

A: Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you.

Q: And what was the worst?

A: Become a new car salesman.

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