Dirk Pitt's first, most terrific adventure! Dirk Pitt, death-defying adventurer and deep-sea expert, is out to the ultimate test as he plunges into the perilous waters of the Pacific Vortex -- a fog-shrouded sea zone where dozens of ships have vanished without a trace. The latest victim is the awesome superb Starbuck, America's deep-diving nuclear arsenal. Its loss poses an unthinkable threat to national defense. Pitt's job is to find it, salvage it, before the sea explodes. In a furious race against time, Pitt's mission swirls him into a battle with underwater assassins-and traps him in the arms of Summer Moran, the most stunningly exotic and dangerous toward disaster, Clive Cussler plummets his hero onto an ancient sunken island-the astonishing setting for the explosive climax of Pacific Vortex!
Clive Cussler was born in Aurora, Illinois on July 15, 1931. He attended Pasadena City College for two years before enlisting in the United States Air Force during the Korean War. After his discharge from the military, he worked first as a copywriter and later as a creative director for two of the nation's most successful advertising agencies. At that time, he wrote and produced radio and television commercials that won numerous international awards, including one at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival. He began writing in 1965 and published his first novel featuring Dirk Pitt in 1973. His first non-fiction work, The Sea Hunters, was published in 1996. He has written over 50 books including the Dirk Pitt series, the NUMA Files series, Oregon Files series, Isaac Bell series and the Fargo Adventure Ser.. He is the Chairman of NUMA (National Underwater and Marine Agency), a non-profit group which he himself began. He and his crew of marine experts and NUMA volunteers have discovered over 60 historically significant underwater wreck sites. (Bowker Author Biography) Clive Cussler's life nearly parallels that of his hero, Dirk Pitt. Whether searching for lost aircraft or leading expeditions to find famous shipwrecks with his NUMA crew of volunteers, he has garnered an amazing record of success. Cussler is the author of sixteen consecutive New York Times bestsellers. (Publisher Provided)
Chapter One Among the crowded beaches in the state of Hawaii, it is still possible to discover a stretch of sand that offers a degree of solitude. Kaena Point, jutting out into the Kauai Channel like a boxer's left jab, is one of the few unadvertised spots where onecan relax and enjoy an empty shore. It is a beautiful beach, but it is also deceptive. Too often its shores are whipped by rip currents extremely dangerous to all but the most wary swimmers. Each year, as if predestined by a morbid schedule, an unidentifiedbather, intrigued by the lonely sandy strand and the gentle surf, enters the water and within minutes is swept out to sea. On this beach a six-foot-three-inch deeply suntanned man, clad in brief white bathing trunks, lay stretched on a bamboo beach mat. The hairy, barrel chest that rose slightly with each intake of air, bore specks of sweat that rolled downward in snailliketrails and mingled with the sand. The arm that passed over the eyes shielding them from the strong rays of the tropical sun, was muscular but without the exaggerated bulges generally associated with iron pumpers. The hair was black and thick and shaggy, andit fell halfway down a forehead that merged into a hard-featured but friendly face. Dirk Pitt stirred from a semisleep and, raising himself up on his elbows, stared from deep green glistening eyes at the sea. Pitt was not a casual sun worshipper; to him, the beach was a living, moving thing, changing shape and personality under the constantonslaught of the wind and waves. He studied the swells as they rolled in from their storm-rocked birthplace thousands of miles at sea, rising and increasing their velocity when their troughs felt the shallow bottom. Changing from swell to breaker, they rosehigher and higher--eight feet, Pitt judged--from trough to crest before they toppled and broke, pounding themselves into a thundering mass of foam and spray. Then they died in small, swirling eddies at the tideline. Suddenly Pitt's eyes were attracted by a flash of color beyond the breakers, about three hundred feet from the shoreline. It was gone in an instant, lost behind a wave crest. Pitt kept gazing with intent curiosity at the spot where the color was last visible.After the next wave rose and crested, he could see it again gleaming in the sun. The shape was undistinguishable at that distance, but there was no mistaking the bright fluorescent yellow glint. The smart move, Pitt deduced, would be to simply lay there and let the force of the surf bring the unknown object to him; but he pushed sound judgment from his mind, rolled to his feet, and walked slowly into the surf. When the water rose above his knees,he arched his body and dove under an approaching breaker, timing it so that he only felt the surge crash over his kicking feet. The water felt as heated as a tepid hotel room bath; the temperature was somewhere between seventy-five and seventy-eight degrees.As soon as his head cleared the surface, he began to stroke through the swirling foam, swimming easily, allowing the force of the current to carry him into deeper water. After several minutes, he stopped and treaded water, searching for a hint of yellow. He spotted it twenty yards to his left. He kept his eyes keyed on the strange piece of flotsam as he narrowed the gap, only losing sight of it momentarily when it droppedin the advancing troughs. Sensing that the current was pulling him too far to his right, he compensated his angle and slowly increased his strokes to avoid the dangerous threat of exhaustion. Then he reached out and his fingers touched a slick, cylindrical surface about two feet long, and eight inches wide, and weighing less than six pounds. Encasing the object was a yellow waterproof plastic material with U.S. Navy printed in block letterson both ends. Pitt locked his arms around it, relaxed his body Excerpted from Pacific Vortex! by Clive Cussler All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.