The Mediterranean Caper (Dirk Pitt Series #1)

The Mediterranean Caper (Dirk Pitt Series #1)

by Clive Cussler

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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: 43,983
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.


Phoenix, Arizona

Date of Birth:

July 15, 1931

Place of Birth:

Aurora, Illinois


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


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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Mediterranean Caper (Dirk Pitt Series #1) 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 207 reviews.
Breykaleg More than 1 year ago
I read this book around 1980, given to me by my brother after he finished. What a great start it was to the world of Clive Cussler (CC). We had just returned from two years in Turkey, so the geographical references were bright and spot on. I really enjoyed how CC so aptly described the details of not only the locations, but down to the way a dress would lay on the curvaceous body of Dirk's woman du jour. I could not read this book fast enough, taking no more than a day and a half, interrupted only due to the hour in which I started being so close to bedtime. I read as much as I could before falling to sleep. As his first Dirk Pitt novel, CC did show his Freshman writing, but he grabs the reader by the neck and shoves the adventure down your throat. The seemingly non-stop action, coupled with a string theory collaboration of characters is a tremendous formula for success. It all leads to the first of so many "Only Dirk, Al, and the Good Guys/Girls can avert Global destruction by following insignificant clues" scenarios. It also lead to a 30+ year family CC book swap meet between my brother and I, where one of us buys the newest release, devours it, then sends it to the other on a rotating basis. Thanks for all the memories, sir.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Although definitely not the best Cussler novel, it's definitely worth the read if you're a fan, and unlike later Pitt novels, this one is a quick read at just a few hundred pages.
MrsLee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ugh. Waste of time. I enjoyed the movie, Sahara, for it's good, clean fun and since Clive Cussler wrote the book, I thought perhaps I would enjoy his books. Wrong! First of all, the emotional responses of the characters don't ring true. They are all over the map for no reason at all. The dialogue is not clever when it is meant to be and not subtle when it should be. The adventure was O.K., but the characters as I say, were bizarre and didn't ring true to the task set before them. On top of all that, the author comes across as sexist (I've cleaned that up from my review at home). His view of women, if the characters in his book are anything to go by, is that they are a meat market good for one purpose only. It's not that he wrote a lot of sex into the book, it's just the way he speaks of it and women is so far away from the godly, lovely event that sex is, that it makes me sick. Guess I'll stick to the movie. It was far better.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Dirk Pitt¿ novels are just s great as the Kurt Austin¿ series. Gooo... Clive Cussler. He's the best writer in my book collection. Gooo... NUMA¿!
waltread More than 1 year ago
Hard to beat Clive Cussler for an action read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved the story's twists & unexpected turns. I find Myself reading CC's stories from my Nook while I've got Google Earth running on my laptop to follow the geographical references.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
By far the best Clive Cussler I've read yet. From the first page you are into the action and suspense. It's not a particularly lengthy book, only a little over 200 pages so the fast action and exciting story makes this a great read for the long plane ride or a vacation read. Dirk Pitt is my kind of guy!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fairly good but the best durk pitt is cyclops by far.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A fun and quick read. Great for reading on an airplane or while traveling. Basically, its like reading an Indiana Jones movie. Lots of action, very fast-paced, and the plot doesn't really matter (and doesn't have to be believable). Have fun with this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love all clive cusslers books, tgis one was great
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was my firt Clive Cussler book and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Kept you reading to see what happened next. Highly recommend!
Shatman More than 1 year ago
Highly recommend. Have read many but went back to series #1 with Dirk Pitt to start from beginning. A page turner that you cannot put down. The tie in to possible historic events is a plus. This is perfect for a relaxing weekend. Enjoy
Reader53TX More than 1 year ago
The VERY early Cussler was fun entertainment but a little rough around the edges. The plot was far fetched (aren't they all) and the hero was a little raw. Later efforts improved greatly, but I still enjoyed this one.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Dirk Pitt is one of my favorite characters in the world of books and he's making his debut in this whirlwind thriller. Cussler's early writing is defintitely not his best but it's still pretty good. The farther you get into the book the more detail comes into the writing. All the events weaved nicely and I was reading furiously for one action scene. One of my complaints is that Pitt seems a little stern in this novel but Clive explains that he's trying to regruop after losing someone(see Pacific Vortex!). And the biggest complaint I have is that the final scene does not live up to the endings of Clive's other works. The ending just seemed to happen with no action. Overall, it's nice and short with alot of punch and you can't help but read the next page. 4 out of 5 and a nice Christmas gift for any book lover.
Anonymous 8 months ago
If I had read this book when it first came out, I would have never read another Cussler book. He wrote Dirk Pitt as a real pig. Hitting women, talking crudely to and about them. I was shocked and dissappointed when I read it just now. I havent seen any of that in his later books, thank goodness. But this one left me pretty disgusted.
PainFrame More than 1 year ago
I suggest that since we are all single, debonair men-about-town we combine forces and engage in a bit of fun and frolic. The FIRST Dirk Pitt novel! Sure it’s like the 6th one I’ve read, but that’s okay. Why don’t they obviously number books so you can figure out where to start? This was written back in 1973 so I wasn’t sure how different it would be from the more modern ones, but good news! Like the first Bond film, I was surprised by how much of the classic structure is in place from the very first outing. Kind of astounding if you think about it. I was afraid I would have to endure an origin story of sorts where Pitt meets Giorgino or something, but nope, we are firing on all cylinders immediately. It’s too bad the Sahara movie wasn’t more of a success, they could have made a James Bond type film franchise out of all of these novels. Each one I have read has been a good time, interesting and enjoyable all the way through, and even though this book is 40 years old it feels just as fresh and fun as the Dirk Pitt adventures being written today. Witness the birth of a literary empire!
Darrol on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Way too much infallible he-man. It went over the top when Pitt discovers the living fossil fish.
trekbody on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A poor start to a great series that eventually derails.
jennyrosewriter on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Clive Cussler's Mediterranean Caper is the first Cussler book I picked up to read and I enjoyed it. This is not the first Dirk Pitt story, but it was the first published. Dirk Pitt is a Major transferred from the Air Force to the National Underwater Marine Agency (NUMA). On paper he is the Surface Security Officer. In reality, when an oceanic research project has trouble, Pitt flies in, figures out the problem, fixes it and gets the project back on track. In Mediterranean Caper, the First Attempt research vessel is in the Aegean Sea looking for a missing link fish. Some unusual accidents take place; Dirk Pitt swoops in for the rescue to run into an apparent ghost plane. While sorting out the problems with the research project and an explanation for the ghost plane, Pitt runs into a drug smuggling scheme, undercover agents, and a traitor. I am no expert when it comes to the Air Force or anything military for that matter, so I have no idea about plausibility. For me it was an exciting story filled with twists and turns. The point of view did bounce around a bit, but I did not have trouble following it. Cussler does a good job introducing characters, so I had no trouble keeping track of everybody. I will warn you that Dirk Pitt is very James Bond-esque. In fact the whole story has that feel to it, but since I'm a fan of James Bond, it works. All in all, a fun, entertaining read and I will be looking for another Clive Cussler/Dirk Pitt adventure to read.
kimberlycox27 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the first Clive Cussler book that I have read even though my husband has seven or eight of them on the shelf. I found the book entertaining and easy to read. Even though the plot was fairly predictable, it was fast paced and enjoyable. This is a great book to stash in your purse to read on a vacation where you might get a few moments of down time.
librarymeg on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Mediterranean Caper is the kind of book that will appeal to people who are looking for adventure, and a lot of it. The main character, Dirk Pitt, is the kind of self-assured, no-nonsense, take-charge hero that you expect to find in old-Hollywood war movies or James Bond films. The plot gets very complex at times, and so is hard to describe, but here goes: Major Dirk Pitt's services are requested at a scientific research vessel in Greece that's been experiencing acts of sabotage. While Pitt is flying in to visit the vessel, he stumbles across an attack on a U.S. Air Force Base by, of all unlikely things, a World War II biplane. Soon after, he meets the seductive niece of the German shipping guru who promptly tries to murder Pitt. Suffice it to say that these events are all connected. The mystery is in how they're connected, and how Dirk Pitt will survive his investigation. If you're looking for sympathetic, vibrant characters, this is probably not the book for you. The emphasis here is on thrilling action topped with adrenaline served up in the exotic location of the Greek Isles.
MsBeautiful on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Adventure/Thriller, Fun to listen to on tape or cd
ct.bergeron on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
On a quiet greek Island, an US Air force base has come attack by a World War I fighter plane. Now it's up to Dirk Pitt to root out the elusive truth behind the attack - 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...
AMA001 More than 1 year ago
Unlike what I am used to reading but enjoyed the story and recommend.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago