Raise the Titanic! (Dirk Pitt Adventure) (英語) ペーパーバック – 2004/2/3
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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 shipwreck of the century...
The President's secret task force develops the ultimate defensive weapon. At its core: byzanium, a radioactive element so rare sufficient quantities have never been found. But a frozen American corpse on a desolate Soviet mountainside, a bizarre mining accident in Colorado, and a madman's dying message lead DlRK PITT~ to a secret cache of byzanium. Now he begins his most thrilling, daunting mission -- to raise from its watery grave the shipwreck of the century!
In a daring gamble, DIRK PITT locates the Titanic -- and suddenly his crew is in deadly jeopardy. Sabotaged by Russian spies and savage storms, Pitt must stop a diabolical plan for Soviet world supremacy -- or see the mighty Titanic blasted out of existence!
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I really enjoyed "Raise the Titanic!" It's got plenty of adventure, espionage, sabotage, and even a little romance in it. Cussler goes into great, but not too boring, detail of how his hero, Dirk Pitt, and the gang from NUMA manage to lift the Titanic from its watery grave in order to solve a mystery dating back to 1912, when the Titanic made its fateful voyage. The U.S. Government is interested in a mineral, byzanium, that may be aboard the Titanic at the bottom of the ocean. They hope to find the byzanium and use it to complete a nuclear defense weapon's construction under the codename, Sicilian Project.
Of course, adventure just wouldn't be adventure without bad guys. For this particular book, Cussler uses the tried and true U.S.S.R. as the enemy. Primary bad guy, Prevlov, is the perfect foil to the slick, almost carefree, Dirk Pitt.
Overall, this book carries itself quite well from beginning to end. The only place that Cussler stumbles is with the sweet talk. The "romance" that occurs between Pitt and the heroine of this book, Dana Seagram, comes across as forced, awkward, and entirely pointless to the story. To be honest, had Cussler completely left the sex out of this book, it would probably be five-star worthy. Unfortunately, Cussler writes sex scenes and romantic interludes like a fourteen-year-old--all climax, no build-up.
Don't let this one hang-up of mine keep you from reading this book. It really is a great, fast-paced read and is perfect for people who only have a few minutes at a time to read a book. Not much thinking is necessary to tear this pocketbook up.
Recommended to fans of fast-paced thrillers, military fiction, and authors like Steve Alten.
In it, the U.S. government becomes interested in the wreck when it's determined that the world's only stockpile of a rare radioactive element - one suddenly critical to an proposed missile defense program - may have gone down with it. The plot takes us back nearly a century in time to a mysterious Colorado mining disaster, to the snowy wastes of Arctic Russia, to a harrowing chase across England and to the night in 1912, etched into popular legend, that the grand ship sunk on its maiden voyage. Pitt plays less of a role in this one than in most of his books, but emerges in the second half of the book to not only raise the wreck but to save it, with his usual ingenuity, from a hurricane and a dastardly Soviet plot. I can't say whether Cussler's method of raising the ship is actually plausible; it's safe to say that in most of his books he stretches the limits of existing science and technology. According to this book, metal corrodes less than expected or little at all at the deep bottom of the ocean, corrosion apparently being retarded by the cold, the scarcity of deep ocean life and of oxygen. I'd love to know if that's actually true, but then again, the well preserved state of the Titanic wreck suggests it might be.
Cussler's writing, particularly about men and women, is highly dated now - 70s-style talk of "libbers" - and probably sounded 15 years behind the times in the late 1980s when this was published. He got a handle on it in later novels, where women are scientists but still swoon for Pitt, and where Pitt is chivalrous but not quite so 13th century about it; where the sex scenes are implied rather than depicted - one scene here, when our NUMA crew including one woman is being held captive by the bad guys, is a bit lurid - and where sex politics aren't really discussed. Here, they are in the foreground as the marriage of beautiful but obnoxiously feminist Dana Seagram, one of Pitt's NUMA colleagues, and her wrapped-too-tight husband Gene, erodes as both become involved in the Titanic adventure. Pitt is not entirely convincing at the end talking to the mentally vulnerable Gene.
For Pitt fans, no Dirk Pitt book is a bad read. This one is no different. Cussler's writing improved after this but, really, one can't resist the combination of him, Pitt and the Titanic.
This matters because it is the relationship between fact and fantasy that makes Cussler's idea of raising the Titanic so fascinating. "Raise the Titanic!" begins the night in April 1912 when the ship sank, as one of the ship's officers, John Bigalow, has a confrontation with a desperate man who ends up locking himself in the ship's vault as it sinks beneath the waves. The secret of the Titanic's vault becomes of national importance when some clues from a frozen corpse and the record of a century-old mining accident in Colorado lead to the conclusions that a rare mineral, necessary to fuel the ultimate weapon, is what is to be found inside. In the name of national security the Titanic has to be raised from its watery grave. If that was not enough of a challenge, there are Soviet spies intent on sabotaging the mission and a big hurricane that can also resink the ship.
The problem with "Raise the Titanic!" is that both the plan and its execution are over simplified. Maybe it is because I am a fan of Tom Clancy's techno-thrillers and the level of detail he provide. True, those are invariably beyond me, but I appreciate the attempt to explain what is going on and Cussler keeps things really simple here. I do not require Clancy's sense of detail in this regard, but a bit more of the nuts and bolts of the process would have nice. All the months of preparation are glossed and in the end the best laid plans go by the wayside, leaving it to Pitt to do things by the seat of his pants, which is just how he likes to do it. But if the sense of technological accomplishment is kept to a minimum Cussler does go overboard with piling on the action and keeping up the pace so that this novel is a fun read that pretty much delivers the bigger than life adventure it promises.
This is the fourth of Cussler's Dirk Pitt adventures and the second that I have read, but it is really not until the last part of the book that Pitt becomes a major actor in the drama. Granted, the nature of the adventure puts him in a minor role until the time comes to actually raise the Titanic, but it does seem strange there is so little of the hero in the first half of the book. Besides, I am waiting to read one of these adventures where the rest of the gang at NUMA have as much to do in a novel as they did in the movie "Sahara," which is what inspired me to start reading these stories in the first place.
Jeff Edwards, Author of "Torpedo: A Surface Warfare Thriller"