Fancy Plans… Book of the Month Club: Clive Cussler’s Sparta

June 19, 2009
Actual cover art TK, but should only involve changing the title and adding 8% to the cyan

Actual cover art TK, but should only involve changing the title and adding 8% to the cyan

Clive Cussler, author of over 800 novels, returns with another gripping tale of adventure on the high seas. In the latest installment of the neverending Dirk Pitt saga, Dirk finds himself on the maiden voyage of the Sparta, an experimental submarine handcrafted by eccentric billionaire, Roll Fizzlebeef.

Sparta features the steady co-writing of Paul Kemprecos, the show horse of the Cussler novel farm, which means he gets his own word processor, desk, corner office, and, should the book sell over 2.5 million copies, his choice of Cussler’s many virgin daughters. If you look carefully at the dust jacket, you can almost make out his name below the 240-point type announcing that CLIVE FUCKING CUSSLER has agreed to take credit for someone else’s work.

Here’s an excerpt:

They were sinking too fast. The intercom crackled, summoning Pitt to the bowels of the submarine.
   Pitt hustled to the engine room. Fizzlebeef and his crew were bathed in the eerie red light of the control console. Dirk inhaled the heady scent of seamen and engine oil.
   “The engine’s running too hard,” the crew chief informed him. “There’s too much pressure. The nuts are about to blow.” Dirk’s fingers traced the nuts pensively, feeling them strain from the pressure, swelling as if to meet his touch.
   “It’ll seize up completely if we don’t lubricate it.” The voice of Roll came from behind Dirk. He turned to face the captain. Fizzlebeef was a monster of a man, hard as a rock, his shirtless chest glistening with sweat.
   “Grab that lube,” he ordered, “We’ve got to get the driveshaft moving again.” Dirk handed the tube to the captain. Roll bent over the engine and shot a massive load onto the shaft. Swiftly, he began rubbing the massive shaft with both hands.
   “It’s too hot!” he declared. “I’m not sure if this will help relieve the pressure or not.” Dirk quickly knelt down and assisted Fizzlebeef, massaging oil into the underside of the exposed shaft.
   The motor began to shake. A piercing noise filled the engine room. The keening noise reached a climax. The motor shuddered heavily before exploding, showering the men with its hot, steaming load.
   The lights went out. Above them a catwalk collapsed, raining men onto the floor below.
   Dirk heard a cry from the crew chief. “Sweet Jesus. It’s so deep inside me.” Part of the shaft had come loose and penetrated the young man. He gasped loudly as Dirk gently inserted two fingers into the hole. Dirk continued to push in deeper until he reached the end of the shaft.
   Another loud gasp came from the chief. His heart had stopped.
  Quickly, Dirk located the now-limp organ and began rubbing and squeezing it. He worked slowly at first, feeling for any sign of life. As it began to pulse and stiffen, Dirk began massaging it more vigorously. The organ filled with blood and began to throb and push against Pitt’s hand. Dirk turned his attention to the other limp and prone crew members.
   He began to clear a path to the backup generator. He groped around in the dark, gathering fallen seamen with both hands and pushing them into any opening he could find. He flipped on the breaker and heard the backup engines roar to life. The craft began to rise steadily, urged on by the long strokes of the pumping pistons.
   Pitt’s relief was short-lived. The backup engines ground to a halt and the lights flickered out. Dirk felt the crushing despair and helplessness of a prisoner whose furlough has just been revoked. One instant: an escape from a death sentence aboard a watery prison. The next: being pushed to his knees by the invisible sweaty, tattooed hands of fate.
   Dirk looked at the crew and saw his fears reflected in their eyes.
   They had no choice.
   They were going down.

Wow! Intense and gripping! I’m willing to bet Cussler and his lifetime companion Kemprecos will gain an entirely new audience with this tour de force. The give-and-take between the authors is exhilarating, watching them try new angles and positions tirelessly, constantly trying to do each other one better. Until next time…


Quick addendum: Check out this fine website for more fun with Cussler.
The Thriller in a Manila


  1. I’m nearly speechless. Not quite, but nearly. For some strange reason, it became at least 10 degrees warmer in here as I read that.

    What a tragic waste of perfectly good, strong seamen.

    • 10 degrees warmer in like 3 minutes or so? That’s another reason sane people don’t live in Arizona.

      Thanks for splashing in the gutter with me, CC.

    • There are lots of reasons why sane people don’t live here… Hey!

  2. So, there you have it, CLT can write powerful yet nuanced gay porn. Impressive as always.

    • Thanks, FJ. I’m not sure how impressive it is. It really doesn’t seem long enough.

      Oh well, I could always pad the intro with a couple more paragraphs.

      Welcome back to civilization (ha!), FJ. Good to see you.

  3. Great! Sublime! Gripping and Ripping! Hilarious!

    I can’t begin to tell you how happy reading this makes me.

    • If you do begin to tell me how happy it makes you, please try to refrain from using the colorful sailor venacular of Mssr. Cussler.

      A simple wag of the tail will probably be enough.

      Thanks, Alan. As always, great to see you.

  4. A god damned page turner if you ask me.

    I like a gripping yarn and this seems to have all the ingredients. Danger, suspense, action and spunky seaman.

    All it needs is a little romance and it’s a sure fire hit.

    And don’t be knocking the 240 point type. If I was the top dog over at the book of the month club I’d make it mandatory.

    Thank you.


    • I haven’t read the whole thing (nor do I intend to) but I would imagine there’s more than a little romance just around the bend. You can’t keep that many spunky seamen in the dark gripping their yarn without something happening.

      Wonderful to see you, Don. Thanks for swinging in.

  5. Cigarette?

    • Or as the Brits call it, “fag”?

      Sure, I’ve got one. Light that other end there and go ahead and stick the butt in your mouth.

      Great to have you here, RR.

  6. Take the fag, put the butt in your mouth, ignite and suck… meeeeow

  7. You guys are making me glad I quit smoking. I don’t have to worry about sucking on those anymore.

  8. I think he appears later in the book, dangerously underclothed and swimming in innuendo.

  9. Dear sir,

    I can’t express how moved I am by your recent support. As you and I, and to a lesser extent Clive Cussler, are well aware, the torturous path to literary acceptance is a long and torturous one, filled with at least potential wrong turns, crossroads, detours and poor surfaces, which make the quest for an appropriate simile little less than, it might be said, “torture”. Also, the pursuit of a thesaurus strikes one as of potential reward.

    Being as I am only a shortish distance into Mr. Cussler’s epic tome, “Valhalla Rising”, I feel unready to speculate as to the homoerotic content of his musings – although there have certainly been more than enough opportunities, universally gone unsatisfied, for his herpes to plumb more vaginal depths, which I’m sure you’ll agree speaks volumes in itself.

    I can only assure you that I will continue to drive manfully forward and penetrate it to the fullest extent in my determination to rectify any uncertainty on my part regarding these strangely closeted possibilities.

    Yours in fraternal penmanship,

    C. Knoetz

    PS: apologies, that should read “heroes” in paragraph two. It’s a mistake I tend to make, but in keeping with the example of Dan Brown I never delete anything once I’ve typed it.

    • Cliff –

      A masterful comment. And from a master deconstructionist of modern-day hackery. I applaud your decision to boldy follow Dan Brown’s lead in free-form, editor-less writing. It can only lead to great fortune and unfortunate haircuts for Tom Hanks.

      Seriously though. Check out Cliff’s site. He is currently dismembering the godawful writing of Clive and Dirk Cussler’s atrocious novel, Another Fucking Clive Cussler Novel.

      Thanks for stopping in, Cliff.

  10. […] um… kind of a weird question… the Sparta book seems to have a lot, and I mean a lot, of homosexual overtones. Is this intentional? CC: The fuck if I know. I barely read the damn things. Ask my son. DC: I just […]

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: