Fancy Plans… Book of the Month Club: Clive Cussler’s SpartaJune 19, 2009
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