Clive Eric Cussler (born July 15, 1931 in Aurora, Illinois) is an American adventure novelist and marine archaeologist. His thriller novels, many featuring the character Dirk Pitt, have reached The New York Times fiction best-seller list more than seventeen times. Cussler is the founder and chairman of the real-life National Underwater and Marine Agency (NUMA), which has discovered more than sixty shipwreck sites and numerous other notable sunken underwater wreckages. He is the sole author or lead author of more than 50 books.
Clive Cussler was born in Aurora, Illinois, and grew up in Alhambra, California. He was awarded the rank of Eagle Scout when he was 14. He attended Pasadena City College for two years and then enlisted in the United States Air Force during the Korean War. During his service in the Air Force, he was promoted to Sergeant and worked as an aircraft mechanic and flight engineer for the Military Air Transport Service (MATS).
Clive Cussler married Barbara Knight in 1955, and they remained married for nearly fifty years until her death in 2003. Together they had three children—Teri, Dirk, and Dayna—who have given him four grandchildren.
After his discharge from the military, Cussler went to work in the advertising industry, first as a copywriter and later as a creative director for two of the nation's most successful advertising agencies. As part of his duties Cussler produced radio and television commercials, many of which won international awards including an award at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival.
Following the publication in 1996 of Cussler's first nonfiction work, The Sea Hunters, he was awarded a Doctor of Letters degree in 1997 by the Board of Governors of the State University of New York Maritime College who accepted the work in lieu of a Ph.D. thesis. This was the first time in the college's 123-year history that such a degree had been awarded.
In 2002 Cussler was awarded the Naval Heritage Award from the U S Navy Memorial Foundation for his efforts in the area of marine exploration.
Cussler is a fellow of the Explorers Club of New York, the Royal Geographic Society in London, and the American Society of Oceanographers.
Clive Cussler began writing in 1965 when his wife took a job working nights for the local police department where they lived in California. After making dinner for the kids and putting them to bed he had no one to talk to and nothing to do so he decided to start writing. His most famous creation is marine engineer, government agent and adventurer Dirk Pitt. The Dirk Pitt novels frequently take on an alternative history perspective, such as "what if Atlantis was real?" or "what if Abraham Lincoln wasn't assassinated, but was kidnapped?"
The first two Pitt novels, The Mediterranean Caper and Iceberg, were relatively conventional maritime thrillers. The third, Raise the Titanic!, made Cussler's reputation and established the pattern that subsequent Pitt novels would follow: a blend of high adventure and high technology, generally involving megalomaniacal villains, lost ships, beautiful women, and sunken treasure.
Cussler's novels, like those of Michael Crichton, are examples of techno-thrillers that do not use military plots and settings. Where Crichton strove for scrupulous realism, however, Cussler prefers fantastic spectacles and outlandish plot devices. The Pitt novels, in particular, have the anything-goes quality of the James Bond or Indiana Jones movies, while also sometimes borrowing from Alistair MacLean's novels. Pitt himself is a larger-than-life hero reminiscent of Doc Savage and other characters from pulp magazines.
Clive Cussler has had more than seventeen consecutive titles reach The New York Times fiction best-seller list.
Dirk Pitt Adventures:
Mediterranean Caper (1973)
Raise the Titanic (1976)
Vixen 03 (1978)
Night Probe (1981)
The Pacific Vortex (1983)
Deep Six (1984)
Inca Gold (1994)
Shock Wave (1996)
Flood Tide (1997)
Atlantis Found (1999)
Valhalla Rising (2001)
Trojan Odyssey (2003)
Black Wind (2004)
Treasure of Khan (2006)
Arctic Drift (2008)
Crescent Dawn (2010)
NUMA Files Adventures:
Blue Gold (2001)
Fire Ice (2002)
White Death (2003)
Lost City (2004)
Polar Shift (2005)
The Navigator (2007)
The Oregon Files:
Golden Buddha (2003) - with Craig Dirgo
Sacred Stone (2004) - with Craig Dirgo
Dark Watch (2005) - with Jack DuBrul
Skeleton Coast (2006) - with Jack DuBrul
Plague Ship (2008) - with Jack DuBrul
CORSAIR (2009) - with Jack DuBrul
THE SILENT SEA (2010) - with Jack DuBrul
THE JUNGLE (March 8, 2011) - with Jack DuBrul
SPARTAN GOLD (2009) - with Grant Blackwood
LOST EMPIRE (2010) - with Grant Blackwood
THE KINGDOM (June 7, 2011) - with Grant Blackwood
Isaac Bell Adventures:
The Chase (2007)
The Wrecker (2009) - with Justin Scott
The Spy (2010) - with Justin Scott
The Sea Hunters: True Adventures with Famous Shipwrecks (1996)
Clive Cussler and Dirk Pitt Revealed (1998)
The Sea Hunters II (2002)
The Adventures of Vin Fiz (2006)
THE ADVENTURES OF HOTSY TOTSY (2010)