Review: Raise The Titanic by Clive Cussler

Raise The Titanic! (Dirk Pitt #4)
Author: Clive Cussler
Publisher: Putnam
Publication Date: 1976
Pages: 435
Format: Paperback/Own

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...


Review: Wow! I honestly enjoyed this a lot more than I originally thought I was! I haven't been the biggest reader of anything adult and kinda shied away from this since it's one of James absolute favorite books, but I'm so glad I finally decided to pick it up and read it! I have a huge interest now in reading more of the Dirk Pitt novels after reading this.

So the thing that really interested me most about this was the Titanic! I have a huge interest in underwater wrecks, whether ships, planes, subs, etc. The Titanic has always been one of my top underwater wrecks of interest. Like it's said multiple times throughout the book, there's just something about the Titanic. It's captivating. She is one of the most famous shipwrecks to date, despite having sunk in 1912. There will always be this incredible fascination with her. I loved how we got to read about the idea of her being raised, even though realistically, that can never happen. Though I have to admit, the entire time I was reading this, I was picturing them raising one piece of her since we know she's in two pieces on the sea floor. In the book though, they are raising her as if she sunk completely intact. This book was written in 1976, well before Titanic's wreckage was actually discovered in 1985. So many people thought she sunk intact and there is the basis for raising her in the book. But despite the book having been wrote in 1976, a number of things were incredibly close to on point with its discovery. In 1985 a fair portion of it was still relatively intact, not completely being eaten and coming apart at the seems like it is now. The depth was also incredibly close. In the book they found her at 12,340 ft and her actual depth is about 12,500 ft. That's less than 200 ft difference. The fact a number of things were so close to how she was found before she was actually found was so interesting to me. Clearly Clive Cussler did his research with what was know of Titanic at the time and didn't just write it willy nilly.

I did enjoy some of the realistic elements of this book. First and foremost being the outrageous amount of money needed to try and raise a ship from those depths. I mean, even raising a wreck in shallow water can be pricey, so it was very realistic to put a huge price-tag on raising the Titanic. I also liked the fact we get to see just how much equipment would realistically go into a salvage operation like this. There were a lot of ships, deep sea subs, and a lot of specialized equipment brought in for this. We also get to see some interesting secret groups within the government, which I have no doubt, there probably are groups we don't know abut running projects in secret. But we also get to see the realities of running secret operations like this. The President having to deal with how to handle leaks about the projects, having to keep the reigns on congress from investigating where money is going for these secret groups, worrying that if something goes wrong with the projects, he could lose his presidency over it. Man, so much going on.

Anyways, I loved the whole backstory for raising the Titanic in the first place. One of these secret groups in the government is trying to build a weapons defense system that needs a rare element, Byzanium, to work properly. Unfortunately, that element was only traced to a mine in Soviet territory. Despite finding the mine, they find out all the Byzanium was lost somewhere between said mine and trying to get it to the US. And once the digging is complete, they firmly believe the last known place the Byzanium was known to be was on the Titanic, which obviously sank. Hence the operation to raise the Titanic. Oh man, this was just such a good story. All the lies and cover-ups related to the miners who were the ones that mined the Byzanium in secret. The story involving the Soviets and how they thought they were catching on to the US's big secrets, when that was just a whole plot in itself. All the sabotage going on with the salvage operation. This was just such a fantastic story. This really had all the interesting pieces of a thriller and wove them together brilliantly.

Ok, despite Dirk Pitt being a bit of a womanizer, I overall enjoyed his character. He's incredibly knowledgeable in his field, hence his place in NUMA. He's also pretty smart. He's very good at piecing puzzles together and can often figure out after some time thinking on it, the hidden meanings or the missing pieces that can make or break something. He's the type of guy you want solving mysteries surrounding things, but he's also the type of leader you want for operations like raising the Titanic. He's quick thinking in an emergency, he jumps at the idea to do the impossible and prove everyone wrong. He's a very determined guy. I also love his go to guy Al Giordino! They have such a good, fun dialogue with each other and you can tell they've been friends for a while. You see it especially when they discover the wreck of the Titanic and Al jokes with Dirk about only being off by 2 minutes with his bet on what time they'd find her. And he's a pretty smart guy as well. I mean, he pretty much leads things when Dirk isn't around, so you gotta be pretty good at your job to be the second.

2 comments

  1. I LOVE these I've owned them all. There's always a fascinating bit of history in it also. Anne - Books of My Heart

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    1. Yes! I'm loving the historical stuff in these! I'm working on slowly collecting the Dirk Pitt books. My used bookstore has most of them so I'm just gonna buy them a few at a time from there.

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