Clive Cussler (1931-2020). Clive Cussler, who died at the age of 88 on February 24th, 2020, was an adventure writer in the tradition of the pulp magazines, and an underwater explorer. Most of his novels featured Dirk Pitt, a – to quote Wikipedia – a larger than life hero reminiscent of Doc Savage – and I might add, Indiana Jones, and involved sunken treasure, hidden artifacts, outrageous villains, and convoluted plots.
Over the course of a career that began in 1965 when he switched over from advertising to write, he published 25 Dirk Pitt novels, 17 novels in the NUMA files series, 14 novels in the Oregon Files series, 11 Isaac Bell adventures set in the early 20th Century, 12 Fargo adventures focusing on a treasure-hunting couple, five books of non-fiction, and two children’s books. Two of his books became films, Raise the Titanic and Sahara.
Richard A. Lupoff and Richard Wolinsky interviewed Clive Cussler on May 24th, 1994 while he was on tour for his most recent book, Inca Gold. Though well into his sixties, he was still in the early part of his writing career, having written only Dirk Pitt novels, of which Inca Gold was the 12th. He would wind up with a library of 86 titles, with one published in early March 2020 and another coming out in May,2020. There are probably more waiting their turn.
While Inca Gold was only his 12th book, all Dirk Pitt novels to that point, he would go on to write another 74 books, most of them novels in various later series. The final Dirk Pitt solo novel, Celtic Empire, was published in 2019, which also saw The Titanic Secret, which featured both Pitt and Isaac Bell, each operating a century apart. Wrath of Poseidon, a Fargo adventure, is scheduled to be published this May, and Journey of the Pharoahs, a NUMA files novel, was published on March 10th of this year.
He did wind up selling another Dirk Pitt novel to Hollywood, Sahara, in 2005, with Matthew McConnaughy as Pitt, also featuring Penelope Cruz and William H. Macy. It turned out to be one of Hollywood’s most expensive flops to date, and Clive Cussler never sold another book to the movies.