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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on July 18, 2013
The first published (second written) adventure of Dirk Pitt and the National Underwater and Marine Agency (NUMA) is well worth picking up as the story contains all the hallmarks Cussler established and has used for Pitt and his crew ever since - including a great plot (and subplots), characters you love and hate, and high-quality action that keeps you turning pages.

As a note, this Pitt story does not begin with an historical prologue that later ties into Pitt's adventure. However, there is a World War I German bi-plane that attacks an American Air Force Base on a Greek Island.

As fate would have it, Pitt and his partner, Al Giordino, are traveling on assignment in their World War II flying boat (amphibious aircraft) but are, however, only armed with a couple of rifles. Never one to back down from a challenge, Pitt and his WWII plane engage the WWI craft and a dogfight ensues. Through daring and some luck the good guys win.

That is the introduction to Pitt arriving in the Aegean Sea to connect with a NUMA research vessel searching for evidence of a fossil believed to be tied to the development of the first mammal. However, what ends up on Pitt's radar is a massive international smuggling operation, including, among other things, drugs and human trafficking, led by a man known by one name (Bruno Von Till) but is, in reality, the former commander of the Nazi transportation fleet during WWII, who then used that experience to establish and run a fleet of cargo vessels.

Adding some spice to the story, Pitt meets Von Till after having met and romanced the smuggler's niece (who has a dramatically different role than as a loving relation to her uncle). Pitt escapes death on more than one occasion in his attempt to bring down Von Till, and works with both the U.S. Bureau of Narcotics and Interpol until he realizes that the plan hatched by the two organizations to capture the elusive Von Till may not work. Devising his own course of action, Pitt, with the assistance of his NUMA team, go after the smuggler themselves.

As an added bonus is a foreword from Cussler and some cool endpaper maps. Though I also own a 1978 paperback of the book, this 40th anniversary hardcover edition is a welcome addition to my library. Keep in mind this was first published in 1973 and, thus, there is no internet, nor any iPhones nor iPads, to assist in pursuit or escape, but it is a thoroughly enjoyable read. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys action/adventure, and especially to those who follow the escapades of Dirk & Co.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 28, 2013
(I've read it three times now--previous reads were in 1987 and 2004). Everything you expect from a Pitt story--the slam-bang action, the exotic locales, exotic women, maritime and/or aviaition historical elements, the aura of mystery, the almost -larger-than-life megalomaniacal villains, the oceanographic technology, Pitt's coolness under fire, suaveness, and flair for smart-aleck humor (especially when bantering back & forth with faithful sidekick Al Giordino)--are all here. Even after 40 years, this book still stands the test of time.

Only a couple of nitpicks keep me from giving this book a full 5 stars:

(1) I would expect a fellow U.S. Air Force veteran like Cussler to know that the proper name for the F-105 is the Thunderchief (or "Thud"), not the Starfire (the USAF *did* have a Starfire, but that was the F-94, which was retired in 1959, 14 years before "The Mediterreanean Caper's" original publication date).

(2 The so-called Bureau of Narcotics had been officially renamed the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (BNDD) in 1968 and again as the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in 1973.

Those minot criticisms aside, a highly enjoyable read and a wonderful introduction to Clive Cussler and Dirk Pitt (and Al Giordino, Rudi Gunn, and Admiral James Sandecker) alike!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 2, 2013
I am a big fan of Cussler, especially his Dirk Pitt adventures. This was an anniversary edition of his first Dirk Pitt novel. Dirk and Giordino are pulled into this caper after a vintage World War 11 airplane attacks a US Air Force base on a Greek Island. When a Numa scientific expedition close the island is sabotaged and attacked they find the two incidents are related. In their pursuit of finding the reason for the attacks they encounter a huge freighter with no crew and an underwater cavern with secrets. They are confronted with an smuggling ring, dangerous secrets, and an old Nazi criminal running the show. Of course, Dirk also has an adventure with a beautiful woman who is in the middle of all this. Fun, fast paced adventure and a great read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 20, 2013
I only pray that more of his books will be re-issued in hardback. I read this novel in one night, I tried to put it down, it just would not stop jumping back in my hands. PLEASE MORE OF HIS EARLY NOVELS.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 14, 2013
Another awesome Cussler novel. It was interesting to see how much Dirk Pitt has changed over the years. In this book, he was always lighting up a cigarette, but not so as he aged. The book arrived in a timely manner, was in new condition, and at a god price.
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on July 2, 2015
Disclosure: I have watched Sahara-also written by Cussler, and in my head, the voices of Dirk Pitt, Teri, Al Giodino, Rudy and the Admiral all sound like McConaughhey, Cruz, Zahn, etc-- not that there is any other relation between this novel and the later tale. But, by comparison, these words are so stilted! The book has little of the nonchalant combativeness that the movie centered on.
In this anniversary edition, Cussler explains how he researched existing literature to choose a genre, a character, and stage for the stories. Definitely, underwater action and ships are fascinating. Evil geniuses must be thwarted. Interpol and local authorities may be inadequate- this becomes Dirk Pitt's theater, when not romancing the mademoiselles.
There is an action scene where a nimble WW I biplane attacks an airbase, only to be driven off by Dirk's clumsy flying boat shooting back with a hand-held rifle. Damaged, the Albatros struggles away, likely to crash at sea(?). This is just the first of several clashes with a mysterious organization that wants to drive foreigners from the Greek island of Thasos. Later, on a deserted beach, Dirk meets a gorgeous babe. Unfortunately, the beautiful Teri could not stop grieving for her dead husband; to 'counsel' her, he slaps her to snap her out of it.
*No way this abuse can be justified.* It should have been edited out.
Up to that point, I was hoping this would rise above disappointing and become a decent thriller. No. The mysterious gang is two-dimensional, the authorities bumbling, and Dirk's ability to overcome injury and exhaustion becomes unbelievable. His buddy worships him while superiors defer to his insights. The plot does not improve, although I was fascinated by imagery of the island and how modern man has made himself at home with the old Phoenician settlements.
The climax ties up loose ends and inflicts more injury on the rugged hero... as he verbally fences with the mastermind.
Read this only if you can place yourself back in Greece of the 1960s, before equality for women, and international courts, and on-line databases.
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on August 23, 2013
Over the years, Clive Cussler has introduced his readers to a number of exciting characters, including the Fargos, Isaac Bell, Kurt Austin, and Juan Cabrillo. But the one that started it all for Cussler is Dirk Pitt, and this 40th anniversary of Pitt's first adventure is full of action and intrigue.

The drama starts when an old World War I-era German Albatross attacks an American Air Force Base on the island of Thasos. Coincidentally, Dirk and Al Giordino are flying in a PBY Catalina flying boat to check on the progress of the NUMA ship First Attempt which is in the area conducting marine experiments. Dirk and Al manage to chase the Albatross off, but not before the base is shot up and several planes destroyed.

Unintentionally, Dirk and Al have flown themselves smack into the middle of a mystery that will take them to expensive villas, underground lairs and adventure on the high seas. They will also meet unscrupulous characters along the way, including a drug smuggler intent on delivering tons of heroin to the drug markets of the United States. Will Dirk and Al be able to crack the case?

Over the years, I've become a big fan of Cussler's books, and it was fun for me to go back to the one that started it all. Cussler's style of writing remains the same now as then; his books are loaded with action, intrigue, and interesting characters. It was fun reading a story that was originally written forty years ago and seeing how cultural norms have changed since then.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading "The Mediterranean Caper". Dirk Pitt is probably Cussler's most recognizable character, and it was fun to see how he got his start. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 27, 2013
Love this book, as I had the paperback for years, but wanted hardcopy for collection. This was the book I first read from Clive Cussler and have been reading all his books ever since. Good first story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 2, 2013
Cussler's first book is outstanding. Mediterranean Caper got me hooked on reading all of Clive Cussler's books. I now have a collection of Cussler stories.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 13, 2013
I love all of Clive Cussler books and this one took you back in time. When I read the books I feel like I am there. I recommend to all
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