Mayday! (Dirk Pitt, #2)

ISBN: 2253172456
ISBN 13: 9782253172451
By: Clive Cussler Patrick Delperdange

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About this book

Des signaux de détresse au dessus de la mer Egée! Aux commande de son hydravion, Dirk Pitt n'en croit pas ses oreilles. La base aérienne américaine de Brady Field a été presque totalement détruite et ses jets anéantis... par un biplan datant de la Première Guerre mondiale!Pitt va mettre le doigt dans une gigantesque machination où se bousculent un nazi psychotique, un dealer pervers, une superbe espionne et un Hercule grec assoiffé de sang. Une course mortelle avec le chef d'un réseau mondial de trafiquants de drogue... à la recherche d'une cargaison fatale d'un milliard de dollars!

Reader's Thoughts

Thomas Hooker

Set on a small island off the coast of Greece, The Mediterranean Caper follows the story of ex-Military officer Dirk Pitt and his team of oceanographers as they try to piece together a series of attacks and acts of sabotage occurring on the island. Soon after their arrival, a World War 1 era German plane attacks an American Base on the island, leaving it in smoldering ruins. The fast-paced events that follow uncover a massive conspiracy and, furthermore, an illegal smuggling ring with the island at its center. With a fast-paced plot rife with action, The Mediterranean Caper is a gripping novel unlike any other.Nonetheless, the only flaw I found while reading this novel was that it was often romanticized or unrealistic. Time and time again, Dirk escapes near-death experiences completely unscathed. However, it is understandable that such an unrealistic element is essential to the plot of the story. More so, I would recommend this novel to all mature readers as it contains some elements that are not-suitable for younger readers. Nonetheless, The Mediterranean Caper was truly an awesome read!


This was the first published book in the best-selling Dirk Pitt series. Lots of adventure, romance, and evildoers to overcome though perhaps a bit dated. Listened the audio version reliably read by Michael Prichard.

Norma Huss

This book was first published in 1973, so it's pretty old. I read it because we have a few of Clive Cussler's books that my husband read before he decided they weren't for him. I can see why, from this example. It's definitely a male fantasy - both fighting heroic and sex-wise. I mean, who else but a mythical hero can manage to outwit an evil villain with his ten armed gunman surrounding him before the hero blacks out from a serious wound? One of my favorite REALLY outdated comments is this one: "In the center of the anteroom a dozen girls, displaying an unrestricted forest of nyloned legs, sat at a dozen desks and furiously assaulted a dozen typewriters, never once hesitating to look up at him. He moved slowly over to a well-bosomed blond whose desktop contained a small rectangular sign: 'Information'" After a couple of paragraphs of describing her clothing, his clothing, asking to see the Director of the Bureau, being curtly told he can't, then slamming his cane on her desk (he was, after three weeks of hospitalization due to that injury I mentioned above, only able to walk with that cane), then said: "OK, dearheart," Pitt said menacingly. "You get up off your well-rounded little bottom and you go and inform the Director that Major Dirk Pitt is waiting to keep the appointment set by Inspector Zacynthus." Which, of course, sets her all a-twitter with sorrow and embarrassment because he's so famous.


I don't mind some objectionable items but mistreatment of women is one thing I can't abide. Thankfully there was only a small amount of this at the beginning. I am at a loss as to why authors feel that a misogynistic attitude is a must in action books. Dirk Pitt is a dick! This shows in his cavalier and demeaning attitude toward women and in his over the top arrogance. The book was long on action and short on believable plot. Needless to say, Dirk Pitt rises up and saves the day. I am not sure I will read more of this drivel.

Maxi Bransdale

I was having a conversation with my dad the other day about the first ‘serious’ book I read. You know, that moment when you graduate from The Famous Five into more adult fiction. I racked my brains and came to the conclusion that it was Mr Cussler that first welcomed me, at the tender age of eleven, into the wonderful, and often mystical, world of adult fiction. So coming back to this book is sentimental for me. I have a lot of fond memories of the Dirk Pitt novels, not in the least because they got me through some hairy moments at school. Which is why I just can’t bring myself to be mean.Dirk Pitt was a massive part of my childhood and cultivating my love for books. But even I, through glasses that are rose-tinted, can see how ridiculous this whole book is. Hell, even the characters regularly remark how daft some of the premises are. (view spoiler)[ An ancient, undiscovered fish? Really Mr Cussler, really? To quote “You mean to say that I have fifteen million dollars worth of wrecked aircraft scattered over a base under my personal command, my military career all but ruined, and all because of a goddamned fish?” I rest my case. (hide spoiler)]Of course, it must be remembered that this was written in the days when an appropriate response to an attack on a US Air Base has our intrepid hero quip “Maybe it’s an irate Greek farmer who’s tired of our jets scaring his goats.” And not be in a terrible rush to investigate. It is time locked. You find yourself telling him to just use his mobile phone dammit only to realise this is 1973. It actually hasn’t aged too badly in that sense. Once you get in that mindset, you don’t notice it.And Pitt is a piece of work. I’m actually kind of surprised my parents thought this appropriate reading material for an eleven year old. I grew to love the character as the books went on so it was a nasty surprise coming back to this book. His treatment of Teri at the beginning honestly took my breath away. A writer these days would be lynched for not only having their hero pull such a stunt but then be proud and defiant of it. And even beyond that, the character is rude, abrasive (and not in a James Bond sort of a way despite what the blurb says) and too cocky for his own good. Even his whole ‘garbage guy’ routine sets my bones all wrong. Not to mention his behaviour when he first meets Von Till. (view spoiler)[ Quite frankly, I’d have set the dog on him too. (hide spoiler)] He just makes it very hard for me to like him. I get the whole ‘rough around the edges’ vibe, and its part of what I love about the character in later books, but in this one it is overdone and leaves a bitter taste.It’s strange for me. Like seeing a side of a long-time friend I wish I hadn’t. More so because I love most of the characters in his work. I think I fell in love with Giordino the moment he first turned up on the page. He’s his usual likeable self, and frankly more likeable than his best bud in this particular caper, with some brilliant quips that raise a smile. Gunn, while not one of my favourite characters, serves his purpose and is an engaging presence.Word of warning, feminists should stay clear of this book. There is only one female character of note and, well, let’s just say she does damsel in distress very well. I think mostly it is the age of the book showing because in later books Cussler has written some brilliant female characters (Summer, Loren for starters) but this is very much in that mentality of ‘women are for saving’ (and cooking). ((And generally being sex objects)). (((Yeah, feminists will not like this novel))).My main gripe with this book, however, is its villain. He feels like he stepped out of a comic book. He is so overblown and overworked. He doesn’t quite get as far as monologuing but I hear maniacal laughter whenever he enters a room. It’s frustrating because ironically, it lessens him as a foe for Pitt.The book struggles too with its writing. This reads like exactly what it is, a first attempt (appropriately also the chosen name of the NUMA vessel in this book). This book would never have been published today. Not in the state it is in. The writing is clumsy and overworked very often, pushing too hard for suspense. This is an author that overuses the much-contentious adverbs and his descriptive work is very… blunt. It’s weird for me because I know how good Cussler’s later work is. It’s like reading a story you wrote in high school and thinking ‘Oh God, I let people read this???’ I wonder what he thinks when he reads it back now.It’s also another ‘all hail America’ books. My dear fellow Brits, be prepared to once again be stereotyped. Quote: “By jove, that’s a bit all right”. Dear America, we do not speak like this. Love England.The last third of the book is much better. The pace picks up, Pitt finally learns how to act like a hero, Giordino gets more page time and everything ties together. The conspiracy and main plot is clever and well thought out, if a little far-fetched but it’ll keep you going with a few surprises along the way.Mayday is not a bad book. It is a throwaway book. It is a silly but engaging 240 pages of easy reading. The prose isn’t so bad as to detract from the basic enjoyment of the story. I’m going to be re-working my way through Cussler’s books. On that scale, this is one of his low points, and frankly, I’d say don’t bother with it. Despite being first published, it’s not actually first chronologically and there is nothing in this book that you can’t discover in some of the others. They call Clive Cussler the “Grandmaster of Adventure” and that is what he did become, but this I am afraid, is not his finest hour.Check out more at ...["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

Molly Jo

Clive Cussler books fall into the category I like to call "Brain Candy": completely entertaining and teaches me something completely new. If you've seen the movie Sahara, then you're already familiar with these characters. I LOVE that movie and was happily surprised to realize it was a book in a very extensive series.Dirk Pitt and Al Giardino work for the National Underwater Marine Agency and have been sidekicks since their much younger days. The interplay and banter between the two is entertaining and captivating. Cussler is the founder of NUMA in real life, so the information provided is accurate and detailed. Growing up on the Gulf Coast, I've always been interested in marine biology and explorations, so I'm extra appreciative of the information given. I'm also the type who soaks up new info like a sponge.The Mediterranean Caper is Cussler's first novel with Dirk and Al. The action starts within the first 3 pages and doesn't stop until the very last. Dirk Pitt books aren't the kind I can read one after the other. I have to be in a certain mood and need a break from angst and/or romance. In that situation, Cussler's action is perfect. This is actually my second Cussler novel to read. The first was Flood Tide, which is right in the middle of the series. I'm starting over from the beginning now!The synopsis up there pretty much sums it up: a plane straight from WWI starts causing all sorts of problems for not only the AFB in Greece, but the NUMA ship anchored offshore looking for an extremely rare fish in the Mediterranean Sea. Dirk and Al save the day when the plane makes it's first attack on the AFB and end up getting in a lot deeper than they planned. There's a beautiful female lead character which adds extra motivation for Dirk. All the elements of a great time!


The Mediterranean Caper is the first Dirk Pitt novel, (although Cussler later wrote a book that takes place before this one). I don’t normally read these kinds of Action/Adventure novels; they just aren’t my kind of thing. Caper was interesting, though. It felt like your standard James Bond/Indiana Jones kind of thing. Dirk Pitt is a senator’s son, graduate of the Air Force Academy, and the special projects director for NUMA (National Underwater and Marine Agency). He is also an arrogant ass-hole who tends to over-play-his hand and luck into solving all of his problems. Caper sees Dirk and his side-kick Al Giordino called to an isolated Greek Island to investigate signs of sabotage on a boat whose crew is searching for an elusive, prehistoric fish known as the “Teaser.” This falls into NUMA’s territory, but isn’t much to plot a story around. So, of course, Dirk stumbles into something well out of his job description, an international smuggling ring ready to ship 130 tons of heroin to the US. Along the way, Clive flirts his way across the island, making enemies and speaking out of his ass. I’m not really sure I can call Dirk a likable character. He’s got a way of one-liners and a virtually unlimited bag of tricks and skills, but he is ridiculously self-absorbed, misogynistic, and indulgent. He is every 1980’s espionage movie’s lead character; he is a dick. He is Dr. House if you switch out the medical skills for more a more militant set of knowledge. He reacts in rash ways and has a strong predisposition to using his fists. That said, Caper kept surprising me with its twists and turns. I never knew where it was going and I enjoyed the constant shifting. Of course everything works out in the end, because this is the first book in a still growing series, but how it ends is just too neat. Pitt pieces together the puzzle in such a ridiculously trite and stereotypical fashion that it felt contrived. He makes many assumptions base on almost no evidence, constantly jumps to conclusions, and picks up pieces of evidence that we aren’t even told about. He is the MacGyver of solving mysteries. There is simply no way that he could have possibly figured this stuff out; it’s simply a game-breakingly unbelievable idea. This too can be chalked up to Dirk’s role as 007 of NUMA. Suspension of disbelief can only get me so far. Caper is exciting and unpredictable, but the ending where everything falls neatly into place and Dirk just lucks into so much stuff put a definite cloud over the whole story.

Giulio Speranza

I started to read Clive cussler's 2 years ago, and now that for christams I got a kindle I started to readthe dirk pitt's story from the real start...The story starts with Pitt e Giordino arraving on the aegian sea e dopo a couple of descriptions already one of the super adventure's of pitt starts, Pitt ia fivhting a WWI airplane wich is distructing all the airplanes on a US air force base.After rhe battle wich is won by the ability in piloting of Pitt and the shooting skills of Giordino they're hoste din the air force bace.During the following night Pitt can't sleep... so he goes to the beach by the AFB where he met a beautiful girl.The girl invites Dirk at dinner for the following evening where her uncle tryes to kill dirk closing him in a labirinth with an huge bad dog.Dirk excapers and is hungry for revenge so he does everything he can to stop the international drug market that the girl's uncle is leading. Dirk finds on the island a DEA agent that is working on the crimal case... in the end like always Dirk wins.

Janne Järvinen

Cussler is definitely a good writer. For an action-packed mass market page turner, this one is a good one. The plot, the pacing, the writing, all are basically four star stuff, even though this is a very early work from Cussler. It is a lot better than the earlier written, but later published, Pacific Vortex.This story, and many of the characters, have a James Bond feel to them. I don't know if this is a conscious tribute by Cussler to Fleming, or was this just the way all books of this genre were written back then?There are a few things that prevent me from giving this book a four star rating. First of all, like any product of its age, this book comes off as horribly sexist. It's also in danger of being read as racist and covertly homosexual. I was able to take most of the anachronisms with a laugh, not a cringe. Actually, I have a feeling that back in the day, this book was probably one of the less racist and sexist.The second problem that bothered me was the ending. The grand finale consisted mostly of exposition by way of monologue, and was thus a bit disappointing.All in all, for it's genre, a good book. And probably a great one when it was fist published.

Benjamin Thomas

This is another series that I haven't read in order but I am now making an effort to go back and fill in some holes. Some say this is the 1st Dirk Pitt novel, (and I believe it was the first one published - 1973) while others say it's the second. Regardless, it is an early version of Dirk Pitt that is quite a bit rougher around the edges than the one I know better from later books in the series. There was even one early scene where Dirk's actions rather turned me off (even given the time period when it was written) and if I hadn't already read later books in the series I might never return to them.The plot was OK but also a bit contrived. It was like watching a movie-of-the week in the 1970s. Lots of action followed by the big reveal so that we readers understand what was really happening all along. It wasn't a horrible book but I am gratified to know that the series gets better as it goes along.


I am starting from the very first Dirk Pitt book - at least by most of the book sites that I can see - and after my first Dirk Pitt novel being Sahara - this Dirk Pitt is a much rougher, rowdier, and vulgar person - given to fly off at the handle and to tirades that go on for pages. I can only assume that since this is the first, from what I can tell, rendition of this character by Clive Cussler that the character was still rough and got more refined over time. It could also be that he was an indicator of the times that the book was written in - which as in the 1970's I think. Because this is not the swave - but tough - Dirk Pitt that I really enjoyed in Saharah and some of the later books. Mr. Cussler, though, still shows an unerring talent for describing details, especially military or marine ones, with a very fine pen. But he doesn't overdo it and nothing subtracts from the story - only moves if forwards and gives it more provenance and character. Ruddy Gun and Giordino are "introduced" to us here, along with Sandecker - and those characters seem more like how they appear in later books - perhaps because the spotlight isn't on them the whole time and seeing them in the corners or in the shadow of the main character you are not drawn to obvious differences. Giordino, probably because he is also in most of the book with Pitt, also seems like a first draft - though his character is more familiar to me. He is more of a side-kick here - to support Pitt and show his faults and strengths. In later books he more clearly finds his own place as an equal actor in the plot, rather than support. Overall I enjoyed the plot very much and enjoyed reading an early version of Pitt and Giordino - everything moved quickly - as is his style. This early one doesn't go through as many gyrations as his later one does and the explanation seems a bit rushed at the end - rather than finding out bits and pieces as you move on. The writing style, more than anything, keeps me tied to reading his books - very descriptive - each detail lovingly treated and given respect rather than as if it was a passing glance. I look forward to following the series and seeing how Dirk Pitt's character evolves from this rather rough - flip out at the littlest thing - punching everyone - to something more refined and more pleasant to read about.


I really enjoyed this book. Personally Im not a big war or mystery reader, however this book really got to me. I like the flow of the book and the way it was written. How the main character seemed to always be one step ahead but the reader never saw it until it was sprung upon them. Usually books allow for an easy guess at what will happen and how it comes out, but instead in this book I couldn't guess on what was happening, or how the end might turn out. Also it was an interesting story line, and that had a lot of foreign and interesting themes. In the end I though the author did an excellent job creating and interesting and complex story line and character that were fun and intriguing to follow throughout the story because of the interactions throughout the book.

Adam Boudreau

This is the first Clive Cussler novel published for the Dirk Pitt universe. I wish I could say that this novel stood the test of time, but it really does not. This is actually the second Dirk Pitt novel I've ever read and prior to this I've read "Pacific Vortex", which was a long unpublished first book which Cussler wasn't really interested in every publishing until overwhelming demand from fans asked for it. Between "The Mediterranean Caper" and the "Pacific Vortex" I can understand why Cussler was hesitant to ever publish that first Dirk Pitt book. "The Mediterranean Caper" is an all around better book, but, it is, horribly dated. As a result, I feel like I have quite a bit to say about this book that is both good and bad.First off, Dirk Pitt is a character designed to fit an action adventure mold. It's interesting to see that he pre-dates the worlds beloved Indiana Jones and I feel like I see some influence with the Indy character taken from the realms of Dirk Pitt. However, the blending and writing of Indy's character made him quite likeable, Dirk Pitt is just a jerk in this novel. So, why did I keep reading? Well, I feel that Cussler was attempting to write a likeable character, one that enjoys life and the adventure of it, but the amateur nature of the writing made it difficult to convey this idea. Dirk Pitt seems like an attempt to blend the action elements of James Bond with the sleuth and intellectual elements of Sherlock Holmes. In fact, Sherlock Holmes gets referenced in this book, so I'm hardly surprised I felt an attempt to blend in that character. Dirk Pitt's character flaws aside, his general background feels fairly shoddy at times. On the one hand he seems to relish reading, research, and studying one moment, then makes fun of the "egghead" scientists for being bookish people. Then he also makes fun of others for not knowing some of the more obscure historical information he knows. I think Cussler was trying to make Dirk sound witty and fun, but that's not how it comes off. He comes off as an uncooperative arrogant jerk. To make matters worse, every time Dirk is asked a question he responds with some type of sarcasm of cynicism. This just got annoying after a while. Its not witty and its not fun. It just sounds stupid after a while and you wonder if Dirk is ever actually able to answer any questions. I realize this is a first book, but I really do hope Pitt's character gets smoothed out over time.I feel like Cussler had an idea in his head of the types of characters he wanted to blend, but actually executing that wound up being rather difficult. He clearly wanted a James Bond action vibe with those sort of Super Villain connotations you get from Bond stories, but he also wanted things to be a bit more realistic and generate really fascinating mysteries as we read in Sherlock Holmes. To top it off, I feel that he really wanted to create the team-up that we got with Holmes and Watson. This is an idea I love, since the trope of one man against the world is overused quite a bit. This also sets up the fun loving banter you'd expect from long time friends and in these situations the witty or sarcastic replies are funny, but the fact that Pitt does them with everyone is cumbersome.In attempting to blend these two types of characters together, we've been given an ending that feels way overdone. (view spoiler)[Cussler attempts to craft an ending that satisfies in both the Holmes and Bond classic ending. He blends the villain "tell all" ending, with the well crafted explanation of Holmes, which might be harder to make work than it seems. In crafting the mystery certain realizations to Pitt are left out, but become clear at the very end, which is a classic Holmes style in mystery solving. So, when we get to the end for the big reveal Pitt does a solid portion of the explaining. Unfortunately, he's stuck in the classic Bond situation where he is captured by the villain of the story. Holmes never really does this explanation until the villain is in custody, or privately to Watson. It is in the Bond style that the villain usually reveals his plot to the hero, but with Pitt, we have the other way around. (hide spoiler)] I don't know... that kind of blend for an ending just didn't feel convincing in the end.The things I really like about Dirk Pitt is the interest in history and crafting some sort of alternate adventure out of what is historically known. This isn't too new, but its something that Indiana Jones really went after when writing those movies and stories. If Cussler can just harness Pitt as a more likeable and realistic human being these stories could really go a long way. I won't stop at this first novel, because I do want to see if the character grows better over time.The other really unfortunate piece of this novel is how poorly written the single woman is in this book. I realize this is the 70's, but lets face it, sexism is pretty hard to stomach in 2014 for me. Thankfully, her character is not an integral part of this book, nor does she show up that often, because I just find myself embarrassed for reading something this horrible at times. For example, (view spoiler)[when Pitt finds himself on a beach and is approached by a strange women, they get to talking. She starts telling him about her life and how her husband had died years ago and she is still sad about it. This is his response to that situation: "He reached over and gave her a hard backhand slap across the face......Why did you strike me?" she gasped.'Because you needed it, needed it badly,' he snapped. "That torch you carry around is as worn out as overcoat. I'm surprised someone hasn't taken you over a knee and spanked it off. So your husband was dashing,. So what? He's dead and buried, and mourning over him for all these years won't resurrect him from the grave. Lock away his memory somewhere and forget him. You're a beautiful woman - you don't belong chained to a coffin full of bones. You belong to every man who turns and admires you as you pass by and who longs to possess you.' Pitt could see his words were penetrating her weak defenses. 'Now you think about it. It's your life. Don't throw it away and play 'Camille' until you're withered and gray.'"What was the end result of this? They had sex on the beach! This happens by page 40, and it really had me worried about what this book would be like. Luckily that was the only sex had in the book and the rest was focused on the adventure. Not that I'm against sex in novels... but this kind of demoralizing approach to it is just sickening at best. (hide spoiler)] The way she is written is almost as if Cussler really missed the point of the sexual revolution. Rather than considering that in the context of social and civil rights, he seems to have interpreted it as women really want to have sex with lots of men and its up to the men to take them. I mean, later in the novel she shows up only wearing a negligee for a large portion of the book, running around on the boat full of scientists, because that is literally all she has to wear. Its almost infuriating to read at times. I can stomach a lot of Pitt's jerkiness, but it is tough to deal with the womanizing of the 70's. I truly hope Pitt becomes a more modern hero in the future...["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>


Well this is the first published Dirk Pitt book, but the second one written by Clive Cussler. This also happens to be the first book of his I've read. There are a lot of synopses of this to read so, I won't get into that here.It was an okay book. It's a basic adventure/mystery story with remnants of classic pulp fiction style. The story line was fairly predictable and the characters two dimensional. I gave it three stars instead of two, because the pulp factor was fun and at times funny. Although, I'm sure Clive didn't intend it to be funny. I'm willing to cut him a little slack, because this is his first published novel of the Dirk Pitt series. I'll read more, just so I can see if his style changes over the years.


The Mediterranean Caper is the 2nd book in the Dirk Pitt series. The book revolves around a major in the US Air Force, Dirk Pitt, who travels the world with his side-kick, Al Giordino, assisting the National Underwater Marine Agency ( NUMA). The first scene is set in Greece, where a WWI plane attacks the main American base and destroys the planes. Dirk, in the process of flying to the base, appears to stop the plane from inflicting any more damage. However, Dirk must now discover the reason for this attack as well as stop a criminal mastermind dating back to the German Nazi’s. I have to say that if this book was the 1st I’d read of Clive Cussler I wouldn’t have bothered with his other books. As the series have progressed Cussler has refined his writing and characters. While I liked the story, I found Pitt’s character extremely sexist and chauvinistic. Dirk actually slaps the lead female character because she has been mourning over the death of her husband. This apparently solves her grief issues instantaneously, and she then proceeds to bend over backwards to sleep with him. I mean how masochistic is that? Besides Cussler’s dismissive attitude towards women, which is highly offensive, the plot was agreeable and was well researched. If it wasn’t for knowledge that future books have less of this sexist attitude towards women I wouldn’t have bothered reading his other books.

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