Review

The Sea Hunters Ii

by Clive Cussler



Several years ago I picked up a copy of THE SEA HUNTERS by Clive
Cussler. Although I had enjoyed nearly a dozen of his Dirk Pitt
novels, a book about the true adventures of the real NUMA team
sounded interesting. Interesting didn't begin to describe it. By
the time I'd finished reading, the book was a bestseller and I was
a lifelong fan. I began tapping into his NUMA website
(www.numa.net) on a regular basis to see what new projects were
afoot and what discoveries had been made. Last spring, I was lucky
enough to interview Cussler on the release of his latest Dirk Pitt
novel VALHALLA RISING and was rewarded with even more information
about his research into maritime history. It's this history that
forms the basis for both his fictional stories and real life
expeditions and his dedication to contributing to that body of
historical knowledge is admirable. In THE SEA HUNTERS II, Cussler's
avid interest and unselfish pursuit is simply defined: if it's
lost, he wants to find it.

THE SEA HUNTERS II, like its predecessor, contains not only
accounts of the various expeditions undertaken by Cussler's
National Underwater Marine Agency but also gives readers a
historical recreation of the events that took place at each fateful
site. Utilizing the archives of governmental agencies both here and
abroad, as well as available eyewitness accounts and personal
records, Cussler engages the reader with reenactments that set the
stage for his narration of each NUMA discovery. The first five
sections of the book concentrate on NUMA's exploration of Civil War
wreckage, focusing on the copious naval battles that took place
over control of the Mississippi River and the eventual siege of
Charleston. Cussler's professed love of southern history and the
ships that played a part in it is evident as the tales of heroism
and tragedy unfold upon the waters of the mighty Mississippi. Other
chapters of THE SEA HUNTERS II recount the international exploits
of Cussler and his fellow researchers in the far corners of the
world from the warm Caribbean waters surrounding Haiti to the
treacherous shores of South Africa and the tumultuous seas of the
northern Atlantic.

One of the most fascinating stories is the mystery surrounding the
Mary Celeste, a "ghost" ship whose crew disappeared without a trace
and spawned a legend that has tantalized maritime enthusiasts for
decades. While much of the tale is speculation, NUMA was finally
successful in pinpointing the resting place of this fabled ship.
Another mystery that still remains unresolved is the disappearance
of the plane and the pilots who attempted the first transatlantic
crossing from Paris to New York. NUMA's research uncovered
convincing evidence that The White Bird actually achieved the first
nonstop crossing --- prior to Lindbergh and his Spirit of St. Louis
--- they just didn't make it all the way down the coast to New
York. Their crash site remains undiscovered in the boggy wilds of
Maine, but the story of NUMA's attempts to locate it while sorting
through the fuzzy first-hand recollections and baffling psychic
revelations make for great reading.

Perhaps the most famous and heavily exploited maritime tragedy was
the sinking of the ocean liner Titanic in 1912. The Carpathia, the
ship that attempted to rescue Titanic survivors, is featured
prominently in all accounts of that fateful night but, beyond that,
she sailed out of the picture never to be heard from again.
Cussler, of course, was not content to leave Carpathia as a
footnote in Titanic's history, thus the further adventures of
Carpathia and her final demise by a German U-boat become a chapter
of NUMA's history as well.

With the release of THE SEA HUNTERS II just before the holidays,
this reviewer hopes many of you will find a copy in your stocking
Christmas morning. It's 400 plus pages are a masterful blend of
history, adventure and humor --- enlightening and entertaining ---
as Cussler intended. His lifelong mission has been to leave the
world more enriched than he found it and perhaps to inspire us all
to follow a similar path in our own way. "Each day is future
history. So don't step lightly. The trick is to leave tracks that
can be followed."

Reviewed by Ann Bruns (BkPageWC@aol.com) on January 23, 2011

The Sea Hunters Ii
by Clive Cussler

  • Publication Date: December 2, 2002
  • Genres: Nonfiction
  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Adult
  • ISBN-10: 0399149252
  • ISBN-13: 9780399149252