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Pacific Vortex!

(Dirk Pitt #1)

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  20,617 ratings  ·  722 reviews
Dirk Pitt, death-defying adventurer and deep-sea expert, is out to the ultimate test as he plunges into the perilous waters of the Pacific Vortex -- a fog-shrouded sea zone where dozens of ships have vanished without a trace. The latest victim is the awesome superb Starbuck, America's deep-diving nuclear arsenal. Its loss poses an unthinkable threat to national defense. Pi ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 270 pages
Published January 1st 1983 by Bantam (first published January 1st 1972)
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Average rating 3.79  · 
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 ·  20,617 ratings  ·  722 reviews

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Great escapism, more thoughts to follow

Although this wasn't the first Dirk Pitt novel released, it was the first written and is the first in the series "adventure wise". Having read a number of Dirk Pitt novels, I know they get better than this, but that said this was a good escapist novel, and is a great introduction to Dirk and his colleagues.

Relaxing on a Hawaiian beach, Dirk spots a emergency capsule floating out at sea. It turns out to be from the US Navy's latest submarine that went missin
When I was a teenager, I loved the Dirk Pitt adventure stories. But once I went to college, got married, had kids, etc., I lost track of many series that I enjoyed. Now that I'm older and have more time for reading, I'm going back and revisiting many authors and series that I missed. I've read two James Bond books this year so far....and those stories reminded me of Dirk Pitt. Dirk Pitt is like James Bond...or what 007 would be if he was into underwater exploration and salvage missions.

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)
Jan 09, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: fans of 80s era action/adventure novels, nautical fiction
Recommended to Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books) by: Action/Adventure Aficionados Group Read
In the foreword, Clive Cussler mentioned that he created Dirk Pitt to be a character in the vein of James Bond, and he certainly brings that to mind. Not in the most flattering way for me though. He reminds of the aspects of the Bond films from the 60s-80s I did not like. The casual disregard for women (their relevance mainly relegated to their use as pawns or sex objects), with a little bit of violence thrown in. Before anyone gets angry, you know what they say about opinions. This is mine. I j ...more
Marius van Blerck
Mar 17, 2011 rated it did not like it
I've seldom read a book as bad as this. Vraggies. (That's Afrikaans for Truly). Mr Cussler clearly believes in the mystical power of adjectives. His maxim: why lay it on with a trowel when there's a bloody shovel handy? I love mixing my exploration of classics and more serious works with a rich sprinkling of thrillers and detective stories, but they must be well-written, as (fortunately) most are. This one fails the test. Badly. Cussler makes Dan Brown seem like Dostoevsky. 'Nuff said. ...more
Jesse A
Mar 03, 2017 rated it liked it
This book is a mix of author fantasy fulfillment and James Bond. While that can make an entertaining book it can also stretch the limits of believability. Decently fun.
Feb 04, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
About 30 years ago, a Clive Cussler hardcover was in a bargain bin at Safeway. Not of peak interest, I shelved it. Eventually, I looked his series up, obtained this first volume recently, and am happy I tried it! The result is that I am impressed! How frustrating that, in my towering piles of his hardcovers and paperbacks.... I do not have “The Mediterranean Caper” to follow this! Fortunately, used copies of his books are everywhere.

Pacific Vortex!” was published in 1983 but introduced Dirk Pit
Aug 15, 2013 rated it did not like it
If I could, I'd give this book zero stars. DO NOT waste your time. The writing is so so so so bad. It's bad enough that Clive Cussler appears to be both racist and wildly sexist based on use of ridiculous and offensive stereotypes, and horrible objectification of women. It's quite unbelievable, even given the fact that he was writing in the 80s. Add to that the fact that the writing is laughably awful: tortured metaphors, saturation of over-the-top adjectives, inconsistent characterizations, and ...more
Greg Strandberg
Jun 13, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-thriller
This book sucks. I'm sorry, it does. Even Cussler says in the beginning notes that he never really intended for it to get published.

But if he did that he'd get a shiny new car, so...yeah, I read it, and it wasn't that good. Do I regret it? No, I've moved on. I'm fine with it. It doesn't bother me.

Now where's a pillow I can scream into? Seriously, though, this book is best skipped, unless you're a hardcore fan. I'd start with the Mediterranean Caper and move on from there.
Jul 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book really shows the pulp roots of the Dirk Pitt series. It's pretty much a rewriting of an old Doc Savage novel, The Sargasso Ogre.

A nuclear submarine disappears near an area of the ocean where many boats and even planes go missing. Dirk Pitt starts to investigate and finds an underwater base and a femme fatale.

Pretty good. you can see why the series caught on.
Scott Rhee
I will read any book that has the audacity to include an exclamation mark in its title, and Clive Cussler has written several with that distinction.

“Pacific Vortex!” was, apparently, Cussler’s first novel he ever wrote featuring his hero Dirk Pitt, but it was the sixth book published. Cussler himself considers it one of his less-stellar works, referring to it as “a few hours of entertainment and, perhaps, even a historic artifact of sorts” in his foreword.

Having read several of the other Dirk P
Barbara ★
Jul 10, 2009 rated it liked it
The Pacific Vortex an area in the pacific ocean very similar to the Bermuda Triangle. 38 ships have disappeared completely off the radar in 30 years. When a US nuclear submarine is 38, Dirk Pitt gets involved in the mystery.

The mystery itself is fascinating. The adventures of recovering the submarine by the US Navy and Drk are amazing. The storyline is not up to Cussler's usual twisty turny plot scenarios but well written except for the romance of Dirk and Summer. He first meets her when she tr
Sep 05, 2013 rated it did not like it
Removed; this review was for The Mediterranean Caper.
Patrick Read
May 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Clive Cussler's "Pacific Vortex" is a literary masterpiece. It is a fictional story telling about a seemingly average man who has a more than average adventure. Due to the constant adventure and many entertaining aspects of this book, it felt necessary to give this book the high ranking of 5 stars.
This book was an easy read for me. Highly recommend audio, an added plus--outstanding narration and narrator.
Jorgen Schäfer
Feb 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adventure
Clive Cussler’s Pacific Vortex tells the tale of a strange area in the pacific where ships get lost. The latest victim is a experimental US navy submarine. When Dirk Pitt finds a message buoy from the submarine, he’s drawn into a mystery hidden below the surface of the sea.

The book starts out with an explanation by Clive Cussler that it’s the first adventure of Dirk Pitt, but he hadn’t released it until later because he did not quite like the quality. Knowing that and not expecting too much, the
May 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting first Dirk Pitt book and pretty darn good for a book that the author didn't plan to publish. A few chapters into this book, Dirk was on a disguised navy salvage ship headed for the Pacific Vortex where a nuclear sub Starbuck went missing. And years later we have The Oregon series. 3.5 stars ...more
Sep 05, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adventure, 2018-reads
A mysterious area at sea just off the coast of paradise, a missing advanced Navy submarine, and a dashing Air Force pilot that loves the sea and women just seems like adventure. Pacific Vortex! by Clive Cussler was the sixth Dirk Pitt book published, but was the first story written by Cussler featuring Pitt that he finally relented in having published and as all the classic elements that signify a book in the series.

A new advanced Navy submarine is taking its shakedown cruise when its commander
Apr 27, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: adventure, fiction
Pacific Vortex! is the first book in Clive Cussler's Dirk Pitt adventure series. I've previously enjoyed the first three books in his Isaac Bell mystery / adventure series and I've wanted to try his other series for a while now. I've purchased the first book in each of his other series.

So to start off with, before you take on this book, suspend disbelief. Very important. It's a far-fetched, full-on adventure. Dirk Pitt works for NUMA, the National Underwater and Marine Agency. He's a rebel, str
Nov 26, 2007 rated it liked it
There should be a literary subgenre composed entirely of books with excalamation points in the title. In the last month I've read both Submarine! and Pacific Vortex! It's hard to resist an author who's that excited about his book. Would you rather read The Brothers Karamzov or HOLY CRAP! IT'S THE F'ING BROTHERS KARAMAZOV!? See?

I picked up this, the first Dirk Pitt adventure, after reading Shadow Divers. I find shipwrecks really fascinating, so I was looking forward to a nice pulpy novel about de
Aug 29, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
Highly reminiscent of a Sean Connery James Bond film. You got your man's man, you got your fancy car, and you got your sultry female co-stars. Throw it in a oceanic setting and bam you've got Dirk Pitt. The novel itself was a decent way to spend a few hours. Some of the style is pretty dated including your average dose of misogyny prevalent in these kind of adventures from that era but other than that it was just popcorn. ...more
Ruth Fanshaw
Jun 03, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who like their heroes melodramatic, misogynistic and whiny
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Fahadullah Arqam Ahmad
May 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Jaw dropping and attention gripping voyage...
now i can think of unending series of reasons behind the Bermuda triangle...
Kathy Doll
i could not finish this. so much disrespect towards women and misogeny, but i guess a sign of the times when it was written - early 80's. ...more
Jane Stewart
Weak 3 stars. Too much like an action-adventure movie. Might be good for teen boys or adults in that kind of mood.

Dirk was a major in the military and can fly planes. Currently he does special projects for an underwater marine agency. For thirty years, ships disappeared in an area called the Pacific Vortex, north of Hawaii. Recently a nuclear submarine named Starbuck disappeared there. Dirk sees a yellow canister floating in the ocean. He grabs it and takes it to Navy headquarters. I
Technically this is the first Dirk Pitt book of the series, even though it wasn't published till 1983, after many other books. Being entirely new to the series though, I wanted to start chronologically in terms of reading order.

You can definitely tell this is a book by a male author written for men. Female characters are only there to act as a sexual partner for the male. Hence they must be beautiful and also irrational. And there are some very typically chauvinistic quotes like this one:

He'd h
Timothy Hicks
Jan 24, 2016 rated it liked it
On my first experience reading the Dirk Pitt adventure series, I read Arctic Drift, where I made the comment that the Dirk Pitt protagonist is like Jack Reacher for the oceanographers and environmentalists.

But digging into another adventure novel, Pacific Vortex, I think a better comparison would be that Dirk Pitt is like the oceanic Indiana Jones, where legends resurface and are investigated (though I don't recall Dirk ever yelling out, "This belongs in a museum!" - oh well, guess you can't hav
Jun 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My dad and brother-in-law have been recommending Clive Cussler to me for years, and when I discovered that one of my favourite films ‘Sahara’ was based on a Dirk Pitt novel, Cussler moved right up my tbr list. I had to start with the first Dirk Pitt because I’m a read in order kinda gal, and I loved it!
I really liked that Dirk and Al read very similarly to their characters in the film, that was a relief as I love those guys! It was fast-paced, exciting, and surprisingly educational! I’m starting
Michael Adamchuk
Dirk's first adventure. Once i read the first, i couldn't wait for the next one. In this story, the 'Starbuck' a US nuclear sub sinks under strange circumstances. Dirk and company are charged with recovering the cargo before there is an explosion. the 'Pacific Vortex' is a dangerous boating and diving area, over 30 vessels have sunk in the area. Nothing is ever easy, besides the treacherous water, someone is out to try to stop them. ...more
Mar 02, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The first Dirk Pitt adventure!

Even though Cussler wrote this first, it was published after the first five books had already been released. I guess you can appreciate it as a pilot episode, though I do tend to agree with the author that this isn't he's best work and should mainly be treated as a story to start for completionist.
Oct 06, 2019 rated it did not like it
Didn't even finish. This was creepy as. A very poor man's Jackie Collins for men.

The descriptions were gross and seedy. Dirk was a sleaze.... He is clearly meant to be the 'ideal man', someone men aspire to be, but I tell you what, he is a Class A dick.

This book infuriates me. It was chosen for book group and by a woman also. I just cannot.
Dec 12, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dirk Pitts' first adventure, was my first Pitt novel in 30 years also. I just hadn't read the first one yet. Our hero who manages to get out of tight spots, and always a beautiful lady, not too far away....was the same in his first adventure. Entertaining quick read. ...more
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Cussler began writing novels in 1965 and published his first work featuring his continuous series hero, Dirk Pitt, in 1973. His first non-fiction, The Sea Hunters, was released in 1996. The Board of Governors of the Maritime College, State University of New York, considered The Sea Hunters in lieu of a Ph.D. thesis and awarded Cussler a Doctor of Letters degree in May, 1997. It was the first time ...more

Other books in the series

Dirk Pitt (1 - 10 of 25 books)
  • The Mediterranean Caper (Dirk Pitt, #2)
  • Iceberg (Dirk Pitt, #3)
  • Raise the Titanic! (Dirk Pitt, #4)
  • Vixen 03 (Dirk Pitt, #5)
  • Night Probe! (Dirk Pitt, #6)
  • Deep Six (Dirk Pitt, #7)
  • Cyclops (Dirk Pitt, #8)
  • Treasure (Dirk Pitt, #9)
  • Dragon (Dirk Pitt, #10)
  • Sahara (Dirk Pitt, #11)

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