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The Mediterranean Caper

(Dirk Pitt #1)

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  17,974 ratings  ·  647 reviews
Dirk Pitt rides a tidal wave of intrigue in this classic Cussler.

On an isolated Greek island, a World War I fighter plane attacks a modern U.S. Air Force base--a mysterious saboteur preys on an American scientific expedition--and Dirk Pitt plays a deadly game of hunter and hunted with the elusive head of an international smuggling ring.

Mass Market Paperback, 391 pages
Published April 6th 2004 by G.P. Putnam's Sons (first published January 1973)
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Average rating 3.78  · 
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 ·  17,974 ratings  ·  647 reviews

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Edward Lorn
Dec 17, 2015 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Donald Trump supporters
Recommended to Edward by: A lapse in judgment
Fuck this book with a spiked baseball bat soaked in concentrated lime juice.

Our hero Dirk Pitt slaps a crying woman because she's still sad over the death of her husband. He then proceeds to tell this thirty-year-old woman that someone should have bent her over their knee and spanked the grief out of her long ago. And then they have sex.

To recap the order of events:

Slaps her.

Says she deserves to be treated like a child.

Fucks her.

All this within six minutes of meeting this woman.

34 pages in
This was my first foray into this adventure kind of novel. At least I think that's what it was. It was ok, but pretty mindless entertainment. I feel like I just ate an entire bag of chips or something completely empty of nutritional value.

It had its exciting, action-filled moments, but the characters... I had some problems with their lack of depth and the outright sexism really bothered me. I suppose I've been lucky not to read anything before that this blatantly objectifies females, and even
Rebecca McNutt
Nov 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, thriller, action
A flashy, invigorating and imaginative thriller, The Mediterranean Caper is an incredible, vivid story with great characters and a totally unique plot.
A cover blurb on another Dirk Pitt novel compares the hero of Clive Cussler's novels to James Bond. The comparison is an apt one, especially when it comes to the first two novels in the series The The Mediterranean Caper Dirk Pitt 2 and Iceberg Dirk Pitt 3.

In the same way that Fleming used Bond as a way to comment on the ways in which masculinity could and should be defined, Cussler defines what is masculine through the opinions, actions and attitudes of one Dirk Pitt. For example, in Caper,
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 ...more
Maxi Bransdale
Jun 09, 2014 rated it it was ok
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 ...more
Bob O'G
Sep 28, 2014 rated it did not like it
I am openly admitting that I am violating some rule by reviewing this book because I did not finish it. I read 150 pages of this nonsense before giving up. I purchased it because Clive Cussler is on every bookshelf of every book retailer in the country and I guess I was curious. Here's a few reasons why I could not stand this drivel. This book contains a recurring character in Cussler's work named Dirk Pitt, which is a name so contrived I can't believe a human being let it escape his thought ...more
Roopkumar Balachandran
Feb 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adventure
NUMA undertakes an expedition in Mediterranean sea in search for a fish which could link to the evolution of mammals and also believed to be an extinct species 200 hundred millions year ago. The expedition was sabotaged, our hero Dirk Pitt is sent to investigate. A World War I biplane attacks the nearby Brady airfield, Pitt cleverly completes the puzzle thrown by his adversary through his wit and dare devilry.

A lot of unexpected twist in the story, three characters one is Bruno von Till who is
May 18, 2014 rated it did not like it
I did not read this entire book. I wanted to like it because I love the concept of Dirk Pitt, but I can't get past his view of women.

As early as page 27 of the book, Dirk gets angry because a woman has had the audacity to still be in mourning over a husband that died 9 years previously. For this crime, he slaps her. When she asks him why he hit her, he responds with the following:

"Because you needed it, needed it badly," he snapped. "That torch you carry around is as worn out as an overcoat.
Jane Stewart
2 stars. Not for me, but it might be good for teen boys and adults in that kind of mood.

A group of scientists are looking for a fish that may exist in the Mediterranean Sea. They thought it was extinct. Someone is sabotaging things. Dirk Pitt is assigned to help them. Some bad guys are nearby doing bad things.

I enjoyed the Lee Child books about Jack Reacher, and I thought this author might be similar. Although I’ve compared Jack to a comic book hero, I find Dirk
Jorgen Schäfer
Feb 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adventure
Clive Cussler’s The Mediterranean Caper starts out just as Major Dirk Pitt arrives on an island near Greece to investigate a series of mishaps on a science vessel looking for a rare fish. The arrival coincides with the attack of an old World War I war plane attacking an US Air Force air field. Dirk Pitt can drive the old war plane off with his own non-combat plane, but is now drawn into a strange fight seemingly about fish.

The second book in the Dirk Pitt series keeps up the story of the James
Leah Murphy
This was my 2nd Dirk Pitt book (Dragon was my first) that I picked up after realizing that the BF owned enough of the series that I could read it in some semblance of order. Though I know it doesn't make a huge deal of difference with these novels, I still did find it more enjoyable to start at least close to the "beginning".

These are a mix of what I like to call my "Guilty Pleasures" and something more substantial, as even though they are easy reads, they have enough accurate and new
Apr 17, 2009 rated it it was ok
Don't waste your time reading this one. The plot is fine, typical beach reading, but... There's fine line between machismo and misogynistic kak, and this particular book crosses it. It's the difference between a dog pissing to mark his territory, and a dog pissing on you to mark his territory. I like Cussler's stuff, but if I'd started with this one I would have developed a permanent sour opinion for him. Thank God it dawned on him that women can read too, and changed a few things later in the ...more
Oct 17, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adventure, 2018-reads
A lazy Sunday afternoon at a U.S Air Force base on a quiet Greek island is shattered when a WWI-era German fighter attacks and then finds itself in a dogfight with a WWII-era seaplane. The Mediterranean Caper by Clive Cussler was the first published book featuring Dirk Pitt and started off a four decade long series of books that sold millions of books and multiple times on the bestseller list.

Dirk Pitt and his best friend Al Giordino, heading to the Greek island of Thasos on a special assignment
Mark Harrison
Dec 24, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Second Dirk Pitt and same old story. Baddie with underwater secret hideaway and a hero who slaps women and thinks that is cool. I am told that the early books lead to a great series. Not convinced yet.
Jim Thomsen
Jul 13, 2010 rated it liked it
The first six Dirk Pitt books filled some lonely hours for me between the ages of 14 and 16, when I was in a Christian boarding school and bored out of my mind for long stretches at a time. They were fast, fun and forgettable, well-suited to whiling away long nights and eternal weekends.

I picked them up again for the first time in nearly 30 years, wondering if they still held up for me. The answer is "no," but is that because my reading tastes have evolved in my mid-forties, or is it because
Molly Jo
Nov 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2009-books
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
Barbara ★
Damn I just love Dirk Pitt! He's not a hottie, heck according to Cussler, he's not even handsome; regardless, he always gets the girl. He's just like MacGiver, from that old TV show. Give him a toothpick and a high heeled shoe and he can get out of any death-defying scrape imaginable. Dirk is quick on his feet and even though he always gets caught, his unconventional tactics will amaze you. This time he and Al Gordino are sent in to Greece to help one of NUMA's research vessels that have been ...more
Sam Hacker
Jan 19, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
I'm glad I started with Sahara rather than this one
Dec 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An early Pitt adventure, fun for the most part!
Jul 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Read in 2018.

Sometimes, the sucess of a book or series is a mistake. The result of clever marketing or even dumb luck. In 2018, it would be easy to point a finger at the formula laden, ghost written book shelf that belongs to Clive Cussler and guess that he might be such an author. But go back to 1973. Go back to this book (or Pacific Vortex, which was written even earlier)...

The success of Clive Cussler and Dirk Pitt is not a mistake. Even this book, that most fans admit is one of the weaker
Mike Crate
Mar 26, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: action-adventure
I originally read The Mediterranean Caper under the title Mayday and to be honest the word Caper should not be used in anything but a spoof, of course many would say the adventures of Dirk Pitt are firmly tongue in cheek:)
In this novel Dirk and Al come to the rescue of a US Airforce base under attack from what looks like a WW1 biplane, after fending off the attack with their own PBY they find themselves knee deep in a smuggling operation that has been ongoing for decades. Caught between the US
Mar 22, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
I remember reading a Dirk Pitt book in high school, though, which one escapes my memory. I've had this one lying around from my father for quite a while and I was in the mood for something different - both in genre and time frame.

And I can safely say that time has passed Dirk Pitt. While it can be entertaining to read about an alpha male James Bond wannabe, who always says the 'right thing' to women, Pitt instead comes off as uncharismatic, chauvanistic alcoholic.

The story itself is straight
Jul 08, 2018 rated it liked it
Ok, I’ve been reading Cussler on and off since the mid 90s, but never his early stuff. This book was published in 1972, so I’m going to attribute its general sexism to that. I’ve heard Pitt referred to by other readers as the “James Bond of the USA”. At one point the main character even introduces himself as Pitt, Dirk Pitt...ugh! But my lame teenage heart is going to guiltily be entertained by the swashbuckling (yeah, I said it) antics of Dirk and his sidekick Al. There’s no accounting for ...more
Jay Gabler
Jan 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Somehow, Cussler’s idea that we should have a nautical American James Bond is so crazy that it just works.
Kristen Lesperance
I really enjoyed Deep Fathom, but this book I found so boring. I thought the way that Teri is written in and how he acts towards her in the start is pretty funny, but the storyline just couldn't keep me interested.
Feb 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book.

Great book loved the plot. It kept my attention through out the book and had many humorous situations. The villains were creative.
Eli Hornyak
Aug 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not as good as Pacific Vortex but I still highly enjoyed it, can't wait to read more in the Dirk Pitt Series
Claire Y
Nov 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
If you liked the movie Sahara, you'll enjoy the book series even more. Love the two major characters -- Dirk Pitt, and Al Giordino.
Bhavik Kalpesh
Sep 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A perfect book for those who love adventures, in a dangerous way. And the ones who love about ocean and the machines running on water should read this book.

A good climax..... The book is somewhat predictable at some points, but it does not have a great effect overall.
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Stora Läs Bok Vän...: April 2015 :: The Mediterranean Caper 5 7 Apr 21, 2015 10:35PM  

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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)
  • Iceberg (Dirk Pitt, #3)
  • Raise the Titanic! (Dirk Pitt, #4)
  • Vixen 03 (Dirk Pitt, #5)
  • Night Probe! (Dirk Pitt, #6)
  • Pacific Vortex! (Dirk Pitt, #1)
  • Deep Six (Dirk Pitt, #7)
  • Cyclops (Dirk Pitt, #8)
  • Treasure (Dirk Pitt, #9)
  • Dragon (Dirk Pitt, #10)
  • Sahara (Dirk Pitt, #11)