Odessa sea, p.1
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       Odessa Sea, p.1

           Clive Cussler
Odessa Sea



  Havana Storm (with Dirk Cussler)

  Poseidon’s Arrow (with Dirk Cussler)

  Crescent Dawn (with Dirk Cussler)

  Arctic Drift (with Dirk Cussler)

  Treasure of Khan (with Dirk Cussler)

  Black Wind (with Dirk Cussler)

  Trojan Odyssey

  Valhalla Rising

  Atlantis Found

  Flood Tide

  Shock Wave

  Inca Gold





  Deep Six

  Pacific Vortex!

  Night Probe!

  Vixen 03

  Raise the Titanic!


  The Mediterranean Caper


  Pirate (with Robin Burcell)

  The Solomon Curse (with Russell Blake)

  The Eye of Heaven (with Russell Blake)

  The Mayan Secrets (with Thomas Perry)

  The Tombs (with Thomas Perry)

  The Kingdom (with Grant Blackwood)

  Lost Empire (with Grant Blackwood)

  Spartan Gold (with Grant Blackwood)


  The Gangster (with Justin Scott)

  The Assassin (with Justin Scott)

  The Bootlegger (with Justin Scott)

  The Striker (with Justin Scott)

  The Thief (with Justin Scott)

  The Race (with Justin Scott)

  The Spy (with Justin Scott)

  The Wrecker (with Justin Scott)

  The Chase



  The Pharaoh’s Secret (with Graham Brown)

  Ghost Ship (with Graham Brown)

  Zero Hour (with Graham Brown)

  The Storm (with Graham Brown)

  Devil’s Gate (with Graham Brown)

  Medusa (with Paul Kemprecos)

  The Navigator (with Paul Kemprecos)

  Polar Shift (with Paul Kemprecos)

  Lost City (with Paul Kemprecos)

  White Death (with Paul Kemprecos)

  Fire Ice (with Paul Kemprecos)

  Blue Gold (with Paul Kemprecos)

  Serpent (with Paul Kemprecos)


  The Emperor’s Revenge (with Boyd Morrison)

  Piranha (with Boyd Morrison)

  Mirage (with Jack Du Brul)

  The Jungle (with Jack Du Brul)

  The Silent Sea (with Jack Du Brul)

  Corsair (with Jack Du Brul)

  Plague Ship (with Jack Du Brul)

  Skeleton Coast (with Jack Du Brul)

  Dark Watch (with Jack Du Brul)

  Sacred Stone (with Craig Dirgo)

  Golden Buddha (with Craig Dirgo)


  Built for Adventure: The Classic Automobiles of Clive Cussler and Dirk Pitt

  Built to Thrill: More Classic Automobiles from Clive Cussler and Dirk Pitt

  The Sea Hunters (with Craig Dirgo)

  The Sea Hunters II (with Craig Dirgo)

  Clive Cussler and Dirk Pitt Revealed (with Craig Dirgo)


  Publishers Since 1838

  An imprint of Penguin Random House LLC

  375 Hudson Street

  New York, New York 10014

  Copyright © 2016 by Sandecker, RLLLP

  Penguin supports copyright. Copyright fuels creativity, encourages diverse voices, promotes free speech, and creates a vibrant culture. Thank you for buying an authorized edition of this book and for complying with copyright laws by not reproducing, scanning, or distributing any part of it in any form without permission. You are supporting writers and allowing Penguin to continue to publish books for every reader.

  Ebook ISBN: 9780399575525

  Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

  Names: Cussler, Clive, author. | Cussler, Dirk, author.

  Title: Odessa sea / Clive Cussler and Dirk Cussler.

  Description: New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, [2016] | Series: Dirk Pitt adventure

  Identifiers: LCCN 2016035295 | ISBN 9780399575518 (hardback) | ISBN 9780735211995 (export)

  Subjects: LCSH: Pitt, Dirk (Fictitious character)—Fiction. | BISAC: FICTION / Action & Adventure. | FICTION / Suspense. | FICTION / Thrillers. | GSAFD: Adventure fiction. | Suspense fiction.

  Classification: LCC PS3553.U75 O34 2016 | DDC 813/.54—dc23

  LC record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2016035295

  Endpaper and interior illustrations by Roland Dahlquist

  This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the authors’ imaginations or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, businesses, companies, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.










  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  Chapter 10

  Chapter 11

  Chapter 12

  Chapter 13

  Chapter 14

  Chapter 15

  Chapter 16

  Chapter 17

  Chapter 18

  Chapter 19

  Chapter 20


  Chapter 22

  Chapter 23

  Chapter 24

  Chapter 25

  Chapter 26

  Chapter 27

  Chapter 28

  Chapter 29

  Chapter 30

  Chapter 31

  Chapter 32

  Chapter 33

  Chapter 34

  Chapter 35

  Chapter 36

  Chapter 37

  Chapter 38

  Chapter 39

  Chapter 40

  Chapter 41

  Chapter 42

  Chapter 43

  Chapter 44

  Chapter 45

  Chapter 46

  Chapter 47

  Chapter 48

  Chapter 49

  Chapter 50

  Chapter 51

  Chapter 52

  Chapter 53

  Chapter 54

  Chapter 55

  Chapter 56

  Chapter 57

  Chapter 58

  Chapter 59

  Chapter 60

  Chapter 61

  Chapter 62

  Chapter 63

  Chapter 64

  Chapter 65

  Chapter 66


  Chapter 68

  Chapter 69

  Chapter 70

  Chapter 71

  Chapter 72

  Chapter 73

  Chapter 74

  Chapter 75

  Chapter 76

  Chapter 77

  Chapter 78

  Chapter 79

  Chapter 80

  Chapter 81

  Chapter 82

  Chapter 83

  Chapter 84

  Chapter 85

  Chapter 86

  Chapter 87


  Chapter 89

  Chapter 90




  Vadim Rostov Captain of Russian destroyer Kerch

  Sir Leigh Hunt British Special Envoy and former Consul General to British Embassy in St. Petersburg


  Dimitri Sarkhov Pilot of Russian Tupolev Tu-4 bomber

  Ivan Medov Copilot of Russian Tupolev Tu-4 bomber

  Alexander Krayevski Airman, Russian Tupolev Tu-4 bomber


  NUMA Team

  Dirk Pitt Director of the National Underwater and Marine Agency

  Al Giordino Director of Underwater Technology, NUMA

  Bill Stenseth Captain of NUMA research ship Macedonia

  Hiram Yaeger Computer Resources Director, NUMA

  Rudi Gunn Deputy Director of the National Underwater and Marine Agency

  Summer Pitt Special Projects Director, NUMA, and daughter of Dirk Pitt

  Dirk Pitt, Jr. Special Projects Director, NUMA, and son of Dirk Pitt

  Jack Dahlgren Underwater Technology Specialist, NUMA

  James Sandecker Vice President of the United States and former Director of the National Underwater and Marine Agency

  Officials, Operatives, and Military Officers

  Ana Belova Special Investigator, European Police Agency (Europol)

  Petar Ralin Lieutenant, Organized Crime Directorate, Bulgarian National Police

  Maxim Federov Foreign Intelligence Field Director, Russia Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU)

  Viktor Mansfield Field Agent, GRU

  Arseny Markovich Commander of Ukraine 24th Territorial Battalion

  Martina Field Agent, GRU

  Vladimir Popov Commander of Russian missile frigate Ladny

  Deborah Kenfield Executive Officer of Aegis destroyer USS Truxton

  Wayne Valero Commander of USS Constellation volunteer sailors

  Alexander Vodokov Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Russian Embassy, Madrid

  Historians, Experts, and Medical Professionals

  Georgi Dimitov Archeologist for the Bulgarian Ministry of Culture

  Dr. Anton Kromer Chief Archivist, Russia State Historical Museum

  Dr. Steven Miller Orthopedic surgeon, Muncie, Indiana

  St. Julien Perlmutter Nautical historian and longtime friend of Pitt

  Dr. Charles Trehorne Professor of Nautical Archeology, Oxford

  Cecil Hawker Major, regimental historian, Royal Gibraltar Regiment


  Martin Hendriks Dutch industrialist, owner of Peregrine Surveillance Corporation

  Valentin Mankedo Owner of Thracia Salvage

  Ilya Vasko Partner in Thracia Salvage, cousin of Valentin Mankedo

  Brian Kennedy Chesapeake Bay oysterman and owner of skipjack Lorraine



  White lights danced on the horizon like beacons of death. Captain Vadim Rostov of the Imperial Russian Navy counted five orbs, each from a separate Ottoman warship standing picket at the entrance to the Bosphorus Strait. His orders on this crisp, cold night were simple. He was to engage the enemy with his destroyer and disrupt the picket line. The task, he knew, was akin to crawling through a den of hungry lions with a slaughtered lamb tied to his back.

  He bit tighter on the dry stump of a Turkish cigar between his crooked teeth. The dark, hardened eyes, set in a weather-beaten face, had seen the effects of ill-conceived battle plans before—during the Russo-Japanese War of 1904, and again in the Black Sea campaign of the past four years. Rostov was nudging thirty years of service in the Imperial Russian Navy, but all he had known and trusted in those decades was now dissolving. Perhaps it was not so inglorious to end his career in a suicide mission.

  He ordered a young lieutenant to find him a signalman, then turned to the living shadow beside him. The guest was a towering soldier, standing proud in the uniform of a Leib, or Imperial Guard, of the elite Preobrazhensky Regiment.

  “The designs of fate will soon be revealed and the futility of our mission confirmed,” Rostov said.

  “There will be no deviation of the directive,” the soldier replied.

  Rostov had to admire the man. He had stood like a pillar beside him, rifle firm in his grip, since boarding the destroyer with the ship’s orders in Odessa. Orders, the captain noted, that had been personally signed by no less than Admiral Kolchak, the commander of the Imperial Navy. The soldier, Rostov thought, had surely witnessed the upper echelons of power, but he was ignorant of the world at hand. Imperial Russia would soon be nothing more than a memory, vanquished by the forces of revolution. The guard’s place in the universe was about to vanish. Word on the docks of Odessa was that the Bolsheviks had already signed a peace treaty with the Central Powers, including Turkey. Rostov chuckled to himself. Perhaps the Ottoman ships ahead would let them pass—and shower them with wine and figs in the process.

  Such notions were dispelled by a faint whistling overhead as a five-inch naval shell proceeded to crash into the sea behind them.

  “The Turkish gunners are not as proficient as the Germans,” Rostov said, “but they will find their mark soon enough.”

  “The enemy is inferior, and you are an expert tactician,” the soldier said.

  Rostov smiled. “An expert tactician would flee overwhelming odds to fight another day.”

  The ship’s signalman appeared, a raw draftee in an ill-fitting uniform. “Sir?” he said.

  “Signal our companion. Tell them to proceed on their mission while we try to draw the enemy off to the west. And wish them luck.”

  “Yes, sir.” The sailor exited the bridge.

  Rostov turned to the guardsman. “Perhaps somebody will wish us luck as well?”

  The guard gave the captain a steely look but said nothing.

  Rostov stepped to the bridge wing and watched the signalman flash a message to a low-lying vessel off the port flank. As the blinking reply came from the other vessel, the specter of death raced through his mind. It was all madness. Perhaps he should turn the destroyer hard over and ram the neighboring boat. Just sink it himself, knowing what it carried. How many more must die for the vanity of the Tsar?

  He cursed his own foolish honor. The truth was, no loyalty remained in the Navy’s ranks. The mutiny on the Potemkin proved as much. And that was a decade before the current revolution. Many of the fleet’s ships had already pledged allegiance to the Bolsheviks. The loyalty of his own crew was in question, but at least they hadn’t shown any signs of mutiny—yet. They knew as well as he that the Imperial Navy was all but finished. Rostov shook his head. He should have walked off the ship in Odessa and disappeared into the Carpathian Mountains, as some wiser officers had done.

  Another shell whistled overhead. Duty took reign in the face of the enemy fire, and he marched stiffly back onto the bridge. Duty, he thought. Another word for death.

  The bridge crew stood at their posts, looking at him with anticipation.

  “Give me maximum speed,” he told the junior officer. “Helm, set a course bearing two-four-zero degrees.”

  “Gun batteries report at the ready, s
ir.” The lieutenant rang a brass handle on the bridge telegraph, relaying the change in speed to the engine room.

  “Inform all batteries to target the last ship in line to the east,” Rostov ordered.

  The Russian destroyer’s funnel belched black plumes of smoke. The Kerch, as she was named, shuddered under the strain as its steam turbines spun at their maximum revolutions.

  The change in course and speed threw off the enemy guns, and their shells fell harmlessly behind the destroyer. Rostov gazed at the lights of the Turkish vessels, which now appeared off the port wing as the ship steamed west. Five-to-one, he thought. The odds had been less intimidating two days earlier when they left Odessa in the company of the Gnevny, another light destroyer. But the Gnevny had developed shaft problems and turned back. Rostov had no such luck. He would have to face the enemy force alone.

  The captain waited to open fire until an incoming shell hit the water ten meters off his beam, showering the deck with seawater. All four of the destroyer’s four-inch guns fired simultaneously in return, spitting flames into the night sky.

  Through skill and good luck, one of the Russian shells struck its target, piercing the vessel’s magazine. Rostov raised his binoculars as a fireball erupted from the trailing Ottoman ship.

  “Concentrate fire on the next vessel to the west,” he told the lieutenant. It had been an extremely lucky hit. His strategy—and prayer—was to disable or damage the two ships guarding the eastern approach, then attack the remaining vessels in pursuit. It was the only hope for the mission to succeed.

  The night became alight with fire and thunder. The remaining Ottoman ships opened up with broadside after broadside, countered by the full punch of the destroyer. The Russian ship was surprisingly fast and kept a healthy cushion ahead of the Turkish gunners. But the gap narrowed as two of the Ottoman ships turned to close with the Kerch.

  “A hit! On the second vessel,” the lieutenant cried.

  Rostov nodded. He had the most experienced gun crew in the Black Sea Fleet and it was showing. He turned to the Leib Guard, who was peering at the distant inferno. “Your royal odyssey may have a chance after all.”

  The guard smiled slightly, the first indication of humanity he had shown in two days. Then he vanished in an exploding veil of black smoke.

  A Turkish shell had struck the lip of the port deck. The occupants of the bridge were knocked from their feet as a shower of flame shot skyward.

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