Odessa sea, p.1
Odessa Sea, p.1Clive Cussler
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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,  | 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.
TITLES BY CLIVE CUSSLER
ODESSA SEA CHARACTERS
PROLOGUE | DREAD SILENCE REPOSES
PART I | THE MISTS OF THE DEEP Chapter 1
PART II | THE GLOOM OF THE GRAVE Chapter 21
PART III | TWILIGHT’S LAST GLEAMING Chapter 67
EPILOGUE | MORNING’S FIRST BEAM Chapter 88
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
ODESSA SEA CHARACTERS
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
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
THE BLACK SEA
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
“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.
Odessa Sea by Clive Cussler / Actions & Adventure / Thrillers & Crime have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes