Twelve miles to the south, a pair of opaline green eyes gazed – Wait.

“Opaline”? Dictionary… “Opalescent.” Hmm. Dictionary… “Having or emitting an iridescence like that of an opal.” Okay. Better just… Dictionary.

“Amorphous mineral, can be almost any colour, hydrated silica.” Oops – no, actually, I know what an opal is, I meant to look for something else… “Displaying a spectrum of colours that shimmer and change due to interference and scattering as the observer’s position changes.”

Right. So, this person here just has the dreamiest eyes… or one damn fancy set of contact lenses. Fine, whatever. Where were we? Let’s skip ahead to the genius bit.

He was a tall man, three inches more than six feet nicely put, and a lean 185 pounds. His every movement seemed consciously planned or “slow”. The black hair was wavy, almost shaggy, with a touch of grey beginning to show at the temples. The face was a face that knew the sea above and below to paraphrase Zapp Brannigan, it should “prepare to be sailed again and again. The tanned skin and the craggy features revealed a love of the outdoors. He was obviously someone who spent far more time under sun and sky than under the fluorescent lights of an office at least Cussler knows who he’s writing for. You worthless drones.

The early morning tropical air was warm and humid. He wore denim shorts under a colorfully flowered Hawaiian aloha shirt. His narrow feet that stepped straight as a spear were strapped into sandals and in frank disbelief I must respond, “You say WHAT now?”. It was the uniform of the day for Dirk Pitt®

And with that flawless introduction we are brought face to face with our hero, and do you see, do you recognise the depth of genius this novel represents? Because this is a Dirk Pitt® novel, get it? – and this degree of description, on past experience, can mean only one thing:

Dirk Pitt® is going to die.

I’m almost literally shitting myself with the thrills. It’s a master-stroke. I mean, I can’t believe Cussler’s really going to do it, just kill his hero like that, he’d be crazy – but there it is, undeniable, in black and white. I can barely bring myself to turn the page, and it must be for this reason.

Dirk Pitt® immediately gets to work demonstrating what a blisteringly masculine force he is by ordering the [rolls, rolls] Deep Encounter, an ocean survey ship he isn’t even the captain of, to charge full speed towards the blazing Emerald Dolphin. When the captain – name of Kermit Burch – does reach the bridge, he’s only too quick to back up the man of the hour to come.

See what a pissy, snivelling wretch First Officer Sheffield was by comparrison? Couldn’t even order a mayday without a captain on hand to tell him “okay”. I hope that fucker burns, just out of reach of a fire extinguisher and a glass of water.

Running at 120% speed, the Deep Encounterjesus … the Deep Encounter charges to the rescue, her noble crew hard at work preparing to take on two thousand passengers – not that they have any way of knowing how many passengers there are to be rescued, nor that the ship in question even has passengers, since no communications have been received from her. But neither they nor Clive Cussler let this stop them from getting ready to load up with enough people to literally sink their vessel, thus no doubt saving them straight to the bottom of the ocean. But at least they won’t burn.

Unlike the absolute festering sore that is First Officer Sheffield. The twat.

Being about as far from Fuck Officer Sheffield as it is possible to be without also being called Dirk Pitt®, Captain KERMIT is quick to call other nearby vessels for assistance, quickly contacting a British container ship called the [rolls] Earl of [rolls] Wattlesfield, and a blessedly unspecific Australian missile boat, but which I am going to refer to now as almost certainly entitled the good ship Dingo’s Kidneys. They both come a running too, but they won’t be there before the Deep Encounter is, oh no, because that wouldn’t be fair.

…nope, I can’t let it pass. The “Deep Encounter”. It’s pathetic, really. Over the rest of the chapter, in fact over the five chapters which cover the rescue to follow, the only word that occurs more frequently than Deep and Encounter seems to be “holocaust”, referring to the fire, and all I’m denying here is that perpetually hitting us with the same over emotive words and phrases is a good way to drive up tension. If there is even one genuinely deep encounter waiting over the horizon of this entire book, I’ll be astonished.

So, there’s a rescue to be achieved, eh? I wonder how that goes. I’m guessing it will be with detailed reference to the practices of Wikipedia, coupled with a hint of Dan Brown’s talent for the old Copy and Paste routine.

“Families with children first,” McFerrin shouted through his bullhorn to the crew. The old tradition of women and children first was now commonly ignored by modern seamen[citation needed] in favor of keeping families intact. After the sinking of the Titanic, when most of the men had gone down with the ship, leaving widows with fatherless small children, practical minds[citation needed] had felt that families should either live or die as one[citation needed as to how this differs from “women and children first”. Surely it just means “father’s next” – unless we are to believe that one baby-having family might be sacrificed undivided so that some rich fat turd sailing in Executive Class can escape along with his rich fat family. Actually, I can see that.]. With few exceptions[citation not forthcoming], the younger, single passengers and senior citizens stood back bravely and watched as crewmen lowered husbands, their wives and young children down to the Deep Encounter, where they found themselves safe on the work deck amid the submersibles, robotic underwater vehicles and hydrographic survey equipment. Next came the elderly who had to be forced to drop over the side[clarification needed], not because they were afraid but because they believed the younger people, with their lives ahead of them, should go first[citation needed of exactly how the practical minds justified disagreeing with THAT].

I’m not going to ruin the rescue any more, at least not any more than Cussler did pages ago when, if you recall, he told us outright that only “more than one hundred” lives would be lost out of “more than two thousand” passengers and crew. True to his word – although this will be seen in time to be an accolade Cussler is regularly unworthy of – Dirk Pitt® and his merry men do save the day, impossibly manage to fit almost EVERY LIVING PERSON onto their boat and just manage to avoid having a very deep encounter by throwing everything not nailed down overboard, until finally the Earl of Wattlesfield and the Dingo’s Kidneys arrive and relieve them of their tearful, grateful burden. Dirk Pitt® even manages to personally save one incredibly hot super-babe not once, but twice. Wanna know how? Do ya? Do ya? DO YA? Well tough shit, ‘cos I’m not telling!

Not until next time – hah!

I need to finish now. Want something to send you off with? Well, take this:

Pitt® and Burch, standing beside each other, stared up, startled to see the crew of the frigate turn out as if for a formal military review does this mean “in drag”?. Then suddenly, as the Deep Encounter entered the gap between the two ships, the silent tropical air was shattered by the whoops of the ships’ air horns and the cheers of the more than two thousand survivors really, that many who lined the rails of the containership and frigate. Pandemonium broke out across the water. Men, women and children all waved wildly and shouted words that went unheard in the din. Shredded newspaper and magazines were thrown in the air like confetti. Only at that moment did everyone on board the Deep Encounter fully realise what their magnificent exploit had achieved.

They had gone far beyond the rescue of sigh over two thousand people; they had proven that they were willing to sacrifice their own lives to save other humans hoo-manz. Tears flowed unashamedly from the eyes of everyone.

Long afterward, the men and women of the survey ship could never describe it accurately. They were too moved to fully absorb the event much like Cussler’s Kleenex as he typed with one hand, engorged on his hero fantasy. Even the tremendous rescue effort seemed like a nightmarish dream in a distant past. They might never forget it, but they could never do it justice with mere words.

Just like Cussler. You’ll be interested, I’m sure, if not actually shocked to know that there are no quotes on the back cover of this “best-selling” paperback from any writers praising it as a great work of literary art. Fortunately, in chapter three, one is provided for us and I will reproduce it here in full to completely set the record straight once and for all. What can one say about both the book and the burning vessel within?

“a grotesque monster beyond the imagining of the most demented horror writer.”

~ Clive Cussler, author of Atlantis Found

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PS: we never learn what happens to Fucktard Orrificer Spleffield. At a certain point he just stops being referred to and that’s that. Personally, my disgust for him runs so deep that I hope he was cast overboard and violated to death by a narwhal. He was a “man” truly deserving of a deep encounter. With a narwhal. In his anus. A narwhal horn-thing going deep into his anus, encountering it that way. Have I spelt this out sufficiently now? Good.