This has to be the best of Cussler's Dirk Pitt adventure novels. Unfortunately, it's also the first one I ever read. Pitt, a diver for the National Underwater and Marine Agency seems like just your average technical guy. But NUMA, whose aims of oceanic reasearch somehow allow the agency to function like an espionage agency (with the gadgets to boot) normally send Mr. Pitt on any sort of wild adventure. And Mr. Pitt himself is the perfect renaissance spy, an expert on history, underwater diving, any form of mortal combat, and the collection and restoration of antique boats, cars and planes, and a real charmer with the ladies. Perhaps no seris of books so closely approaches the fun level of a comic book while remaining so readible as a novel. In this entry, numerous diverse plot twists come together for an explosive climax. As with any Pitt novel, the story opens with some historical maritime disaster/mystery: In this case, it is the dissappearance of the Collier "Cyclops" early this century to the Bermuda Triange. In modern days, a wealthy industrialist takes off in a restored blimp for a tropical flight, only to dissappear. While the blimp is found sometime later, the tycoon is found to have been replaced with the bodies of some unidentified men who look like they've been floating for weeksin a depressurized space capsule. Meanwhile, a super-secret US base located on the moon (not even the President knows of it) faces discovery by belligerent Russians. Meanwhile, Dirk Pitt pieces clues pointing to "La Dorada" (which should have been a better title), a huge golden statue encrusted with jewels. Meanwhile, the Russians, unable to afford its "alliance" with Cuba, nor willing to allow Cuba to go over to the west, plots a blow that will put the Island off limits for good.
It's explosive, comical at times, yet always exciting and impossibel to put down. Put this one on your "beach reading" list.