Excerpt from Flood Tide by Clive Cussler, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Flood Tide

A Dirk Pitt Novel

by Clive Cussler

Flood Tide by Clive Cussler X
Flood Tide by Clive Cussler
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Sep 1997, 512 pages
    Sep 1998, 512 pages

  • Rate this book

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

Requiem for a Princess
December 10, 1948 Unknown Waters

THE WAVES TURNED VICIOUS and worsened with every rush of wind. The calm weather of the morning transformed from Dr. Jekyll into a vehement Mr. Hyde by late evening. Whitecaps on the crests of towering waves were lashed into sheets of spray. The violent water and black clouds merged under the onslaught of a driving snowstorm. It was impossible to tell where water ended and sky began. As the passenger liner Princess Dou Wan fought through waves that rose like mountains before spilling over the ship, the men on board were unaware of the imminent disaster that was only minutes away.

The crazed waters were driven by northeast and northwest gales that simultaneously caused ferocious currents to smash against the ship from two sides. Winds soon reached a hundred miles an hour with waves that crested at thirty feet or more. Caught in the maelstrom, the Princess Dou Wan had no place to hide. Her bow pitched and drove under waves that swept over her open decks and flowed aft and then forward when her stern rose, throwing her wildly spinning propellers free of the water. Struck from all directions, she rolled thirty degrees, her starboard rail along the promenade deck disappearing in a torrent of water. Slowly, too slowly, she sluggishly righted herself and plunged on, steaming through the worst storm in recent history.

Freezing and unable to see through the blinding snowstorm, Second Mate Li Po, who stood watch, ducked back inside the wheelhouse and slammed the door. In all his days of sailing the China Sea, he had never seen swirling snow in the middle of a violent storm. Po did not think the gods were fair to hurl such devastating winds at the Princess after a voyage halfway around the world with less than two hundred miles to go before reaching port. In the past sixteen hours, she had only made forty miles.

Except for Captain Leigh Hunt and his chief engineer down below in the engine room, the entire crew were Nationalist Chinese. An old salt with twelve years in the Royal Navy and eighteen as an officer for three different shipping-company fleets, Hunt had served fifteen of those years as captain. As a boy he went fishing with his father out of Bridlington, a small city on the east coast of England, before shipping out as an ordinary seaman on a freighter to South Africa. A thin man with graying hair and sad, vacant eyes, he was deeply pessimistic about his ship's ability to weather the storm.

Two days earlier, one of the crewmen had called his attention to a crack in the starboard outer hull aft of the single smokestack. He would have given a month's pay to inspect the crack now that his ship was enduring incredible stress. He reluctantly brushed the thought aside. It would have been suicide to attempt an inspection under hundred-mile-an-hour winds and the raging water that spilled across the decks. He felt in his bones the Princess was in mortal danger, and accepted the fact that her fate was out of his hands.

Hunt stared into the blanket of snow that pelted the wheelhouse windows and spoke to his second mate without turning. "How bad is the ice, Mr. Po?"

"Building rapidly, Captain."

"Do you believe we're in danger of capsizing?"

Li Po shook his head slowly. "Not yet, sir, but by morning the load on the superstructure and decks could prove critical if we take on a heavy list."

Hunt thought for a moment, then spoke to the helmsman. "Stay on course, Mr. Tsung. Keep our bow into the wind and waves."

"Aye, sir," the Chinese helmsman replied, feet braced wide apart, hands tightly gripping the brass wheel.

Copyright© 1997 by Clive Cussler

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Winter
    by Ali Smith
    "God was dead; to begin with." This first sentence of Winter perfectly sets up the dreamy journey ...
  • Book Jacket: A Land of Permanent Goodbyes
    A Land of Permanent Goodbyes
    by Atia Abawi

    When you're a refugee, everyone has lost, at least for the time being... And the journey ...

  • Book Jacket: Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions
    Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions
    by Mario Giordano
    Munich matron and self-described worldly sophisticate, Isolde Oberreiter, has decided to retire to a...
  • Book Jacket: Eat the Apple
    Eat the Apple
    by Matt Young
    Truth is stranger than fiction. Matt Young's memoir tackles the space in between truth and ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Anatomy of a Miracle
    by Jonathan Miles

    A stunning novel that offers an exploration of faith, science and the meaning of life.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Sometimes I Lie
    by Alice Feeney

    This brilliant psychological thriller asks: Is something a lie if you believe it's the truth?
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The Balcony

The Balcony
by Jane Delury

A century-spanning novel-in-stories of a French village brimming with compassion, natural beauty, and unmistakable humanity.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

One N U G

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.