What do you call a man...

  • Who has 19 consecutive New York Times fiction best sellers?
  • Who is credited with finding numerous missing ships and planes including the CSS Hunley, the first submarine ever to sink a ship in battle?
  • Who holds a Doctor of Letters from the State University of New York for his first non-fiction work?
  • Who is a car collector with more than 85 examples of classic custom coachwork in his garage outside Denver?

The only possible answer: Clive Cussler, who is internationally acknowledged as the Grand Master of the American action/adventure novel. Cussler's books are published in more than 40 languages in more than 100 countries with a readership of more than 120 million avid fans.

And now, Putnam will publish the latest collection of true shipwreck adventures, The Sea Hunters II, co-authored by Craig Dirgo, on December 2, 2002 (U.S. $27.95).

Clive Cussler is an internationally recognized authority on shipwrecks and the founder of the National Underwater & Marine Agency (NUMA®), a 501C3 non-profit organization that dedicates itself to preserving maritime and naval history. Cussler and his crew of marine experts and NUMA® volunteers have discovered more than 60 historically significant underwater wreck sites. After verifying their finds, they turn the rights to the artifacts over to non-profits, universities or government entities throughout the country and the world. In September 1998, NUMA® launched its own web site for those wishing more information about maritime history or wishing to make donations to NUMA®, www.numa.net. In September 1999, Dr. Cussler authorized the formation of NUMA® Australia, a non-profit organization. NUMA® South Africa exists as a for profit operation.

Cussler began writing novels in 1965 and published his first work featuring his continuing series hero, Dirk Pitt®, in 1973. His first non-fiction work, The Sea Hunters, was released in 1996. The Board of Governors of the Maritime College, State University of New York considered The Sea Hunters in lieu of a Ph.D. thesis and awarded Cussler a Doctor of Letters degree in May 1997. It was the first time since the College was founded in 1874 that such a degree was bestowed. Cussler is Chairman of NUMA® and a fellow in both the Explorers Club of New York and the Royal Geographic Society in London. He has been honored with the Lowell Thomas Award for outstanding underwater exploration.

Growing up in Alhambra, CA, Cussler attended Pasadena City College for two years, then enlisted in the Air Force during the Korean War and served as an aircraft mechanic and flight engineer in the Military Air Transport Service. Upon discharge, he became a copywriter and later creative director of two of the nation's leading ad agencies. He wrote and produced radio and television commercials in Hollywood that won numerous international awards including an award at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival.

Cussler recently optioned all 14 of his novels featuring Dirk Pitt® to Crusader Entertainment with script and casting approval, Variety's "Write Stuff" reported. SAHARA is now in development with Paramount. Cussler's non-fiction bestseller The Sea Hunters, about shipwrecks, is being developed by Eco-Nova Productions into a 19-episode television series, to air on the National Geographic channel in the U.S., with Cussler himself introducing each episode.

A noted collector of classic automobiles, Cussler owns more than 85 of the finest examples of classic 30s and 40s coachwork and 50s convertibles to be found anywhere. They are garaged near Golden, CO. Cussler has been married to his wife, Barbara Knight, for 48 years. They have three children and two grandchildren, and divide their time between the mountains of Colorado and the deserts of Arizona.

For more information about Clive Cussler, fans can turn to www.numa.net.