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Clive Cussler, prolific author of alt-history adventures, dies at 88

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Feb 26, 2020

Author Clive Cussler, who wrote over 80 genre-spanning books during the course of his prolific career, has died at age 88. His adventure novels, specifically the Dirk Pitt series, reimagined historical or mythological elements — like the Titanic or Atlantis — and gave them a thrilling reality for his Indiana-Jones-meets-James-Bond hero to discover.

Cussler's Raise the Titanic (1976) and Sahara (1992) were both adapted into films, bringing their alt-history conspiracy theories and hidden secrets to the big screen, tweaking historical fact just enough to bring a bit of fantasy into the proceedings. The former, adapted in 1980, involved the famous sunken ship, a secret government program, and the fake mineral Byzanium, while the latter, adapted in 2005, was all about Confederate treasure and the fictional capture of Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War.

Cussler died Monday, according to a post by his wife, Janet Horvath, on the author's official Twitter account:

"It is with a heavy heart that I share the sad news that my husband Clive passed away Mon," Horvath writes in the brief announcement. "It has been a privilege to share in his life. I want to thank you his fans & friends for all the support. He was the kindest most gentle man I ever met. I know, his adventures will continue."

Cussler, who had been writing since 1965, was a #1 New York Times bestselling author whose books have been published in over 40 languages in more than 100 countries, according to his official site. He was also a bit like James Cameron, in that his fictional adventures led to real-life explorations of underwater locales. Cussler is survived by his wife and children, Teri, Dirk, and Dayna.

Cussler's final novel, Journey of the Pharaohs, will continue the NUMA Files series when it is released on March 10.

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