You can’t argue with that exclamation mark. Another milestone on my quest to rediscover classic thrillers, Raise The Titanic! is so full of plot twists the cover might as well be made up of multi coloured dots and put out at parties. It is a breath-taking, preposterous plot in which the raising of the doomed ocean liner is only part of the general madness. But it’s brilliant — lantern jawed heroes, secret government organisations, Russian subterfuge. — all tied up with the inescapably compelling history of the Titanic.
Clamouring for realism with a thriller is a total waste of time — all that matters is the internal logic, which here is impeccable. There’s also some fabulously ham-fisted attempts at a women’s lib character (this was written in the mid-70s, after all) and a President (yes, the US President is a central character too) who delivers homilies on fiscal spending that makes Reagan look like John Paul Getty. Cussler must have had a brainstorm sketching out the plot for Raise The Titanic!, because there’s enough going on in here for three thrillers. Marvellous.