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THE THIEF

DIRK PITT® ADVENTURES

BY CLIVE CUSSLER

CRESCENT DAWN (with Dirk Cussler)

ARCTIC DRIFT (with Dirk Cussler)

TREASURE OF KHAN (with Dirk Cussler)

BLACK WIND (with Dirk Cussler)

TROJAN ODYSSEY

VALHALLA RISING

ATLANTIS FOUND

FLOOD TIDE

SHOCK WAVE

INCA GOLD

SAHARA

DRAGON

TREASURE

CYCLOPS

DEEP SIX

PACIFIC VORTEX!

NIGHT PROBE!

VIXEN 03

RAISE THE TITANIC!

ICEBERG

THE MEDITERRANEAN CAPER

FARGO ADVENTURES

BY CLIVE CUSSLER

With Grant Blackwood

THE KINGDOM

LOST EMPIRE

SPARTAN GOLD

ISAAC BELL NOVELS

BY CLIVE CUSSLER

THE RACE (with Justin Scott)

THE SPY (with Justin Scott)

THE WRECKER (with Justin Scott)

THE CHASE

KURT AUSTIN ADVENTURES

BY CLIVE CUSSLER

With Graham Brown

DEVIL’S GATE

With Paul Kemprecos

MEDUSA

WHITE DEATH

THE NAVIGATOR

FIRE ICE

POLAR SHIFT

BLUE GOLD

LOST CITY

SERPENT

OREGON FILES ADVENTURES

BY CLIVE CUSSLER

With Jack Du Brul

THE JUNGLE

THE SILENT SEA

CORSAIR

PLAGUE SHIP

SKELETON COAST

DARK WATCH

With Craig Dirgo

GOLDEN BUDDHA

SACRED STONE

NONFICTION BY CLIVE CUSSLER

AND CRAIG DIRGO

THE SEA HUNTERS

THE SEA HUNTERS II

CLIVE CUSSLER AND

DIRK PITT REVEALED

BUILT FOR ADVENTURE: THE

CLASSIC AUTOMOBILES OF CLIVE

CUSSLER AND DIRK PITT®

G. P. PUTNAM’S SONS

NEW YORK

G. P. PUTNAM’S SONS

Publishers Since 1838

Published by the Penguin Group

Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street,

New York, New York 10014, USA • Penguin Group (Canada),

90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario M4P 2Y3, Canada

(a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.) • Penguin Books Ltd, 80 Strand,

London WC2R 0RL, England • Penguin Ireland, 25 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2,

Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd) • Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell

Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia (a division of Pearson Australia Group

Pty Ltd) • Penguin Books India Pvt Ltd, 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park,

New Delhi–110 017, India • Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale,

North Shore 0632, New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd) •

Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty) Ltd, 24 Sturdee Avenue,

Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa

Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

Copyright © 2012 by Sandecker, RLLLP

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions. Published simultaneously in Canada

ISBN: 978-1-101-57729-5

Printed in the United States of America

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Book design by Brian Mulligan

Endpaper and interior illustrations by Roland Dahlquist

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, businesses, companies, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

While the author has made every effort to provide accurate telephone numbers and Internet addresses at the time of publication, neither the publisher nor the author assumes any responsibility for errors, or for changes that occur after publication. Further, the publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.

ALWAYS LEARNING

PEARSON

Table of Contents

Book One: Talking Pictures

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3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

Book Two: Flickers

13

14

15

16

17

18

19

20

21

22

23

24

25

Book Three: Hollywood

26

27

28

29

30

31

32

33

34

35

36

37

38

Book Four: Lights! Camera! Speed!

39

40

41

42

43

44

45

46

47

48

49

50

Epilogue

THE CUNARD FLYER MAURETANIA CROSSING THE BAR

“HEAR THAT?”

“Hear what?” asked Archie.

“Fast motorboat.”

“You have ears like a bat, Isaac. All I hear is the ship.”

Isaac Bell, a tall, lean man of thirty with a golden head of hair and a thick, impeccably groomed mustache, strode to the boat deck railing and stared intently into the dark. He wore the costume of a sober Hartford, Connecticut, insurance executive: a sailing day suit of Harris tweed, a low-crowned hat with a broad brim, made-to-order boots, and a gold watch chain draped across his narrow waist.

“It’s not the ship.”

They were sailing home to America on the Cunard flyer Mauretania, the fastest liner in the world, bound for New York with twenty-two hundred passengers, eight hundred crew, and six thousand sacks of mail. Down in the fiery darkness of her stokehold, hundreds of men labored, stripped to the waist, shoveling coal to raise steam for a four-and-a-half-day dash across the Atlantic Ocean. But she was still creeping quietly in the channel, crossing the Mersey Bar with mere inches of tide beneath her keel and a black night ahead. Six decks above her furnaces and five hundred feet ahead of the nearest propeller, Isaac Bell heard only the motorboat.

The sound was out of place. It was the crisp rumble of a thirty-knot racer powered by V-8 gasoline engines—an English-built Wolseley-Siddeley, Bell guessed. But such exuberant noise spoke of a Côte d’Azur regatta on a sunny day, not a pitch-dark night in the steamer lanes.

He looked back. No boat showed a light. All he saw was the dying glow of Liverpool, the last of England, eleven miles astern.

Next to the ship, nothing moved in the invisible intersection of inky water and clouded sky.

Ahead, the sea buoy flashed intermittently.

The sound faded. A trick of the wind gusting in from the Irish Sea perhaps, rattling the canvas that covered the lifeboats suspended outside the teak rail.

Archie opened a gold cigar case with a ceremonial flourish. He extracted two La Aroma de Cubas. “How about a victory smoke?” He patted his vest pockets. “Forgot my cutter. Got your knife?”

Bell drew a throwing knife

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