cover image The Sea Hunters: True Adventures with Famous Shipwrecks

The Sea Hunters: True Adventures with Famous Shipwrecks

Clive Cussler. Simon & Schuster, $24 (368pp) ISBN 978-0-684-83027-8

Bestselling novelist Cussler (Shock Wave) and Dirgo are both members of the National Underwater and Marine Agency, a group financed principally by the income from Cussler's books and dedicated to finding famous marine wrecks. Not treasure hunters, they merely hope to locate the corpses of lost ships and give the artifacts they recover to museums and historical societies. In this absorbing, fast-paced collection, they chronicle searches for such ships as the Lexington, lost in Long Island Sound in 1840; the Zavala, a ship of the Republic of Texas Navy that ran aground in the Galveston Ship Channel in 1842 and is now under a parking lot; several vessels from the Civil War era, including the Hunley, the first submarine to sink a warship, and her victim, the Housatonic; and the Leopoldville, a troop transport torpedoed by a German U-boat in 1944 with the loss of 800 GIs, a disaster the U.S., Britain and Belgium all tried to cover up. The authors begin each chapter with a ""slightly dramatized"" account of the actual shipwreck. More convincing are Cussler's first-person reminiscences of searches and salvages. The text is supplemented by well-drawn maps. 400,000 first printing. (Oct.)