"I've always had tremendous fun with Dirk Pitt, but nothing has given me more pleasure than the opportunity to send him to that most fabled of lost lands, Atlantis, and virtually reinvent aspects of its civilization. I hope you have as good a time reading Atlantis Found as I had writing it!"-Clive Cussler September 1858: A shore party from a whaling ship that has been locked in the solid pack-ice of Stefansonn Bay, Antarctica, stumbles upon a derelict British merchantman from a previous century. The British ship - the Madras - is trapped between two giant floe-bergs, hummocks frozen together and grounded on the shore. Below decks the sailors discover a grisly scene: passengers and crew, frozen in various positions of death, keeping a ghostly watch over crates of odd antiquities and a life-sized human skull carved from black obsidian. Thus begins Atlantis Found, a breathtaking thriller by the internationally acclaimed grand master of adventure fiction, Clive Cussler. With fourteen consecutive bestsellers and over one hundred million copies in print, Cussler has long since proven himself one of America''s most popular authors, and his hero, Dirk Pitt, one of America''s most avidly read fictional characters. Now Cussler, an expert in combining suspense and tension with high-tech wizardry and riveting action, sends Pitt on what may be the most hair-raising adventure of this career. No less than the fate of humanity hangs in the balance. More than 140 years after the merchantman''s discovery, Dr. Patricia O''Connell, an expert in ancient languages, is called to Colorado to investigate mysterious inscriptions carved into the walls of a chamber found deep inside an abandoned mine. The excitement generated by the inscriptions, and by the discovery of another exquisitely carved black obsidian skull, quickly turns to dismay when a blast seals O''Connell and two others within the chamber. They narrowly escape death thanks to the timely intervention of Dirk Pitt - Special Projects Director for the National Underwater and Marine Agency - who had been exploring a complex system of waterways inside the mountain. It soon becomes clear to Pitt, and his buddy Al Giordino, that the blast was intentionally set and that a group of killers, fanatically devoted to what they call "The Fourth Empire," is intent on exterminating anyone who comes into contact with the ancient artifacts. Pitt and his NUMA colleagues - working with Dr. O''Connell - make a startling discovery. The carved inscriptions and skulls are remnants of an ancient seafaring civilization that navigated and mapped the globe four thousand years before the Egyptians raised the pyramids. The artifacts represent not only a record of the global catastrophe that wiped the ancient mariners from the face of the earth but also a warning of the next cataclysm to future generations. The search for information about the artifacts, and the ancient culture from which they sprung, takes a further bizarre turn when Pitt travels to Antarctica to locate the Madras and any additional clues she might be carrying. The NUMA research ship he is on is fired upon and nearly sunk by impossibility - a Nazi U-boat from a war that had ended fifty-six years earlier. The unanswered questions pile up: What is the Fourth Empire? How has an organization with a worldwide army of elite killers operated for years without the finest intelligence services in the world figuring out who they are and what they''re up to? What is the link between the artifacts and the Empire? Could they be planning to recreate the cataclysm foretold by the ancient mariners? Like all of Cussler's stories, Atlantis Found propels readers forward by combining fast-paced action, exciting characters, and a maze of unforgettable plot twists and turns that have become a hallmark of this number-one New York Times-bestselling author. With a supporting cast of recurring characters - NUMA Director Admiral James Sandecker, Deputy Director Rudy Gunn, Hiram Yeager, St. Julien Perlmutter - and a cameo appearance by Cussler himself, this Dirk Pitt adventure novel is guaranteed to keep both new readers and die-hard fans on the edge of their seats.