The Clive Cussler books in order include several popular series such as Dirk Pitt, NUMA Files, Oregon Files, etc. Each of the series is well-worth reading in chronological order, although it is not necessarily a must. If you do want to read the Dirk Pitt series in proper chronological order, you should start with Pacific Vortex which was published after The Mediterranean Caper but the events within come first.
Born in 1931 in Aurora, Illinois, author Clive Cussler grew up Alhambra, California. He went to the Pasadena City College where he remained for two years after which e dropped out in order to enlist in the US Air Force where he got to the rank of sergeant. During his time with the army, he worked as a flight engineer and aircraft mechanic in Hawaii during the Corean War. It was during this time that he discovered scuba diving and his passion for it, one that will be with him throughout his entire life.
His first job after leaving the army was that of an advertising copywriter, after which he became a creative director for two important advertising agencies in the country.
Clive Cussler wrote his first book in 1965, 15 years after he’s been working as a copywriter, while being at home with the kids as his wife was working night shifts at the police department.
Over the years he wrote numerous books alone and in cooperation with other authors, in creating several popular series, including his Dirk Pitt series, the NUMA Files, the Oregon Files, the Isaac Bell Adventures and the Fargo Adventures. He also wrote several non-fiction books, with his first one being The Sea Hunters, written in 1996.
With so many books written under his belt, if you’re looking to read the Clive Cussler books in order, considering that there are several series that he put out so far, it might be a tad difficult to navigate the sea of his novels and find out which comes before which book and what is the right order of his many series.
I’ve started reading the books by Clive Cussler in chronological order (his Dirk Pitt series) back in the 80s when I first discovered them. At the time he and Tom Clancy where my main mystery authors that I was religiously following – Tom Clancy with his political thrillers and Mr. Cussler with his maritime adventure mysteries called Dirk Pitt, with the main character named after the author’s son called Dirk Cussler, with whom he actually co-authored some of his later Dirk Pitt books.
Now just to see the huge amount of books written by this author, the Dirk Pitt series has so far over 20 books, the NUMA Files series includes 14 books, the Oregon Files 13 books, the Isaac Bell Adventures 10 books and The Fargo Adventures 9 books. That makes it a total of over 60 books published to date, with each year the number getting bigger and bigger.
He also wrote 2 kids books and 4 non-fiction books, among which one is a book I’ve read called Clive Cussler and Dirk Pitt Revealed. It’s worth checking it out.
Even at this advanced age (over 80-years-old), our favorite novelist still likes to scuba dive (a hobby which is well reflected in his Dirk Pitt adventure novels). He is living in Paradise Valley, Arizona where he writes (in his shed) his next book. He co-authors with 5 other novelists, one of them being his own son, Dirk who helped his dad write several of the latest Dirk Pitt novels. Of course, the main character of his most popular series, Dirk Pitt, was named after his son. Dirk started working with Clive Cussler in 2004, after he left from his job as a controller at Motorola Iridium in Phoenix.
When he does the research for the next books, author Clive Cussler likes to take real-life events and twist them to suit the needs of his main characters and storyline. For example, his novel The Assassin, Isaac Bell #8, he invented a story about the investigating the real-life John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil monopoly.
While he still writes books, Clive Cussler is more in a rewriting stage these days. The authors write the first 100 or so pages, which they then send them to Clive to check and edit, following which they get it back from him to continue the stories.
An interesting fact about the author, a few years after starting his Dirk Pitt series, which features a fictious National Underwater Marine Agency focused on finding underwater artifacts, he actually created the same named non profit organization to find and preserve maritim history. So far this agency found over 60 ship wrecks and donated their findings to museums or various related government agencies.
In an interview, Cussler was asked whether he believes his Dirk Pitt series (his most popular series to date) will go on after he is gone. His answer was, “I hope Dirk Pitt will go on after me.”
So here are the Clive Cussler books in order for each fictional series – the books are in chronological order, with the publication date listed next to each book.
Dirk Pitt Novels In Order
The first Dirk Pitt book (and the author’s debut novel), The Mediterranean Caper was written back in 1973, however chronologically it comes second after Pacific Vortex, which was written in 1983, but takes place some years before The Mediterranean Caper. Where the order of publication differs from chronological order, I will list the orders in brackets next to the books.
- Pacific Vortex, 1983 (Dirk Pitt series #1 chronologically, but #2 publication wise)
- The Mediterranean Caper, 1973 (Dirk Pitt series #2 chronologically, but first written book ) – was published under the title Mayday in England
- Iceberg, 1975 (Dirk Pitt #3)
- Raise The Titanic!, 1976 (Dirk Pitt #4)
- Vixen 03, 1978 (Dirk Pitt #5)
- Night Probe!, 1981 (Dirk Pitt #6)
- Deep Six, 1984 (Dirk Pitt #7)
- Cyclops, 1986 (Dirk Pitt #8)
- Treasure, 1988 (Dirk Pitt #9)
- Dragon, 1990 (Dirk Pitt #10)
- Sahara, 1992 (Dirk Pitt #11)
- Inca Gold, 1994 (Dirk Pitt #12)
- Shock Wave, 1996 (Dirk Pit #13)
- Flood Tide, 1997 (Dirk Pitt #14)
- Atlantis Found, 1999 (Dirk Pitt #15)
- Valhalla Rising, 2001 (Dirk Pitt #16)
- Trojan Odyssey, 2003 (Dirk Pitt #17)
- Black Wind, 2004 (Dirk Pitt #18)
- Treasure of Khan, 2006 (Dirk Pitt #19)
- Arctic Drift, 2008 (Dirk Pitt #20)
- Crescent Dawn, 2010 (Dirk Pitt #21)
- Poseidon’s Arrow, 2012 (Dirk Pitt #22)
- Havana Storm, 2014 (Dirk Pitt #23)
- Odessa Sea, 2016 (Dirk Pitt #24)
The NUMA Files Reading Order
The NUMA files have been co-authored with another author called Paul Kemprecos, popular for his nautical mystery novels, including Neptune’s Eye, Cool Blue Tomb, and The Mayflower Murder.
Here is the reading order of the Clive Cussler NUMA Files series:
- Serpent, 1999 (NUMA Files #1)
- Blue Gold, 2000 (NUMA Files #2)
- Fire Ice, 2002 (NUMA Files #3)
- White Death, 2003 (NUMA Files #4)
- Lost City, 2004 (NUMA Files #5)
- Polar Shift, 2005 (NUMA Files #6)
- The Navigator, 2007 (NUMA Files #7)
- Medusa, 2009 (NUMA Files #8)
- Devil’s Gate, 2011 (NUMA Files #9)
- The Storm, 2012 (NUMA Files #10)
- Zero Hour, 2013 (NUMA Files #11)
- Ghost Ship, 2014 (NUMA Files #12)
- The Pharao’s Secret, 2015 (NUMA Files #13)
- Nighthawk 2017 (NUMA Files #14)
The Oregon Files Books In Order
The Oregon Files have been co-authored with Craig Dirgo, known for his John Taft series, and with Jack Du Brul, an author known for Philip Mercer archaeological/adventure thriller series.
Here are the Oregon Files books in order of reading:
- Golden Buddha, 2003 (Oregon Files #1)
- Sacred Stone, 2004 (Oregon Files #2)
- Dark Watch, 2005 (Oregon Files #3)
- Skeleton Coast, 2006 (Oregon Files #4)
- Plague Ship, 2008 (Oregon Files #5)
- Corsair, 2009 (Oregon Files #6)
- The Silent Sea, 2010 (Oregon Files #7)
- The Jungle, 2011 (Oregon Files #8)
- Mirage, 2013 (Oregon Files #9)
- Piranha, 2015 (Oregon Files #10)
- The Emperor’s Revenge, 2016 (Oregon Files #11)
- Typhoon Fury Oregon Files #12), 2017
Isaac Bell Adventures Reading Order
Clive Cussler co-authored the Isaac Bell Adventures with Justin Scott, known for his Ben Abbott mystery series. Isaac Bell is a private investigator with the Van Dorn Detective Agency, an establishment he based on the real-life Pinkerton Agency.
Here are the books published in the Isaac Bell Adventures series:
- The Chase, 2007 (Isaac Bell Adventures #1)
- The Wrecker, 2009 (Isaac Bell Adventures #2)
- The Spy, 2010 (Isaac Bell Adventures #3)
- The Race, 2011 (Isaac Bell Adventures #4)
- The Thief, 2012 (Isaac Bell Adventures #5)
- The Striker, 2013 (Isaac Bell Adventures #6)
- The Bootlegger, 2014 (Isaac Bell Adventures #7)
- The Assassin, 2015 (Isaac Bell Adventures #8)
- The Gangster, 2016 (Isaac Bell Adventures #9)
- The Cutthroat 2017 (Isaac Bell Adventures #10)
Fargo Adventures Order of Reading
The Fargo Adventures have been co-authored with Grant Blackwood, Thomas Perry, Russell Blake and Robin Burcell.
The Fargo Adventures focuses on a team of two professional treasure hunters, Sam and Remi Fargo. Here are the books in the series in chronological order of reading:
- Spartan Gold, 2009 (Fargo Adventures #1)
- Lost Empire, 2010 (Fargo Adventures #2)
- The Kingdom, 2011 (Fargo Adventures #3)
- The Tombs, 2012 (Fargo Adventures #4)
- The Mayan Secret, 2013 (Fargo Adventures #5)
- The Eye of Heaven, 2014 (Fargo Adventures #6)
- The Solomon Curse, 2015 (Fargo Adventures #7)
- Pirate, 2016 (Fargo Adventures #8)
- The Romanov Ransom 2017 (Fargo Adventures #9)
Other Clive Cussler Books
- The Sea Hunters, 1996 (non-fiction)
- Clive Cussler and Dirk Pitt® Revealed, 1998 (non-fiction)
- The Sea Hunters II: More True Adventures with Famous Shipwrecks, 2002 (non-fiction)
- The Adventures of Vin Fiz, 2006 (children’s book)
- The Adventures of Hotsy Totsy, 2010 (children’s book)
- Built for Adventure: The Classic Automobiles of Clive Cussler and Dirk Pitt, 2011 (non-fiction)
So there you have them. All the Clive Cussler books in chronological order of the various adventure series that the author wrote.
As for the question whether we should read the Clive Cussler series in order, I think it’s not absolutely necessary. Each book has a starting and ending story, so they can be perfectly read on their own, out of order. Having said that, many books have references to previous novels that might enrich your reading experience if you know what the author is talking about.
I personally prefer reading all my mystery series in order, even when if they really don’t have to strictly be.