The Cusslerverse is a universe involving an Earth parallel to the Real World, detailed in several series of action-suspense novels by the author Clive Cussler. It also contains two movies based on the novels: Raise the Titanic! in 1980, and Sahara in 2005 (though both have been disowned to a degree by the author). It has been compared at times to the Clancyverse, but has no direct connection. Though numerous minor splits from the Real World timeline occur at various points up to 7000 B.C., the major split occurs in the early 1970's and continues to slide away slowly as the years roll on. The in-universe timeline is itself somewhat cluttered and disarranged due to the wide spreads of time between the books, but can generally be viewed in order of publication.
Basic Universe Analysis Edit
The Cusslerverse can be likened, somewhat, to an "action movie" version of our Earth; villainous figures with dark designs on humanity abound and are thwarted by plucky heroes performing feats of somewhat questionable physics and plausibility (and with maybe one or two exceptions, the villain always dies at the end). In addition, the universe's action-movie nature acts to put something of a damper on the Narrative Laws of Comedy and Tragedy, which translates into characters being extremely lucky. As such, agents working in the Cusslerverse may find themselves capable of doing things somewhat out of the realm of normal possibility (though basic physics still apply; it is Earth, after all, albeit a somewhat stretched version), and noticeably luckier than otherwise (bullets will either miss or only cause minor wounds, explosions will just barely avoid them or be not quite strong enough to incapacitate or kill, etc.). Unfortunately, this will also apply to most Sues that crop up in the universe, so agents are forewarned.
Dirk Pitt Edit
The original series revolves around Dirk Pitt, an ex-Major in the U.S. Air Force who is hired on as a marine engineer and general troubleshooter by the National Underwater Marine Association, or NUMA. Though it is assumed that he does a fair bit of work in this field, the focus of the stories is on his adventures against a wide variety of crooks and villains. He is an accomplished pilot and operator of underwater craft—though his best friend, Al Giordino, is better—and quite competent on the field of combat.
Pitt is something of a Canon Sue himself in earlier stories, though age and his numerous battle scars begin catching up to him in the later books. Eventually, they force him to retire from his action-adventure life (as represented with the retiring of Pitt as a character, though he seems to keep coming back) and to take over the position of NUMA's Chief Director from his former boss, Admiral James Sandecker. Pitt has a reputation for being persuasive and charming, and something of a ladies' man (though he can hardly be blamed for it when his canon is practically throwing women into his path). He collects classic cars, and is known to take violent offense to any attempt to damage his collection.
Pitt's borderline Canon Sueness, plus his history of being a ladies' man, makes him somewhat weaker to Sue influence than most canons. However, it also means that he will snap back twice as hard if the influence is broken.
From the NUMA Files Edit
The second series, connected to the first, revolves around NUMA's Special Projects Team, led by Kurt Austin. Austin was developed by Cussler in the late 90's to replace Pitt on the front lines, since Pitt had been doing his action thing for nearly thirty years by that point, and even in the Cusslerverse that seemed fairly ridiculous. However, when it comes down to it, the NUMA Files are pretty much more of what Dirk Pitt used to do, but with four lead characters instead of just one or two. Not that they're bad because of that, though.
Kurt Austin is less susceptible to Suedom than Pitt; for one thing, he's older and less ruggedly handsome, and for another, he's even less well-known. Despite this, he leads just as rough a life as Pitt did, if not rougher. The two men do know each other, and in later books, after Pitt winds up at the helm of NUMA, Austin winds up working under him.
The Oregon Files Edit
Cussler's third series, based on a mercenary organization he introduced in the Pitt novel Flood Tide. It centers around this organization, an extremely professional outfit known as the Corporation (which is structured like a corporation, as well), which operates out of a converted tramp freighter known as the Oregon—a ship whose facade of an on-the-ropes rust bucket conceals one of the most powerful and elaborately outfitted vessels on the water, capable of holding her own against a Chinese Navy destroyer. Though taking place in the same world and time frame as the later books of the other two series, the Oregon Files are distinctly different from the rest of the Cusslerverse books.
Essentially all the members of the Corporation are established characters in their own right, but the most developed by far is the Chairman, Juan Cabrillo, a former CIA operative who was tossed out of the Agency after taking the fall for a mission in Nicaragua. Of note, the person he took the fall for has become Director at Langley, and as such the Corporation has decently strong connections in the CIA.
Ever since Dragon, Cussler himself has made an appearance in each of his novels, at least in the Dirk Pitt series, in a variety of roles. Being the author, he can see through the perception filters agents use, and may cross paths with agents working in the 'verse.