Clive Cussler began writing novels in 1965 and published his first work featuring his continuous series hero, Dirk Pitt(R), in 1973. His first non-fiction, The Sea Hunters, was released in 1996. The Board of Governors of the Maritime College, State University of New York, considered The Sea Hunters in lieu of a Ph.D. thesis and awarded Cussler a Doctor of Letters degree in May, 1997. It was the first time since the College was founded in 1874 that such a degree was bestowed. Cussler's books have been published in more than 40 languages in more than 100 countries. His past international bestsellers include Pacific Vortex, Mediterranean Caper, Iceberg, Raise the Titanic, Vixen 03, Night Probe, Deep Six, Cyclops, Treasure, Dragon, Sahara, Inca Gold, Shock Wave, Flood Tide, Atlantis Found, Valhalla Rising, Trojan Odyssey and Black Wind.