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CUSSLER GETS 2-BOOK DEAL WITH $14 MILLION ADVANCE

The latest author to rake in an enormous advance is Clive Cussler, who writes adventure stories about underwater salvage featuring the protagonist Dirk Pitt.

His agent, Peter Lampack, says Cussler has just signed a two-book, $14 million deal with Simon & Schuster. For $7 million a book, Simon & Schuster will get audio and publication rights in the United States and Canada.Lampack said in a news release that HarperCollins had bid $17 million for the two books in a deal that would have included worldwide English rights, not just North American ones, but that he and Cussler had decided to go with their regular publisher, Simon & Schuster, instead.

Cussler's latest book, "Inca Gold," was on the New York Times best-seller list for three months this year.