It's one of the stealthiest, most dangerous underwater warships ever built... silent at less than five knots and capable of a massive nuclear warhead punch. It's the weapon every Third World dictator covets. It's the 240-foot-long Russian Kilo Class submarine, and Russia seems perfectly willing to sell it to anyone -- including those governments that frequently violate international law.
Whenever Moscow sanctions the sale of the sinister Kilo to a Middle Eastern nation, the Pentagon reacts with barely controlled fury. But Kilo Class, the chilling new novel by Patrick Robinson, posits the far greater but no less real threat -- Russia's acceptance of an order for 10 newly built Kilos... from the Chinese.
The US Department of Defense is well aware of China's intention to shut the US Carrier Battle Groups out of the Taiwan Straits and then to reclaim, by military force if necessary, the rich independent island that sits only 100 miles off China's eastern coastline.
A strike force of patrolling Kilos could achieve that objective for Beijing, and two of the 10 Kilos have already been delivered. Kilo Class is about US attempts to foil delivery of the other eight. The President's new National Security Adviser, the irascible Texas admiral Arnold Morgan, prepares to send the US Navy's deadliest Black Ops hit squads deep into dark Russian waters. Their missions are executed under the most crushing code of secrecy. One mistake could literally start World War III. The decision is sanctioned by the President of the United States. Now, the world's three most powerful nations silently lock horns -- Russia, determined to deliver the submarines to Shanghai for a payment of billions of dollars; China, determined to reclaim Taiwan by frightening off the US aircraft carriers; and the United States, brutally determined that those Kilos will never fly the flag of China above their bridges.
Out in the terrible depths of the icy North Atlantic, the US Black Ops nuclear submarine awaits its chance, guided by the silent American satellites passing overhead. Deep inside the remote waterways of northern Russia, a team of elite Navy SEALs prepare an extraordinary operation of destruction and mayhem. Moscow brings in an iron cordon of an escort for the submarine deliveries, as Commander Boomer Dunning, the Black Ops captain from Cape Cod, races his 7,000-ton nuclear vessel beneath the polar ice cap to head them off.
Kilo Class is a taut, page-turning techno-thriller of the highest quality, grounded in fact and ringing with unmistakable authenticity. it is the story of a breathtaking race against time. Peppered with unforgettable characters, it takes the reader into the heart of the control room of a hunter-killer Los Angeles submarine. Most important, it reveals the cold-blooded brutality of the United States Navy, operating at the top of the game.
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
Patrick Robinson is the author of seven international bestselling suspense thrillers, including Nimitz Class and Hunter Killer, as well as several nonfiction bestsellers. He divides his time between Ireland and Cape Cod.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
Captain Tug Mottram could almost feel the barometric pressure rising. The wind had roared for two days out of the northwest at around forty knots and was now suddenly increasing to fifty knots and more as it backed. The first snow flurries were already being blown across the heaving, rearing lead-colored sea, and every forty seconds gigantic ocean swells a half-mile across surged up behind. The wind and the mountainous, confused sea had moved from user-friendly to lethal in under fifteen minutes, as it often does in the fickle atmospherics of the Southern Ocean--particularly along the howling outer corridor of the Roaring Forties where Cuttyhunk now ran crosswind, gallantly, toward the southeast.
Tug Mottram had ordered the ship battened down two days ago. All watertight doors were closed and clipped. Fan intakes were shut off. No one was permitted on the upper deck aft of the bridge. The Captain gazed out ahead, through snow that suddenly became sleet, slashing sideways across his already small horizon. The wipers on the big wheelhouse windows could cope. Just. But astern the situation was deteriorating as the huge seas from the northwest, made more menacing by the violent cross-seas from the beam, now seemed intent on engulfing the 279-foot steel-hulled research ship from Woods Hole, Massachusetts.
"Decrease speed to twelve knots," Mottram said. "We don't wanna run even one knot faster than the sea. Not with the rear end design of this bastard."
"You ever broached, sir?" the young navigation officer, Kit Berens, asked, his dark, handsome features set in a deep frown.
"Damn right. In a sea like this. Going just too fast."
"Christ. Did the wave break right over you?"
"Sure did. Pooped her right out. About a billion tons of green water crashed over the stern, buried the rear gun deck and the flight deck, then flooded down the starboard side. Swung us right around, with the rudders clear out of the water. Next wave hit us amidships. I thought we were gone."
"Jesus. What kind of a ship was it?"
"US Navy destroyer. Spruance. Eight thousand tons. I was driving her. Matter of fact it makes me downright nervous even to think about it. Twelve years later."
"Was it down here in the Antarctic, sir? Like us?"
"Uh-uh. We were in the Pacific. Far south. But not this far."
"How the hell did she survive it?"
"Oh, those Navy warships are unbelievably stable. She heeled right over, plowed forward, and came up again right way. Not like this baby. She'll go straight to the bottom if we fuck it up."
"Jesus," Kit said, gazing with awe at the giant wall of water that towered above Cuttyhunk's highly vulnerable, low-slung aft section. "We're just a cork compared to a destroyer. What d'we do?"
"We just keep running. A coupla knots slower than the sea. Stay in tight control of the rudders. Keep 'em under. Hold her course, stern on to the bigger swells. Look for shelter in the lee of the islands."
Outside, the wind was gusting violently up to seventy knots as the deep, low-pressure area sweeping eastward around the Antarctic continued to cause the daylong almost friendly northwester to back around, first to the west, and now, in the last five minutes, to the cold southwest.
The sea was at once huge and confused, the prevailing ocean swells from the northwest colliding with the rising storm conditions from the southwest. The area of these fiercely rough seas was relatively small given the vastness of the Southern Ocean, but that was little comfort to Tug Mottram and his men as they climbed eighty-foot waves. Cuttyhunk was right in the middle of it, and she was taking a serious pounding.
The sleet changed back to snow, and within moments small white drifts gathered on the gunwales on the starboard bow. But they were only fleeting; the great sea continued to hurl tons of frigid water onto the foredeck. In the split second it took for the ocean spray to fly against the for'ard bulkhead, it turned to ice. Peering through the window, Tug Mottram could see the tiny bright particles ricochet off the port-side winch. He guessed the still-air temperature on deck had dropped to around minus five degrees C. With the windchill of a force-ten gale, the real temperature out there was probably fifteen below zero.
Cuttyhunk pitched slowly forward into the receding slope of a swell, and Tug could see Kit Berens in the doorway to the communications room, stating their precise position. "Right now, forty-eight south, sixty-seven east, heading southeast, just about a hundred miles northwest Kerguelen Island . . ."
He watched his twenty-three-year-old navigator, sensed his uneasiness, and muttered to no one in particular, "This thing is built for a head sea. If we have a problem, it's right back there over the stern." Then, louder and clearer now, "Watch those new swells coming in from the beam, Bob. I'd hate to have one of them slew us around."
"Aye, sir," replied Bob Lander, who was, like Tug himself, a former US Navy lieutenant commander. The main difference between them was that the Captain had been coaxed out of the Navy at the age of thirty-eight to become the senior commanding officer at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. Whereas Bob, ten years older, had merely run out his time in dark blue, retiring as a lieutenant commander, and was now second in command of the Cuttyhunk. They were both big, powerful men, natives of Cape Cod, lifelong seamen, lifelong friends. Cuttyhunk, named after the most westerly of the Elizabeth Islands, was in safe hands, despite the terrifying claws of the gale that was currently howling out of the Antarctic.
"Kinda breezy out there now," said Lander. "You want me to nip down and offer a few encouraging words to the eggheads?"
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