It is the year 2007, and the Chinese are poised to challenge America's superiority on the open sea and upset the delicate balance of oil power in the Middle East and the free passage of the world's giant tankers.
The Chinese Navy, in partnership with Iran, has laid a minefield clean across the Strait of Hormuz, holding the world's oil supply hostage. Mystified by China's motive, yet drawn to action, the United States moves to disarm the mines with a huge display of force. At the center of the mission is USS Shark, a 30-year-old nuclear boat on her final tour of duty. When confronted with the unexpected death of brave SEALs, the unimaginable happens: the first mutiny in the modern history of the United States Navy.
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Veteran techno-thriller writer Robinson's fifth novel pairs Arnold Morgan, the aging but still powerful national security adviser who stars in the author's previous titles (Nimitz Class, Kilo Class) with a new young naval intelligence officer named Ramshawe--one of the few characters with more personality than the military hardware on which Robinson lavishes most of his attention in this somewhat pedestrian tale.
Ramshawe's commanding officer ignores his warnings about a Russian airplane carrying a lethal cargo of sea mines to a Chinese naval base and the subsequent movement of Chinese warships flying the flag of Iran in the Strait of Hormuz, even when an American oil tanker explodes in the Persian Gulf. Unable to convince his Admiral that the events are connected, the junior hotshot ignores the chain of command and takes his suspicions to Morgan. When more oil tankers blow up and it becomes clear that the Chinese have mined the strait in order to drive oil prices up and destabilize the economy, Morgan deploys the U.S. Navy to the Gulf. Included in the force are a couple of SEAL teams on a submarine--but the sub is commanded by a deranged captain who believes he's the reincarnated spirit of the French naval officer defeated by Nelson at Trafalgar, so the SEALs are forced to stage a mutiny in order to carry out their mission. Meanwhile, it turns out China has another target in its sights, halfway around the world: its neighbor Taiwan. So the Taiwanese air force must fight off the attack on its territory with no help from the U.S. Navy, which is committed in the Gulf.
There's enough weaponry and military maneuvering here to keep fans of Clancy, Coonts, and Dale Brown happy, but it may be past time for the curmudgeonly Morgan to retire and let a new series hero like Ramshawe take over. --Jane AdamsAbout the Author:
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.
David McCallum has enjoyed a long and rewarding career on stage, film and television. Best known for his role in The Man from U.N.C.L.E., a comprehensive list of his life and work can be found on several sites on the Internet.
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