From Publishers Weekly
White (The Ice Curtain) pens another nail-biter, a gripping post-Cold War tale of an undersea standoff between a Russian ballistic-missile submarine and an American attack boat. Russian Typhoon class ballistic-missile subs are the largest ever built, each the size of an aircraft carrier. The U.S. has paid the Russians to scrap them, and they have-except for one, Baikal, which they've secretly held on to, then sold to China. A Russian crew has been ordered to transport the rusty behemoth from the Barents Sea to Shanghai, slipping under the Arctic ice cap. When the furious Americans get wind of this, they dispatch the USS Portland, an attack submarine, to intervene and delay the transport. In addition to dealing with the difficulties of navigation and concealment in sometimes dangerously shallow, ice-covered waters, the Russian skipper is impeded by a duplicitous officer. His mercurial American counterpart, Capt. James Vann, has his own problems: Lt. Rose Scavullo, a Russian language specialist, has been assigned to the Portland, the first woman on an American sub. Vann and many of his underlings bitterly resent her and are determined to make her life on the sub miserable; crew members flash her, while Vann blames her for the boat's mishaps. The international cat-and-mouse game becomes a contest between American technology and Russian cunning. The setting and stirring pace will remind readers of Clancy's The Hunt for Red October. Though the exhaustive technical details may stymie some readers, enthusiasts of naval warfare will delight in them.
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Captain Martov has the mission of delivering the last operational Typhoon-class missile boat to the Chinese right at the time the Chinese are getting confrontational over Taiwan. Once at sea, he discovers that the boat is carrying a full load of missiles. Martov's executive officer is an old hard-liner and doesn't care, but real opposition, leading to a classic sub-versus-sub duel, arrives in the person of the Los Angeles-class submarine Portland
's captain, who, obsessed with saving his career, will risk war, losing his boat, and betraying his crew, which includes the first female U.S. submariner. White, who earlier lent his skills to Hostile Waters
(1997), the true story of a near-disaster aboard a Soviet sub carrying nuclear warheads, handles the action, atmosphere, and personality clashes here with considerable skill, generating a real page-turner. Typhoon
may also be the literary swansong of its namesake, the splendid piece of naval architecture that made its literary debut in the Mother of All Technothrillers (title begins with Hunt
) and is about to disappear from the former Soviet navy. Roland GreenCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved