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Typhoon Hardcover – March 10, 2003


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Editorial Reviews

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.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

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 Green
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Adult; First Edition edition (March 10, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 039914935X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399149351
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.3 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,626,506 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Well written but seriously lacks originality.
Amazon Customer
In the nuclear arms race, the most massive weapon of mass destruction ever created was the Russian Typhoon submarine.
Patrick Stott
It was pretty well written, but the fact that it was so unoriginal made it hard for me to enjoy it.
Orion1

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By C. M. Wood on May 8, 2003
Format: Hardcover
After graduation from Annapolis I spent 22 years in nuclear submarines. My career included command of two missile submarines, and I was the Executive Officer of an attack submarine that spent two months under the Arctic ice. Part of that time was devoted to work on in instrumented range to develop under ice tactics and part was spent in interactions with a foreign submarine. As someone who's "been there and done that," I thought Robin White's latest novel, Typhoon, was technically the best I've read on warfare between two modern submarines in the erratic sound conditions of the Arctic, comparable to Edward L. Beach's Cold is the Sea. I do not understand why the above reviewer who was a career submariner thought aspects of this book did not sound authentic. I had nothing to do with the plot or character development of this book, but I am acquainted with Robin White and recognized in the book slang expressions or snippets of dialogue from sea stories I have shared with him in the past. I read this one cover to cover as soon as it came out and highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys submarine novels.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Orion1 on December 7, 2004
Format: Hardcover
As noted by some of the other reviews, this book is basically a copy of "The Hunt for Red October" and "Crimson Tide". It was pretty well written, but the fact that it was so unoriginal made it hard for me to enjoy it. I could almost tell where the book was going because I read "Hunt" and saw "Tide". I read this on a plane to Rome, so I was pretty much stuck with it, but given a choice, I would have stopped reading it and grabbed something else.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on July 4, 2005
Format: Hardcover
As a first submarine novel, you might enjoy it provided you haven't read anything else yet on submarines.

Otherwise its a hotch potch of crimson tide and Hunt for red october which are far superior books.

I just finished reading it. Well written but seriously lacks originality.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 6, 2005
Format: Hardcover
The main complaint I see from some of the negative reviews is that the book is not original.

Okay. Just how many submarine plots are there any way?

A submarine is either attacking, running or there is a cat and mouse between two or more subs. Everything else is a variation on those themes.

That said, this is a masterful piece of writing.

TYPHOON is the story of a Typhoon class boomer that suddenly appears off the Kola Peninsula. (There was supposed to be a treaty that scrapped these killers, evidently the Russians forgot about this one.) You can always count on your former commie to be cheating somewhere.

The nearest submarine on station is ordered to prevent the Typhoon from navigating the Arctic ice pack and being delivered to the new bad guys (the Chinese).

The American commander interprets his orders as license to sink the Typhoon.

Not to spoil the story. Many things happen under the water and things get very desperate.

This is the best submarine novel I have read since the Hunt for Red October.

I liked it alot.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By P. J. Statts on March 1, 2004
Format: Hardcover
NOT. Have you read "The Hunt for Red October"? Have you seen "Crimson Tide"? If so, then it won't take you long to see exactly where the story for Robin White's "Typhoon" came from. Mix equal parts "Red October" and "Crimson Tide" and you end up with this book. The book is well-executed, but it's just impossible to get past White's wholesale theft of ideas and concepts from other "submarine" books and movies. Very disappointing.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Cugel on July 25, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Title says it all. If you can't get over the fact that submarine novels generally have similar plots, then you won't be able to appreciate the fact that this novel is pretty much unique in being a sub thriller by an author who can actually write great characters, and not just technical prose.

Remember all those awful talky bits in the Clancy books - Pentagon brass yakking over dinner in Georgetown? Yeah, you do. The stuff where you want to skip whole sections of poor dialogue but you're worried you might miss an important plot detail - so you read it and realise you just wasted 10 minutes because it was POINTLESS, not to mention wooden and crude... None of that trademark Clancy pap here. Just great writing with compelling characters struggling against the elements, a hidden enemy and one another.

Think I'll go back and read Siberian Light again. Can't get enough of this guy's writing. Especially his characterisation of Russians, which is spot-on because he worked in Russia...
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Chris O'Connor on March 14, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Typhoon is one of the best novels out there about undersea warfare and the people who fight it. It accurately describes life aboard submarines and the environment in which the subs fight. It is a pity that this genre of fiction started with Clancy, because White and Buff are much more deserving as authors to get the fame that Clancy now wields.
In many ways, this book harkens back to the days of Alistair MacLean's "Ice Station Zebra"- where the action takes place aboard submarines but the characters are as important- if not more so- than the action. This is a trait that many recent thrillers lack.
The plot has already been outlined in a number of previous reviews... so I'll spare you the re-hashing... but I could not put this book down, and would recommend it to anyone.
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