In his electrifying first novel Joe Buff instantly established himself as the ultimate chronicler of 21st-century warfare by taking military fiction and submarine combat to a new level of authenticity, vision, and power.
Thunder in the Deep picks up where Deep Sound Channel left off, bringing to life a frightening seascape where technology pushes warriors to new extremes, and warriors push technology to the max. This time the difference between victory and defeat hinges on the two most advanced nuclear attack submarines in the world.
The Challenger is the weapon of the future, a ceramic-hulled nuclear attack submarine whose electronic eyes and ears are the most advanced ever created. It is commanded by acting captain Jeffrey Fuller, a former SEAL turned submariner whose aggressiveness has made him a rising star -- and sometimes scares the hell out of his crew. Fuller's mission is to rescue the Virginia-class fast attack sub Texas, now lying on the bottom of the Atlantic just off the Azores.
But the enemy -- a newly resurrected and fanatically militaristic Germany -- knows where the Texas is, too, and knows the Challenger is coming. It is Challenger the Germans want, dispatching their own high-tech supersub, the Deutschland, to destroy her.
In this war your enemy is a blip on a console hardwired into an integrated nuclear weapons system. Ships are vaporized off the surface of the sea, nuclear shock waves unleash deadly tsunami waves, and smart submarines do battle with smart aircraft sent to hunt them down.
For Jeffrey Fuller and the Challenger, for the men on board the Deutschland, the race beneath the ocean's surface across a horrific underwater war zone will demand every bit of courage and skill they can muster just to survive.
Before it's over, the Challenger's mission is radically redefined: Fuller, his SEALs, and freedom fighter Ilse Reebeck are sent into Germany itself -- to plant a nuke right in the gut of the enemy's power structure.
Thunder in the Deep plunges the reader into the middle of some of the fiercest and most thrilling depictions of underwater warfare ever written. It is an electrifying novel of military strategy and action, a powerful tale of technology and humanity that will have you breathlessly turning pages until the explosive climax.
Deep under the sea, U.S. submarine captain Jeffrey Fuller is still at it, dodging depth charges, launching torpedoes and otherwise foiling a reinvigorated Nazi Germany from taking over the world. Buff's latest breathlessly paced thriller, set in the year 2011, starts out where last year's Deep Sound Channel left off. The world has been overtaken by a Germany-South Africa alliance. France has fallen. Great Britain is starving. It's up to the United States to prevent nuclear destruction and restore order. Fuller, fresh off victorious duty in the South Atlantic, has now taken over command of the Challenger, the most advanced American sub. His mission is to rescue a disabled sub on the ocean floor near the Azores, then proceed to the Baltic, where he is to lead a secret strike force and destroy a German missile laboratory. Never one to fail, Fuller has only one worry. He knows Germany's high-tech supersub, the Deutschland, is lurking out there. And his arch rival, the ruthless Kurt Eberhard, is at the controls, eager to send Fuller and the Challenger to the bottom of the sea. Long-winded at points and weakened by a silly love affair, the second in the Fuller line nonetheless provides satisfying action for battle lovers. Buff's admiration for submarines and their crews comes across from the start. His meticulous attention to the details of life aboard the Challenger and the obstacles it faces help heighten the drama, particularly during the final fight scene in the Norwegian Sea. The jargon flies fast and heavy, but even readers unfamiliar with the terminology will be able to catch its drift after awhile.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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July 29, 2002
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Excerpt from Thunder in the Deep by Joe Buff
Prologue In mid-2011, Boer-led reactionaries seized control in South Africa, and restored Apartheid. In response to a U.N. trade embargo, they began sinking U.S. and British merchant ships. NATO forces mobilized, with only Germany holding back. Troops and tanks drained from the rest of Europe and North America, and a joint task force set sail for Africa — into a giant trap. There was another coup — in Berlin. Kaiser Wilhelm’s closest heir was crowned, the Hohenzollern throne restored after almost a century; a secret conspiracy planned for years. Germany would have her “place in the sun” at last. Coercion won over citizens not swayed by patriotism or the onrush of events. Covertly, this Berlin-Boer Axis had built tactical atomic bombs. They ambushed the Allied naval task force underway, then destroyed Warsaw and Tripoli. France capitulated at once, continental Europe was overrun, and Germany established a strong beachhead in northern Africa. Germany captured nuclear subs from the French, and advanced diesel submarines from other countries. A financially supine Russia, supposedly neutral, sold weapons to the Axis for hard cash. Most of the rest of the world stayed out of the fight, from fear or greed or both. Now, American supply convoys to Great Britain are suffering in another terrible Battle of the Atlantic. If the U.K. should fall, the modern U-boat threat will prove that America’s overseas trade routes are untenable. The U.S. will have to sue for an armistice: an Axis victory. America and Great Britain both own ceramic-hulled fast attack subs — such as the USS Challenger, capable of tremendous depths — but Germany and South Africa own such vessels, too. Now, as harsh winter approaches in Europe, the British Isles starve, the U.S. is on the defensive, and democracy has never been more threatened.... Twenty years after Desert Storm, in a different sort of war. In the mid-Atlantic ocean, near the Azores Captain Taylor told himself it must have been that convoy battle raging in the distance. The shock wave and noise from yet another tactical nuclear detonation rocked his ship, the USS Texas — a steel-hulled Virginia-class fast-attack sub, Taylor’s home, his mistress at sea, his relentless yoke of command responsibility. Taylor knew from the feel of the shock that it was an Axis underwater blast, meant to shatter the Allied freighters bottoms, now that their Royal Navy escorts were mostly neutralized. This far off, Taylor’s sonar people wouldn’t hear the breaking-up sounds or the screams. But by sheer chance the echoes from those A-bombs had given Texas away, mocking the quieting of her machinery, making useless the stealth coatings on her hull. Robert Taylor, a beefy guy, was normally upbeat and jocular, but now he bitterly cursed his luck. The latest undersea blast-front bouncing off Texas would betray his depth and course and speed to the pair of Axis nuclear subs, which had him in a pincers — they’d never have spotted Texas without that endless searing thunder off to starboard, from the east. Taylor and his crew, and his Special Warfare passengers, had far more important things to do than tangle with them now. His orders even forbade his helping the U.K.-bound food convoy. Taylor’s executive officer said he was ready to open fire. The small atomic warheads on the Advanced Capability (ADCAP) torpedoes were all enabled, the outer tube doors open. The silent stalking was over with. Inside Taylor’s head, twenty long years of Navy experience and training — and of constant physical risk and separation from his loved ones — all became sharply focused on the next few seconds and minutes of mortal combat. “Firing point procedures,