An electrifying new voice in military fiction, Joe Buff has written a riveting and utterly realistic submarine adventure.
Jeffrey Fuller is going back to war.
Commander Fuller has distinguished himself in battle, becoming one of America's most inspirational heroes in its war with the Berlin-Boer Axis. Time and time again, Fuller has taken his crew of elite submariners into the most dangerous waters in the world, matching wits and weapons with the best of Germany's and South Africa's fighting force, and every time he has emerged the victor.
But this time, Fuller is given an impossible mission. As the captain of America's most technologically advanced tactical nuclear submarine, Fuller is told that the Allies will lose the war unless two conditions are met. The only problem: if Fuller devotes his time to achieving one of his goals, he will sacrifice the other. With the war hanging in the balance, Fuller must accomplish the impossible, or he will lose not only his life, but the war itself.
Submarine aficionado Buff stirs up his usual whirlpool of frightening undersea exploits, but in this fourth outing his formula is beginning to feel a little soggy. Like last year's Crush Depth, this adventure features Jeffrey Fuller, commander of the super sub USS Challenger, locked in mortal combat in the year 2011 with his usual enemy, a submariner from the German navy. This time out, that adversary is Commander Ernst Beck, at the helm of the jewel of the fatherland's U-boat fleet, the Admiral von Scheer. As in Buff's previous Fuller adventures, the world is in the chaos of nuclear war. The Germans have teamed up with the South Africans, where the whites have retaken control, to form the "Axis." On the other side, the "Allies" are a loose confederation headed by the United States and Great Britain. With the Allies struggling to hold onto central Africa and prevent the Axis from spreading its reach into South America, Fuller is dispatched to seek and destroy the von Scheer, which has been littering the floor of the Atlantic with the hulls of Allied ships for months. The action ends in an exhilarating if inevitable showdown off the African coast. Buff brings both a descriptive flair and an undeniable knowledge of undersea warfare to his series. Here, he has also wisely chosen to jettison a silly, plot-diverting love affair that Fuller has been nurturing for the past couple of books. Yet the inevitability of the ending, almost identical to others in the series, makes this one a tiresome journey.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
-- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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October 31, 2004
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Excerpt from Tidal Rip by Joe Buff
The Omni Shoreham Hotel,
Commander Jeffrey Fuller let the hubbub of the cocktail reception swirl around him in the huge grand ballroom of the posh and historic hotel. The crowd moved to its own indecipherable Washington rhythms. The strong conversational currents and nasty undercurrents of glittering socialites and power brokers seemed to be running way above his head, his feet hurt from standing for hours, and he was hoarse from too much talking. The weight of the bronze medallion of his brand-new Medal of Honor felt heavier and heavier on its ribbon around his neck. He tried to remind himself that the whole reception was in his honor, but Jeffrey could see by now that almost everyone had really shown up for selfish reasons. If anything, he told himself ruefully, the nation's capital during this grimmest of wartimes was more unforgivingly competitive, and more politically manic, than ever before.
Still, part of Jeffrey felt very fulfilled. He was surrounded by so much sheer energy from all these people, and this moment was the ultimate achievement of his naval career. He was also grateful that, at least for the moment, he was being ignored, lost in the crowd of civilians and of men and women in uniform. He tried to rest his eyes, which hurt from the glare of so many TV camera lights. The reporters must have gotten the footage they wanted of him, because the different clumps of extra glare from those lights were far away in the gigantic room. Jeffrey welcomed his temporary sense of solitude within the mob -- this came easily to a submariner, who lived in a cramped and crowded world and needed to make his own privacy, internally, wherever he was.
One of Jeffrey's former shipmates, stationed now at the Pentagon, came by. "Hey, Captain. Way to go!" The two of them talked for a couple of minutes, then the other man moved on.
Again, Jeffrey savored a fleeting sense of joy, a tingling in his chest, and a lightness in his gut. The Medal of Honor ...He tried not to remember that winning a medal in battle usually meant that other good people hadn't made it back.
All around Jeffrey wineglasses and cocktail glasses and soft-drink glasses clinked. Tuxedoed waiters circulated smoothly through the hundreds of guests, offering tidbits of snacks on silver trays. The offerings were meager, compared to all the events the hotel had hosted over the years, because of wartime austerity. It wasn't lost on Jeffrey that all the wines were inexpensive labels, and every one of them was American made.
Jeffrey had had little appetite at lunch. Now his stomach rumbled, not that anyone else would notice in this din. As a waiter passed, he grabbed a bite to eat -- a cracker with cheese spread.
Jeffrey realized that none of the hors d'oeuvres he'd seen all afternoon included seafood. This wasn't surprising, considering the amount of nuclear waste and fallout built up by now in the Atlantic. Some scientists said the ecological damage wasn't really that severe, that the ocean was very vast and so the toxins were hugely diluted. The relatively small tactical atomic warheads now -- used by both sides hundreds of miles from land -- weren't much compared to the many megatons the U.S. and USSR and other nuclear powers had tested in the atmosphere or in the oceans in the early Cold War. But it was very different, at least psychologically, in an actual shooting war. No one was taking chances, which was too bad. Jeffrey loved seafood.
He quickly went from feeling fulfilled to feeling glum. Some of the atomic weapons detonated in the oceans had been set off by his ship, on his orders. Jeffrey wondered for the umpteenth time how many whales and dolphins he'd killed, collateral damage to the environment as he went after high-value enemy targets.