China is purchasing Kilo class submarines in an attempt to close nearby international waters. Determined to keep the seas open, the U.S. Navy sends out secret Black Op squads on missions so dangerous, one mistake could set off World War III
Those pesky Chinese are at it again. In the gripping techno-thriller sequel to Robinson's Nimitz Class (1997), the genre's new most favored villains have bought a number of highly capable, stealthy "kilo class" submarines from Russia to use as a threat against Taiwan. Navy Commander Cale "Boomer" Dunning, skipper of the nuclear-powered sub Columbia, is tapped to seek out and destroy the Kilos before the Chinese can take delivery. His assignment involves much derring-do, including a vividly described SEAL mission and a hair-raising transoceanic passage under the polar ice cap. Although Robinson excels in describing action scenes and armaments, careless writing and an abandoned subplot involving a hijacked researched vessel mar his tale. So does the smug assumption that our military knows best when to attack ships of another nation. Nevertheless, this is a sure hit for fans of military and adventure fiction. (May) FYI: Nimitz Class is currently in production with Universal Studios. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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April 01, 1999
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Excerpt from Kilo Class by Patrick Robinson
Captain Tug Mottram could almost feel the barometric pressure rising. The wind had roared for two days out of the northwest at around forty knots and was now suddenly increasing to fifty knots and more as it backed. The first snow flurries were already being blown across the heaving, rearing lead-colored sea, and every forty seconds gigantic ocean swells a half-mile across surged up behind. The wind and the mountainous, confused sea had moved from user-friendly to lethal in under fifteen minutes, as it often does in the fickle atmospherics of the Southern Ocean particularly along the howling outer corridor of the Roaring Forties where Cuttyhunk now ran crosswind, gallantly, toward the southeast.
Tug Mottram had ordered the ship battened down two days ago. All watertight doors were closed and clipped. Fan intakes were shut off. No one was permitted on the upper deck aft of the bridge. The Captain gazed out ahead, through snow that suddenly became sleet, slashing sideways across his already small horizon. The wipers on the big wheelhouse windows could cope. Just. But astern the situation was deteriorating as the huge seas from the northwest, made more menacing by the violent cross-seas from the beam, now seemed intent on engulfing the 279-foot steel-hulled research ship from Woods Hole, Massachusetts. "Decrease speed to twelve knots," Mottram said. "We don't wanna run even one knot faster than the sea. Not with the rear end design of this bastard."
"You ever broached, sir" the young navigation officer, Kit Berens, asked, his dark, handsome features set in a deep frown.
"Damn right. In a sea like this. Going just too fast."
"Christ. Did the wave break right over you?"
"Sure did. Pooped her right out. About a billion tons of green water crashed over the stern, buried the rear gun deck and the flight deck, then flooded down the starboard side. Swung us right around, with the rudders clear out of the water. Next wave hit us amidships. I thought we were gone."
"Jesus. What kind of a ship was it?"
"US Navy destroyer. Spruance. Eight thousand tons. I was driving her. Matter of fact it makes me downright nervous even to think about it. Twelve years later."
"Was it down here in the Antarctic, sir? Like us?"
"Uh-uh. We were in the Pacific. Far south. But not this far."
"How the hell did she survive it?"
"Oh, those Navy warships are unbelievably stable. She heeled right over, plowed forward, and came up again right way. Not like this baby. She'll go straight to the bottom if we fuck it up."
"Jesus," Kit said, gazing with awe at the giant wall of water that towered above Cuttyhunk's highly vulnerable, low-slung aft section. "We're just a cork compared to a destroyer. What d'we do?"
"We just keep running. A coupla knots slower than the sea. Stay in tight control of the rudders. Keep 'em under. Hold her course, stern on to the bigger swells. Look for shelter in the lee of the islands."
Outside, the wind was gusting violently up to seventy knots as the deep, low-pressure area sweeping eastward around the Antarctic continued to cause the daylong almost friendly northwester to back around, first to the west, and now, in the last five minutes, to the cold southwest.
The sea was at once huge and confused, the prevailing ocean swells from the northwest colliding with the rising storm conditions from the southwest. The area of these fiercely rough seas was relatively small given the vastness of the Southern Ocean, but that was little comfort to Tug Mottram and his men as they climbed eighty-foot waves. Cuttyhunk was right in the middle of it, and she was taking a serious pounding.