309 pages. Acknowledgments.
Pete Hamlin wakes up onboard the submarine Polaris. There's a gun in his hand, and a dead body on the deck. And there's a fire on the ship. It's a mutiny, but Pete has amnesia – whose side is he on?
This novel takes place in the near-future, when global warming has forced nations to compete for scarce resources, war has broken out between two coalitions (Typhon and the Alliance), and a pandemic threatens world health.
The Polaris is a next-generation nuclear submarine, capable of being operated by a handful of crew members. Some of her crew are U.S. Navy veterans. Others are fanatic Alliance political officers. The ship is on a secret mission, and is being stalked by a Typhon submarine.
And did I mention the drones? The Alliance controls the Pacific through its fleet of autonomous flying drones… what could go wrong?
This is a pretty good near-future adventure novel, with a deep backstory that the author slowly reveals. The characters are sharply drawn, if not too deep. The author does a great job of pulling all the facets of the story together in the end.
The author has a background in the submarine service, which means the submarine stuff seems correct.
My one disappointment in this novel is that the author has a rather clever idea about drone autonomy… and I was hoping he would build on that in some clever sci-fi way, but he never does.
Can you wargame it? The final scenes involve an assault by Typhon marines against an Alliance fortification that, with a few adjustments, could make a good skirmish-level game. Submarine gamers may also find inspiration from some of the situations here.
I enjoyed the book. It's a puzzle to unravel, it's light entertainment, things go boom.
Reviewed by Editor in Chief Bill .