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Todd Tucker
In Print
Thomas Dunne Books (2016)

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This entry created 4 August 2020. Last revised on 4 August 2020.

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©1994-2024 Bill Armintrout
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A Novel

Rating: gold star gold star gold star gold star gold star gold star no star no star no star no star (6.00)

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 Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian.