557 pages. About the Author. People (OOB/characters list).
So let's go back in time to the fall of the Soviet Union, when the major nations cashed the 'peace dividend' and reduced their military. What if… the United Nations stepped into the gap – known only to a few Security Council nations – and secretly fielded a peacekeeping force to handle brushfires around the globe?
Introducing the U Thant, a classic Q-ship disguised as just another ULCC (ultra-large cargo carrier), but equipped with Harrier IIIs, Sea Apache and Seahawk helicopters, two mini-subs, a special forces unit, and weapons for self-defense. She cruises the sealanes, changing identities, just another merchantship…
But when well-financed South American revolutionaries take control of the Antarctic Peninsula in the name of patriotism, only the U Thant is in position to strike back! The bad guys have Mirages and Tornados, a small naval fleet, SAM batteries and AAA, air tankers/transports and transport helicopters, and Sno-Cats and arctic-equipped infantry.
There's a lot of military action in this novel, including combat in the air, on the sea, and beneath the waves; and the U.N. 'SEALS' play a major role. There's a U.S. satellite expert whose part-time assignment to coordinate with the U.N. suddenly turns full-time, and politics at the U.N. There's a large cast of characters, heroes and villains with a variety of motivations (plus a few stereotypes: the U.N. Arab and Israeli pilots who have a rivalry, an amorous French sailor, and a revolutionary pilot motivated by macho pride) and even a romantic subplot. And what are the revolutionaries really up to?
The author is a Vietnam veteran, and the combat sequences are well described and seem realistic enough for a novel. The conditions in a polar region also seem to be accurate. The idea of a U.N.-fielded secret naval force is a bit far-fetched, but it makes a fun story.
Can you wargame it? Lots of scenario info here, and perhaps even a campaign. Do you prefer air combat, naval combat, or skirmish-level infantry actions in a frozen environment?
An enjoyable book. Definitely heavy on the action side. Recommended.
Reviewed by Editor in Chief Bill .