Nimitz Class (Admiral Arnold Morgan Series #1)

Nimitz Class (Admiral Arnold Morgan Series #1)

3.6 32
by Patrick Robinson
     
 

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It's as big as the Empire State Building, a massive floating fortress at the throbbing heart of a U.S. Navy Carrier Battle Group.Its supersonic aircraft can level entire cities at a stroke. Its surveillance gear can trackevery target within thousands of square miles--in the air, on the surface, and under the sea. Its crew of six thousand works night and day to

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Overview

It's as big as the Empire State Building, a massive floating fortress at the throbbing heart of a U.S. Navy Carrier Battle Group.Its supersonic aircraft can level entire cities at a stroke. Its surveillance gear can trackevery target within thousands of square miles--in the air, on the surface, and under the sea. Its crew of six thousand works night and day to keep this awesome military machine at peak performance. It's a Nimitz-Class nuclear carrier, the most powerful weapons system on the planet. Nothing can touch it.

So when the first stunned messages say only that the Thomas Jefferson has disappeared, the Navy reacts with disbelief. But as her battered escorts report in, the truth becomes inescapable: a Nimitz-Class carrier has been claimed by nuclear catastrophe--the mightiest military unit on earth, vaporized without warning by an accidental detonation of unimaginable power. No other explanation is possible.

But as Navy maverick Bill Baldridge begins to investigate the disaster that claimed his idolized brother's life, another chilling alternative begins to emerge from the high-tech web of fleeting sonar contacts and elusive radar blips. It points to a rogue submarine commanded by a world-class undersea warrior with the steely nerve and cunning of a master spy. Suddenly it's up to Bill Baldridge to track down this shadowy nuclear terrorist, who has already turned America's ultimate weapon into the biggest sitting duck in history--and who still has another nuclear-tipped torpedo in his tubes. He's already proved he has the icy ruthlessness to incinerate six thousand sailors without a qualm. What will he do for an encore?

In these pages the modern military springs to life, form the Pentagon's tense conferences to the screaming flight deck of a giant carrier to the silent conning tower of an attack sub on full alert. But as Bill Baldridge races against time to pursue the nation's most deadly enemy, we are forced to ask ourselves serious real-life questions: Have defense budget cuts jeopardized our national security? Are we prepared to defend ourselves against naval terrorist? How safe are we? Nimitz Class is a world-class techno-thriller with a plot as riveting as Hunt for Red October--and an explosive twist out of tomorrow's headlines.

Today it's a novel. Tomorrow it might be the news.

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Editorial Reviews

Clive Cussler
Action follows action with menace piled on mystery on top of intrigue. Nimitz Class is a stunner that irresistibly hurtles the reader through explosions and deceptions from the first page to the exciting climax on the last.
Jack Higgins
An absolutely marvelous thriller, one of the best things of its kind I have read in years. I don't need to urge people to read it, because they will do so by the millions.
San Francisco Examiner
The best military thriller since The Hunt for Red October...Robinson has crafted a fast-paced, chilling, yet believable tale, peppered with unforgettable characters.
Dallas Morning News
A perfect nautical thriller: suspenseful, exciting, technically accurate, and plausible enough to be unnerving. For sailors and non-sailors alike it is the can't-put-down geomilitary yarn for this summer's reading.
William J. Crowe
"Nimitz Class is that rare combination of military thriller and tactical treatise. While capturing the excitement of naval operations, it also raises critical issues about the future of naval forces, terrorism, and the implications of the spread of weapons of mass destruction. I strongly suggest that all military professionals read this book, not only for the issues it confronts, but for the sheer enjoyment of a great book.
Sunday Denver Post
Clever. . . . Rivals The Hunt For Red October in thrills.
New London Day
Thriller fiction at its best—a tale based on a premise too horrible to contemplate but too plausible to ignore. . . . riveting.
Publishers Weekly - Cahners\\Publishers_Weekly
In a scenario rendered with terrifying plausibility, the Nimitz Class aircraft carrier Thomas Jefferson, on station in the Arabian Sea, surrounded by its Battle Group of cruisers, destroyers and frigates, with its aircraft, weapons and 6000 sailors, is vaporized by a nuclear explosion. What appears at first to be a horrible accident turns out to be an act of terrorism, the result of an attack by a nuclear-tipped torpedo. Behind the attack lurk Baghdad and a "genius" Iraqi submariner trained by the British and now on the loose in a Russian-built Kilo sub. Only Lt. Commander Bill Baldridge, brother of one of the officers slain aboard the Thomas Jefferson, has the requisite experience and imagination to understand the possibility and implications of the attack. Now he must convince his superiors and his colleagues in other nations of his theories before he can set about staving off further attacks and achieving justice. While the rich technical detail here is impeccable, every bit the equal of Clancy's, the storytelling is not. British journalist Robinson writes ponderous prose and his pacing is fitful as the action too often gives way to talk while the Western military forces develop strategies to deal with the situation. Military fiction fans will admire his authoritative exploitation of weaponery and tactics, however, and most readers will be engaged, despite some sluggish passages, by his persuasive cautionary tale about the perils of military downsizing at a time when rogue nations are amassing weapons of great and terrible destructiveness.
Library Journal
Deep beneath the waves, someone is commanding a mysterious submarine that has already wiped out one Nimitz Class aircraft carrier. With film rights optioned by Universal, this may turn out to be the technothriller of the year, as it is billed.
School Library Journal
YA--Three seemingly unrelated happenings set the stage for drama. First, in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, a young fisherman discovers the body of a drowned sailor. Second, underneath the surface of the Bosporus, a Russian diesel submarine secretly makes its way toward the Middle East to carry out a plan masterminded by Benjamin Adnam, an Israeli citizen. Third, the USS Thomas Jefferson, a powerful aircraft carrier manned by a complement of 6000 crew members, patrols the waters of the Indian Ocean. Suddenly, her blip vanishes from the radar screens of the other warships in her battle group. The ensuing investigation of her disappearance uncovers a sinister plot of brilliance and intrepid execution. The characters are lifelike and convincing, especially Lt. Commander Bill Baldridge, the Pentagon's primary sleuth looking into the mystery. He works closely with Admiral Sir Iain MacLean, a retired submarine flag officer of the Royal Navy. MacLean's family plays a secondary role in the story and his daughter provides the romantic element. Perhaps the most interesting person is Adnam, the villain whose machinations are the heart of the narrative. This suspense tale is written in a clear and compelling style and succeeds at creating and sustaining an aura of tension, surprise, and disbelief. The plot is reminiscent of Tom Clancy's popular thrillers; but, since it is less technical, it should appeal to an even wider audience.--Peggy Mooney, Pohick Public Library, Burke, VA
Kirkus Reviews
When one of America's prized Nimitz Class carriers is lost with all hands and planes while on station in the Arabian Sea, Washington publicly accepts the catastrophe as a tragic mishap and secretly organizes an all-out hunt to bring those responsible to justice.

In mid-2002, the USS Thomas Jefferson suddenly vanishes from the radar screens of the warships escorting it on a routine but dangerous patrol near the Persian Gulf. Aftershocks and radioactivity indicate that a nuclear blast has occurred. Appalled at the apparent vulnerability of the nation's most formidable weapon, the White House lets it be known that the giant vessel succumbed to an accidental detonation. Behind the scenes, however, the military/political complex mobilizes its intelligence-gathering resources to ascertain what really happened. Heading the probe is Lt. Cdr. Billy Baldridge, a world-class physicist whose brother was among the 6,000 to go down with the Jefferson. Proceeding from the premise that an inadvertent explosion was impossible, he soon determines that the carrier was atomized by a nuclear-tipped torpedo fired from a submarine. Although virtually all the world's undersea flotilla can be accounted for, the US President orders a clandestine assault on the three Kilo Class subs in drydock at Bandar Abbas, which Iran has acquired from the former USSR. In the meantime, Baldridge's to-the-ends-of-the-earth inquiries suggest the guilty party may be a matchless Israeli naval officer named Benjamin Adnam, now at the helm of a Russian sub once presumed lost in the Aegean. Adnam, it turns out, was an Iraqi plant on a doomsday mission on behalf of Saddam Hussein. While the West's operatives solve the basic puzzle, they must still deal with the intrepid Adnam and his crew, who remain at large with nuclear ordnance that threatens the mammoth flattops on which America and the world rely to keep the peace.

A hell-and-high-water technothriller, and an impressive debut from British journalist Robinson.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061803963
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
10/13/2009
Series:
Admiral Arnold Morgan Series , #1
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
100
Sales rank:
59,941
File size:
1 MB

Read an Excerpt

Prologue

Deep in the Mediterranean Sea, halfway between the Greek mainland and the long western headland of Crete, lies the rough and rugged island of Kithira. It is a coarse rock, twenty miles long at most, set in the middle of a shining and bejeweled sea.

Along the eastern end of the Mediterranean there is a pure, transparent light which seems to flood the depths of the water. This is a paradise for visiting scuba divers, but for local fishermen, the azure ocean which surrounds them is a harsh and unforgiving place. There are not enough fish anymore. And life is as hard as it has ever been.

It was 5 a.m. on a hot morning early in July. The sun was just rising, and the fishing boat was sailing close to the rocky shore on the south side. Up on the portside of the bow, his feet trailing over the side, sat sixteen-year-old Dimitrios Morakis. He was in deep trouble.

On the previous afternoon he had managed to lose the only good net his family owned, and now his father Stephanos sat, unshaven and grumpy, on the tiller. The man was secretly proud of his golden-skinned son. And he stared at the boy's Etruscan nose, a mirror image of his own, and the large hands, too powerful for the slender, youthful body; the boy's genetic bounty from a long line of Kithiran fishermen.

Nonetheless, Stephanos was still peevish. "We'd better find it," he said, unnecessarily. And in a light morning breeze, they slapped along, against the wavelets, while out to the east, for a few translucent moments, the earth seemed to rise up through veils of scarlet and violet.

The net showed up more or less where Stephanos thought it would be, driven into a curved outcrop of rock bythe unvarying Aegean currents. Lost nets had been washing up against those particular rocks for centuries.

The problem was, it was jammed. Working in the water for almost half an hour, Dimitrios was unable to free it. "It's caught up way below the surface," he yelled to his father. "I'll get back on the boat and then dive deep with a fishing knife."

Three minutes later the boy split the water, headfirst, kicking his way downward. In the crystal clear depths, he found the bottom of the net, entwined and stuck in a crevasse between two rocks. There was no option but to cut it.

He stuck out his left hand to give himself purchase, and slashed the knife sideways. The net came free, and as it did so, Dimitrios tugged the twisted cord from the V-shaped gap in the rocks. He had been underwater for twenty-four seconds now, and he needed to surface.

But he was kicking against a weight on his shoulders. He twisted left and saw, still resting on his arm, two large black boots. Dimitrios pushed away and even in the water the weight was considerable, because these boots contained one full-sized, very drowned, human body, trapped by one arm in the ancient rocks of Kithira.

The other arm flapped free, skeletal. It had been eaten by fish and was swaying in the morning tide. Dimitrios stared at the white, bloated head, the eye sockets empty, the flesh on one side stripped from the skull, the teeth still there, the half-mouth grinning grotesquely in the clear water. It was a phantasm, straight from the imagination of the devil himself.

Choking with disgust, Dimitrios stared at the grisly cadaver as it continued performing its hideous slow-motion ballet just beneath the surface, the one arm and both legs rising and falling in the gentle swell, the body spot-lit by the finely focused underwater rays of the clear Aegean sun.

Then he turned and kicked with the frenzy of the truly terrified, desperate for air, driven by the ludicrous thought that somehow the specter would find a way to pursue him. He glanced down as he went, and as he did so, he noticed the sun creating a bright light on the dark blue jersey which covered the hideous white balloon of the waterlogged body—the light glistened upward, reflecting thinly, from a tiny, two-inch-long silver submarine badge, inlaid with a five-pointed red star.

Chapter One

April 22, 2002.The Indian Ocean. On board the United States Aircraft Carrier Thomas Jefferson . 9S, 92E. Speed 30.

They had waved him off twice now. And each time Lieutenant William R. Howell had eased open the throttle of his big F-14 interceptor/attack Tomcat and climbed away to starboard, watching the speed needle slide smoothly from 150 knots to 280 knots. The acceleration was almost imperceptible, but in seconds the lieutenant saw the six-story island of the carrier turn into a half-inch-high black thimble against the blue sky.

The deep Utah drawl of the Landing Signal Officer standing on the carrier stern was still calm: "Tomcat two-zero-one, we still have a fouled deck—gotta wave you off one more time—just an oil leak—this is not an emergency, repeat not an emergency."

Lieutenant Howell spoke quietly and slowly: "Tomcat two-zero-one. Roger that. I'm taking a turn around. Will approach again from twelve miles." He eased the fighter plane's nose up, just a fraction, and he felt his stomach tighten. It was never more than a fleeting feeling, but it always brought home the truth, that landing any aircraft at sea on the narrow, angled, 750-foot-long, pitching landing area remained a life-or-death test of skill and nerve for any pilot. It took most rookies a couple of months to stop their knees shaking after each landing. Pilots short of skill, or nerve, were normally found working on the ground, driving freight planes, or dead. He knew that there were around twenty plane-wrecking crashes on U.S. carriers each year.

From the rear seat, the radar-intercept officer (RIO), Lieutenant Freddie Larsen, muttered, "Shit. There's about a hundred of 'em down there, been clearing up an oil spill for a half hour—what the hell's going on?" Neither aviator was a day over twenty-eight years old, but already they had perfected the Navy flier's nonchalance in the face of instant death at supersonic speed. Especially Howell.

"Dunno," he said, gunning the Tomcat like a bullet through the scattered low clouds whipping past this monster twin-tailed warplane, now moving at almost five miles every minute. "Did y'ever see a big fighter jet hit an oil pool on a carrier deck?"

"Uh-uh."

"It ain't pretty. If she slews out off a true line you gotta real good chance of killing a lot of guys. 'Specially if she hits something and burns, which she's damn near certain to do."

"Try to avoid that, will ya?"

Freddie felt the Tomcat throttle down as Howell banked away to the left. He felt the familiar pull of the slowing engines, worked his shoulders against the yaw of the aircraft, like the motorcycle rider he once had been.

The F-14 is not much more than a motorbike with a sixty-four-foot wingspan anyway. Unexpectedly sensitive to the wind at low speed, two rock-hard seats, no comfort, and an engine with the power to turn her into a mach-2 rocketship—1,400 knots, no sweat, out there on the edge of the U.S. fighter pilot's personal survival envelope.

Still holding the speed down to around 280 knots, Howell now took a long turn, the Tomcat heeled over at an angle of almost ninety degrees, the engines screaming behind him, as if the sound was trying to catch and swallow him. Up ahead he could no longer see the carrier because of the intermittent white clouds obscuring his vision and casting dark shadows on the blue water. Below the two fliers was one of the loneliest seaways on earth, the 3,500-mile stretch of the central Indian Ocean between the African island of Madagascar and the rock-strewn western coast of Sumatra.

The U.S. carrier and its escorts, forming a complete twelve-ship Battle Group including two nuclear-powered submarines, were steaming toward the American Naval base on Diego Garcia, the tiny atoll five hundred miles south of the equator, which represents the only safe Anglo-American haven in the entire area.

This was a real U.S. Battle Group seascape, a place where the most beady-eyed admirals and their staff "worked up" new missile systems, new warships, and endlessly catapulted their ace Naval aviators off the flight deck—zero to 168 knots in 2.1 seconds. This was not a spot for the faint-hearted. This was a simulated theater of war, designed strictly for the very best the nation could produce . . . men who possessed what Tom Wolfe immortally labeled "the right stuff." Everyone served out here for six interminable months at a time.

Lieutenant Howell, losing height down to 1,200 feet, spoke again to the carrier's flight controllers. "Tower, this is Tomcat two-zero-one at eight miles. Coming in again." His words were few, and again the jet fighter began to ease down, losing height, the engines throttling marginally off the piercing high-C shriek which would splinter a shelf of wineglasses. Howell, insulated behind his goggles and earphones, searched the horizon for the hundred-thousand-ton aircraft carrier.

His intercom crackled. "Roger, Tomcat two-zero-one. Your deck is cleared for landing now—gotcha visual . . . come on in, watch your altitude, and check your lineup. Wind's gusting at thirty knots out of the southwest. We're still right into it. You're all set."

"Roger, Tower . . . six miles."

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What People are saying about this

Captain Richard Sharpe
"A thundering good naval yarn . An enjoyable read, Nimitz Class has a more serious purpose, to draw attention to the worldwide peacekeeping role being carried out by the U.S. Navy. We must hope that a `Nimitz-Class' type of incident, which every professional sailor will recognize as extreme but plausible, would not shake American resolve."
Clive Cussler
Nimitz Class is a stunner that irresistably hurtles the reader from the first page to the exciting climax on the last.
Gordon Hitchens
"An absolutely marvelous thriller, one of the best things of its kind I have read in years. I don't need to urge people to read it, because they will do so by the millions."'Jack Higgins"Action follows action with menace piled on mystery on top of intrigue. Nimitz Class is a stunner that irresistibly hurtles the reader through explosions and deceptions from the first page to the exciting climax on the last."'Clive Cussler"A thundering good naval yarn . . . . an enjoyable read."'Captain Richard Sharpe, editor, Jane's Fighting Ships"The best military thriller since The Hunt for Red October. . . . Robinson has crafted a fast-paced, chilling, yet believable tale."'San Francisco Examiner"Clever. . . . Rivals The Hunt for Red October in thrills."'Sunday Denver Post"A perfect nautical thriller: suspenseful, exciting, technically accurate, and plausible enough to be unnerving. For sailors and non-sailors alike, it is the can't-p
Gary Snyder
"An absolutely marvelous thriller, one of the best things of its kind I have read in years. I don't need to urge people to read it, because they will do so by the millions."'Jack Higgins"Action follows action with menace piled on mystery on top of intrigue. Nimitz Class is a stunner that irresistibly hurtles the reader through explosions and deceptions from the first page to the exciting climax on the last."'Clive Cussler"A thundering good naval yarn . . . . an enjoyable read."'Captain Richard Sharpe, editor, Jane's Fighting Ships"The best military thriller since The Hunt for Red October. . . . Robinson has crafted a fast-paced, chilling, yet believable tale."'San Francisco Examiner"Clever. . . . Rivals The Hunt for Red October in thrills."'Sunday Denver Post"A perfect nautical thriller: suspenseful, exciting, technically accurate, and plausible enough to be unnerving. For sailors and non-sailors alike, it is the can't-p
Jack Higgins
An absolutely marvelous thriller, one of the best, best things of its kind I have read in years. I don't need to urge people to read it, because they will do so by the millions.
William J. Crowe
"Nimitz Class is that rare combination of military thriller and tactical treatise. While capturing the excitement of naval operations, it also raises critical issues about the future of naval forces, terrorism, and the implications of the spread of weapons of mass destruction. I strongly suggest that all military professionals read this book, not only for the issues it confronts, but for the sheer enjoyment of a great book."

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