Storming the Black Ice (Pacific Rim Series #3)by Don Brown
When British geologists discover the world's largest oil reserves under the desolate, icy tundra of Antarctica, Britain and Chile form a top-secret alliance for control of petroleum resources that will rival the economic power of OPEC.
But when their discovery is uncovered by an Argentinean intelligence officer, a surprise-attack against a secret/strong>
When British geologists discover the world's largest oil reserves under the desolate, icy tundra of Antarctica, Britain and Chile form a top-secret alliance for control of petroleum resources that will rival the economic power of OPEC.
But when their discovery is uncovered by an Argentinean intelligence officer, a surprise-attack against a secret British outpost in Antarctica triggers a war. Britain and Chile are in a military standoff against Venezuela and Argentina, and when the war escalates, Britain asks America for help.
For two couples separated by the battle, the outcome will be either love reunited or devastating heartbreak.
For a young British boy living with his mother in London, his father’s life is on the line.
And for Pete Miranda, an American sub commander detailed on a special military assignment to his father's homeland of Chile, will his fate be a crushing death under the icy-cold waters of the Antarctic Ocean, or a future of life, light, and a second chance for love?
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Storming the Black Ice
By Don Brown
ZONDERVANCopyright © 2014 Don Brown
All rights reserved.
Moanalua Road Honolulu Oahu, Hawaii
The silver Beamer hugged the curve along Moanalua Road, racing under the bright, warm sunshine and deep blue skies of an early Hawaiian afternoon. The driver slowed when the sea of brake lights flashed up ahead in front of the entrance of St. Timothy's Episcopal Church on the right. He cursed under his breath, then checked his watch.
His problem—bad timing.
Pearl Ridge Elementary School over to the left was letting out, attracting a sea of open-top convertibles and snub-nosed vans jammed in a long line at the entrance of the school, backing up traffic for a quarter of a mile. Even without the traffic jam, getting to Commander Pete Miranda's appointment with the admiral would be a tight squeeze.
"Why didn't I take the H1?" He hit the brakes, coming to a stop in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Pete checked the time, then let out an expletive. "I need some air." He pushed the button on the dash to open the retractable top of the brand-new BMW 650i. "I fork out all this cash for this expensive little baby, and all I do is sit in traffic jams. Drive in circles. Island's only forty miles long and thirty miles wide."
As the retractable top opened and glorious Hawaiian sunshine saturated the driver's side of the Beamer, the answer to his question appeared in the flesh—a blonde in a spaghetti-strap yellow sundress in a Chrysler Sebring convertible.
The poor damsel in distress!
Stuck in line on the left shoulder of the road, crawling at a snail's pace even slower than Pete's lane. Her blond hair danced in the breeze off her tanned shoulders. And as her left hand clasped the steering wheel at the twelve o'clock position, the noticeable absence of a ring!
"My, my!" Pete let up on the brakes and rolled even with the Sebring.
She glanced in his direction, and their eyes locked in a millisecond of an electrifying instant. She flashed a magnetic smile.
"Now I remember why I bought this car." He shot her a teasing salute and returned the smile. "Request permission to come aboard?"
"What?" She mouthed the single word in a smiling, bashful fashion, raising her left eyebrow in a curious manner and sporting a look of pleasure about the coincidence that had brought their convertibles side by side in a traffic jam made in heaven.
"Me Clark! You Christie!" he shouted.
She laughed. "I love that old movie."
"You liked Vacation? Me too!"
She giggled and, with a swift movement of her hand, pushed a lock of blond hair out of her face. "I loved it!"
"Now me like traffic jams!"
"You're bad!" She smiled.
And then ... his iPhone rang.
COMSUBPAC. The admiral's office.
Pete swiped his thumb across the iPhone. "Commander Miranda."
"Sir, this is Master Chief Kelly at SUBPAC."
"How can I help you, Master Chief?"
"Sorry to bother you, sir, but the admiral wants you here five minutes early."
Pete looked down at the digital clock. 1350 hours. Then he glanced over at the Beamer's navigation screen: 3.8 miles to SUBPAC HQ. ETA 10 minutes.
So much for trading phone numbers with the red-hot soccer mom.
"Gotta get around this traffic." Pete hit his turn signal, blew a kiss to the blonde, and turned right on Moanalua Loop, heading south toward Pearl Harbor. If he could get lucky with some green lights ...
A few minutes later he sped past the entrance to the USS Arizona Memorial, over the causeway bridge, and was bearing right onto Arizona Road. With the sparkling waters of the harbor in front, Pete stopped at the main gate of the naval base.
As he fiddled for his military identification card, a US Marine, decked in an enlisted dress blue "Charlie" uniform, stood waiting for him.
"Afternoon, Corporal." Pete found the card and flashed it at the corporal.
"Have a nice day, sir." The Marine waved Pete through the gate.
Pete checked the clock on the dash. "Five minutes late!" He banged his fist into the dashboard as his phone rang again.
Pete picked up the phone. "Commander Miranda."
"The admiral wants to know where you are, sir," the force master chief said.
"In the parking lot, Master Chief."
"Aye, sir. I'll tell the admiral."
Pete turned the Beamer into the first spot for visitors.
Without taking time to raise the top, he popped out of the driver's side, donned his cover, and jogged up the front walkway leading to SUBPAC headquarters. Two petty officers in white jumper uniforms were standing under a blue-and-white sign proclaiming:
HEADQUARTERS UNITED STATES SUBMARINE FORCE PACIFIC FLEET
They shot salutes as he raced up the steps to the front door. Pete returned the salutes as a sailor opened the large glass door. Inside the entryway, a model of a Los Angeles–class attack submarine sat on a pedestal, cordoned off by a red-velvet-covered rope.
"Commander Miranda!" Lieutenant Commander Frank Carber, one of the admiral's flag aides, greeted Pete in the entryway. "Admiral's waiting for you, sir."
"Follow me, please, sir."
"With pleasure, Frank."
Pete fell into line behind the flag aide, making a beeline to the admiral's suite. The aide turned left and stepped through a door past two Marines who came to attention as Pete passed. The large reception area of the admiral's office featured dark blue carpet that gave off the smell of having been recently cleaned. A half dozen sailors—yeoman clerical types—sat at terminal screens, seemingly oblivious to Pete's arrival.
"This way, sir." The flag aide pivoted right, then opened the door leading to the inner sanctum of the admiral's office.
Rear Admiral Chuck D. "Bulldog" Elyea, a pugnacious bulldog of an officer wearing his short-sleeved khaki uniform with two silver stars pinned to each collar, sat back in his chair, his arms folded across his belly. His chief of staff, Captain Lee Teague, stood behind him, mimicking the arms-crossed gesture of his boss. Their silent scowls seemed perfectly synchronized in a symmetry of angry visual lines.
Pete stepped in front of the admiral's desk and came to attention. "Commander Miranda reporting as ordered, sir."
The stare, scowl, and crossed arms lingered. Classic Elyea. The silent treatment as a psychological weapon.
Ten seconds passed. Then, finally ...
"Pete, I had the master chief call and tell you to report five minutes early, and"—Elyea examined his wristwatch, fixing his stare on it—"and rather than arriving five minutes early, you're five minutes late from the originally scheduled time."
"Sorry, sir. I had a traffic issue."
"What was her name?"
"Didn't have time to find out. Sorry, sir."
"Pete, tell me this. Do you remember Captain Francis S. Low, United States Navy?"
"Yes, sir. Of course, sir."
The admiral steepled his fingers together. "Tell me, who was Captain Low?"
Every sub commander in the Navy knew the name of Captain Francis S. Low. Pete knew this and so did the admiral. But obviously, the admiral wanted to drive home some point.
"Sir, in January of 1942, Captain Francis S. Low, the sub commander on the staff of Admiral Ernest J. King, devised the plan to attack Tokyo in retaliation for the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor by using Army two-engine medium bombers launched from an aircraft carrier. Lieutenant Colonel James 'Jimmy' Doolittle executed the mission. The rest is history, sir."
The admiral scratched his chin. "You saw the movie Pearl Harbor, didn't you?"
"Sir, yes, sir."
"You remember that scene when FDR called Admiral King and Captain Low into the Oval Office while looking for a plan to retaliate against Japan?"
"Yes, sir, Admiral, I seem to remember that scene."
"Remember what FDR said in that scene?"
"Well, sir," Pete said, "I vaguely remember FDR telling Captain Low that he liked sub commanders."
"And what else do you remember?"
"That the president was pleased that Captain Low devised the strategic bombing plan against Tokyo."
"No!" Elyea slammed his desk. "What did FDR say after he told Captain Low that he liked sub commanders?"
Pete shook his head. "I'm sorry, sir. It's been awhile since I saw the movie."
Elyea swigged his coffee, then set the mug down on his desk. "Roosevelt looked at Captain Low and said something like, 'I like sub commanders. They don't have time for bull. And neither do I.' Do you remember that, Commander?"
"I remember something like that."
"Good," Elyea said. "Let me put it this way. I like sub commanders too. But I don't like sub commanders who are late."
"My apologies, sir."
"It's like FDR said in that movie, I don't have time for bull. Have you got that, Commander?"
"Yes, sir. Understood, sir."
"Very well. At ease, Pete."
"Thank you, sir."
"Lucky for you you're the best LA-class sub commander I've got. But don't think you can get prima donna treatment."
"Of course not, sir. But thank you, sir."
"Forget it. Listen, Pete. I know you're considering retirement. But your country needs you. And I'm not trying to sound like a detailer with a juicy assignment, but I do have an offer you can't refuse."
"Did I say something funny, Commander?"
"My apologies, sir. But the last time I got an offer I couldn't refuse, I wound up commanding a sub in the Black Sea and nearly started a war between the US and Russia."
The admiral leaned back in his chair. "Have a seat, Pete."
"Thank you, sir." Pete sat in a wingback chair in front of the admiral's desk.
"You acquitted yourself splendidly in the Black Sea and deserved the Presidential Commendation that you received."
"I am humbled, sir."
"But"—Elyea lifted his index finger in the air—"but in fairness, Pete, you volunteered for the Black Sea mission. Every crew member, from the skipper down, and that includes you, was warned of the dangers."
Pete nodded. "True, Admiral. We knew we might not return. And we wouldn't have, but for the grace of God."
"Well, with what I'm about to tell you, you'll think God is about to reward you for your near-death experience in the Black Sea."
"You have piqued my curiosity, sir. It's hard to figure out what might be a more lush assignment than Hawaii."
"Suppose I told you we were going to give you a chance to go home."
"Go home? To Dallas, sir? With respect, I didn't know we had any sub bases in Dallas."
"You're correct, Pete." A look of satisfaction crossed the admiral's face. "But they sure can get a sub into port in Valparaiso."
"Valparaiso?" Pete thought about that for a second. "As in Chile?"
"You didn't think I was talking about Indiana, did you?"
"No, sir. Unless for some reason the president wants an LA-class boat on the Great Lakes."
"Well, I don't think the president is interested in the Great Lakes. But he is interested in selling a Los Angeles–class boat to the Chilean Navy."
"Yes. Our relations with Chile have been superb over the years. But Chile's relationships with both Venezuela and Argentina are rocky. Chile needs to modernize her sub fleet. So when we announced that we were mothballing the USS Corpus Christi, we got a call from the Chilean Navy about purchasing her."
"Hmm. I'm starting to get the picture."
"Good. The Chileans need someone to teach them how to operate this baby. And not only are you my best sub commander but you happen to be the only sub commander in the Navy with a father born and raised in Santiago."
Pete's father, Marvin Miranda, born to a prominent Chilean family, had come as a freshman to Cal-Berkeley all those years ago and met a gorgeous daughter of Connecticut aristocracy, the talented and magnetic Judith Kriete.
Judy would steal Marvin's heart, and his love for the redhead ensured that America would become his new home. His became the classic American success story—an immigrant-turned-American making his name and grasping hold of the American dream.
Marvin and Judy had two boys. Their second son, Peter, had earned an NROTC scholarship at the University of Texas, where he first developed an interest in submarines.
If Pete's life were a painting, that painting would be a satisfying tapestry of blur and motion. Still, that tapestry lacked one meaningful scene. Pete had missed out on his father's Chilean heritage. Yes, they had visited Santiago when the children were young, but as his memories faded, his longing to reconnect—to family, to cousins, to the other half of his heritage—had grown stronger.
"Pete. Still with me?"
"Sorry, sir. Just thinking."
"Well? How does this proposition strike you?"
"I'm interested, sir. How would this work? Would I be on loan to the Chilean Navy?"
"Yes. We would fly you to Santiago, along with a skeleton crew of US Navy LA-class submariners. You would meet the crew of the Corpus Christi in Valparaiso. The Chileans are renaming the Corpus Christi the CS Miro, by the way. The Corpus Christi's crew would disembark and you would then train the new Chilean crew on the nuances of submarine warfare, American style."
The notion of an all-expenses-paid trip to Chile, doing what he loved, with a chance to explore a side of his family separated from him by time and distance, sounded intriguing. The Navy had already rewarded him with a final shore tour in Hawaii as payback for his heroism in the Black Sea affair. After Hawaii, he had planned on putting in his retirement papers and returning to Dallas, where he had already bought a swanky retirement condo.
But maybe the call of Dallas and his dream of taking over the family sign business—a multimillion-dollar enterprise started by his brother, John, in a garage—and then running for Congress ... maybe all that could wait for a while.
"Out of curiosity, Admiral, how long would this assignment last?"
"Six months to a year, Pete. After that, if you want to retire and return to Texas, fine. But if you stay in, you'd be up for captain in the middle of your tour, and I'll personally make a call to the head of the review board and do everything in my power to see that you're picked up."
"Captain Miranda." Pete felt himself grin. "That has a nice ring, doesn't it?"
"Yes, it does," the admiral said. "Which is why you should delay this sign-business idea of yours for another few years. Pete, you'd look good with a silver eagle pinned on that collar of yours. And if you could learn to leave the women alone and make it to meetings on time, maybe even a star one day." The admiral chuckled.
"Okay." Pete laughed. "You've persuaded me, sir. A short-term extension sounds good."
"Great! There's a C-5 leaving out of Hickam tomorrow at 1300, headed to Santiago. We've already booked that C-5 for you, Pete."
"Aye, sir."CHAPTER 2
Cerro Castillo president's summer palace Viña del Mar sixty miles northwest of Santiago, Chile
The black Rolls-Royce slowed, approaching the swooping circular driveway fronting the stucco-and-tile mansion overlooking the Pacific. At ten-foot intervals along the broad curve, soldiers of the Republic of Chile stood guard, resplendent in dress uniforms, chest medals glistening in the late-afternoon sun, popping to attention and saluting as the limousine rolled to a stop.
A few dignitaries and military officers were gathered at the front of the mansion, waiting in a light Pacific breeze.
A Chilean naval officer stepped forward and opened the back door, and an announcement boomed over a loudspeaker, first in English, then in Spanish. The announcement echoed across the palace grounds: "The foreign secretary of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the Right Honourable John Gosling."
Foreign Secretary Gosling stepped from the motorcar with a smile and wave and received enthusiastic applause. As the applause continued, he extended his hand to the gray-haired gentleman who approached him.
"Welcome to Cerro Castillo, Mister Secretary," the smiling Chilean said, his perfect English spiced with a slight Spanish accent.
"A pleasure to be here, Chancellor Rivera," Gosling responded in Spanish. "What a picturesque setting. This palace is lovelier than the photographs can show."
The Chilean grinned. "I see that your Spanish is better than my English, Mister Secretary."
"Oh, I wouldn't say that." Gosling put his hand on Rivera's back. "I'm glad that our nations share a mutual respect for the other's history, culture, and language."
"And we shall forge an even stronger and more powerful future," Rivera said, again in English.
Excerpted from Storming the Black Ice by Don Brown. Copyright © 2014 Don Brown. Excerpted by permission of ZONDERVAN.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Meet the Author
Don Brown is the author of Thunder in the Morning Calm, The Malacca Conspiracy, The Navy Justice Series, and The Black Sea Affair, a submarine thriller that predicted the 2008 shooting war between Russia and Georgia. Don served five years in the U.S. Navy as an officer in the Judge Advocate General's (JAG) Corps, which gave him an exceptional vantage point into both the Navy and the inner workings "inside-the-beltway" as an action officer assigned to the Pentagon. He left active duty in 1992 to pursue private practice, but remained on inactive status through 1999, rising to the rank of Lieutenant Commander. He and his family live in North Carolina, where he pursues his passion for penning novels about the Navy. www.donbrownbooks.com Facebook: Don-Brown
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Don Brown in his new book, “Storming The Black Ice” Book Three in the Pacific Rim Series published by Zondervan gives us an adventure with Pete Miranda. From the back cover: When British geologists discover the world’s largest oil reserves under the desolate, icy tundra of Antarctica, Britain and Chile form a top-secret alliance for control of petroleum resources that will rival the economic power of OPEC. But when their discovery is uncovered by an Argentinean intelligence officer, a surprise-attack against a secret British outpost in Antarctica triggers a war. Britain and Chile are in a military standoff against Venezuela and Argentina, and when the war escalates, Britain asks America for help. For two couples separated by the battle, the outcome will be either love reunited or devastating heartbreak. For a young British boy living with his mother in London, his father’s life is on the line. And for Pete Miranda, an American sub commander detailed on a special military assignment to his father’s homeland of Chile, will his fate be a crushing death under the icy-cold waters of the Antarctic Ocean, or a future of life, light, and a second chance for love? Don Brown knows how to write a perfect thriller. His books are the kind of movies that Hollywood used to make with their best actors and that most writers do not know how to write anymore. Submarine battles, nations at war and only one way to stop them. Battle for control of oil under Antarctica these are just some of the ingredients that Mr. Brown has incorporated into this action adventure. Add in that all the characters are in deadly danger from practically the first word and continue to be so until the last few pages and you have a book that will keep you up late into the night flipping pages as fast as you can read. I recommend this book with enthusiasm. If you missed the interview for “The Malacca Conspiracy”, a different series from Don Brown, and would like to listen to it and/or interviews with other authors and professionals please go to Kingdom Highlights where they are available On Demand. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from The Suspense Zone. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Imagine if a huge reserve of oil is found in an area like Antarctica - how many countries would battle to be victor of this prize? Most of the big guns would definitely jump into the fray to control such a bounty - the US included. Such a plausible scenario makes this one suspenseful page turner, especially if you enjoy a bit of military/naval fiction. It's labeled as a Christian suspense book, but it's not a huge part of the book, so don't let that scare you away if you're not into that part. Please note that I received a complimentary copy of this book from the Publisher in order to read it and share my review.
This is a very well written story whose greatest appeal will most assuredly be men. While women can enjoy it, the plot which is intricately woven throughout with scenes of naval action on submarines. Conflict militarily. Abuse of prisoners. Descriptions replete with strategic maneuvers and the complexities of South America and Antarctica geography and political atmosphere. References to the Falkland Island war of 30 years past are important to this story. International intrigue that span oceans and continents. The romantic by play is a very minor subplot though it does exist and is part of the story. The supposition and potential of a real "Black Ice" scenario is not a far cry from what could happen. Men and the nations they inhabit are greedy and often it takes the conflict of warfare to control that greed. The book will surely be enjoyable by those who delight in a submarine thriller. I found the following scene moving. The setting: An opposing submarine has just been sunk.... Pete took the shipwide microphone. "Now hear this.This is the captain speaking. Both active and passive sonar have verified that the enemy sub has been destroyed." Cheering erupted throughout the sub. "Silence!" Pete demanded. The cheering stopped. "There will be no cheering, no reveling, no applause for what we have done. For what we have done is our duty. We have defeated a worthy opponent and taken the life of a great warrior who, if he had an extra second or two on his side, would have killed us first. He battled gallantly, commanding a boat that is inferior to ours. "There is no rejoicing at the death of a warrior. Only by the grace of God are we still alive, and only by his grace did we have weapons of war that were superior to the weapons of the enemy. "Join me in a moment of silence and remembrance." More sounds of grinding, whining metal over passive sonar--the death sounds of a sub falling to its watery grave. "That is all. This is the captain." A very intense book sure to capture the attention of someone who desires a griping and intense read. DISCLOSURE: A complimentary review copy was provided by BookLook Blog Review Program in exchange for our honest review. Opinions expressed were solely those of the reviewer. No compensation was received for this review. (Rev. VG)
I have always enjoyed books by Don Brown. I have read all his other novels and while there were a couple things I didn't care for, overall they are very interesting and quite relevant for the world we live in today. I actually think this one might be my favorite out of the Pacific Rim Series. Nothing so exciting as submarine battles under the sea. Okay, I can think of some other exciting things but this is written very well and you feel the pressure put on the sea captains along with the tense situations many of the men are dealing with. And we can't forget the ladies either. You often think of the men in danger but you don't realize the stress the women who love them go through. There are a lot of tech terms in here and language many people may not get. But even if you don't you still get the gist of what is going on. There is a lot of action under the water and above. Several situations that have you sitting on the edge of your seat and you don't even realize it until you are done with the book:) I finished this in one day and would so love for more to the story. Does Pete end up with Maria? And how about Austin and Meg? I totally loved Pete and Austin. Austin is hardcore military and one of those guys you don't want to go up against. Of course, you always have to bad guys who think they can take him on and beat him. Pete is dashing, a bit of a flirt and yet loyal to the core. His reaction after the submarine is sunk makes you want to cheer him on. Again, an excellent book from Don Brown. Brings your military guys to the forefront and makes you pray for them all the more. I can't wait to see what he will bring us next!! I received a copy of this book for my review purposes. All thoughts are 100% mine. No other compensation was received.