This richly satisfying techno-thriller couldn't be more timely, with its premise of an attempt by disgruntled members of the Soviet military--the Navy, in this case--to ``save'' the U.S.S.R. from reform. Vice-Admiral Stefan Zenko, designer of an Arctic-based flotilla of giant submarines with worldwide nuclear capabilities, is ordered by his superiors to participate in Operation White Star, a naval contingency plan they are using as a pretext to foment civil war. Instead, Zenko slips off course in Taifun (the original giant sub) and enters the White Sea in search of a Typhoon-class submarine dispatched by the naval plotters to level the city of Tbilisi. When the U.S. Navy gets wind of unusual activity in the White Sea, the U.S.S. Reno , an American nuclear sub on routine patrol, is dispatched to investigate, and skipper Jack Gunner finds himself and his crew caught in a lethal battle of wits. Joseph ( To Kill the Potemkin ) knows his stuff: technology, seamanship, characterizations and descriptions of nature--ice and sea are major presences--all ring superbly true in this crackerjack yarn. BOMC featured alternate. ( Nov. )
The next great battlefield, the ocean depth, forms the territory chosen by Joseph for his hunter-killer drama. The Soviet republics are in disarray. Civil war is a step away, due to a ruthless attempt at a coup by ambitious Admiral Deminov. The father of the Soviet nuclear fleet, Admiral Zenko, desperately tries to thwart the nuclear blackmail threat by his former colleague as, alone and deep inside Soviet waters, the American submarine Reno observes and ultimately takes action. The shadowy ocean world, where giant vessels blindly thrust at each other guided only by their complex sensors, is excitingly drawn. In true technothriller tradition both the workings and lore of this system is brought into play. Don't look for characterization or subtleties here, but sit back and enjoy the written equivalent of a computer game--and root for the good guys.-- Elsa Pendleton, Boeing Computer Support Svces., Ridgecrest, Cal.