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In 1970, with nineteen years of service and after his second tour of duty in Viet Nam, Lieutenant Commander Alex Wolfe is assigned his final duty station, Naval Facility Cape Hatteras with its primary mission of using passive sonar systems to track the movement of Soviet submarines. He is told that nothing ever exciting happens at a Navfac. But within a few days of his arrival, a murdered sailor's body is discovered in the nearby woods, and then a Soviet nuclear submarine is lost at sea under suspicious circumstances. Alex must investigate both and yet finds enough time to become enamored with a popular local widow who has a secret of her own. Alex asks an old friend, an agent with the CIA, for assistance with the murder investigation, but quickly discovers that the CIA might have a different agenda.