Nimitz Class (Admiral Arnold Morgan Series #1)

Nimitz Class (Admiral Arnold Morgan Series #1)

by Patrick 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: 432
Sales rank: 79,350
File size: 932 KB

About the Author

Patrick Robinson is the author of seven international bestselling suspense thrillers, including Nimitz Class and Hunter Killer, as well as several nonfiction bestsellers. He divides his time between Ireland and Cape Cod.

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."

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."

Interviews

On Wednesday, July 2, barnesandnoble.com welcomed Patrick Robinson, author of NIMITZ CLASS.


BarnesandNoble.com: On July 2, 1997, BarnesandNoble@aol welcomed Patrick Robinson, author of the just-published techno-thriller NIMITZ CLASS. The interviewer was Jesse Kornbluth (BookpgJK) of The Book Report. Our online hosts were MarleneT and BookpgXena.



Bookpg JK: Good evening, Patrick.

Patrick Robinson: Pleased to be here.


Bookpg JK: One of the things that struck me while I was reading NIMITZ CLASS was its connection to the new Tom Clancy/Fred Franks book about the Gulf War. In both books --- one fiction, one military history --- there is a real sense that America did not win this war....at least as fully as we might have. Your book really flows out of the consequences of our refusal --- or inability --- to destroy Saddam. Was that, in fact, what started you thinking about this story?

Patrick Robinson: I did start to think of the book because Saddam's regime is still alive. I also understand why America didn't win the war as fully as it might. A lot of very clever people decided that the consequences of removing Saddam were worse than keeping him. Had we killed him, the rest of his family might have taken over --- and some of them are much more erratic. There would have been a civil war. And had there been a civil war in Iraq, the forces of Iran would have swept around the Gulf to the north and almost certainly have taken Iraq while she bled to death. That would have caused one nation to dominate the majority of the world's oil supply. It was easier to leave Saddam in place. And less dangerous.


Bookpg JK: Though rather more dangerous in 2002, when NIMITZ CLASS takes place! You have written before about sailing. What led you to the claustrophobic confines of submarine terrorism?

Patrick Robinson: I also wrote the biography of Admiral Sandy Woodward, who commanded the Royal Navy in the battle for the Falklands. Conducting that war made him one of the pre-eminent authorities on the placement of aircraft carriers --- in the world. It was a subject we discussed long and often. Should a giant American carrier be placed at the forefront of the world's trouble spot? Is this fortress at sea a sitting duck?


Bookpg JK: And what was his view?

Patrick Robinson: It should NOT be kept forward! And a lot of people in the Pentagon think that too. But the men in the Pentagon who think that the very presence of this giant world policeman in trouble spots keeps the peace have, thus far, been proved right. But no security system is 100% leakproofs. And Admiral Woodward does think that there are a handful of terrorists who, in a diesel electric sub, could get in and conduct an attack.


Bookpg JK: But for the moment....

Patrick Robinson: Those people who could commit such an atrocity are either British or American! No one else is good enough to do it. NIMITZ CLASS deals with the possibility that, in the future, an Islamic Fundamentalist could learn the trade well enough to conduct such an operation. He would be driving the readily available Russian Kilo class submarine.


Bookpg JK: And, as in the novel, this Islamic terrorist would have been taught by the Brits?

Patrick Robinson: They are the only nation who could have taught him. Americans don't teach foreigners.


Bookpg JK: So at the very least, it would be prudent for the Brits to stop teaching foreigners as well.

Patrick Robinson: And after NIMITZ CLASS, my admiral says, there's a very good possibility that the Brits will never teach another foreigner!


Bookpg JK: So, in a sense, your cautionary tale....

Patrick Robinson: Yes, it's a warning. Because once you've exposed such a dastardly scenario, you're well on the way to dealing with it. People will say, "You can't treat an aircraft carrier like a tour ship!"


Bookpg JK: Are you sending inscribed copies to people in high places?

Patrick Robinson: Oh, yes. We are. And in the Admiral's afterword, he suggests this ought to be compulsory reading for all junior officers --- at least those with submarine ambitions. No matter how sophisticated your surveillance, in the end you will always be reliant on people. You're down to a man --- who may be quite young --- who's sitting in front of a screen. And he says, "There's an engine line....within 20 miles." It's about vigilance and determination and absolute alertness. And I am bound to say that the American barrier battle groups have always demonstrated such alertness. NIMITZ CLASS is an example of what might happen when you are dealing with an enemy in a silent submarine who is as clever as you are.


Question: Have you ever been in a war and does that influence your writing??

Patrick Robinson: Never been in a war. But I've spent so much time with Admiral Woodward, that, it turns out, I'm talking with the only man who's conducted a naval war in 40 years. He lost 7 ships, including all 3 destroyers. But he did destroy the Argentinean air force. He knocked out 80 fighter aircraft. And, of course, sank the great Argentine battle cruiser. So I have been academically close to a great naval commander.


Bookpg JK: "Israeli intelligence" ---- that seems to be almost a redundant phrase in your book. They seem so much further ahead of our CIA or any other intelligence group. Why is that?

Patrick Robinson: They probably are better because they move about the Middle East in a stealthy way. They have a very small fighting force --- only 1200 people. And they have a vast network of friends and sympathizers in the Middle East. And they are absolutely ruthless.


Bookpg JK: I was struck too by how helpful the Russians were, in the end. This is a new development in military thrillers.

Patrick Robinson: They were helpful, but the very steely American intelligence chief had put them very much on the defensive. So it was prudent for them to cooperate.


Question: Are US military assets being stretched too thin with the downsizing and budget cuts?

Patrick Robinson: Possibly. But these cuts haven't really bitten yet. The US is still the most colossal power on earth --- and it will be 30 years before that changes. All politicians should, however, be advised to listen to what the US Navy says. Because they're the guys who are out there.


Question: Who were your major influences in life?

Patrick Robinson: I had a very senior American warship captain. And an Admiral inside the Pentagon. And two recently retired Admirals. Even more obviously, I suppose, I was a great admirer of President Reagan. I still am. My President in the book was unashamedly modeled on what I thought he would do or say.


Question: Who is your favorite author/poet?

Patrick Robinson: I'd like to be able to write like Hemingway --- along with everyone else. But I rather stumbled onto this path. I spent so long dealing with the realities of the Falklands War. There was quite a learning curve. Admiral Woodward lost a destroyer on Day One of the war because someone made a mistake. The lessons there were extraordinary. Everyone had to get sharper. And in the Gulf War, there were 4 major missiles launched at American ships. Every one was spotted --- and the alarm was sounded --- by the Royal Navy. Every one of those men had fought with Woodward. The arrival of an impending missile tends to concentrate the mind. The commodore of the Royal Navy Fleet in the Gulf War was Christopher Craig, captain of H.M.S. Alacrity, which was in the thick of the fighting in the Falklands, fighting off wave after wave of Argentinean bombers. Rather cool, really.


Bookpg JK: Will you follow this with another military thriller?

Patrick Robinson: Absolutely! I have written it already. It's called KILO CLASS and deals with the menace of these silent little Russian subs. Another techno-thriller with a hard core of reality to it.


Bookpg JK: When you write, can you see the movie?

Patrick Robinson: I wasn't thinking of it, but I wasn't shocked when we got an offer --- right off the manuscript --- from Universal Studios. And John McTiernan, who directed HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER, will direct it.


Bookpg JK: Well, that IS a bull's eye. Will you be involved?

Patrick Robinson: No, I won't. I sold it. I've read enough of authors getting embroiled. My job is to write books. His is to make films.


Bookpg JK: We are lamentably out of time. But please come back and take us underwater again. For now, down periscope.

Patrick Robinson:


Customer Reviews

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Nimitz Class (Admiral Arnold Morgan Series #1) 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 33 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book! Must have for a military sailor.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is extremely interesting to me, having been the Damage Control Assistant Engineer on the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk for 2 years during the 1960's. Memories. I am now 93 years of age - why still alive? No one knows.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I highly recommend reading this book. Patrick Robinson wrote a riveting, suspenseful, action packed novel, you will not want to put down until the last page. This is my first read from this author, and I am extremely impressed. It is fast paced, characters strong and well defined. There was a heart wrenching and catastropic event that left me stunned and saddened. This writer really put forth a lot of effort in writing this story, in just the reasearch alone, he must have interviewed the whole navy! I found myself totally immersed in reading this book, a sign of a great read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Highly Revommended/ He knoes what he is doing.
Brandon Jones More than 1 year ago
this book is awesome
ponsonby on LibraryThing 6 days ago
One of Robinson's best techno-thrillers, a taut plot with well sustained tension and a convincing 'baddie'. Has the usual anti-Arab bias.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A must read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was by far one of the worst books I've read. There is way too much that is wrong with it to go into. Please save your money and time do not bother with this.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
very informative story
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sits at her desk quietly.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ro inson writes ok, seems have outstanding knowledge of his subject matter, but cannot seem to grasp how to write a novel! For example he spends the vast majority of the first 20% of the text developing chacters and providing some backstory only to wipeout all the charactors and make most of the backstory irrelevant,,,at which point the reader loses trust in the author i speed read the remainder just so i could conclude the book but i didnt enjoy it anymore it ultimately becomes a military operarional whodunnit story,,,but in any good murder mystery you dont want the audience angry over killing the hero the hero supposed to be the detective worse yet- spoiler alert - we learn the villain gets away at the very end
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought I'd try this author as I've fairly run out of the Napoleanic Era naval fiction that I love. But this novel is not only a perspective of 90's naval thinking, it's a fantasy of right wing rationalization and illusion. The premise is intriguing, and the story and pacing isn't awful, though the prose is wooden. Where it tries to be insightful it's mostly illogical (c'mon, any high school student knows a nuclear warhead can't go off by accident, and it's attempt to suggest romance is just silly) but that's consistent with right wing thought. Granted, it was written before 911; before Obama - one wonders how the author has evolved. If he recognizes that the xenophobe attitudes of 1997 are the reason the rest of the world hated us by 2007. Still, I admit I was interested enough to finish. I enjoyed it when the story was purely focused on strategy. I may indeed try something else in the author's catalog, just to see. So, one day, we'll see.
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