Although the scope is more modest and the dilemma rather than the solution is paramount, this story, which thrums with all the stinging tensions of the twentieth century, echoes Moby Dick with its tale of a leader's fall and the consequences. The leader in this case is British Captain John Shadde, commander of a nuclear-powered submarine ingeniously named the Retaliate. When the Retaliate has two minor mishaps, lonely, nightmare-wrecked Captain Shadde, whose wife is asking for a divorce, allows his fears of sabotage and allied unpreparedness to drive him from convictions to obsessions, from objective investigations to frenzied suspicious. Soon the officers -- career-intent Cavan, facile Singleton, likeable American observer Gallagher, loyal engineer Evans; and the bewildered men, each trying in his own way to understand -- find themselves sucked into the maelstrom of the Captain's madness as Shadde attempts to carry out a drill with nuclear weapons. At the close the Captain is toppled and bound, recriminations begin, the American and the British officers draw apart and a steward mourns briefly. An exciting, touching and sobering tale of our cold war mores.