The latest hair-raising volume featuring U.S. Navy hero Dan Lenson (Tipping Point, 2015, etc.).
Two years into a multinational war with the People’s Empire of China and the U.S. as the main combatants, the U.S. is in serious trouble. China has already launched a thermonuclear strike that wiped out an American battle group in Hawaii along with 10,000 people. The U.S. does not respond in kind, fearing escalation into total thermonuclear war. Indeed, Chinese leader Zhang threatens to nuke the continental U.S. if the Americans push too hard. Meanwhile, Dan Lenson is missing in action with little hope he’ll be found, but he survives and is soon back on duty and deep in the midst of a truly high-tech war. The Chinese have destroyed communications satellites and conducted sophisticated cybersabotage, for example causing the U.S. to manufacture defective turbine blades essential for their battle cruisers. Both sides have combat robots, but plenty of human blood still flows. The war is fought on a wide-ranging stage from Iran to the mid-Pacific, and Lenson tries to help win it without a “massive thermonuclear exchange.” Deep inside China, a small American force led by Navy SEAL Teddy Oberg hopes to destroy a target and turn the war’s tide. The Vietnamese army (on our side!) desperately tries to fend off a Chinese assault while Marine Sgt. Hector Ramos fights in Taiwan. The USS Savo Island, veteran of several Lenson tales, is damaged and Capt. Cheryl Stuarulakis must scuttle it. There’s ample action for thriller readers, with terrific extended battle scenes on a grand scale, both on land and sea. But the story simply stops midaction, so it’s not quite the one-and-done novel readers might hope for. That abrupt pause is the tale’s only disappointment—the author could have resolved something—but Lenson’s legion of fans will be glad to know that the series is far from finished.
So long as readers understand they’ll need to buy the sequel (at least!) to learn America’s fate, they’ll enjoy this exciting story.