A hair-raising yarn of the sea and a U.S. Navy cruiser on the cusp of war.
Capt. Dan Lenson (The Cruiser, 2014, etc.) commands the USS Savo Island as it plies the Indian Ocean, monitoring escalating tensions between India and Pakistan, which are preparing to nuke it out. Lenson readies his ship to shoot down any missile from either country that appears to be headed for a population center. The action would be based on his reading of regulations and reflects what colleagues call the “Lenson Doctrine.” The highly decorated war hero has his doubters, who think his idealism gets in the way of common sense, and even political enemies, who call him a “closet pacifist.” But “only the dead have seen the end of war,” states his old professor Dr. Szerenci. Meanwhile, a tour on the Savo Island is hardly a luxury cruise. The crew is plagued by a flulike illness, a series of sexual assaults, and a tsunami. They run into trouble when they attempt to board the M/V Patchooli and look for contraband. Warning signs surface that Lenson’s marriage to Congresswoman Blair Titus might be headed for the shoals. As he navigates all this turbulence, he suspects that the world has seen this whole scenario before. Two nations fight, and then interlocking alliances drag other nations along. It becomes just like August 1914, when “both sides trudged toward war. Like sleepwalkers….” Lenson is a man of bravery, honor, and patriotism, the type of warrior one must hope isn’t a complete fiction. Don’t expect any of the plotlines to be wrapped up neatly, as in so many novels. This is an ongoing sea saga filled with more trouble than any captain and crew should have to endure.
First-class storytelling by a master of the genre.