Cobb's fourth salty tale about ships and sailors and chasing pirates on the bounding main—in 2008.
And about how the nonpareil US Navy Captain Amanda Lee Garrett, known throughout the fleet for impeccable professionalism (Sea Strike, 1998, etc.) comes within a whisker—not hers of course—of falling fecklessly in love. As undeniably sexy as he is irrefutably unsuitable, Makara Harcoman, an Indonesian multimillionaire, whose dark eyes reflect “a defiant boldness,” and whose freebooting behavior reflects everything a career-minded “lifer” should steer leagues away from, is the object of Mandy's affection. It all begins when Starcatcher, a high-tech industrial satellite, goes lost somewhere in the Indonesian archipelago. Well, not lost exactly—heisted, actually, by cutthroats in Makara's employ. Mandy, now TACBOSS of the Sea Fighter Task Force, a formidable special missions unit, is charged with (1) retrieving Starcatcher, and (2) wiping out “the piracy cartel.” In effect, this means wiping out Makara. But when Mandy and Makara set eyes on each other, sparks fly—in such electrifying profusion that for a while stalwart Navy officer Mandy is transmuted into tempestuous, every inch a man-hungry female Mandy. Like teenagers in hormonal paroxysm, the two find it impossible to keep their libidos in check and their hands off each other. Fortunately, and in the nick, Mandy recovers her equilibrium. Ensuing, then, are furious sea battles, stirring acts of derring-do, ploys parried by counter-ploys, and though Mandy does, quite carelessly—in the interest of a useful plot twist—manage to get herself kidnapped, the end turns out to be bad news indeed for Makara and his band of bandits. Makara, however, is not only handsome, virile, and brilliant: he's also elusive. Tune in next time.
Cobb, who knows his Navy, his gadgets, and his acronyms, is less at home with nuance. Still, in the world of technothrillers, grade it a solid B.