Sequel takes a blazing leap forward from Buff’s narcoleptically technical first nuclear sub novel, Deep Channel Sound (2000). The glossary helps.
Once again, the author out-Clancys Tom Clancy’s lust for detail, but this time the action lives up to the jargon. Still in 2011, we now replay WWII’s sorties in the North Sea. A new Axis alliance formed by Germany (led by Kaiser Wilhelm IV of the reborn Hohenzollerns) and South Africa (led by reactionary Boers who just seized power and restored apartheid) has cobbled together a nuclear submarine fleet that keeps a weakened England starved for food and supplies from the US. Yes, the superstrong, ceramic-hulled Deutschland not only sinks convoys by the handful—and vaporizes a gigantic LNG tanker, with the ocean giving birth to a brand-new German sun—but also causes atomic shockwaves and tsunamis that lay the fast-attack sub Texas powerless on the bottom. This is almost the Big One, still just short of ICBMs and world annihilation but full of nuclear-tipped torpedoes and other hell-weapons. Lieutenant Commander Jeffrey Fuller helms the ceramic-hulled USS Challenger, and Fregattenkapitan Kurt Eberhard captains its nemesis. Before the war, the two men had worked together at the Pentagon, where Eberhard found Fuller too rebellious for his taste. Lurking near the sunken Texas, Eberhard waits for Challenger to come to the aid of the sub’s crew. First, though, Fuller’s love interest, Boer freedom fighter Ilse Reebeck, must use her special skills to help him and his SEALS go ashore and plant A-bombs in briefcases, where they will blow up a lab. Back at sea, Buff gives us terrific battle maneuvers between the two subs; at one point 14 torpedoes criss-cross the depths as the subs fire at each other and a volcano opens in the ocean floor spewing up magma. Talk about fun.
Shockwaves pop your eardrums, since Buff can’t spare a word to bore you.