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NIMITZ CLASS by Patrick Robinson

NIMITZ CLASS

By Patrick Robinson

Pub Date: June 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-06-018755-7
Publisher: HarperCollins

 When one of America's prized Nimitz Class carriers is lost with all hands and planes while on station in the Arabian Sea, Washington publicly accepts the catastrophe as a tragic mishap and secretly organizes an all-out hunt to bring those responsible to justice. In mid-2002, the USS Thomas Jefferson suddenly vanishes from the radar screens of the warships escorting it on a routine but dangerous patrol near the Persian Gulf. Aftershocks and radioactivity indicate that a nuclear blast has occurred. Appalled at the apparent vulnerability of the nation's most formidable weapon, the White House lets it be known that the giant vessel succumbed to an accidental detonation. Behind the scenes, however, the military/political complex mobilizes its intelligence-gathering resources to ascertain what really happened. Heading the probe is Lt. Cdr. Billy Baldridge, a world-class physicist whose brother was among the 6,000 to go down with the Jefferson. Proceeding from the premise that an inadvertent explosion was impossible, he soon determines that the carrier was atomized by a nuclear-tipped torpedo fired from a submarine. Although virtually all the world's undersea flotilla can be accounted for, the US President orders a clandestine assault on the three Kilo Class subs in drydock at Bandar Abbas, which Iran has acquired from the former USSR. In the meantime, Baldridge's to-the-ends-of-the-earth inquiries suggest the guilty party may be a matchless Israeli naval officer named Benjamin Adnam, now at the helm of a Russian sub once presumed lost in the Aegean. Adnam, it turns out, was an Iraqi plant on a doomsday mission on behalf of Saddam Hussein. While the West's operatives solve the basic puzzle, they must still deal with the intrepid Adnam and his crew, who remain at large with nuclear ordnance that threatens the mammoth flattops on which America and the world rely to keep the peace. A hell-and-high-water technothriller, and an impressive debut from British journalist Robinson. (First printing of 250,000; $325,000 ad/promo)