Informed that Washington, D.C., has been leveled by Iranian nukes, the crew of the ballistic-missile submarine USS Kentucky prepares to launch a retaliatory attack on Tehran—not knowing in its locked-down, incommunicado state that there was no attack on Washington and the U.S. government issued no such order.
With Iran mere days away from assembling a nuclear bomb, and Israel lacking the ability to do anything about it, a rogue faction inside Mossad concocts a secret scheme to get the U.S. to bomb Iran without knowing anything about it. The Israeli prime minister initially opposes the plot but signs on after his daughter is killed in a terrorist attack in Jerusalem. It will take the Kentucky, which is in the Pacific, eight days to get to its appointed launching spot. That may or may not be enough time for U.S. national security adviser Christine O'Connor, after she finds out what's afoot, to sink the Kentucky or otherwise prevent the nuclear launch. Various duplicitous characters do their best to stand in her way. This is breezily written—Campbell, a retired Navy commander, has firsthand knowledge of nuclear-armed subs but never bogs down in technical details. But the story doesn't have the breathless intensity suggested by its countdown-style chapter headings: "6 Days Remaining," "5 Days Remaining," etc. Without giving anything away, it can be said the climax is too neat.
For Battleship players, this will be an entertaining read. For those who require at least one or two compelling characters in their doomsday thrillers, the book will disappoint.