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STORM WATCH by Stephen Longstreet



Pub Date: Aug. 17th, 1979
Publisher: Putnam

Solid oceanic melodrama--as the largest supertanker in the world heads toward an ecological marine disaster off the shores of California. Thomas Hammel, 59, recovered alcoholic with a heart condition, gets a chance to revive his declining sea-captain career: sneaky billionaire Greek shipowner Ionnes Kyprios promotes Hammel to the captaincy of the Pallas Athena and gives him Achilles Marrkoras as his first officer. They are not long at sea, however, sailing from the Middle East, before Hammel notices that the ship's computerized heading leads directly into monsoon weather of the worst sort! But Kyprios refuses to allow Hammel to change course--and he has even authorized Marrkoras to take over the ship's command should Hammel attempt to save the ship by taking a safer route through the storms ahead. Obviously, Kyprios wants the ship to be wrecked. So, when the takeover occurs, Hammel accedes to it: he's well aware that he has no legal proof that Kyprios hopes to rescue his company by collecting at least $90 million in Lloyds' insurance for his lost ship. The doomed ship is soon ready to twist and split apart in heavy seas, and at last the worst happens--but the ship doesn't sink and Hammel regains his captaincy! Will he inform on Kyprios? He still has no evidence, and Kyprios has all the money and legal talent in the world. A convincing character caught up in a stormy dilemma--far more focused and satisfying than Longstreet's last couple of heavily moralistic novels.