Throughout the fifteenth century, China's blue-water navy fleets dominated all the oceans between the Yellow Sea and the Persian Gulf. But for the next five hundred years, it regressed to a dim echo of its glorious past. However, it is now the year 2007 and the Chinese agenda has changed. With a tremendous navy buildup, anchored by a new base in Burma and a $2 billion oil refinery on the southern Iranian coast, the Chinese are poised not only to challenge America's superiority on the open sea but also to upset the delicate balance of oil power in the Middle East and the free passage of the world's giant tankers.
Admiral Arnold Morgan, the President's National Security Adviser, is closely monitoring the Chinese when an oil tanker mysteriously explodes in the Persian Gulf. When it happens a second and then a third time, he knows it is no coincidence.... The Chinese navy, in partnership with Iran, has laid a minefield clean across the Strait of Hormuz, holding the world's oil supply hostage. As a global oil crisis ensues, the world financial markets spiral out of control. Mystified by China's motive yet drawn to action, the United States moves to disarm the mines with a huge display of force, deploying five Carrier Battle Groups, 80 percent of its active sea power.
While the sweepers blow out the mines, Morgan characteristically slams back at China. Navy SEAL veteran commanders Rick Hunter and Rusty Bennett lead devastating attacks on China's Indian Ocean power bases. And at the center of the missions is USS Shark, a thirty-year-old nuclear boat on her final tour of duty, commanded by Donald Reid, an officer struggling with his inner demons. His executive officer is Lt. Commander Dan Headley, an intrepid Kentuckian, himself on his way to full command. When the brave SEALs are confronted with the unexpected death of their own, the unimaginable happens: the first mutiny in the modern history of the United States Navy.
Meanwhile, the People's Liberation Navy sits and waits for their ultimate gambit, a move so shocking and unexpected that it forces the world to hold its breath. Was the minefield in the strait just a diversion?
Featuring an ensemble cast that stretches from the most secretive heart of the Chinese high command to the control room of a U.S. submarine, out onto the screaming flight decks of the great aircraft carriers, all the way to a United States Navy court-martial, The Shark Mutiny is epic in its sweep, meticulous in its authenticity, and breathtaking in its pacing. Terrifying and thrilling, it is the most dramatic story of rebellion on the high seas since The Caine Mutiny.
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Veteran techno-thriller writer Robinson's fifth novel pairs Arnold Morgan, the aging but still powerful national security adviser who stars in the author's previous titles ( Nimitz Class, Kilo Class) with a new young naval intelligence officer named Ramshawe--one of the few characters with more personality than the military hardware on which Robinson lavishes most of his attention in this somewhat pedestrian tale.
Ramshawe's commanding officer ignores his warnings about a Russian airplane carrying a lethal cargo of sea mines to a Chinese naval base and the subsequent movement of Chinese warships flying the flag of Iran in the Strait of Hormuz, even when an American oil tanker explodes in the Persian Gulf. Unable to convince his Admiral that the events are connected, the junior hotshot ignores the chain of command and takes his suspicions to Morgan. When more oil tankers blow up and it becomes clear that the Chinese have mined the strait in order to drive oil prices up and destabilize the economy, Morgan deploys the U.S. Navy to the Gulf. Included in the force are a couple of SEAL teams on a submarine--but the sub is commanded by a deranged captain who believes he's the reincarnated spirit of the French naval officer defeated by Nelson at Trafalgar, so the SEALs are forced to stage a mutiny in order to carry out their mission. Meanwhile, it turns out China has another target in its sights, halfway around the world: its neighbor Taiwan. So the Taiwanese air force must fight off the attack on its territory with no help from the U.S. Navy, which is committed in the Gulf.
There's enough weaponry and military maneuvering here to keep fans of Clancy, Coonts, and Dale Brown happy, but it may be past time for the curmudgeonly Morgan to retire and let a new series hero like Ramshawe take over. --Jane AdamsAbout the Author:
Patrick Robinson was born in Kent, England. He has worked as a journalist and in publishing, and is the author of a number of nonfiction titles, including Admiral Sir Sandy Woodward's account of the Falklands War, One Hundred Days. Mr. Robinson has homes in Ireland and on Cape Cod.
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