James Francis, Author . Onyx $6.99 (434p) ISBN 978-0-451-41041-2

From the disruptive and temperamental weather patterns that hampered rescue attempts to the callous and misleading journalists who were scrambling for the story of the year, many of the events in this evocative thriller eerily reflect situations similar to those of the 2000 sinking of the RFS Kursk, which—ex-submariner and first-time author Francis notes—occurred well after the writing of this novel. Refreshingly, this book goes beyond the typical military-novel parlance and digs into the lives of its characters. When the USS Tulsa is struck by a Russian sub, sending her to the floor of the Norwegian Sea, Commander Geoff Richter must maintain order and ensure the survival of his crew. As the crewmembers draw nearer to death with every breath, Francis takes readers into their heads and hearts via intimate flashbacks. Throughout the novel, for example, Richter recalls a past love, which allows Francis to craft a tasteful, even cute, love scene. In contrast, the few female characters here are shallowly portrayed, and their dialogue is gratuitous. A plethora of military personnel from several countries and an excess of acronyms may turn off readers who prefer less technical fiction, but an 80-entry glossary is a considerable help. (Apr. 2)

Reviewed on: 03/18/2002
Release date: 04/01/2002
Genre: Fiction
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