cover image The Gulf

The Gulf

David Poyer / Author St. Martin's Press $19.95 (442p) ISBN 978

The sequel to The Med is set in the Persian Gulf late in the Reagan administration in an uneasy climate of ``no war, no peace'' aboard the Turner Van Zandt , a Knox -class frigate whose captain, Benjamin Shaker, seeks to avenge the sinking of his previous command by an Iranian cruise missile. Taking artistic license with history, the story hovers between techno-thriller and naval procedural: an American helicopter is shot down and an Iranian sub torpedoes a supertanker. The U.S. responds with a full-scale attack on an Iranian naval base, with the Van Zandt in the thick of the fighting (a subplot involving a nuclear warhead, however, adds unwelcome melodrama). At the helm with Shaker are the lieutenant commander, Dan Lenson, a more cautious warrior; and Washington's delegate to the combat zone, senatorial defense aide Blair Titus. Poyer provides gripping descriptions of naval operations: helicopter searches, mine disposal, escort work; his mastery of technical and procedural detail does for the modern small-ship fleet what Tom Clancy does for nuclear submarines and Stephen Coonts for aircraft carriers. (Oct.)