cover image The Passage

The Passage

David Poyer / Author St. Martin's Press $22.95 (516p) ISBN 978

Poyer's powerful fourth adventure featuring U.S. Naval officer Dan Lenson (The Circle, etc.) opens aboard a doomed submarine off Siberia, then focuses on Lenson's new assignment on the newly commissioned USS Barrett, which is bound for Guantanamo Bay for a shakedown and training mission. The Barrett is a troubled ship, not least because of the suspected homosexuality of Commander Thomas Leighty, and her troubles worsen with the loss overboard of a gay crewman whose diary implicates the captain. Meanwhile, Lenson isn't in such good shape himself. With his marriage broken and his career tottering on the brink of disaster (these events are chronicled in previous books), he is emotionally shattered and prone to excessive drinking. When the Barrett is sidetracked on a rescue mission to aid a flotilla of Cuban refugee vessels caught in violent seas, Lenson's path crosses briefly with that of pregnant refugee Graciela Gutierrez. In the book's most dramatic and moving passages, as Gutierrez gives birth during a horrendous storm, Lenson begins to regain his moral compass. The complex main plot, which also involves espionage, isn't resolved until a mutinous confrontation just off the Cuban shore; and even then, most readers of this stirring tale will be sorry to see it end. (Jan.)