Bestseller Alten's (Meg; Domain; etc.) latest near-future techno-thriller opens with a riveting burst of action—an attack on an American aircraft carrier and its escorts by a rogue U.S. super-sub called Goliath
("the equivalent of an underwater Stealth bomber—big, fast, and near impossible to detect"), which has been commandeered by Russian-born Simon Covah, a brilliant computer scientist who's bent on saving humanity by destroying nuclear stockpiles everywhere. If this scenario sounds improbable, the author's suspenseful, information-laden style makes it otherwise. Covah and his fanatical crew soon start making threats with the nuclear weapons that they retrieve from the remains of the U.S. fleet sunk by Goliath. Complications ensue when a lightning bolt jolts the sub's immensely powerful bio-engineered computer, Sorceress, into self-awareness à la Frankenstein's monster. Luckily, a couple of good guys are aboard to oppose the Nemo-ish Covah and the HAL-like Sorceress: U.S. Army Capt. Gunnar Wolfe, who served time in prison for trying to sabotage Goliath's production, and Gunnar's onetime sweetheart, gutsy Navy commander Rochelle "Rocky" Jackson. Tom Clancy fans will lap up the endless, repetitive heroics seasoned with jargon and acronym-filled dialogue, while others will appreciate the many blatant borrowings from classic SF novels and films. More seriously, Alten offers readers, particularly young adults, much to think about, morally and politically, in a world haunted by weapons capable of universal destruction. (July 24)
Forecast:National print advertising and targeting to military publications will help ensure a fast start..