Ghost Fleet: A Novel of the Next World War
This self-proclaimed “novel of the next world war,” in which the Chinese, abetted by the Russians, make a sneak attack on Hawaii, is all about cutting-edge air-sea-land weaponry. Even though it is populated by a seemingly endless cast of warriors—American, British, Chinese, and Russian—reader Orlow’s renditions of the characters, with credible accents, are all that make them more substantial than the average hologram. The novel begins with the introduction of several characters, smartly defined by Orlow’s earnest delivery. His natural, almost casual characterizations put enough meat on their bones for us to care about them—even the many who only appear briefly in the story. Of those who stick around for a while, Commander James Simmons and his estranged father, Chief Mike Simmons, who both wind up on the same crucial vessel, have the most compellingly human subplot, but it’s the real-life USS Zumwalt
, the guided-missile-destroying leader of the “Ghost Fleet,” that, thanks to a detailed history of its creation and armament, is treated to the book’s deepest and most fascinating backstory. A HMH/Dolan hardcover.