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Dangerous Ground [Hardcover]

Larry Bond
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

April 21 2005
The USS Memphis, a dilapidated submarine that that should have been mothballed decades ago, has been given one last mission by the newly elected president. The task: To sneak illegally into Russia's coastal waters and recon the leaking nuclear fuel containers hidden on the floor of the Arctic Ocean. More than just an environmental nightmare, this radioactive burial ground houses enough nuclear capability to destroy most of America's major cities.
The Memphis's commander, Lowell Hardy, had been looking forward to flag rank and pleasant duty upon the sub's decommissioning. Now he is trapped in an inconceivably dangerous and illegal mission which could easily end his career, if not his life and the lives of his crew. But it's the crew who feel Hardy's tension as he tyrannizes everyone on board to ensure they'll be ready for anything:
Jerry Mitchell: a former naval pilot with political connections, he is a novice submariner, unprepared for his demanding job as a weapons officer. Central to the Memphis's mission, Mitchell may be its greatest liability . . . or its ultimate salvation.
Dr. Joanna Patterson: The senior civilian scientist, appointed by and reporting to the president, she is a world-class expert on nuclear fuel contamination--and every bit as demanding as Hardy. Patterson and her partner, Dr. Emily Davis, soon find themselves battling flaring tempers, faulty machinery, lethal radioactivity, and the raging arctic seas.
The submariners: Seething with rage at their Captain Bligh-like commander and the equally domineering Joanna Patterson, they are also at war with Jerry Mitchell, and one another. Like the captain, they feel they deserve better, not this antiquated relic, not this hostile scientist, not this novice weapons officer, and definitely not this disastrously dangerous mission.
Nor is the mission what it seems. Lurking beneath the frigid, black, radioactive waters is a secret far more deadly than anything naval command could imagine--a secret so menacing the Russian Fleet is hell-bent on destroying the Memphis and all who sail in her.


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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Calling to mind such undersea techno-thrillers as Clancy's The Hunt for Red October and Hagberg's By Dawn's Early Light, this latest outing by Bond, a former naval officer turned bestselling military suspense author (Larry Bond's First Team, etc.), is an edge-of-the-seat yarn about an aging nuclear submarine on a secret mission to Russian waters. Using his senator uncle's political clout, Lt. (j.g.) Jerry Mitchell—a former pilot permanently grounded thanks to a wrist injury sustained in a freak carrier crash—has found his way into submarine training, where, among the other basic skills, he becomes an expert on the Manta, a robot device used for underwater exploration. Cmdr. Lowell Hardy, veteran skipper of the Memphis, a nuclear sub long overdue for decommissioning, is given orders to take Dr. Joanna Patterson from the President's Advisory Science Board and her comely young assistant, Dr. Emily Davis, into Russian waters to look for evidence of illegal disposal of nuclear waste. Mitchell's alleged political pull and the presence of women aboard create unrest among an already unhappy crew. Somewhat predictably, the mission uncovers a major threat to world security and the suspense cranks up when the Russians learn they've been found out. Despite an obligatory surfeit of naval alphabetese and a muster of trite maritime stereotypes with seabags full of childish personality conflicts, this is an engaging read.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"Dangerous Ground is a great submarine novel. When I grow up I want to write like Larry Bond."--Stephen Coonts

"Larry Bond's intimate knowledge of a submarine's technical details is matched by his understanding of human nature, and he combines fascinating characters with captivating technology to keep you turning the pages. Larry Bond is a master of his craft, and Dangerous Ground is the best submarine novel yet!"-Walter J. Boyne, New York Times bestselling author of Operation Iraqi Freedom

"Hats off to Larry Bond, with Dangerous Ground, he has raised the bar of quality for the rest of us. My heart was in my throat nearly through the entire read."--David Hagberg, USA Today bestselling author of Lucifer's Hammer and By Dawn's Early Light

"The technothriller has a new ace and his name is Larry Bond."---Tom Clancy

"Action on every page . . . Bond's army of readers will be thoroughly satisfied."---Kirkus Reviews on Larry Bond's First Team

"A solid series debut."--Publishers Weekly on Larry Bond's First Team

"A superb storyteller . . . Larry Bond seems to know everything about warfare, from the grunt in the foxhole to the fighter pilots far above the Earth."---The New York Times Book Review

"No writer living can produce the depth of political intrigue like Larry Bond."---Clive Cussler


"Dangerous Ground is a great submarine novel."
(Stephen Coonts)

"Hats off to Larry Bond, with Dangerous Ground, he has raised the bar of quality for the rest of us. My heart was in my throat nearly through the entire read." (David Hagberg USA Today bestselling author of Lucifer's Hammer and By Dawn's Early Light)

"Larry Bond's intimate knowledge of a submarine's technical details is matched by his understanding of human nature, and he combines fascinating characters with captivating technology to keep you turning the pages." (Walter J. Boyne, New York Times bestselling author of Operation Iraqi Freedom)

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Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars If you love submarines, this book is for you. Oct. 15 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Although the title of this book indicates an action/thriller, you will not find it until the last chapters, and even then, it is mild. The book follows one young naval officer through his induction in a nuclear submarine, accompanied by stereotypical shallow characters. It's a long book and I kept reading it hoping something would happen to peak my interest, but alas, not much. My general impression was, why would anyone in their right mind want to serve aboard one of these boats?

This was the type of book you could put down at anytime, and pick up whenever you had nothing better to do. It was a bitter disappointment when compared to the first book I read by Larry Bond (Red Phoenix) and a semi-disappointment to the second book I read by Larry Bond (The Cauldron). This book was written as a prequel to other Larry Bond books of this type, but I will likely pass on them and re-read my Tom Clancy novels. Reading action books on a Kindle is frustrating, especially when geography & maps are concerned. It's such a pain consulting any maps at the front or back that the reader might as well stay lost.

Conclusion: Graeat for the submarine fan...a bummer for the action lovers.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  54 reviews
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I WANTED to like it more...3.5 stars June 29 2005
By Jeff Edwards - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I am a BIG fan of Larry Bond and submarine thrillers in particular, but as I began Dangerous Ground, I guess I set my expectations a bit too high. Bond's previous novels have been high octane entertainment with great stories which moved at the speed of a Tomahawk Missle -- but unfortunately, this story moves like a missle about to be disassembled. The storyline is good enough, and the technical detail is plenty, but unfortunately the action is too little and just not enough to keep this book afloat.

Don't get me wrong...Bond has clearly done his homework. As the story unfolds, you can just TELL he has spent a great deal of time making certain that this story was told from a standpoint of someone who was entering the world of the submariner from the outside. Dangrous Ground sets the stage for the main character, Jerry Mitchell, a former rising star in the ranks of Naval Pilots, who becomes grounded after an unfortunate aircraft accident (not his fault) and uses his Uncle's political weight to gain access to the Navies Sub force. Immediately he is considered unfit by many under his command because of how his uncle helped his career along. One Chief Petty Officer under him makes it his prime goal to make Mitchell's life as miserable as is humanly possible. Jerry works overtime to earn the respect of his crew and in the process, learns quite a lot about himself as well.

The USSN Memphis, a sub clearly past her prime and in desperate need of being turned into scrap, is sent on a mission into Russian waters to collect top secret information. This is where I had my biggest problem with the storyline. I know from personal experience that the Government can make some really harsh and stupid decisions -- but what I simply cannot accept is a vision of the US Navy knowingly sending an aging and vastly inferior submarine into an incredibly dangerous situation complete with the intention of expecting it to fail. I find it absolutely impossible in this day to believe no matter HOW mis-guided some military officers are, that they would send our men almost to their certain deaths for the flimsy reasons we discover later on. Anyway, on with the review: We discover soon enough along the way that the government has virtually written the entire mission off and fully expects it to fail...something that Jerry Mitchell and the Memphis skipper, Lowell Hardy intend to avoid. Once again, the technical detail is very thorough. You receive everything but a guided tour of a real nuclear submarine while reading Dangerous Ground. What you unfortunately do NOT get, is a lot of entertainment along the way. Certainly the story was interesting enough, but just barely enough to maintain my attention over the course of the two weeks I spent reading. One thing you CAN look forward to is the eventual arrival of the Memphis to Russian waters to carry out their nearly impossible job. The last quarter of the book is text-book edge-of-your-seat action. My only gripe is that in order to get TO that action, you must meander through three-quarters of semi-enjoyable submarine jargon-filled storyline. If the majority of this book represents what it is actually like on board a United States Submarine (which I believe it does), I will be forever thankful I chose a different career path than the military...and the Navy in particular.

In short, I found that I CAN recommend this story, but only to those hard-core submarine thriller readers like myself who find it difficult to wait in between books by Michael DiMercurio and Joe Buff. Other than that, I found the story quite lacking when compared with the previous novels of Larry Bond, all of which I can endorse quite happily.
26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars LOTS of techno with this sub thriller! May 5 2005
By Michael D. Trimble - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Medically disqualified naval aviator "weasels" a lateral transfer to the sub fleet and meets a lot of resistance from the noncoms and officers who made subs a first choice rather than a fallback. In amongst all the technical aspects of this book--which serves to actually enhance interest--is a study in small group leadership, VERY similar to the canned scenarios that junior military officers study in their professional development schooling. It is good stuff if you aren't familiar with leadership dynamics in the services. This young officer works hard to catch a break with the crew, but also brings a very unique set of skills to the boat that will prove invaluable! The bigger story however is the covert mission this sub is on to retrieve data from just off the Russian coast. Made more difficult by the presence of two attractive female scientists, one of which, has overall mission responsibility (read: command authority). What they discover in the icy Russian waters is shocking and not what they expected and those wily Russians are willing to literally kill to protect the secret.

Great little undersea adventure with lots of character development thrown in for good measure!
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too little way too late Aug. 21 2005
By Garview - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
You have to read through over 250 pages leading up to about 30 pages of what I was looking for in the first place: action and some suspense.

You could just skip the first couple hundred pages and get right to the real story. Excellent book for the readers digest version without really missing anything.

Also all the political discussions came across as so phony that it really hurt any sence of reality.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Almost 5 stars. Almost but not quite. Oct. 15 2005
By S. N. Gaines - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I'm a big fan of Larry Bond. Computer Harpoon and his previous novels are great reads/games.

This novel meets one of my requirements for a good techno-thriller. The "techno" parts are either dead on or seem to be dead on. Almost reads like an introduction to 688 class submarines and what it takes to qualify in one. The description of what a "trim party" is assures you that someone involved with the book has served on submarines.

I do note that the action was a little long in starting, with some tantalizing glimpses of what was to come. I also note that some of the equipment is not fully explained, specifically the Manta remote vehicle, which is central to the plot. What is it doing there? What does it do? We don't find out until late in the book the whys and wherefores of this thing, and only then just enough to get on with the story. A little fictional background would have been helpful.

The characters are definitely uneven. The captain is a whip-cracking martinet. Or is he? We don't find out why he acts as he does. The same for the two civilian technical reps that are onboard. Even the main character, Jerry Mitchell, is sort of a hollow cutout. In fact the only character that received any sort of depth was the Senior Petty officer that gives Mitchell a hard time. We find out why he does what he does, but even that isn't enough development of character.

There are some very loose ends left undone. Does the XO ever find his "commissioning dirt"? A nice little side plot that could have been done better. What happens between the civilian tech Emily Davis and Lt. Mitchell? Much is alluded to, but we are left hanging, and not in a "sequel" sort of way. It just felt unfinished, almost like there was a rush to print.

But even with my quibbles, and that's what they are, I still recommend this as a good read. Not a great one, but a good page turner, especially if you like sea stories.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Uncommonly good submarine technothriller July 22 2006
By Rottenberg's rotten book review - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Nearing its decommissioning date, the nuclear-powered attack submarine "USS Memphis" is commandeered by a Presidential science advisor with a mission to track the dumping of Russian nuclear waste in the Kara Sea". "Dangerous Ground" is the story not only of that voyage, but of the crew of the Memphis - it's tough-as-nails Commander and the crew he terrorizes with relentless drills and merciless post-drill critiques. It's also the story of Jerry Mitchell, a fighter pilot grounded after suffering critical injuries in a flight accident that totals his F-18. A determined guy with political pull, Mitchell wangles a transfer into submarines, and arrives on the doorstep of the Memphis while its crew is still expecting to be decommissioned. When the crew learns of their mission and Mitchell's connections, they link the two and blame him for a shift in their plans. Worse, they must all learn to deal with Emily Davis and Joanna Patterson - politically-placed women assigned to find proof of Russian waste dumping. The women, especially Patterson, prove a tight fit aboard the sub, and the CO proclaims that the mission will be as close to hell as a cruise van be even before they've left the dock.

"Dangerous Ground" will take the creaky Memphis from the safety of American shores to the Arctic redoubt of the Kara Sea - with their days spent drilling for every conceivable disaster, with no telling what they'll find when they reach their destination, and no hint of the ends the Russians won't go to keep them from returning alive.

Though it has the makings of a dozen or so submarine novels written since the early 1990's, "Dangerous" is easily among the best written in that time and easily one of the most enjoyable and engrossing that I've read in quite awhile - easily better than some recent offerings of Dimercurio and proof that the genre can do (much) better than Patrick Robinson. "Dangerous" sets itself apart in that the story is told through the trials and travails of its crew. Bond doesn't saddle us with too-easily liked characters - those who crew the Memphis are the least sympathetic you'll find in any technothriller this side of Poyer (it's almost like Bond actually rounded up all the losers from other novels, the hacks and idiots who get written off as failures in other books). And we're so keyed into their survival drills and endless watches that pretty soon, it's hard to banish the feeling that we're along for the ride.
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