Dangerous Ground Hardcover – Apr 21 2005
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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.
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"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."
"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) See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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.
Great little undersea adventure with lots of character development thrown in for good measure!
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.
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.
"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.