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5.0 out of 5 stars 5 Stars for the Fun -- but captains leading raids??
'Thunder In The Deep' is Joe Buff's 2nd novel of undersea submarine warfare after 'Deep Sound Channel' -- which was superb, by the way. I so much enjoyed his first book that I just could NOT wait for the sequel -- but lucky for me, I hadn't discovered Buff until just before 'Thunder' was released, so my wait wasn't long.
Captain Jeffrey Fuller, Now in charge of the...
Published on Nov. 8 2002 by Amazon Customer

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2.0 out of 5 stars good yarn with an unlikely premise
This book is fast-paced action stuff, quite suitable for a Hollywood movie or for feeding the fantasies of would-be soldiers of fortune. But it's extremely improbable that a Navy SEAL would be an effective nuc-boat skipper. Even Navy fighter pilots selected for a path to commanding a nuclear powered aircraft carrier find mastering the intense math, chemistry and physics...
Published on Nov. 7 2002


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5.0 out of 5 stars 5 Stars for the Fun -- but captains leading raids??, Nov. 8 2002
'Thunder In The Deep' is Joe Buff's 2nd novel of undersea submarine warfare after 'Deep Sound Channel' -- which was superb, by the way. I so much enjoyed his first book that I just could NOT wait for the sequel -- but lucky for me, I hadn't discovered Buff until just before 'Thunder' was released, so my wait wasn't long.
Captain Jeffrey Fuller, Now in charge of the Challenger, the United States most sophisticated undersea weapon, we get a more detailed 'insiders view' of what life in a sub is like. Although I MUST admit that the plausibility of sending the Captain out on a raid is far from acceptable fiction -- it might work for Jim Kirk in the science fiction world of Star Trek, but a REAL Navy sub captain? Sorry, but I'm not gonna swallow that one. Now this may seem overly critical of Mr. Buff, but hear me out on this: his novels have the ring of authenticity to them SO MUCH that when I come across something SO off the beaten path of reality (yes, even in a fictional novel), well I can't help but scream FOUL. However, all that aside, this is simply put a fantastic adventure yarn. If you were hooked on submarine warfare because of Tom Clancy or Michael DiMercurio, give in and pick up 'Deep Sound Channel' and 'Thunder In The Deep' today. Exceptional thrills and chills in a near-future war with a brand new threat provided by Germany and South Africa. I echo another reviewers worry about the trivial love story jammed in between a classic war story -- it didn't work for the movie 'Pearl Harbor' and it doesn't work too well here, either. But again, I enjoyed the overall novel SO much that I was able to overlook these small problems in favor of the all around 'thriller factor' that the book gave me. Can't wait to read 'Crush Depth'!
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2.0 out of 5 stars good yarn with an unlikely premise, Nov. 7 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Thunder in the Deep: A Novel of Undersea Nuclear War (Hardcover)
This book is fast-paced action stuff, quite suitable for a Hollywood movie or for feeding the fantasies of would-be soldiers of fortune. But it's extremely improbable that a Navy SEAL would be an effective nuc-boat skipper. Even Navy fighter pilots selected for a path to commanding a nuclear powered aircraft carrier find mastering the intense math, chemistry and physics necessary to understand nuclear propulsion to be a nearly impossible task. God help the ground-pounder/swimmer who tries to do the same in the nuclear submarine force. Nuc boat skippers have to understand everything about the boat and its power plant, 'way down into the nitty, gritty, quantum-mechanical detail, thermo-goddammics and all, so they know what risks they can take with the boat and what risks it won't survive. It isn't enough just to know what test depth is, believe me. There are lots and lots of other subtle mistakes that will also let gobs of water into the people tank and keep the ship from making it through a mission. And--believe it or not--the Navy tends to select nuc boat skippers chiefly for their ability to accomplish the mission without loss and bring that extremely expensive chunk of cold iron (or titanium) home in one piece, so it can be used again for another mission, even in wartime. Which is why there are SEAL Team Leaders and there are nuc-boat captains, and the Nav isn't about to let the the same individuals try to be both. Pure pragmatism.
Being a SEAL and being a nuc boat skipper demand two very different--and nearly incompatible--skill sets. Trying to mix them in the same character undermines this book's credibility.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Secret Weapons of the Kriegsmarine, March 31 2002
This review is from: Thunder in the Deep: A Novel of Undersea Nuclear War (Hardcover)
"Thunder in the Deep" is the sequel to "Deep Sound Channel", the first of a series about nuclear submarine warfare in the near future.. Both books follow the adventures (and sometime misadventures) of Jeff Fuller, the commander of the next-generation submarine "Challenger". Composed of a new age ceramic hull (something like the chobham armor they use on tanks), blessed with high tech sensors that can detect submarines because they are quieter than the surrounding waters, and armed with nuclear torpedoes, Challenger fights an undersea war against incredible odds. Only, the enemies aren't Russians, but a German-dominated Axis that seems to borrow the worst traits of the Nazis and the Kaiser eras, and seems to posess the technical know-how to hold the future. United with South Africa (where the war began in "Channel") and ruled by Kaiser Wilhelm IV, the new German empire dispatches fleets of U-boats into the Atlantic to cut off England. Now possessing nukes, and not afraid to use them, the 21st century Kriegsmarine turns whole convoys into irradiated dust on the sea. While most of the new U-boats are either merely potent but otherwise disposable (much like the ones in WWII - they all but insure death for their prey and crew alike) or ships stolen from fallen European nations (mostly France) "Deutchland" possesses the weapons, sensors, ceramic hull and reserve of the Challenger, and is commanded by the thoroughly ambitious, brilliant and evil Eberhard. Fuller, not entirely comfortable with his ship, finds himself tasked with one seemingly impossible mission after another. A rescue mission for a crippled sub turns into a covert deep-strike mission on a Baltic coast research facility. Between Fuller and his objectives are fleets of U-boats unleashing swarms of nuclear-tipped torpedoes. (A complex set of ROE limits use of nukes to warfare out in the open ocean, never dealing with the importance of the seas in the terrestrial food-chain.)
I wasn't set to like this book, but enjoyed it anyway. Though there's something missing - the new German regime doesn't seem as fleshed as the one in "Fatherland"; what's going in other theaters of war? - the action is non-stop and the plot turns rise above the technobabble and not-quite deep characters. This isn't the clean and sterile submarine combat of other books. A lot of the book reads like a movie, but it's a movie you'd probably want to see , offering everything from sub-warfare to hand-to-hand combat once the heroes make it to that hidden weapons lab. While the new type of submarine warfare - with its high-tech hulls and nuclear weapons - may not be realistic, the author crafts a complex science with all of its limits making it quite convincing without slowing down the plot. Also, for those who don't consider submarine technothrillers there chosen form of action, "Thunder" has our heroes embarking on all sorts of impossible missions. (Sure, some of it seems to read like an elaborate video game, but most books compare poorly to games; "Thunder" does not). I kept waiting for this book to lose me, but it never did. In short, "Thunder" is a lot of fun.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Thunder in the Deep, March 9 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Thunder in the Deep: A Novel of Undersea Nuclear War (Hardcover)
It was satisfying to read more about the undersea experiences of Jeffrey and Ilse and the crew of the USS Challenger. If you're looking for technical know-how on what it's like to live in a nuclear submarine on a combat mission, you'll find the information in Thunder in the Deep. You'll feel you are part of the mission, whether sitting in the Control room straining to discern what threats are on the other side of the hull, climbing into your rack to catch up on sleep, or travelling in a submersible through the dangerous ocean. The strain of living in claustrophobic quarters results in expected outbursts of emotion, which are resolved by crew members with reactions that are believable. In the midst of explosions and crises and the need for quick decisions, nuanced conversation grounded in reality take place. Joe Buff's ability to depict characters transcends the traditional techno-thriller genre.
P.S. To take issue with a recent critical review, according to what I discovered on the Internet, the heir to the Crown in Germany is currently a law student in Berlin. Also, it has often been the custom over the centuries in Europe for a monarch, on assuming the throne, to change his first name to the name of a previous monarch whom he admires, or to preserve a sense of continuity, whence the name Wilhelm. Besides, it is evident from reading Joe Buff's book that a conspiracy of ultra-nationalists has taken over Germany and brought back the Kaiser as a figurhead.
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5.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT, FAR-SEEING TECHNOTHRILLER, March 4 2002
By 
Scarface (Los Angeles, CA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Thunder in the Deep: A Novel of Undersea Nuclear War (Hardcover)
Excellent plot, excellent premise, excellent characters, excellent action. Mr. Buff has really done his research, and the tactics and technology depicted in his work are totally realistic - as proven by the impressive bibliography, and the many navy people from several nations (including a German WWII U-boat veteran!) mentioned in Thunder in the Deep's Acknowledgments. It is refreshing indeed, given such recent youth horrors as the Columbine High School massacre, to see Mr. Buff depict the eager, loyal, brave youngsters who man our nation's nuclear submarines, many of them still teenagers when they first go to sea on an SSN or SSBN. Likewise, in the aftermath of the September 11 Attack, it is uplifting to see Mr. Buff's portrayal of the courageous leadership and tactical inventiveness of the captains of those submarines. No mutinies or insane COs to create "suspense" in Mr. Buff's work! Just the horror of war, and the heroism of those who fight to defend peace and freedom. The fresh, innovative geopolitical scenario Mr. Buff has created is validated strongly by the repeated successful acts of aggression and conquest from so many unexpected sources in the latest century of world history. Even our President, George Bush Jr., has warned of the dangers of a new Axis of Evil!
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1.0 out of 5 stars Kill the Sales Clerk!, Feb. 26 2002
This review is from: Thunder in the Deep: A Novel of Undersea Nuclear War (Hardcover)
Oh, my! The last book by this author was almost stunning in comparison to this make-money effort. I have never, in all my seventy-five years of fascination with books, read anything even remotely as disappointing as this, most unbelievable garbage. What isn't schmaltz, is worth to be consumed in an atomic furnace (just to make sure no trace remains).
The entire idea of another Axis/Allies war is acceptable, but the entire scheme along which is played out in this book is hare brained. Kaiser Wilhelm IV, indeed! This writer does not even know that the putative heir to the throne of the Hohenzollerns is a captain in the German Mountain Corps, and stationed (last I heard) at Bad Reichenhall. His primary first name certainly is not Wilhelm. Lousy research, Mr. Buff! Compare this "writing effort" with Clancy's "Red October" and you get sick.
No court in the land will find you guilty if you kill the sales clerk who foists this "bleakh" on you! Go buy anything else for your entertainment, but use a twenty-foot pole to push this away. I gave it one star, because of its excellent qualities as a soporific.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Action packed page turner!, Dec 31 2001
By 
L. Hernandez (Arizona, USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Thunder in the Deep: A Novel of Undersea Nuclear War (Hardcover)
Reading this novel was a satisfying look into the Navy, with many lessons to be learned. Starting off, you would think only individuals with a lot of military knowledge would be able to comprehend this story, but that is not the case. Instead of hindering your enjoyment, the terms only make the book better. Wisely, the author has chosen to include a terms glossary, which proved very helpful.
The plot keeps you at the edge of your seat with its action packed, vivid descriptions, and you find yourself rooting strongly for the USS Challenger. Remind yourself that it is just fiction! The characters are not hard military figures, but instead regular military people that are dealing with their emotions...same as everybody else. Such emotions in the characters really draws your interest into the final outcome of the book.
But! The USS Challenger (and the crew members) get thereselves in and out of so many predicaments that you would think they were superhuman! Don't let this take away from the overall appeal, though, and don't be intimidated by the greatness of this story. It is a wonderful read!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Thunder in the Deep a Winner, Nov. 5 2001
This review is from: Thunder in the Deep: A Novel of Undersea Nuclear War (Hardcover)
Thunder in the Deep is that rare, but not unwelcome, entity in writing and cinema, a sequel that lives up to the promise of its predecessor. In Thunder, Buff has better integrated the technical jargon into the text than in his previous book (Deep Sound Channel) while maintaining a high level of tension. Each time Challenger and her crew make a move, they find themselves in circumstances from which there seems only one outcome--disaster or death--and I continually marveled at the dexterity and ingenuity of the author's mind in finding credible solutions to each crisis. The characters are full-bodied and engaging--you care about what happens to them--and the writing is clear and precise, no wasted verbiage here. The depictions of navy life and protocols are accurately rendered, and Buff's knowledge of a wide range of military, technical, and scientific subjects is incredible and clearly conveyed. This is a wonderful action-adventure novel that will keep you turning the pages far into the night.
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5.0 out of 5 stars First book was amazing; this one is better!, Sept. 27 2001
By 
Roy DeMeo (Bronxville, New York United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Thunder in the Deep: A Novel of Undersea Nuclear War (Hardcover)
I rarely read novels of any kind before Deep Sound Channel, and certainly never a submarine novel, but now that Joe Buff is out there I am thoroughly hooked. This book picks up where the first one left off, and everything about it is even more intense: It's faster paced, with more action, more suspense, and it's more violent, if all that can be believed. There is actually a similarity in the plot, in that in both books, the protagonists have to venture onto dry enemy land to plant a nuke, but it's a lot scarier this time. There's even more character development, and through Jeffrey and Ilse and the rest you really feel emotionally what it's like to be in an all-out war, as much as that's possible by merely reading a book. The depiction of war in its many forms couldn't be more real - it's so vivid it's hard to believe Joe has not spent his whole life on Navy submarines fighting battles. Now that I've read Joe's first 2 books I am especially eager to see what the third one will be like.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very Entertaining, Fast-Paced Read, Dec 26 2001
By 
JC "JC" (Philadelphia, PA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Thunder in the Deep: A Novel of Undersea Nuclear War (Hardcover)
Thunder in the Deep was the first Joe Buff book that I have read and it was good enough for me to make his first book, Deep Sound Channel, my next read.
I picked up the book because he has been compared to Tom Clancy. Since I have read and enjoyed Clancy's novels, I thought that I'd give Buff a try. While I am glad that I did, I found that the comparisons to Clancy were unwarrented. This is NOT a bad thing. Clancy's books are much deeper and have a much wider scope, often containing political or social commentary that he ties in well with the rest of the story. You won't find any of that in Thunder in the Deep. The result is a book that maintains its pace throughout and keeps the action coming. This is not to say that the author is any less a writer than Clancy, just that the book is a different type of read.
I'd recommend this book to anyone who likes Clancy, military or combat novels, and especially people who enjoy techno-warfare.
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Thunder in the Deep: A Novel of Undersea Nuclear War
Thunder in the Deep: A Novel of Undersea Nuclear War by Joe Buff (Hardcover - July 31 2001)
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