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Showing 1-4 of 4 reviews(4 star). Show all reviews
"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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on December 31, 2001
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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on December 26, 2001
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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Joe Buff is a worthy successor to the young Tom Clancy in his second novel forecasting an undersea war between a resurgent militaristic Germany and the United States. Much to his credit, the characters are credible, and in many instances, quite likeable, including those serving in the Imperial German navy. I was greatly impressed with Buff's knowledge of underwater terrain, as well as weapons and sea battles. This is a fast-paced, well written page turner that nearly kept me up an entire night to finish reading.
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