RogerBW's Blog

Shattered Trident, Larry Bond and Chris Carlson 05 May 2014

In 2016, China and an alliance of South-East Asian nations go to war over the Spratly Islands.

A return to form after the slight disappointment of Exit Plan; this is straight naval fiction on the grand scale, reminiscent of Red Storm Rising.

Jerry Mitchell is one of the viewpoint characters here, now in command of a Virginia-class attack boat. This puts him in a good position to observe several key events, though because of the political situation he's rarely able to intervene.

The politics continue to be superficial but interesting: neither of the combatants is in a particularly good strategic or moral position, and the other world powers take a hands-off approach at first. The USA is somewhat more drawn in because of its defence treaties with Japan and the Philippines, and submarines are sent to observe and later to act. Once again we see Carlson's trademark use of carefully selected leaks to push around public opinion.

Characterisation is still superficial at best, but let's face it, one doesn't read these books for the characterisation. The technical details are decent, both on current and on (pretty limited) hypothetical future tech. The naval tactics are consistent with what I know about. The action sequences (both submarine and surface; there's not much aviation here, with the Chinese carrier Liaoning effectively taken out of the action early on) are reasonably thrilling. If you're after large-scale naval war fiction, this is pretty much what there is, and I at least enjoyed it.

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See also:
Exit Plan, Larry Bond and Chris Carlson

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