RogerBW's Blog

Shadow Hunter, Geoffrey Archer 11 November 2022

1989 late Cold War naval/espionage thriller. The captain of the nuclear attack submarine Truculent, sent north to join a large NATO exercise, has dropped out of communication. But what's he planning to do?

The inspiration from The Hunt for Red October is clear, and the cast is substantial: the rogue captain, his officers, the other captain who knows him and is sent after him, and several factions among the Soviets. That's necessary, because the main tension in the book comes from not knowing what the rogue is planning: is he going to plant advanced, but inactive, anti-submarine mines outside a Soviet harbour, or hand over one of those mines to Soviet naval intelligence? Or is he going to do something really stupid that might start a war? One Soviet faction wants foreign confrontation to draw attention from domestic economic worries; another just wants to get on with its technology transfer in peace.

It doesn't help that the captain has learned, just before he sailed, that not only has his wife been having it away with all and sundry, the most recent one was a Soviet agent…

This isn't really a tale of heroes, either; there's an obvious good guy, the rogue's friend who has to stop him, but it's much more about people doing their jobs, and the senior officers aboard Truculent very reluctantly coming to the conclusion that they're going to have to relieve the Old Man of command.

The research is thorough – I didn't spot any errors, and I can be quite picky [pause for expressions of surprise] – and while the characters can be weakly-drawn and implausible at times (especially the civilians) there's enough to them, and enough happening, to retain my enthusiasm. Not perhaps an ideal place to start one's journey into real-world naval fiction, but very neatly done even so.

[Buy this at Amazon] and help support the blog. ["As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases."]

  1. Posted by John P at 12:34am on 12 November 2022

    Have you read "Fire Lance" by David Mace?

    Nuclear war has broken out and the USS Vindicator is the last major US fleet asset with its Fire Lance missiles. Ordered into the northern hemisphere covered in a nuclear winter, it is being fought over by the various surviving factions of the US government. Written in the late 80's it may be a bit dated but it is still a good read.

    By the way, ignore the picture on the cover! that's just some (very) poor artwork that doesn't bear any relation to the novel.

  2. Posted by RogerBW at 01:42pm on 12 November 2022

    I have not. Insofar as there was a plan for this strand of my reading, it was "fiction dealing with the Royal Navy post-WWII", but I'll take a look.

Comments on this post are now closed. If you have particular grounds for adding a late comment, comment on a more recent post quoting the URL of this one.

Tags 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s 3d printing action advent of code aeronautics aikakirja anecdote animation anime army astronomy audio audio tech aviation base commerce battletech beer boardgaming book of the week bookmonth chain of command children chris chronicle church of no redeeming virtues cold war comedy computing contemporary cornish smuggler cosmic encounter coup covid-19 crime cthulhu eternal cycling dead of winter doctor who documentary drama driving drone ecchi economics en garde espionage essen 2015 essen 2016 essen 2017 essen 2018 essen 2019 essen 2022 essen 2023 existential risk falklands war fandom fanfic fantasy feminism film firefly first world war flash point flight simulation food garmin drive gazebo genesys geocaching geodata gin gkp gurps gurps 101 gus harpoon historical history horror hugo 2014 hugo 2015 hugo 2016 hugo 2017 hugo 2018 hugo 2019 hugo 2020 hugo 2022 hugo-nebula reread in brief avoid instrumented life javascript julian simpson julie enfield kickstarter kotlin learn to play leaving earth linux liquor lovecraftiana lua mecha men with beards mpd museum music mystery naval noir non-fiction one for the brow opera parody paul temple perl perl weekly challenge photography podcast politics postscript powers prediction privacy project woolsack pyracantha python quantum rail raku ranting raspberry pi reading reading boardgames social real life restaurant reviews romance rpg a day rpgs ruby rust scala science fiction scythe second world war security shipwreck simutrans smartphone south atlantic war squaddies stationery steampunk stuarts suburbia superheroes suspense television the resistance the weekly challenge thirsty meeples thriller tin soldier torg toys trailers travel type 26 type 31 type 45 vietnam war war wargaming weather wives and sweethearts writing about writing x-wing young adult
Special All book reviews, All film reviews
Produced by aikakirja v0.1