Jerry Mitchell is on exercises off the coast of Pakistan when his submarine is ordered to a rendezvous off the Iranian coast. Once there, disembarked SEALs, experts in seaborne commando operations, are to extract two Iranian nationals who have sensitive information on Iran’s nuclear weapons program. But while en route, the ASDS minisub suffers a battery fire, killing one crew member and forcing the rest of the occupants, four SEALs and LCDR Mitchell, to scuttle their disabled craft and swim for shore. There they find the two Iranians waiting for them, but their attempts at returning to Michigan are thwarted by heavy Iranian patrol boat activity. When agents of Iran’s secret police, VEVAK, appear, escape seems all but possible. As each attempt falls apart, time and options are quickly running out… and when they find themselves surrounded by Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corp troops, they create a bold plan to escape by sea. It’s a desperate gamble, but it’s the only way to get the proof of the Iranian plot to the US… and prevent a devastating new war.
Following the events Jerry Mitchell encountered in , the pilot-turned-submarine officer is now a department head, the navigator, aboard USS . Now on a mission deep in the Barents Sea, north of Russia, explores the sea floor, part of a sophisticated reconnaissance plan that will watch the Russian navy as it trains for battle. Although well outside Russia’s territorial waters, is ambushed by Russia’s newest submarine, . Although it doesn’t fire any weapons, its aggressive new captain, Alexi Petrov, harasses the intruder with dangerously fast, insanely close passes by the American boat.
The two subs collide, with the Russian boat crippled and trapped on the bottom. Only knows where she is, and the rest of the Russian fleet is too angry to listen. Mitchell and his shipmates have to keep their own damaged boat afloat, figure out a way to make the Russians listen, and keep the trapped Russian submariners alive until they can be saved — if that is even possible.
The USS , a dilapidated submarine that that should have been mothballed decades ago, has been given one last mission by the newly elected president. The task: To sneak illegally into Russia’s coastal waters and recon the leaking nuclear fuel containers hidden on the floor of the Arctic Ocean. More than just an environmental nightmare, this radioactive burial ground houses enough nuclear capability to destroy most of America’s major cities.
The ’s commander, Lowell Hardy, had been looking forward to flag rank and pleasant duty upon the sub’s decommissioning. Now he is trapped in an inconceivably dangerous and illegal mission which could easily end his career, if not his life and the lives of his crew. But it’s the crew who feel Hardy’s tension as he tyrannizes everyone on board to ensure they’ll be ready for anything:
Jerry Mitchell: a former naval pilot with political connections, he is a novice submariner, unprepared for his demanding job as a weapons officer. Central to the ’s mission, Mitchell may be its greatest liability… or its ultimate salvation.
Dr. Joanna Patterson: The senior civilian scientist, appointed by and reporting to the president, she is a world-class expert on nuclear fuel contamination—and every bit as demanding as Hardy. Patterson and her partner, Dr. Emily Davis, soon find themselves battling flaring tempers, faulty machinery, lethal radioactivity, and the raging arctic seas.
The submariners: Seething with rage at their Captain Bligh-like commander and the equally domineering Joanna Patterson, they are also at war with Jerry Mitchell, and one another. Like the captain, they feel they deserve better, not this antiquated relic, not this hostile scientist, not this novice weapons officer, and definitely not this disastrously dangerous mission.
Nor is the mission what it seems. Lurking beneath the frigid, black, radioactive waters is a secret far more deadly than anything naval command could imagine—a secret so menacing the Russian Fleet is hell-bent on destroying the and all who sail in her.
While trailing a Chinese nuclear attack sub, Jerry Mitchell, the captain of USS is shocked to see the Chinese boat torpedo a Vietnamese merchant ship.
This blatant act of aggression is the opening gambit in a war that has blindsided the U.S. and quickly embroiled all nations in the western Pacific. These nations, bound together in the newly formed Littoral Alliance, have begun a covert submarine campaign aimed at crippling China’s economy before China can set in motion its own plot to dominate the region.
In a desperate attempt to buy the president enough time to resolve the crisis diplomatically, Mitchell’s submarine squadron is ordered to interfere with attacks by both sides. China and the Littoral Alliance are both determined to win, no matter the cost, and as each side increases the level of violence, they approach a dangerous tipping point. In a race against time, the submarines of Mitchell’s squadron must execute their mission before the world witnesses an economic catastrophe—or worse, a nuclear exchange.