SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE!
"...the plot unfolds like a summer blockbuster...Wallace and Keith take their time immersing readers in a not-so-distant future balanced precariously between the Cold War and World War III."
-- Publishers Weekly
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A rogue Russian admiral has begun a plot to bring the planet to the brink of World War III, all so he can reunite the Soviet Union. Now, it is up to a U.S. Navy submarine, its untested captain, and a Navy SEAL team to rescue the president, avenge the deaths of American sub sailors and avert the conflagration. Former submarine skipper George Wallace and prolific submarine historical author Don Keith spin this tense tale. This sequel to the pair's national bestseller FINAL BEARING will soon be a major motion picture, now in pre-production under the working title HUNTER KILLER.
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EXCERPT FROM FIRING POINT
(Copyright 2012 by George Wallace and Don Keith)
Master Chief Tommy Zillich was listening to the towed array sonar hydrophones, well aware that there could be a stalker out there somewhere in those dark, icy waters. His mouth still dropped open when he heard the launch transients from Volk.
There was no mistaking the sound. Torpedoes inbound!
He grabbed the 7MC microphone and yelled the words all submariners fear.
“Launch transients! Torpedoes in the water! In the baffles. Best bearing zero-nine-zero and they’re close!”
Without hesitation, Perez yelled, “Ahead flank! Launch the evasion devices! Right full rudder! Steady course south.”
Toledo leaped ahead as the throttle man poured steam into the boat’s big turbines. Fifteen knots. Twenty. Twenty-five. The sub’s speed climbed. But it was no race because of the velocity of the Russian torpedoes. There was one hope, to get outside the acquisition cone on the two incoming fish so they would lose the scent.
The deck rolled violently as the sub banked through the high-speed turn. Maybe, just maybe, the evasion devices would confuse the torpedoes long enough to allow them to escape.
Captain Joe Glass ran out of his stateroom into the control room. He took in what was happening and realized at once how close they were to death. “Make your depth a thousand feet, forty-down angle! Keep me just off the bottom! Snapshot tube one on the bearing of the incoming weapon!”
He grabbed the metal stanchion by the periscope stand and held on. This was going to be close.
Or maybe not. Maybe they were dead already.
They had to get out of the acquisition cones somehow. Or else they would be little more than another skeleton on the floor, lying dead right next to Miami.
The deck slanted down steeply as Toledo clawed for the safety of the depths.
“Torpedoes bear zero-nine-zero,” Zillich reported, his voice calm and workmanlike. “I have them on the sphere now. They’re active.”
“Weapon ready!” Weps yelled.
“Shoot tube one,” Glass ordered, doing his best to match Zillich’s all-business tone.
Thank God they had the torpedo loaded, the door already open.
He watched the weapons officer throw the brass handle to “Standby” and then to the “Fire” position. At least they would get a chance to shoot back. Glass knew that it would do little more than scare the bastard who had ambushed them. He was probably hiding in the noisy ice near the surface and it would be next to impossible for a normal weapon to ferret him out.
Toledo lurched as the torpedo ejection pump forced three-thousand-psi water up around the back end of the ADCAP torpedo and flushed it out of the tube. Sensors in the torpedo detected motion down the tube so that the Otto-fuel engine started as soon as the weapon cleared the enclosure and was outside. Its steering vanes pushed the four-thousand-pound weapon around until it pointed at a course of zero-nine-zero. All the while, the engine accelerated until the torpedo was traveling at better than sixty knots. It was already busy, searching for its target.
This was no ordinary torpedo. The special under-ice algorithms built into its software easily picked out the Volk from the surrounding ice. Still, just as it was programmed to do, the weapon looked away and then back, verifying that what it had found was a real submarine target. Its logic now satisfied, the ADCAP drove at maximum speed toward the target, its arming mechanism activated to sense any large metal object nearby, both by sonar and with an interferometer.
The weapon passed underneath the Russian submarine once, without the arming mechanism being triggered.
Serebnitskiv could hear the pinging of the onrushing ADCAP through the hull, even without the aid of sonar. There was nothing to worry about. It couldn’t find them up here in the midst of all this ice. It would soon fly harmlessly by and eventually explode into the bottom when it ran out of fuel.
The ADCAP circled around and came back again, but shallower this time. The arming mechanism still saw the Volk plainly. It sent an electric pulse to the firing mechanism, which detonated the firing squid. The firing squid set off the six-hundred-fifty-pound PBNX warhead just as the ADCAP was beneath the sub’s operations compartment.
The vicious shock wave tore through the double hull as if it were little more than tissue paper. Most of the superheated gas bubble vented through the rent in the sub’s bottom, incinerating most anything it touched as it ripped and tore through bulkheads.
The crew members on the Volk had less than a millisecond to realize what had happened. Igor Serebnitskiv was thrown violently upward and across the control room. He had no chance to grab anything. He was brutally impaled on a protruding valve stem, high up on the outboard bulkhead.
Admiral Alexander Durov’s nephew died instantly.
Even if the catastrophic explosion had not been enough, the expanding gas bubble it set off lifted the Volk upward like some child’s toy and crushed it against the ice pack above. Smashed and mortally violated, the mangled, lifeless hulk sank to the bottom of the cold, cruel sea.
“Torpedoes passed astern!” Tommy Zillich yelled as he listened to the headset, his hands pressing the earpieces closer to his ears so he could hear everything going on out there. “We may be clear!”
Toledo was still angling sharply downward, toward the bottom, racing to get clear of the Russian weapons. They had all heard the deep rumble of the other submarine as it exploded. Now the control room was silent, everyone listening for the high-pitched scream of the incoming weapons.
That sound, as all the men aboard knew, would signal their immediate death.
A few of them breathed a sigh of relief when they heard Zillich’s report. Glass knew better. They weren’t free yet. Those two torpedoes were still out there, still searching doggedly for them.
The sonar man confirmed his worst fears.
“Torpedoes! Both coming out of the baffles!” Zillich yelled over the 7MC. Now he had lost his calm demeanor. His voice was high and strained. “They’re closing!”
The Russian weapons had crossed astern of them and then turned back, looking once again for Toledo. They were both still relentlessly coming after them.
“COB, get me thirty feet off the bottom!” Glass ordered Sam Wallich. “Do it now!”
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