Ice Station Nautilus by Rick Campbell is a fast paced military thriller
involving a cat and mouse game between Russian and American
submarines. Readers will likely make the inevitable comparison
with Tom Clancy’s novel, The Hunt For Red October,
but fear not, this story holds its own.
The plot revolves around a collision between the newest American
and Russian submarines, the USS North Dakota and K-535 Yury
Dolgoruky. The Russian sub is being deployed on its first
patrol while America's newest fast attack submarine, North
Dakota, is assigned to trail it and collect intelligence.
Because of their close proximity the subs collide, stranding
both underneath the polar ice cap. The Americans immediately
set up a rescue mission, sending a new submarine and a SEAL
team to establish an ice camp, Ice Station Nautilus. The Russians
also send men and material, ostensibly to rescue their own
men, but a rogue General orders a Russian Special Forces team
to take over the American base camp and the American sub,
leaving no survivors or traces of their actions.
Through his main character, National Security Advisor Christine
O’Connor, the author is able to give readers a world’s
eye view of the conflict. She is a female version of the famous
character Jack Ryan. Although not a special forces operator
nor “Superwoman,” she is intelligent, determined,
gritty, not afraid to get her hands dirty, will engage in
a battle, and has a get even type of mentality.
Campbell balances well the military jargon and technology.
Since the author is a retired Navy Commander, having served
for twenty years on four nuclear powered submarines, the descriptions
and technology are very believable without being overly detailed.
Readers will get an up close and personal view of what it
is like to be trapped on a submarine.
Furthermore, he stated, “I did my due diligence with
the research. In 2009 I had an opportunity to go to an ice
camp so in writing the story I knew what it looked like and
how it operated. I also flew out to San Diego to view all
the rescue equipment and was able to speak with a rescue crew.”
But even more interesting is how Campbell shows the political
struggles between Russia and the US. Both sides realize that
whoever reaches the sunken subs first will be able to board
the other country’s submarine and get their latest weapon
and tactical systems technology. The USS North Dakota is the
first third flight Virginia class submarine, with lots of
new technology, while the Russian sub, Yuriy Dolgorukiy, is
their latest ballistic missile submarine.
This novel is a riveting read of how conflicts can arise.
It is fast-paced and suspenseful. With four submarines, torpedo
battles, undersea rescues, and SEAL shootouts with Spetznaz,
readers will be on the edge of their seats.
of other titles in this series
Station Nautilus #3