Sunday, December 12, 2010

Black Sea Affair by Don Brown

book cover

Black Sea Affair
by Don Brown

ISBN-13: 978-0-310-27214-4
Trade Paperback: 322 pages
Publisher: Zondervan
Released: 2008

Source: Bought through

Book Description from Back Cover (modified):
It starts with a high-stakes theft: weapons-grade plutonium is stolen from Russia. The Russian army is about to attack Chechnya to get it back. But U.S. intelligence discovers that the stolen shipment is actually on a rogue Russian freighter in the Black Sea.

As the U.S. Navy hunts down the rogue Russian freighter, a mishap escalates into an international crisis. It is a heart-stopping race against the clock. With Russian missiles activated and programmed for American cities, the U.S. Navy frantically searches the high seas for a floating hydrogen bomb that could be headed for America or one of her allies.

My Review:
Black Sea Affair is a Christian military thriller. It's the fourth in a series, but the connecting character was a very minor character in this book. I didn't need to read the previous novels to understand this one.

There were a fairly large number of point-of-view characters from all sides of the conflict, yet the author skillfully maintained uncertainty about several closely timed events involving those characters. The suspense was high from the first page to the last. The suspense was created by physical danger to the characters and the knowledge that their decisions, if wrong, could cause the deaths of thousands.

The characters were varied and interesting enough, but they didn't really "come alive" as real humans. Military details were woven into the story, but I wondered about some of them. Still, I'm not an expert. I liked that maps of the areas being talked about were included.

Some of the characters were Christian and their faith helped them through the tough times (mainly as "he prayed for wisdom" style statements) and, in some cases, helped them make decisions. (Note: Overall, the bad guys were immoral, greedy atheists or vengeful Muslims who had lost loved ones. All of the characters were a bit cliche, but this depiction of atheists and Muslims apparently has offended some readers.)

There was no explicit sex. There was a minor amount of "he cussed" style bad language. I'd recommend this suspenseful novel to those who like military thrillers.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt from Chapter One
Aircraft carrier
The Pacific Ocean

The admiral took a long draw from his cigarette as he scanned the horizon. The ships under his command consisted of an aircraft carrier, a heavy cruiser, and two destroyers. The small armada plowed through rolling blue-green seas, due east into the rising sun. Already steaming in battle formation, the ships' crews stood ready to launch their aircraft.

Based on intelligence being fed into their combat-information center on board the flagship, they had not been spotted yet.

Good. They were about to execute the most devastating attack by a naval force in all human history. Thousands in San Diego would die in the initial nuclear fallout. Coming from the sea, this attack would take them all by surprise. A surprise that would never be forgotten.

The commander dropped his binoculars and considered his situation. At the moment, at least, the target was vulnerable and unsuspecting.

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