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Hunters in the Sea
By Robin White

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Hunters in the Sea
By Robin White
Magna Large Print Books, 2007
ISBN: 978-07505-2725-5
Genre: Suspense Thriller

Reviewed by Auggie Moore - December 31, 2007

In this spectacular sequel to Typhoon, Robin White has once again crafted an unforgettable submarine thriller. In Hunters in the Sea the submarine USS Portland, an American nuclear attack boat and its crew, once again sail into the face of danger - and this time the fate of the world is at stake.

The Soviet Union has disintegrated and at an isolated weapons lab, Dr. Aslan Makayev is tired of using his bioweapons lab to make vodka, just to make ends meet. So he arranges to sell several vials of Hunter, a genetically engineered form of smallpox that is designed to be drug resistant, to the Saudis. To help him sneak the deadly agent out of Russia, the Saudis send a money-grubbing middle man, his two Chechen bodyguards, and a ship full of potential terrorists to help get Makayev and Hunter to Saudi Arabia.

When evidence of Makayev's theft is detected, the USS Portland, under the command of Commander William Steadman, is tasked with tracking down the ship that Makayev is suppose to be sailing upon, and help a SEAL team retrieve Hunter and destroy the ship. Unbeknownst to the Portland, the Gepard, a Russian Akula class nuclear submarine under the command of Captain Rem Reonov has also been tasked with the job of destroying Makayev, Hunter, and the ship they sail upon. This begins a cunningly crafted, three-way game of cat and mouse between the Portland, the Gepard, and Makayev's ship.

What begins as a relatively straight froward search and destroy mission, soon takes a deadly turn. Reonov comes to suspect that the Americans are in league with Makayev, and that to destroy all evidence of Hunter, the American sub might have to be destroyed as well. For Steadman's part, not only does he have to deal with a Russian sub that is the most stealthy one he's ever come across, but he also has to deal with dissension among his own crew. Aboard the Portland is Lieutenant Rose Scavullo, the first woman to ever sail on an American submarine. Technically more a passenger than a crew member, Scavullo, a Russian linguist, has been brought aboard to monitor Russian communications. However, the crew feels that she is a jinx, and that the numerous difficulties that befall the Portland are all being caused simply due to her presence - and there is a move afoot to get her off the boat - dead or alive. To complicate matters even farther, Steadman is at odds with the leader of the SEAL team, who is working under exceptional Presidential orders that makes it unclear who exactly is in command of the Portland, Steadman or the SEAL commander. If all that was not enough, a huge storm is brewing above their heads, which could adversely affect their mission.

Hunters in the Sea is a wonderfully complex and dramatic thriller. The fate of the world rests in the hands of two men, Commander Steadman and Captain Reonov. Both are striving for the same goal, but their ignorance of each others orders may well bring them into conflict. Even worse, if one of them does not succeed in destroying Hunter before it is released, a cataclysmic biodisaster will engulf the world. From start to finish this is a pulse pounding, page-turning book that paints an accurate picture of submarine warfare and the life of submariners aboard their ships, and in that regard it is very reminiscent of Tom Clancy's Hunt for Red October. From beginning to end, I found this book to be mesmerizing, and it was one of the best thrillers that I've read this year. I highly recommend Hunters in the Sea.

Please note: Although Hunters in the Sea is the sequel to Typhoon, you do not have to read these books in order, as each is a self-contained story. In addition, to the best of my knowledge, Typhoon has never been published in a large print format - hopefully that will change soon!

Hunters in the Sea can be purchased directly from Ulverscroft, the parent company of Magna Large Print Books.

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