USS Memphis is out of date technology, a war-weary rust bucket submarine that has served its country and is now scheduled to be de-commissioned. But the President, in a bid to collect political points at an upcoming conference with the Soviets, has ordered the Memphis to complete one last covert mission - to sneak into Russian territorial waters, to document an environmental nightmare and to bring home evidence of leaking fuel containers dumped on the floor of the Arctic Ocean by the Russians during the height of the cold war.
Commander Lowell Hardy, a CO whose unpleasant and impossible to please leadership style is rivaled only by Captains Queeg and Bligh, is saddled with a novice weapons officer. This is the very first assignment for Lt Jerry Mitchell, a former naval aviator who made a mid-career switch to submarines after his Hornet fighter crashed with the resulting injuries sidelining him forever from flight status. And to make matters worse, the president has ignored all naval submarine tradition and appointed two civilian scientists, female no less, to lead the mission from on board the submarine.
As if lurking around Russian territorial waters looking to score points and politically embarrass the Soviet government wasn't bad enough ... the mission discovers a secret far more deadly than it ever bargained for and provokes an armed naval response that is much, much more than the aging Memphis is capable of facing. The Russian fleet is determined to sink the Memphis and wipe out all evidence that she was ever there in the first place.
DANGEROUS GROUND is a first rate techno-thriller that will have you turning pages just as quickly as you can manage. But as Larry Bond pointed out in the author's note preceding the novel, a techno-thriller ought to be much more than a compilation of technical data which anyone can find with proper research. In the case of DANGEROUS GROUND, Bond has done a superb job, not only with individual characterization, but also with a compelling description of submariner culture - their attitudes, their loyalties, their black sense of humour, their fears and their bravery.
A thoroughly enjoyable plot driven thriller supported by a wealth of technical and, of equal importance, cultural and character details. Well done, Mr Bond!