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Publisher's Summary

When an experimental nuclear submarine is hijacked in broad daylight, only Admiral Jake Grafton stands between the deadly cargo and its intended target: Washington D.C.

Hundreds of people have gathered to watch the launching of the USS America - our newest and most sophisticated nuclear submarine. Then, the unthinkable happens: armed men emerge from the tugboat that is leading her to sea, board the submarine, and man her controls. Half of the men onboard are slaughtered and half are put out to sea. Before nearby destroyers can react, the sub disappears.

Admiral Jake Grafton is resting at his Delaware beach house when he is asked to find out who has stolen his submarine and why. He learns that a rogue CIA group, originally trained to steal Russian technology during the Cold War, may be behind the operation. And soon it becomes clear that, whatever their purpose, they mean business: within hours a missile launched from the submarine destroys the top floor of the White House, and a second missile fells an airliner carrying 283 passengers. Now the race is on to find out where the submarine is, who is behind the nightmare scenario and - most critically - how to stop it.

Take another thrill ride with Jake Grafton.
©2004 Stephen Coonts (P)2004 Brilliance Audio

Critic Reviews

"Perennial bestseller Coonts never lets up with heart-racing jet/missile combat, suspenseful submarine maneuvers and doomsday scenarios that feel only too real." ( Publishers Weekly)"Coonts's action and the techno-talk are as gripping as ever." ( Kirkus Reviews)"Thrilling roller-coaster action." ( The Philadelphia Inquirer)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall

Trite turnout from seasoned writer

Perhaps this book falls so short because Coonts published it prior to 911. The book treats the electronic devastation of NYC and DC as if they are merely inconveniences, without ever exploring the consequences that we too well learned in September of the published year. Characters are shallow and some of the conversation simplistically inane .. not what I'd expect from a writer who's been around as long as Coonts. I wouldn't go out of my way to find this reader again, either. Overall it was pretty disappointing.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Painfully Poor Prose

I rarely give a book a rating this low in part because I usually rely on others to vet a book before I purchase it. Wrong strategy on this one, however.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story


The plot revolves around a stolen US submarine and a diverted implausible idea, but exciting. The characters include our hero Jake, with some help from Toad and Carmelini. The Russians and some international businessmen are the bad guys. It all unfolds over 14+ hours and keeps the listener on the edge of his seat. Gotta find the next book in the Grafton series.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Bob
  • Fuquay-Varina, NC, United States
  • 12-13-11

Not His Best

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

The characterizations and mechanics of operating the submarine were generally really good. The book was worth listening to.

If you’ve listened to books by Stephen Coonts before, how does this one compare?

This was not one of his best. He generally excels at describing people in difficult and ambiguous situations. His details related to military equipment are spot on. Where this one falls short is in the

What three words best describe John Kenneth’s voice?

Great European Characterizations

  • Overall
  • Scott
  • Freeman, SD, United States
  • 06-13-10

Bad narration

slow starting and the narrator makes listening to this a real chore

  • Overall
  • Pete
  • Prattville, AL, USA
  • 05-31-10


Great book...super interesting. I'm a Stephen Coonts won't be disappointed.