Book Review – War Ship by Charles D. Taylor
Well it certainly had a plot – the most powerful vessel in the UN Navy, the Aegis-class destroyer, USS Gettysburg, is ‘hijacked’ by the Vietnamese Navy and interred in Russia’s Pacific Fleet Base. Unlikely? Probably, but nevertheless a gripping novel of the Cold War era.
When a failed attempt by Russian ‘moles’ onboard are caught stealing the secrets of Aegis (a defense computer/system, which is real) a gun fight breaks out off the coast of Vietnam and the shipped is forced into enemy hands, which surprisingly has the Russians concerned, especially as a plane circles off the coast with a nuclear-armed missile to wipe out the base, ship, and it’s crew should the system be compromised.
But one last-ditch effort is allowed by the SEALs led by a guy who is the best, as the book’s characters would have you believe.
The book is a great read, and will be entertaining without needing an intimate knowledge of Cold War history nor naval terminology, although the more you are aware the more flowing the reading comes. And as ex-navy, I loved the whole cloak-and-dagger stuff of the Cold War, and the portrayed coldness of Russians.
But as is so often the case, the book failed in allowing a love story to take place. Why? It had no relevance and just dragged out a painstaking ritual of American authors to have some moral/romantic aspect thrown in…can’t make sense of it.
This aside, I would recommend the book as a bedside table read and while the ending seemed to be played out in double-quick time and leaving you somewhat anti-climatic (was the author required to finish within a number of pages?) it would be one of the better novels I have read on the era/subject, let’s just hope it isn’t turned into a movie with Steven Seagal starring in it (ala Under Siege).