From my perspective as a submariner who has served on nuclear powered submarines both in the enlisted and officer ranks since 1984, I can say from personal experience that Joe Buff gets it. He understands the unique culture and values of the Submarine Force and the nuances of what it means to be a submariner: the way we think, the meticulous way in which we approach operations, training, and drills, and the way we live and work on a submarine. Throughout his writing, he expertly transplants this unique culture completely intact into the submariners and submarines of the future. It is this authenticity, something Buff seems to have worked extremely hard at when writing these books, which will help readers connect more closely with each novel’s action, its characters, their challenges, their personal foibles and strategic successes.
SEAS OF CRISIS and the five books which precede it do more than just provide exciting entertainment to the avid reader. Buff underscores the importance and effectiveness of today’s U.S. Submarine Force in any possible global conflict, and highlights the technical excellence, outstanding training, bravery and teamwork of the crews that man these tremendous ships. (This approach is entirely consistent and complementary with the tone of Buff’s prolific non-fiction undersea warfare analysis and commentary.)
SEAS OF CRISIS is Buff’s finest installment of the Jeffrey Fuller -USS CHALLENGER-undersea action thriller series. In this book, it is now 2012, and the next world war between the Allies and the hypothetical Berlin-Boer Axis continues to rage across the continents and under the sea. Buffs main character, Jeffrey Fuller, an ex-Navy SEAL turned submariner and former CO of CHALLENGER, the United States’ most advanced ceramic hulled submarine, has just been promoted to Captain and put in command of an undersea strike group comprised of Buffs fictionalized CHALLENGER and the very real USS JIMMY CARTER. Their mission: to penetrate deep into pseudo-neutral but really pro-Axis Russian home waters to deliver a team of commandos who must overcome staggering odds in order to launch a nuclear ballistic missile – against the United States. If successful, the Allies will be able to destroy the missile well before it reaches the U.S. homeland, frame Berlin for the rogue launch, and use what could have been the start of almost certain Armageddon to pressure Russia into an alliance with America and the UK against the Germanled Axis.
In SEAS OF CRISIS, Buff spins an extremely complex and exciting yam that will keep you turning the pages long into the night. From the tension filled control room onboard USS CHALLENGER as she sneaks through a high-tech Russian antisubmarine warfare barrier, to far inland, where dedicated U.S. Commandos make the ultimate sacrifice to infiltrate a Russian silo complex to launch an ICBM, Buff keeps the story moving forward at a blistering pace with a level of excitement that will keep you awake tossing and turning in bed long after you have turned out the light. Even more compel-ling than the story line is the way in which Buff seamlessly and believably weaves future undersea warfare technology into what is probably the most sophisticated techno-thriller plot this reviewer has enjoyed to date.
SEAS OF CRISIS, winner of the 2006 Admiral Nimitz Award for Outstanding Naval Fiction from the Military Writers Society of America, is just the tip of an iceberg comprised of five other extremely riveting novels from the series, and represents the pinnacle of a seven year journey for the author and his main character Jeffrey Fuller. Although any one of the novels in the series can be read and fully enjoyed individually, it is valuable to go back in time and look at Buff’s work in total, as he develops Jeffrey Fuller from executive officer of a fast attack sub to battle-hardened, highly-effective Navy Captain and Commodore of an extremely lethal undersea strike group .
It is July 2000, and Bantam Books has just published DEEP SOUND CHANNEL, the latest in submarine techno-thrillers by a new and brilliant novelist named Joe Buff. Buffis an MIT graduate, mathematician, and former financial risk analyst. He raised the techno-thriller bar with his first effort, and it immediately established him as one of the day’s preeminent submarine warfare novelists. Although the horrific events of9-l 1 were still over a year away when DEEP SOUND CHANNEL was published, Buff prophetically took us into a future where a different enemy delivers a surprise punch to the United States, and as a result, civilization teeters on the brink of World War III. DEEP SOUND CHANNEL serves as a reminder to us all of the uncertainty of continued global peace and security, and highlights just one of many possible scenarios that could lead us into almost inevitable major worldwide armed conflict. It is implicit in Buffs storytelling, and made very clear by the Note From the Author at the start of his subsequent novels, that this was precisely Buffs intention from the outset.
Buff uses DEEP SOUND CHANNEL to set the stage and provide a context for all of the books in the series. In this first one, the year is 2011, and the war between the Allies and the Berlin-Boer Axis has just started. A reactionary coup has seized control in South Africa and restored Apartheid. In response to a United Nations trade embargo, the Boer regime begins sinking unarmed U .S. and British merchant ships. NA TO quickly responds, with only Germany holding back-until another coup in Berlin restores Kaiser Wilhelm’s closest heir to power, and Germany nukes Warsaw, then soon after overwhelms France. The pair of coups, it turns out, had been a coordinated trap, led by a secret conspiracy of oligarchs in the military-industrial-financial complexes of the two Axis powers.
Buff doesn’t pull any punches in DEEP SOUND CHANNEL. Intense action starts on page one, chapter one, where tactical nuclear weapons have already been exchanged between the Allies and Axis during a devastating nuclear war at sea, in which the Axis is guilty of brazen, unprovoked first use. As in all of the novels in the series, Buff descends comfortably and deeply into his undersea element, armed with a welt-researched, welt-written technical and geopolitical narrative, which he unfolds masterfully via a character-driven story line that throbs with authenticity and excitement. From submarine-on-submarine tactical nuclear tipped torpedo-firing melees that would frighten the most hardened submariners, to harrowing SEAL team operations deep in South African territory, DEEP SOUND CHANNEL ‘s roller coaster ride doesn’t end until the very last page.
In this reviewer’s opinion, Buffs writing eclipses the likes of Patrick Robinson and Tom Clancy, and the entire series delivers something more intense to readers who want much more than just page after page of gadgetry detail. Buffs main character, Jeffrey Fuller, and his key adversaries, are skillfully drawn, convincingly three dimensional and often noble warriors. Buffs novels are replete with technology that highlights many of the actual future capabilities which the Submarine Force is developing today to deliver to the fleet of tomorrow. He uses this technology so believably that in many ways, it becomes a major character unto itself, and a crucial element of all the novels in the series. Buffs crisp comprehension of sonar science, of global oceanography, meteorology, and geography, and of 20th century world history plus 2111 century maritime theory provides an additional vivid background to the tapestry of his saga. So if you are looking for authentic, well written, fully researched and technically accurate military fiction with non-stop submarine combat and admirable heroes, look no further than the six novels in Joe Buff’s series.
Mr. Allen B. Anderson
CAPT William R. Anderson, USN(Ret)
CAPT L. Anderson Hamilton, USN(Ret)
Mr. Barry D. Ives
EMCM(SS) Jerry D. Jacks, USN(Ret)
Mr. J. William Jones, Jr.
CAPT Alfred M. Koster, N, USN(Ret)
LCDR Frank Martin USN(Ret)
CAPT Edmond L. Newbould, USN(Ret)
CAPT Eric H. Swenson, USN(Ret)
Benefactors for Twenty Years
American Systems Corporation
BWX Technologies, Inc.
EG&G Technical Services, Inc.
General Dynamics Electric Boat
Kollmorgen Corporation, Electro-Optical Division
Lockheed Martin Corporation
Northrop Grumman Corporation -Newport News
Northrop Grumman Corporation -Sperry Marine Division
Planning Systems Inc.
The Boeing Company
Thornton D. & Elizabeth S. Hooper Foundation
Ultra Electronics Ocean Systems Inc.
Benefactors for More Than Ten Years
Alion Science & Technology
American Superconductor Corporation
Applied Mathematics, Inc.
Battelle (Returned in 2006)
Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc. (Returned in 2006)
Curtiss-Wright Flow Control Corporation
Custom Hydraulic & Machine, Inc.
Dynamics Research Corporation
General Dynamics -AIS – Maritime Digital Systems
Hamilton Sundstrand Space, Land & Sea
L-3 Communications Marine Systems
L-3 Communications Ocean Systems
Marine Mechanical Corporation
Materials Systems Inc.
Northrop Grumman Corporation – Marine Systems
Northrop Grumman Corporation -Oceanic & Naval Systems
Rolls Royce Naval Marine Inc.
Sargent Controls & Aerospace
Systems Planning and Analysis, Inc.
Vehicle Control Technologies, Inc
Benefactors for More Tlra11 Five Years
Burke Consortium, Inc.
Business Resources, Inc
DRS Power Systems
Goodrich Corporation, EPP Division
L-3 Communications Corporation
McAleese & Associates, P. C.
Oil Sales Industries of Aerospace Products Division
Pacific Fleet Submarine Memorial Association, Inc.
Progeny Systems Corporation
SSS Clutch Company, Inc.
SUPERBOL T, Inc.
Applied Physical Sciences Corporation
Burdeshaw Associates, Ltd.
Cunico Corporation (New in 2007)
Drexel International Inc. (New in 2006)
Energy Solution, Inc.
IBM Global Business Services, Sector (New in 2006)
L-3 Communications MariPro, Inc.
Nekton Research, LLC
Nuclear Fuel Services, Inc.
Oceaneering international, Inc. (New in 2007)
Ocean Works International, Inc.
Patriots Landing (New in 2006)
Pinkerton Government Services
Prime Technology, LLC
TSM Corporation (New in 2007)
Whitney, Bradley & Brown, Inc.
WSI -Internet Marketing (New in 2007)