Lieutenant Anthony Pacino reports aboard the “project boat” USS Vermont two years after having survived the catastrophic sinking of the Piranha. Pacino quickly learns that Vermont’s missions are all ultra-secret with the boat reporting only to the Sub Force commander, the National Security Advisor and the President: Vermont does the dirty deeds that need doing in deadly silence and obscurity.
After Vermont misses the mark on an easy mission, there are questions asked about her ability to conduct the next mission, one that is vital to the security of the United States and the future of the submarine force. Vermont is tasked with stealing a revolutionary submarine that the Russians are testing with an Iranian crew because it’s too risky to use Russian sailors. It’s a high-stakes gamble for all involved, with the losers vanishing if things go wrong, the winners validating a world-changing technology.
Pacino is part of the mission to steal the submarine, but the toughest obstacle is a wolf-pack of Russians coming to the defense of the Iranian submarine. Getting it back to the United States for evaluation becomes secondary to surviving an exchange of missiles and torpedoes in an underwater battle that threatens to let the final genie out of the bottle.
“DiMercurio has used the last decade to refine his writing and produce the best naval thriller in decades. I couldn’t put it down.” Joseph Courtemanche, author of Assault on Saint Agnes.
Lt. (j.g.) Anthony Pacino, the son of DiMercurio's series hero Adm. Michael A. Pacino, last seen in 2002's Terminal Run, stars in this meticulously detailed and yet relentlessly propulsive naval thriller. Anthony reports to the new Virginia-class submarine USS Vermont, a "project boat" whose missions are so secret only the crew, the National Security Council, and the U.S. president know about them. The Russians have invented a lead-bismuth liquid metal cooled nuclear reactor and installed it in Panther, an old Kilo class submarine. Because the reactor is so dangerous, the Russians have given Panther to the Iranians to test. The Vermont's primary mission is to sneak into the Gulf of Oman, hijack Panther, and sail it back to a U.S. base where it can be tested and disassembled. Anthony proves to be a brave, innovative sailor, and is eventually placed in a leadership position for the mission. The real-life experiences of DiMercurio, a U.S. Naval Academy graduate who served on submarines, are evident on every page. Readers will find themselves swept along on a nonstop tide of authenticity and suspense.