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Armed with stolen U.S. military technology, the Chinese are producing a frightening new breed of weaponry, led by the ICBM submarine Xia III -- a vessel that just might be able to launch a nuclear warhead across the Pacific Ocean and take out an American West Coast city.

National Security Adviser Admiral Arnold Morgan can't let that happen, and he dispatches the most stealthy hunter-killer submarine in the U.S. fleet, the 9,000-ton ultrasecret Seawolf, deep into the dark, forbidden waters of the South China Sea. But then the unthinkable happens: Seawolf, collides with a Chinese destroyer and falls into enemy hands. A team of cunning Navy SEALs -- the biggest Special Forces assault group assembled since Vietnam -- is sent in to free the captive Seawolf, crew and bring them home. The American Eagle confronts the Chinese Dragon with the balance of world power on the line. Failure is not an option...

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Robinson's gripping followup to HMS Unseen pits bellowing National Security Advisor Arnold Morgan against an increasingly brazen People's Republic of China, which has been flexing its military muscle by shooting missiles over Taiwan and threatening a nuclear strike on Los Angeles. In response to this last threat, stalwart Capt. Judd Crocker of the submarine Seawolf is sent on a secret mission to assess the nuclear strike capability of China's new Xia-class sub. When nervous executive officer Linus Clarke inadvertently cripples the Seawolf, the crew is taken prisoner, and the submarine falls into the hands of Chinese Admiral Zhang Yushu, who hides behind diplomacy while using torture and physical abuse to ferret out the Seawolf's secrets. What Zhang doesn't know is that one of the submariners is even more valuable than the sub itselfÄa fact that sends Admiral Morgan into a desperate race against time to destroy the Seawolf before its secrets can be revealed, and to effect a seemingly impossible rescue. As usual, Robinson makes the impossible look easy and ratchets the tension higher and higher, until at last a team of SEALS assaults the prison where the Seawolf's crew is housed. But that's not the end of the story. In the novel's final few pages, several well-planted political hints blossom into a series of plot explosions. Given their potential importance to both the story and the life of Robinson's hero, Arnold Morgan, these developments are jarringly abrupt. While this finale is devastating, it feels rushed compared to the rest of this well-paced naval techno-thriller. (June) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

"No one does it better -- not even Tom Clancy."-- Carlos D'Este, author of "Patton: A Genius for War"Robinson is one of the crown princes of the beach-read thriller. Clear the calendar when you buy "U.S.S. Seawolf!"-- Stephen Coonts

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