Friday, August 14, 2009

Unheard, Unseen A Novel

by Daniel Lloyd Little.

IUniverse 2006. $14.95. ISBN 0595415423. Soft Cover. 196 pages.

It is 2009 and North Korea has purchased four outdated submarine launched ballistic missile boosters from a French company tasked with destroying the rockets. Because they are not a weapon in and of themselves, international law governing the sale of strategic weapons cannot prevent the acquisition. Both the US and Canadian governments however, know too well what the unstable North Korean leader intends for the rocket boosters in light of his failure to successfully launch a missile of his own.
When a carefully planned covert mission to intercept the rockets unravels due to mechanical problems with the ultra quiet spy submarine USS Jimmy Carter, a replacement must be found and quickly! The surprising solution comes in the form of a Canadian submarine.
Commander Michael Simpson, nearing the end of his career with the Canadian navy has few doubts concerning his untried boat's capabilities, and he knows that his crew is the best out there. The only answer to his orders is the same one that has echoed throughout the history of one of the world's best-trained navies; 'ready, aye ready'. The author takes the reader on a thrilling adventure as the officers and crew of HMCS Corner Brook undertake a mission fraught with danger.
I have to admit, this is the first work of fiction I've reviewed and hopefully won't sound like too much of a nitpicker. As moderator of the Canadian Navy History group on the Internent, I was very excited to see someone come out with a modern day novel on the Canadian Navy.
Author, Daniel Little of Yarmouth NS is obviously a keen observer of world military affairs on an amateur level. Herein lies the weakness of the book. Terms such as addressing a submarine crewmember as "seaman" or sailors referring to "stairs" instead of the correct nautical term of "ladder" show this to good effect.
It would've benefited both Mr Little and the finished work to have done more research in this matter. Living within a few hours drive from Canada's largest naval base, he could have easily gone and spent time onboard either a submarine of other navy ship. This would have afforded the opportunity to learn correct attitudes and jargon of a ship at sea.
The flow of the book is akin to one of my guilty pleasures (Clive Cussler novels) but could have benefited from a bit of editing to improve tension and orderly flow to the text. However these are minor points and hopefully the author's technique will improve in the future works.
Kudos to Mr Little for having the ambition and drive to write a novel to this historically underserved market. There is enough potential visible to recommend this book as long as one remembers that this is a first effort. I look forward to seeing marked improvement in his second novel which I look forward to reading.

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