A Book Spy Review: ‘Arctic Gambit’ by Larry Bond

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Arctic GambitBond opens his latest thriller, set in 2021, with a white-knuckle prologue that depicts the final moments of the USS Toledo, which stumbled upon a secret base just outside Russian territorial waters. Ultimately, the American submarine was hit by a torpedo, sinking it and killing everyone onboard. As tragic as the events are, the Toledo crew was able to transmit images of the base back to U.S. officials, prompting Jerry Mitchell, now the commodore of Submarine Development Squadron Five, to send one of his vessels to investigate what, exactly, happened. 

The findings are startling, to say the least. Initially, the big revelation was thought to be the finding of Russia’s hidden base. It turns out, though, that the base itself is only half of the equation.  It’s what the base was built to hide that’s the real headline. 

With plans to invade old Soviet Union territory, Russia has modified one of their existing weapons — the STATUS-6 nuclear-propelled and nuclear-armed torpedo — into a devastating new first-strike weapon known as Drakon, capable of unprecedented stealth and cataclysmic damage. If fired from the underwater base that the USS Toledo inadvertently discovered, the Drakon weapon would give Russia the ability to launch a nuclear war against the United States by throwing the first knockout-style punch, one that the U.S. may never fully recover from. 

American President Lowell Hardy answers by tasking the Jimmy Carter, commanded by Jerry Mitchell and Louis Weiss, to destroy the base at all costs — and Bond takes readers onboard the reconnaissance submarine alongside the courageous crew members, detailing each and every moment leading to a gripping final act that features a high-flying showdown that is not to be missed. 

Over the past few years, several authors have shown to be adept at creating entertaining, high-stakes naval thrillers. David Poyer and Rick Campbell, especially, have breathed new life into the genre, but as far as who sits on top, Larry Bond just reminded everyone why he’s one of the greatest authors this genre has ever known. Once again, Bond is able to take readers beneath the water, presenting a pulse-pounding plot, which he balances with a plethora of colorful, well-developed, and relatable characters that in turn make the reader care more about the story’s outcome. 

Bond’s latest novel features a fast-moving plot that hits with the force of a torpedo, knocking readers back into their reading chairs while daring them to put the book down. Trust me, you won’t be able to. . . This is vintage Larry Bond, and Arctic Gambit is the must-read naval thriller of the year. 

Book Details

Author: Larry Bond
Series: Jerry Mitchell #6
Pages: 336 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 0765334925
Publisher: Forge Books
Release Date: May 29, 2018
Book Spy Rating: 8.0/10

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Praised as “one of today’s finest book reviewers” by New York Times bestselling author Gayle Lynds, Ryan Steck (“The Godfather of the thriller genre” — Ben Coes) has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). He currently lives in Southwest Michigan with his wife and their six children.

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