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Book reviews for "Poyer,_David" sorted by average review score:

The Return of Philo T. McGiffin
Published in Hardcover by St. Martin's Press (1983)
Author: David Poyer
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Philo McGiffin-A great book!
For those of us who will never attend a service academy, books such as "Return of Philo McGiffin" give us a glimpse of what it takes to get through these tough institutions. They are colleges in one sense but as a character in the book says "this is your first duty assignment in the Navy!" For anyone thinking about Annapolis or who has a friend or relation who will attend, this book is a must read. My grandfather went to West Point and spent almost 40 years in the Army - now I have an idea of how he got there. Philo McGiffin is great book for anyone who is a fan of our Naval Academy but wants no illusions of how hard it is there.
My hats off to all Annapolis Alumni!

A wonderful story
I can only add to the plaudits below. I didn't go to Navy, but my father and brother did. I've always wondered if plebe year was as wierd and hard and fascinating as they said it was -- now I know the answer. But beyond the wonderful introduction to USNA life, this is a terrific story -- great, complex characters, inspiration as well as sardonic humor, and a terrific twist at the end. Anyone who is interested in military life will enjoy this book. I'm about to buy several copies to send to friends.

Wonderful Entertainment!
From all indications, the Naval Academy is not a place for humor but with this book, David Poyer has shown that humour can thrive in a military environment even though it really doesn't have a place. The characters were well developed and the ending had a surprising twist. A wonderful read for anyone interested in the military way of life

Bahamas Blue
Published in Mass Market Paperback by St Martins Mass Market Paper (1992)
Author: David Poyer
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Excellent Reading
This book is a great book for kid's age 14 and up. I say this because I dispise reading, and this book just made me stop everything and start reading. For anybody who can't sit and read a book this one work's. Gauranteed to get your attention! I am a 18 year old male!

Non-Stop Adventure, Scuba Diving, and Beautiful Bahamas!
Just got finished with this book(5/99). It's was great. It's was spell binding until the last page! Descriptions of the islands, under water, boats, people, and the action made you feel you were right there. Excellent book! Personally, I'm going to buy his other "Blue" books...

Like the Sea and boats? You'll like this book!
Don't let the fact that this book is not brand new or not expensive put you off! The characters are great and the price is a bargain! This is a book for techno-types who like the sea and boats. The main character is NOT a superhero and not a real loser either. Gee.. a real person. Good techno fiction.. action, diving, technology.. good stuff. -- Frank Derfle

Thunder on the Mountain
Published in Mass Market Paperback by Forge (2000)
Author: David Poyer
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A realistic, dramatic book
I think an author has done his job when I want to enter the pages of his novel and talk to his characters. That's a testament to the complexity and realism of the personas you meet in this book, and to the vividness and high stakes of the struggles they face. Aside from that, no writer I know has a keener eye than Mr. Poyer for details that create verisimilitude. I was not alive in 1936, I have never been to Pennsylvania, never been to an oil field or oil refinery, and never participated in a hard-fought wildcat strike. But after reading this book I felt like I had been there.

A highly significant novel about a significant time.
Poyer has written his best novel to date, and I've read almost all of the twenty published. Set in the Northwestern Pennsylvania oil fields during the great labor conflicts of the Thirties, it details the struggles of the working man as well as the dilemmas facing management during the development of organized labor. The characters are finely drawn and the action and the suspense continues throughout the novel. I knew labor leaders from that era and lived through that period. The mood of this novel is absoluetly authentic. The character of Doris Golden stepped right out of that movement. Red Halvorsen, the hero, is a young Tom Joad who gradually understands corporate coruption and class struggle, and has to choose sides. Both male and female characters are gritty, believable, and alive. An excellent read for all ages, will take you far into the night before you can put it down. Daily life in the Thirties comes alive here. Not simply history, not stuffed with technical material or trivia at the expense of character, but loaded with interpersonal struggles, a fast-moving plot, and even a touch of romance. A first-class novel.

As the Wolf Loves Winter
Published in Hardcover by Forge (1996)
Author: David Poyer
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As the Wolf Loves Winter
I found this to be an enjoyable, well-written thriller with unusually strong characterization. Poyer achieves an unusual feat, creating a junior high age girl character who's only annoying some of the time.

As people die mysteriously in the wintry Pennsylvania hills, a mining corporation faces a hostile takeover, and some begin to blame the killings on recently introduced wolves.

The corporate parts of the story are frankly rather boring until you reach the culmination, the reason for them. Poyer must have dealt with corporate vampire types before. The takeover and proposed restructuring ring true.

Believability isn't necessarily this novel's strong point. The twist, the criminal behavior of a character, comes with no foreshadowing whatsoever. Secret mines where trespassers are savaged by attack dogs? Wolves saving children from frozen lakes? (The wolves are described well and mostly accurately, but that bit lost me). Nevertheless, I enjoyed the book. The descriptions of the winter mountains are especially strong. I recommend it.

A great read for a cold winter weekend!
Wow. I just finished reading this book during a subzero Midwestern winter, and I believe that was the best time to read it. The cold leaps off the pages and gets into your bones, just like it does to the characters in the book. You're reading along very nicely, understanding the plot and the players in it, when WHAM! A startling announcement at a community meeting throws you a curve. An old man and a little girl are lost in the woods. And suddenly you're on a literary roller coaster, flying toward the conclusion of the novel, unable to do anything but finish the darn book. It's great! Now I have to go read the other two episodes in the series.

Third in the series of Hemlock County novels by David Poyer.
"Racks" Halvorsen, the old man of the woods in Hemlock County returns to take on corruption in the remnants of the oil business in the home area of the origins of oil production. Masterful writing by a great story teller with a true gift in use of the English language. If you like well developed characters, Pennsylvania, the oil industry, ecology, and a fast paced read; you can not go wrong with this book. If you haven't read the two previous novels in this series, reading this one will send you scrambling to find them. They are entitled: "Winter in the Heart" and "The Dead of Winter". You will find yourself in "Racks" Halvorsen's shoes and almost feel the frostbite.

The Circle
Published in Mass Market Paperback by St Martins Mass Market Paper (1993)
Author: David Poyer
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Authentic, character driven
I'm not an ex-Navy man, so the constant Navy jargon left me sometimes only vaguely understanding what was going on. Nevertheless, I had the sense that this was what I would really experience if I were hidden, watching action from the back of the bridge of a Navy destroyer, and I valued that authenticity. But the setting was only a pallate for what was the deeper part of the book: men striving with tremendous stress and moral dilemmas. How do they cope, what do they think and do? Mr. Poyer is a keen explicator of human nature. After reading this novel, you'll feel as you had been there and struggled as the characters struggled.

Hooked Me
Picked up this book as a paperback in an airport bookstore to read during the endless waiting one has to endure when flying. Reading it hooked me as I became fasinated with Dan Lenson. I have since read all of Poyer's books about Lenson and like them all (I am currently reading his latest about pirates in the South China Sea.

Lenson is not a typical hero - which is what I really like about his character. He does remain bound by honor and trying "to do the right thing". He is a character anyone can identify with; not a superhero like the James Bond's of the fictional world.

I read with interest the comments by former Navy types; I am glad Poyer got the details right.

Finally! A Destroyer Sailor's story of the "Tin Can" Navy.
I was stationed on two FRAM-II Destroyers. I am a "Blue Nose", a "Shellback", and earned a Combat Action Ribbon while a crewmember on the USS Ozbourn (DD-846) off the coast of Vietnam. I am tired of all these glorified ("gun-decked")stories and movies about submarines and aircraft carriers, usually written by retired admirals or authors who were never even in the military never mind the navy. This story tells it like it is. I've often times wondered how young Ensigns dealt with the crap and stayed sane never mind got advanced and survive to make successful Navy careers. I truly enjoyed this book. I'm reading "The Med" now and I have also got "Passage" standing by. Only a "Tin Can Sailor" could have written this book. The terminolgy and slang terms are right on. I can understand how a person who never served in the Navy would have a hard time with this book. Perhaps Poyer should have a glossary in the back of his books to help decipher Navy jargon. I highly recommend this book, especially to former Navy anchor clankers. To Mr Poyer, from one ol' Tin Can Sailor to another, I bid you fair winds and follwing seas.

Black Storm (Poyer, David. Tales of the Modern Navy.)
Published in Hardcover by St. Martin's Press (2002)
Author: David Poyer
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A remarkable book
In "Black Storm," Poyer subverts the conventional elements of military "thrillers." By underplaying, almost underwriting, the firefights, the political "big picture" background, he leaves room for what becomes a harrowing, deeply convincing, account of men, and women, in battle.
I have no military background at all, let alone combat experience. But Poyer's account of this fictional small-unit mission, by a squad of Force Recon U.S. marines with a Navy missle expert and a biological warfare doctor, during the Persian Gulf War rings true on every page. The achievement is all the more remarkable because his previous novels about the U.S. Navy today have usually been focused on naval and naval air themes.
Poyer captures the strange intimacy of a Force Recon unit, whose members may not even be friends, yet they must be willing to die for each other. As the mission progresses, the squad finally enters Bagdad, and the sense of physical and emotional claustrophobia is almost palpable.
The reader can share in the extreme isolation of these combatants, the constant pressure to avoid detection, to avoid battle, the obsessional nature of the mission objective -- to discover if the Iraquis have created launchable missles armed with a deadly smallpox variant, and if so, to destroy them.
By under-writing the traditional action elements, Poyer lets the characters, with all their flaws and doubts and problems, emerge ever more clearly, and surely, as the focus of our attention. Against all odds, the squad moves toward its objective by all means possible. Over and over again, we're aware of how things both great and small hinge on the decision, the choice of single member of the squad.
Often that is the squad leader, Marine Gunnery Sargeant Marcus Gault. In Gault, Poyer has created a remarkable portrait of the nature of small-unit combat leadership: "Black Storm" could almost (again speaking as a civilian) be a primer on the subject. As the team leader, Gault is continually facing and making life and death decisions, each one measured against the merciless standard of the mission's success.
But Poyer doesn't cast Gault, or any of the characters, in traditionally "heroic" terms. In fact, the character of a sociopathic, if not psychotic, British SAS sergeant, with whom the Marines make contact inside Iraq, acts as a mirror of how the same military virtues Gault displays have the potential to become monstrous.
It is the very "ordinariness" of Gault and the others that is so compelling: young men, most of them, with terrifying responsibilities. And yet..."they soldier on."
In the end we, at least we civilians, are left facing the awe-full mystery of men and women willing to sacrifice their lives.

Dan Lenson Is More Real Than Jack Ryan
David Poyer's latest Dan Lenson novel takes us back to the Middle East and places him up against a fantastic nightmare situation. Although the timing is 1991 just before the American ground attack, several of the issues raised are very timely following the shocking events of September 11, 2001. Protagonist Lenson remains human and believable in facing the new challenges, which makes him a more credible hero than Clancy's Ryan, in my opinion. Furthermore, without the burden of Clancy's wordiness, Poyer's attention to detail in the novel's setting, even in the sewers under Baghdad, come across plausibly. And his knowledge of the modern U.S. military is extraordinary. THE CIRCLE remains my favorite Poyer novel in the Lenson series, but BLACK STORM comes close.

I just finished reading David Poyer's latest tour of duty with Lieutenant Commander Dan Lenson. I recommend it highly to anyone who wants to enlist for an "A-Ticket" ride ready for immediate departure.

LTC Lenson's diaspora scrabbles across the rocky deserts of Iraq only to slosh trough the sewers of Bagdad. Poyer's warts-and-all portrait of personal and military ethics brings the combat experience into fine focus.

While BLACK STORM is set in the closing moments before the allied invasion of Iraq it is not a history lesson. BLACK STORM reads the tea leaves of tomorrows headlines. Read this book before some Hollywood hack neuters it for the screen.

The Med
Published in Mass Market Paperback by St Martins Mass Market Paper (1993)
Author: David Poyer
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The US Navy in a realisitic book.
I have to say that this book was good. I have never served onboard a ship, but Mr. Poyer paints a detailed picture of the life. The Med deals with Lt. Lenson, a young officer, and his life that occurs during short period of time. The terrorist plot was all too realistic.
My only complaint is for the excessive use of swear words throughtout the book. ...

Not as good as his later stuff
This is bit different from many of Poyer's other works. The center of the action is the USS Guam (a helicopter assault carrier). This is a different perspective and he carries it off well. Having read his later works first, I can see the impending disaster of Dan Lenson's marriage. The ending is bittersweet. You can see Poyer developing as a writer and his attention to detail is second to none. You know the man has been down in those engine rooms.

This is a good read for naval action buffs.

Back to the shores of Tripoli with Poyer and Lenson
A US amphibious assualt fleet steams the menacing waters of the Eastern mediterranean, it's flag officer all but despised by his subordiantes. Meanwhile, the ships comprising the task force begin breaking down, while the men who run them seem pre-broken-down themselves. When a PLO splinter group uses ethnic unrest on Cyprus to seize a group of Americans as hostages, teh stage is set for disaster. As a further omen of disaster, one of the Task Force's officers is named Dan Lenson, a USN Lieutenant who seems to bring trouble wherever he goes both here and in other books by DC Poyer. While news of the hostage situatiuon, which shifts from Cyprus to an abandoned resort inside Syria, comes soon, that Lenson's wife is one of the hostages is Lenson's wife, remains deliberately suppressed.

Though looking like a techno-thriller, "The Med" as Poyer fans have come to expect, is more of a charachter-driven novel set in a Navy unit. Here, the major players are Lenson, his wife (struggling, confornting, ala Stokholm, her feelings for her captors), Sundstrom, Lenson's unpopular commander (who thinks everybody is setting him up for disaster, and is paralyzed by indecision), Givens, and African-American marine terrorized by his more militant corporal, Wronowicz, the career engineer of a Navy destroyer, and Harisah, the so-called "Majd" who commands the terrorists. As in "The Gulf", these charachters don't always intersect (the UDT divers who remain apart from the focus of Lenson thruought much of that book), but that only clues one into how expansive the subject is. The non-charachter driven parts of the book are refreshingly anti-techno (mostly Wronowicz's epic efforts to change a propellor-shaft bearing while his destroyer is at sea). While a feel for nautical-mechanics of the nuts-and-bolts of amphibious warfare help for an understanding of what's going on, the effects of thsoe efforts in sheer exhaustion are easily visualized. The book climaxes in a seemingly doomed rescue-attempt (though the assault-force has the best chances of getting to the hostages, a rescue attempt seems a more apt job for some special forcers team). The action seems underwhelming, and it's hard to understand what's going on sometimes, though this is probably because Poyer is writing outside of his element. By the end of the book, we know it's not exactly a happy-ending, but things seem way-too pat. Still, the writing and the charachter formations are what drive Poyer books and help them surpass techno-thrillers.

Down to a Sunless Sea: A Tiller Galloway Thriller
Published in Mass Market Paperback by St Martins Mass Market Paper (1998)
Author: David Poyer
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Feeling a Little Out of Breath
This being my first David Poyer novel, I truly did not know what the expect. I picked this book up because I am a fan of Benchley and Alten who both write thrillers about the deep. The first thing I found refreshing was that Poyer did not go to deep in past Tiller Galloway stories. You can pick this book up and not feel that you are missing anything.

The wonderful thing about this book about cave divers, is Poyer's ability to make you feel "closed in" almost out of breath, during the cave diving scenes. I enjoyed most of the characters including Galloway's son, and group of friends.

The ending is somewhat dissapointing. It is exciting, but it gets a little too far fetched at times. I do recommend this book, despite the ending and it's shortcomings.

Tiller Galloway at his best
If your a Tiller Galloway fan this is a must have.If you are a cavern or cave diver even more so. The descriptions Poyer uses in this cave diving thriller are awesome.I've read all the Tiller Galloway novels and I feel this one is the best.As an active diver and a North Carolina native {Tiller's homestate} I highly recommend this book.

Spell binding diving thriller
As a Clive Cussler/ Dirk Pitt fan, I gladly welcome Tiller Galloway to my library. I couldn't put this book down (and donated it to the dive shop in Truk). This is a must read, action thriller. I am not a cave diver, so I can't judge how "hokie" some of it may be. Definitely a fun read!


Fire on the Waters : A Novel of the Civil War at Sea
Published in Hardcover by Simon & Schuster (05 July, 2001)
Author: David Poyer
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A good historical novel
I sometimes think that David Poyer is a well-kept secret of a growing cadre of devotees. In my opinion, his best work so far is Thunder on the Mountain. It is an historical novel of the Depression era, describing a wild-cat strike at an oil refinery in Pennsylvania. This book succeeds brilliantly in the same way: it evokes an era. Mr. Poyer has done his homework, and many threads of the Civil War era are articulated in this book, particularly the confidence of Northerners at the outset of the Civil War that the rebellion of the Southern states would promptly be put down, which was the prevailing opinion at the time, as strange as that may seem to us who know how cataclysmic that struggle turned out to be. I admire Mr. Poyer's novels of the modern Navy. But here he goes beyond his characteristic acumen in developing characters, as his protagonist wrestles with the elemental struggle of liberating himself from dependence on his wealthy father, through the epiphany of horrendous loss of life in warfare. As always, the dialogue sparkles. This is a worthy book, and I share other reviewers' eagerness for the publication of further works in this trilogy.

Great Historical Fiction
Fire on the Waters is the first novel in a projected series of books set during the Civil War. The action of the entire book takes place during the month of April 1861, but there's no lack of conflict and danger. The fictional U.S. sloop-of-war OWANEE begins and ends the novel at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, but in between she attempts to bring relief supplies to Fort Sumter, hunts a Confederate battery on the Potomac, and plays a critical role in the destruction of the Gosport Navy Yard.

The novel focuses on Elisha Eaker, a tubercular young volunteer officer who joins the Navy to achieve independence from his domineering father, a wealthy New York merchant who is as ruthless with his family as he is with his competitors. Poyer's creation of Eaker as the protagonist is a smart move, because it allows the reader to see OWANEE and her crew through the new officer's inexperienced eyes. We get to learn the working of OWANEE's engine room, for example, as it is explained to Eaker by the ship's chief engineer. It's an effective technique for introducing readers to a time and technology that lies beyond most peoples' experience.

One of the fun things about Fire on the Waters is the parade of historical characters that appear throughout the book. Virtually every important person connected with the U.S. Navy in April 1861 is present, including Gideon Welles, Hiram Paulding, Benjamin Isherwood and Charles Wilkes among others. Some, like Gustavus Fox, play a pivotal role in moving the plot along, while others add important color to a scene or event. The Army is represented, with Eaker's brief encounter with Major Anderson and Captain Doubleday inside beleaguered Fort Sumter, and Horace Greeley and Frederick Douglass even make brief cameos. It's a credit to Poyer's skill at crafting the plot that the regular appearance of these figures doesn't seem like a historical novelist's attempt at name-dropping; rather, they all turn up in a plausible sequence of events and never steal the scene from the main focus of the book, the fictional officers and crew of U.S.S. OWANEE.

Even without the dust jacket's announcement of Fires on the Waters as the first in a series of novels, it's obvious that the book was written with that intent. Two major characters in the book "go South" during the course of the novel, leaving unresolved plot threads that will have to be sorted out later. One or the other of these men, no doubt, will be conning C.S.S. VIRGINIA into Hampton Roads two or three novels hence.

A significant sub-plot in the novel involves Eaker's cousin Araminta Van Velsor, who is betrothed to Eaker and who is also struggling to get out from under the stifling "protection" of Eaker's father. This story is less fully developed than Eaker's, and appears to exist as much for the sake of a change of scenery in the novel as for anything else. Miss Van Velsor is not fully explored as a character. Her rebellion against her uncle's domination is mildy interesting, but it's difficult for her personal struggle to count for much in readers' minds when contrasted against the momentous events her cousin is witnessing. One hopes that she will play a more important role in future volumes of the series.

Poyer's book is a good read, and unlike O'Brian's over-adulated work, it never seeks to impress the reader with the author's command of obscure linguistic or culinary trivia. There's not a pretentious word in this book. If you want a good sea story on a subject that has been almost entirely overlooked by

Fire on the Waters
This story of the Civil War at sea is, I believe and hope, the first in a series. It covers the start of the war through the ship-burnings at Norfolk. I really would give it a "four and a half"; it would get a five if not for the sections involving Araminta, which I found much less convincing than the rest.

Poyer is one of the only "military fiction" authors who knows how to string words together. He writes evocatively, even artistically. His descriptions of ships and battles are particularly good. Setting is excellent, with a few anachronistic moments overshadowed by the wonderful description, both technical and sensory, of Civil War-era steam/sail warships.

The characters here are appealingly tormented, particularly Eli, whose affliction with consumption is a very nice touch. Ker Claiborne, who must decide whether or not to join his seceding state, and the ahead-of-his-time young engineer Theo, are appealing as well. Less believable is Eli's ex-fiancee Araminta, who seems a little anachronistic in her independence and is certainly a bit annoying, though probably "period", in her do-gooder tendencies. I did find some of the dialogue, especially "dialect" dialogue, to sound a bit too British.

The plot is very exciting, with huge amounts of action. Occasionally the part of the plot dealing with family relationships gets a little melodramatic, not to say purple.

I think this is an absolutely wonderful book which not only helps to fill a gap in Civil War literature but which, because of its good writing, will appeal to readers not normally interested in the period.

China Sea
Published in Mass Market Paperback by St Martins Mass Market Paper (2001)
Author: David Poyer
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David Poyer's China Sea
I have read all the Dirk Pitt Clive Clussler action series. China Sea is the first David Poyer book in the series I have read. I am in the Navy and find the character of Dan Lenson truly full of action. I am now on a mission to read all of the books with that Hero in it. The action Mr. Poyer puts down in print really holds my attention. It was hard to put China Sea down after I started reading it. It was true to life but still had plenty of gripping original action fiction. I loved it!

Poyer and LCDR Dan Lenson Are Back In Top Form!
This is a great READ! After a middling disappointment with Poyer's last novel, TOMAHAWK, I had the opportunity to write to him and explain why I had trouble with the premise behind the plot in that book. He had dropped me a note and told me he was sorry I didn't like it and hoped I would like CHINA SEA better. Well, I'm here to say that I did and I WILL NOT HESITATE TO SAY SO!

In CHINA SEA, both David Poyer as author and LCDR Dan Lenson are back in top form. The time is 1990 and Dan Lenson is ordered to Philadelphia Naval Shipyard to relieve the CO of a Knox Class frigate, the USS GADDIS. The current skipper is an alcoholic and almost out of control and the ship is scheduled for decommissioning and transfer to the Pakistani Navy. Early in the book, Poyer describes in detail the problems of the handover and the lack of skill of the Pakistani captain. In one particular incident, he describes a small lube oil fire that sends the Pakistani engine room crew for the lifeboats. Their officers are not far behind. A small skeleton crew of Americans fights the fire, puts it out and waits for the return of the ship's new owners. Reading Poyer's description of the Pakistani captain's shiphandling skills is humorous and painful at the same time. There are several incidents that will make former USN readers cringe when they read them and make the same reader glad that competent seafarers like Lenson are aboard to help.

Approximately 1/4 of the way through this story, Poyer introduces a nice little twist. It coincides with the arrival of the former USN frigate in its new homeport in Pakistan. Lenson and the MTT (military transition team) receive orders that the transfer has been cancelled and the USA is again taking custody of the ship. Lenson receives verbal orders from the naval attache in Islamabad to take possession of the ship and steam for Singapore. There are problems, though. He has too small a crew, no money and no ammunition for the 5 inch gun or the 20 mm and 40mm guns that the Pakistanis had installed. He steams out of port nonetheless. In Singapore he picks up some bottom of the barrel replacements but still not quite a full ships's company. He also gets a naval reserve officer sent to the Far East for his annual training. Also a LCDR, he will prove his worth because of his intelligence background and the fact that while on active duty, he was a comptent surface warfare officer.

There is another stroke of genius in Poyer's writing that adds a complication to the novel's plot and Dan Lenson's life as the CO of "GADDIS." There is a serial killer aboard. It seems that everywhere the ship goes, it leaves horribly mangled dead women behind it. How Lenson solves this mystery adds immeasureably to the overall success of the entire book and I think readers will ponder long after they've finished Lenson's final resolution when the murderer is identified.

Along the way, GADDIS becomes part of a multi-national task force designed to ferret out and destroy pirates in the oceans between Singapore and the Chinese island of Hainan. The TNTF for "tiny nations task force" is composed of elements of the Singaporean, Indonesian, Malaysian and Phillipine Navies. Each nation contributes a ship and some are more capable than others. Poyer does an outstanding job of describing the difficulties of managing such an ad hoc force, especially one that is hampered by dissimilar capabilities, equipment and communications. While the GADDIS packs most of the combat punch of this force, Lenson must constantly keep an eye on his fuel gauges and remember that he is seriously lacking in ammunition for his main battery.

Poyer doesn't miss a trick and reminds the reader that the sea is a dangerous and unforgiving place. He also introduces typoons into the equation. The reader knows with this book that being the commanding officer of a naval ship sent in harm's way is much more demanding a job than anyone can ever begin to imagine. Poyer's description of Lenson's thought processes and the pressures he must deal with are masterful. This book becomes and remains a page turner from the time that Lenson reassumes command of the ship in Pakistan.

As Lenson and GADDIS deal with their various "minor" problems, major ones begin to surface. The crew of GADDIS is one that is thrown together and the enlisted personnel are not the cream of the crop. Lenson has a very small wardroom and an executive officer that he cannot count on. He must still also find out who among his crew is the killer. There are several false starts in his investigation before the culprit is finally revealed. While I realized where he was taking the investigation, I did not at first suspect who the author reveals. I think Poyer did a fine job of concealing that identity until the last moment.

This is sea story, a lesson in international power politics and a murder mystery all wrapped up in a tight and tidy package. There are good characters and bad ones. What I liked is that while Dan Lenson is not a perfect person, he never loses his moral compass. He is a better officer and person than he gives himself credit for and that is what makes reading about him so enjoyable.

After having read this book, I must say that I owe David Poyer an apology. In my review of TOMAHAWK here at Amazon, I told readers that I thought that novel should probably be Lenson's last outing. After reading CHINA SEA, I can honestly say that I hope to see several more installments in the continuing saga of DAN LENSON, USN.

Thank you Mr. Poyer for a most enjoyable read. I hope you'll keep Dan Lenson around for more adventures at sea.

Fair winds and following seas.

David Poyer Deserves More!
I become rather annoyed when the professional reviewers emphasize the accuracy of David Poyer's Navy expertise and descriptions. As someone who knows next to nothing about the Navy or seamanship or whatever, Poyer has nevertheless caught my attention as a masterful writer, a challenging thinker, and an insightful explorer of leadership within the context of human nature.

Poyer has always been an artistically admirable writer. If you've already read China Sea, return to Prologue 3 on page 11. As horrible as what it describes is, Poyer's prose is gorgeous, reminiscent of what made me pay special attention to him in another of his novels, As the Wolf Loves Winter. Poyer proves even in this small passage that he can consistently hit the artistic mark that Thomas Harris set in Silence of the Lambs.

Poyer's series hero, Dan Lenson, has evolved from a relatively innocent follower to a seasoned, wise, yet renegade leader. He struggles always to be faithful to his own commanders, yet his sense of loyalty and commitment brings him face to face, again and again, with the vagaries of human frailty. He is the adherent to the black-and-white code of Navy tradition that forever proves inadequate to contain the ambitions and passions of human leaders. And yet even as Lenson suffers professionally, he prevails in his belief that there is absolute truth somewhere out there.

The only character I can think of in another modern novel series who has been as exquisitely treated as Poyer's Dan Lenson is in the Lawrence Block series, Matt Scudder. Lenson's experiences and the effect they have on the ongoing development of his character are razor-sharp in every novel. Lenson feels like an old friend from whom I've heard many intimate thoughts, and he seems to be as complex and alive as any person I've ever known.

So many of Poyer's professional reviews focus on the realism of the Navy experience he describes, but what I am fascinated by is the realism of the human heart in the reality of leadership and command that Poyer portrays with such excellence.

Keep it up, David! I figure I'm going to retire right along with Lenson!

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