Korea Strait (2007)

When we last left our self doubting protagonist, Dan Lenson, the Navy Commander that singlehandedly saves the world a few times, and continually deals with criticisms from his superiors, he was shoreside in The Threat. This time, Poyer gets him back on the ocean in Korea Strait.

As Lenson has lost a few ships along the way, they probably would force him into retirement, but that Medal of Honor that he got back in Black Storm keeps him around. The Navy assigns Lenson to TAG, also known as the "tactical analysis team" that runs wargames, collects data, and then looks at the results to advise the military on how to better utilize the assets (rather plausible, but as far as I can tell the name of the unit is fictitious, but more like this). Lenson ends up in the middle of a wargames involving the South Koreans, the Japanese, the US, and the Australian Navy. He's only a data collector, and has no control of the ship. The test is to practice tracking submarines off of the Korean coast. How much trouble could the guy end up in this time out when he's not even in command of a ship?

Well, if Lenson is involved, quite a bit, but of course it's never really his fault. First, the exercise almost gets canceled when the US sub is almost rammed by the aggressive South Koreans. Then an impending typhoon sends the Japanese and Aussies back home. After riding out the storm (which the author apparently did and inspired the novel), a pack of North Korean subs comes sneaking through the area, and we get a glimpse into what the start of the Korean War, Part II might look like, and how delicately peace is preserved in this region.

Overall, Korea Strait is one really strong novel. Aside from it being well plotted, and going at breakneck speed for a mere 300 pages, it feels like it's considerably longer, and more developed. If it did all that it would still be a good book, but what makes it awesome is that the paragraphs read like poetry. The prose is written in such a way that if you randomly pick a page, the vivid descriptions of the sea, the strong use of action verbs, and the emotions conveyed hardly seem like they would add up to a military thriller. This is the true genius of Korea Strait, and why it gets our highest grade. If you've never read Poyer's work, you should, and Korea Strait may be his best novel so far (there are ten in this series that he refers to as "the tales of the modern navy").

Overall Grade: A+

Reviewed by Jonas

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