Top positive review
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Magnifies the best & worst of Robinson
on 1 September 2004
Barracuda 945 showcases all thats right and wrong with Patrick Robinson.
The story is very much more of the same. Real fans will love it, while those who aren't so keen may think they've read it before. In a nutshell, an Arab born SAS man (Ray Kerman) is sickened by Israeli actions in Hebron, defects to HAMAS and masterminds several strikes against Israel. So far so good... what better terrorist than an SAS man? It almost like a gamekeeper turned poacher.
Then he goes to Iran and masterminds a brilliant strike against the US using a Russian nuclear submarin (the Barracuda type 945). At this point you have to suspen your disbelief. While an SAS man would be great at infiltrating Israel, you've got to wonder what he'd really know about subs. His masterplan involves getting Iran (on behalf of HAMAS) providing a submarine crew and money. The Chinese buy the sub from Russia and give it to the arabs to attack america. When the US get a little angry everyone will deny ever having the sub.
As with Robinson's previous Ben Adnam books (Nimitz class, HMS Unseen) the idea of having a terrorist with a sub is great. He's realised that his fans like reading about mass distruction wrought from the sea by master terrorists & as a result Kerman is the major character in the book. Unfortunately the whole plot is a bit too much like HMS Unseen to be considered original.
Many reviewers have complained that Robinson is very right wing. He is. His criticism of Bill Clinton is very accurate.. only the most die-hard democrat would claim that Clinton didn't weaken the US military. Certainly he allowed the Panamanians to give control of the Panama canal to China (without spoiling the plot this is quite important) and allowed China to get access to some very powerful US missile technology. Unfortunately rather than being satisfied with making the point once he has to reinforce it again & again & again.
As with his previous 5 books Robinson's main advisor is Falklands task force leader Admiral Sandy Woodward. While I have great respect for the Admiral, Robinson seems obliged to highlight his every achievement. I refuse to believe that any US admiral would ever say "A nuclear submarine is the most destructive weapon on earth. This was shown in December 1982 when Admiral Sandy Woodward torpedoed the 13,500 ton Argentinean cruiser Belgrano 182 miles off the coast of the Falklands". 5 pages later "thats ten times more explosive than Admiral Sandy Woodward used to sink the 13,500 ton cruiser the Belgrano". As with his politics its about as subtle as an A-bomb. If (British born) Patrick Robinson is so proud of the Royal Navy then why doesn't he write about it rather than than focusing on the americans so much? In his books the only real role for the Brits seems to be breeding terrorists!
Without spoiling too much it all ends like every one of Robinsons books. SEALS blowing things up & the "damn chinese" defeated. It sets things up nicely for a sequel. All in all this is an easy to read page-turner. If you've read his previous books you'll like this. If Bill Clinton is your favourite presidnet of all time, don't bother.