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on 23 March 2012
I have been looking forward to getting my teeth into this and it doesn't disappoint. I found it a real page-turner from first to last. Great story in itself with natural excitement and suspense, but also an amazing insight into the modern state of the ex-Soviet war machine, the whole global submarine community and what happens when you lose a sub at more than 200 metres in the freezing north Pacific. Plus nice to read any story like this if you're a proud Brit. Massive congrats and respect to everyone involved. Finished it in less than 72 hours from purchase!
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on 2 April 2012
You'll go through this book in less time than it takes to negotiate Russian Customs. The narrative of the story is in strict chronological order with times in the chapter headings to keep you in the real time of the story.

From the well oiled logistic effort that gets a ROV (Remote Operated Vehicle) submarine in an aircraft hold to the first near show stopper when the Russian airport is surrounded by low cloud base with an Instrument Landing System that went offline days ago.

The RAF successfully deliver the goods and operators then the real battle starts - not at the accident site but getting past Russian officialdom and dealing with the woefully neglected Russian naval fleet. Once on site a relatively short part of the book deals with the actual physical rescue which involved the ROV being expertly guided to cut away the rope and wire entangling the mini-sub with great care and skill to avoid the ROV becoming part of the problem rather than the solution. The technical detail is there in easily digested portions laying out the problems the ROV had and how they were overcome along with how the quality of the athmosphere for the trapped men affected them. There are also brief mentions of other submarine accidents and how they changed the make up of submarine rescue.

The one part of the prose I did not like was the "overflowering" of the phrasing of people's emotions when dealing with the families and personal doubts of the rescue crew which sat at odds with the page turning way the rest of the book was written. There is not so much of that so it was more slight irritation than anything else.

All in all a great book with a great, and very British inspired, outcome.
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on 23 May 2012
A superbly told true story about the rescue of Russian sailors. Pope's storytelling is gripping and the book is hard to put down as you follow the British and American rescue teams through the Russian bureaucratic jungle. As I was finishing this book I actually tried to go to sleep, only to turn on the lights again after 10 minutes, simply not being able to not continue. Pope captures the essential human drama in the engineering jungle and gets you incredibly excited about odd things such as C5 (a huge airplane) and Scorpios (rescue equipment).

Besides the heartfelt human story of staring death in the eyes in a metal coffin, 230 meters below sea level, the story takes you deep inside British and American military, and obviously the global submarine community, and illuminates fascinating issues of rank, pride, order, and fulfillment. And to top it off, you get a rare glimpse into the inner workings (or not-so-workings) of the Russian military complex and the diplomatic tensions at highest level between Russia and the West that still persist 20 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Highly recommended read if you are looking for an entertaining book that leaves you with more than a good story.
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on 11 January 2013
This was truly the most amazing story, excellently researched and put together by the author. It started off slowly and gradually built up to the point where I just couldn't put it down. On the last part I went to bed at 10.0 pm and was reading until the end at 2.15 am. Tried to stop but couldn't. It was unbelievable to hear about the Russian navy problems and how their Government treated the rescue and made it so hard for our Navy and also the Americans. I found it very hard to believe this was taking place in 2005. An interesting feature of the book and the part I found fascinating was the Epilogue where you found out what happened to the various people involved. Felt so sorry for the poor Russian who was sent away.

Absolutely loved the whole book, it was gripping and hard to believe it was a true story - and it was written so well. Would like to add an extra * to the rating.
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on 4 February 2013
various people have said; submarine are boring, but not this book. You will find it difficult to put down, and you will read it a second time.
You have this race, to resue the trapped crew, but its the Russians attitude that brings the book to an all time high.
I have seen the documentry on this recue, but the author really brings out that all important missing detail.
I would have liked to see some more photos, but then, the price goes up.
At the time of writing, it was actually cheaper tp purchase the hard-back book, because certain book shops had it on the shelves for half price; I purchased the kindle version, because books are taking up too much space.
What ever you decide; kindle or book, you will not go wrong, it's very gripping, and you will be telling your friends about the Russians way of doing things; please buy it.
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on 3 December 2012
From my time as an OCIMF ship inspector I know the shipping firm who were operating the submersible used for the rescue, and wish them well.
As a mariner I take my hat off to anyone involved in the rescue of other mariners.
As a reader of marine publications I can say that this factual account will have you gripped from start to finish, and having talked with many Russian mariners I can confirm that the difficulties experienced of Russian officialdom by both rescuers and the rescued, was very true.
This is an excellent, well written and very readable account of the terrifying ordeal that every one of the trapped submariners went through, and of the degree of adversity the rescuers had to overcome. That they were successful in the end was down to their training and sheer dogged determination not to be thwarted by red tape.
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on 4 May 2012
A shocking true story of an international rescue from a russian submarine. The world's rescue forces were pulling out all the stops to get to the trapped mariners, but russian security measures and ineptitude led to untold delays and nearly cost the lives of the submariners. The tension keeps you riveted till the last page, and the russians' mentality and fear of flouting the authorities is unbelievable. A superb read.
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on 31 January 2015
Written like a taught thriller, this highly readable true story chronicles the tense international rescue effort to save seven Russian submariners from a certain and lonely death, below the cold seawater off a deserted coastline.

The book neatly weaves in the history of submarine rescue as teams from England and the US battle time, weather and idealist bigotry to test procedures and equipment in a challenging underwater environment, where their Russian hosts can only match cutting edge technology with rusting metalwork and insufficient engineering support.

This is a really incredible tale of a point in time when the cold war thawed momentarily and a few key Russians focused on the common good rather than political doctrines, allowing the English team to do their stuff. The principal characters are well written and the tension and team frustrations are clearly brought to life.

The only reason I can think of for not reading this book is a susceptibility to claustrophobia, but even that should be pushed aside.
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on 27 June 2013
This is the first Frank Pope book I have read but not the last! Highly enjoyable and very good to read about all the countries coming together to assist in the rescue.
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on 20 January 2013
Very understandable explanations of the technical aspects of the rescue. Written in a flowing style avoiding the impression that I was reading a text book.
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