Tipping Point is a page turner. It is the fifteenth novel in David Poyer’s acclaimed series of naval adventures featuring Captain Dan Lenson. But don’t worry if you don’t know anything about the modern Navy or haven’t read any of the first fourteen novels. This was my first of Lenson’s books, but I found it easy to follow the story. Tipping Point gives me renewed respect for our military personnel. The risks they take daily would be unnerving to most civilians.
The tone of the book is quickly established with the opening quote from the Admiral of the Fleet, Sir John Fisher, “All nations want peace; but they want a peace that suits them.”
As the plot thickens, the tension builds with every page. There is a near disaster with Iran in the Strait of Hormuz and a stand-off confrontation with China in the South China Sea. There are also many other precarious challenges, such as: pirates, drug running ships, an outbreak of Legionnaires’ Disease, providing assistance to islands hit by large tsunamis and dead bodies floating at sea. Yet Captain Lenson manages to cope with it all and prevent a mutiny among his crew as problems mount at every level.
Lenson also fights tension in his personal life. His wife, Blair, is a congresswoman whose duties create a conflict of interest for them at times. Not to mention the strain caused by the extended periods of separation caused by his military sea career. His almost-estranged young adult daughter from his first marriage adds an additional layer of anxiety.
I became increasingly engrossed in the story as the well-developed characters came to life. Trust is challenged at every front in the cramped quarters for this unlucky crew. Supplies run low due to the soldier’s generosity to the storm-ravaged islands, and low-ranking young female crew members are sexually assaulted. It’s a riveting and unforgettable story of tribulations at sea.
Tipping Point’s exciting plots and developments give it a ripped from the headlines feeling. After reading this book, I certainly do not want to take another ocean cruise any time soon. And I can’t imagine anyone who reads this novel wanting to join the Navy in the near future! But at the same time, the first chance I get, I will be at the library checking out another of the fourteen sea adventure novels in the Lenson series.
“Tipping Point: The War With China – The First Salvo” is written by David Poyer. It’s published by St. Martin’s Press and a part of the “Dan Lenson Novels” series. Poyer currently teaches at Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre.
Our reviewer, Cheryl Bazzoui, lives in Bradford and is a frequent contributor to BookMark. She’s a writer, who uses the pen name Ann McCauley.