Cover of Attack of the SeawolfMichael DiMercurio is a former submariner who manage to combine his intimate knowledge of the systems in a sub and submarine warfare, along with a sense of geopolitics, into a series of novels that rivals Tom Clancy on excitement (but not the spy stuff). In Attack of the Seawolf, US have a submarine showdown with China.
The premise: China had fallen into civil war, and US decided to gather some intelligence by sending in USS Tampa, a 688-class submarine, and listen to the radio traffic. Unfortunately, they had been discovered, attacked, and captured by the Red Chinese Navy (i.e. not the rebels). US response is to send in USS Seawolf, commanded by Admiral Michael Pacino, with one squad of US Navy SEALs, was sent in as a rescue mission. They will go in, liberate the crew, recover the officers, and escape Chinese Waters. Or at least, that was the plan. In between them is the entire Chinese Eastern Fleet, plus the PLA Naval Air Arm and the PLA Naval Infantry. But Pacino is used to doing the impossible and the suicidal...
The plot is a little bit cliche, with the Chinese being sadistic commies (with orders to execute prisoners if rescuers come), and Americans handicapped by a lousy rules of engagement. However, the combat is fast and furious, and in the end Seawolf really *does* sank most of the Chinese Eastern Fleet, albeit in a far more logical manner than in Tom Clancy's SSN (see below for review). The ending is a major surprise.
All in all, if you like submarine novels, Attack of the Seawolf is probably one of the better Michael DiMercurio novels. His other novels are a bit too much on the fanciful side, IMHO. This one is about the most realistic, and thus, the most enjoyable for the military buff.