The Steel Albatross

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Richard Biddle “Rick” Tallman is addicted to danger. In peacetime, however, the opportunities for “pushing the edge of the envelope” are relatively limited. In consequence, gung-ho warriors such as Tallman often behave in such a manner that separation from active duty is assured.

Fortunately, Lieutenant Tallman is blessed, or cursed, with an admiral for a father. Therefore, he is afforded one last opportunity to salvage his miliary career. He accepts an assignment to the Navy’s most rigorous branch—the SEALs.

The Sea Air Land Teams are the Navy’s special forces, and their training program is legendary for its difficulty. The demands placed on all those who attempt to qualify are physically and psychologically extreme.

In addition to his training regime Rick also becomes involved in the testing of the “steel albatross.” The albatross is an experimental undersea craft which dispenses with a propeller for motive power—an innovation which makes it ideal as a vehicle to deliver a team equipped to destroy a Russian underwater habitat. This secret facility is the key ingredient in a plot by renegade Russians to gain a strategic advantage over the United States.

As a career naval officer, test pilot, astronaut, and aquanaut, Scott Carpenter is well-equipped to handle the technical aspects of this techno-thriller. He is also capable of creating believable characters and a plausible scenario.