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Arguably the first Make the Bear Angry Again novel, the story involves a war fought between South Africa and its neighbouring states with aid from the Union of Eurasian Republics, a somewhat reconstituted USSR.
Focussing on the crew of a fictional Forrestal-class carrier, USS Langley as it takes part in the war, it's an astonishing well-researched book. Langley must survive against five Eurasian carriers. It's actually sunk, but the surviving air wing gets to land before it happens, where they help force a stalemate.
This book contains examples of:
- The Apartheid Era
- Make the Bear Angry Again: The Russian Federation collapses after less than a year and is replaced by the UER, which incorporates most of the former USSR bar the Baltic republics.
- Mnogo Nukes: Admiral Kuznetsov, its brother ship Varyag, some "Kirovs", an "Oscar", "Backfires". A lot of Russian platforms turn up. None of their nukes are used though.
- Moral Dissonance: The Eurasian pilots are fighting against a racist regime, but happily use racial epithets in their internal thoughts.
- In a sort of inversion on this, Admiral Gideon, the US carrier group commander, is a black guy, supporting South Africa. His logic for this is that losing South Africa's gold and diamond supplies is too critical to the USA, he's obeying orders and other black people are fighting on the government's side.
- Operation Blank: Operation Evil Hyphen.
- Reporting Names: A bit of an odd one, this. Tillman uses some older believed designations for some aircraft, but also had access to some actual weapon names as they were being revealed due to the collapse of the USSR.
- Shout-Out / Crossover: One character is stated to be the brother of John Gresham, an F-16 pilot from Larry Bond's Red Phoenix.
- Shown Their Work: Tillman includes missile failure rates into his battle. That's not missiles missing, that's missiles plain not working in the first place.
- Superior Firepower: Actually used- two sub-kiloton nukes are used to take out two Eurasian submarines.
- Take That: The attack on the Comrade Jane Fonda Antiaircraft Battalion, solely conducted on that target because of its name.
- Twenty Minutes Into the Future: 1993 to be exact.
- What Do You Mean Its Not Symbolic: The Midway references- the battle even starts on the anniversary, while the US President lost his father at the World War Two battle.