Ghost Fleet: A Novel of the Next World War – Book Review

Imagine the brilliance that would result when two well-known figures in the defense policy circles, P.W. Singer and August Cole, team up to chronicle the hypothetical war between United States and China. You may find it unthinkable, but Cole and Singer didn’t. In “Ghost fleet: A Novel of the Next World War”, the authors have done a fantastic job of capturing the “that will never happen to us” moment which majority of us who follow international news affairs every night depend on when sleeping at night.

To most of us, another war seems out of the question because we believe in the system that has shown and still continues to show promising prosperity for all of us. On the contrary, Ghost Fleet acknowledges and dismisses all our self-assuring philosophies with a frightening feel.

This near-futuristic, gripping thriller unfolds in smaller sections letting a bevy of interesting characters, including an underappreciated Russian Counterinsurgency expert, a nervous taikonaut, a vengeful serial killer/widow, and an unenthusiastic American Naval captain, portray the aftermath of war.

The action between them rapidly paces with multiple storylines, weaving projected global development in well-written and fact-based narratives through dialogues and references starting from the inception of the dollar as a currency to the detonation of a bomb in Saudi Arabia. Anything and everything is in there.

The detail within is such that it would have turned out to be an academic text about international security and global trends if it weren’t for the intervening characters. It also focuses on human relationships and how they react in situations out of their control. All the characters, be it a father-son relationship, an entrepreneur with deep love for his country, the dilemma between duty and family,  create empathy and understanding with the readers.

Cold War aficionados will devour the book cover to cover as it talks about the 21st century war at sea, in the skies, on land, in outer space, and the cyberspace. This remarkable work has everything, from robot drones, old warships, navy ghost fleets, teenage hackers, low-tech insurgents, Silicon Valley billionaires, and much more.

This strangely satisfying blend of strategy and storyline speaks of an era where people don’t like to even think of all the things that could go horribly wrong, Singer and Cole have done it in a way that is readable and enjoyable. It’s a page-turning speculative thriller, so make sure to get your copy.

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