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The Chinese dragon is flexing its muscles. As its military begins to prey on neighbors in the South China Sea, attacking fishing vessels and scheming to seize natural resources, the US goes on high alert. But a far more ominous danger lurks closer to home: a Chinese sleeper cell has planted a nuclear weapon in the harbor at Norfolk, Virginia, the biggest naval base on the The Chinese dragon is flexing its muscles. As its military begins to prey on neighbors in the South China Sea, attacking fishing vessels and scheming to seize natural resources, the US goes on high alert. But a far more ominous danger lurks closer to home: a Chinese sleeper cell has planted a nuclear weapon in the harbor at Norfolk, Virginia, the biggest naval base on the planet. The target: a secret rendezvous of the Atlantic Fleet aircraft carriers and their battle groups. When the CIA director is assassinated and Jake Grafton is appointed to take his place, he gets wind of the conspiracy, but has no idea when or where the attack will occur. In the meantime, a series of assassinations, including an attempt on the life of the President, shake the country and deliberately mask a far more sinister objective. Can Jake Grafton and his right hand man, Tommy Carmellini, stop the plot to destroy the US Navy?


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The Chinese dragon is flexing its muscles. As its military begins to prey on neighbors in the South China Sea, attacking fishing vessels and scheming to seize natural resources, the US goes on high alert. But a far more ominous danger lurks closer to home: a Chinese sleeper cell has planted a nuclear weapon in the harbor at Norfolk, Virginia, the biggest naval base on the The Chinese dragon is flexing its muscles. As its military begins to prey on neighbors in the South China Sea, attacking fishing vessels and scheming to seize natural resources, the US goes on high alert. But a far more ominous danger lurks closer to home: a Chinese sleeper cell has planted a nuclear weapon in the harbor at Norfolk, Virginia, the biggest naval base on the planet. The target: a secret rendezvous of the Atlantic Fleet aircraft carriers and their battle groups. When the CIA director is assassinated and Jake Grafton is appointed to take his place, he gets wind of the conspiracy, but has no idea when or where the attack will occur. In the meantime, a series of assassinations, including an attempt on the life of the President, shake the country and deliberately mask a far more sinister objective. Can Jake Grafton and his right hand man, Tommy Carmellini, stop the plot to destroy the US Navy?

30 review for The Art of War

  1. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    A well-oiled caper of high stakes espionage by the big boys in the tradition of Tom Clancy. As revealed in early pages and on the book jacket, agents from China are shown sneaking a nuke into the Norfolk estuary of Virginia, site of a major naval station and shipyard where a gathering of the fleet is being planned. China’s ambition and needs to exploit the resources of the South China Sea’s fish and oil and islands for bases call for degrading U.S. naval capacity to intervene with their imperial A well-oiled caper of high stakes espionage by the big boys in the tradition of Tom Clancy. As revealed in early pages and on the book jacket, agents from China are shown sneaking a nuke into the Norfolk estuary of Virginia, site of a major naval station and shipyard where a gathering of the fleet is being planned. China’s ambition and needs to exploit the resources of the South China Sea’s fish and oil and islands for bases call for degrading U.S. naval capacity to intervene with their imperialist designs. The same kind of lure as Pearl Harbor had for the Japanese leads China to cripple the American navy through an improved plan founded on anonymity. Our heroes here must detect and avert the plan. Hero number one is played by old CIA veteran, Jake Grafton, who has recently been asked to take the helm after the drowning death of its director . His key partner in saving the day is an operative he has long used for special wetwork missions, Tommy Carmellini, who we frequently join in interludes rendered in first person. Soon other suspicious deaths muddy the waters and creates chaos and fear, making it impossible for them to trust anyone else in the alphabet soup of security agencies. Luckily, the cyberespionage specialty work they need off-the-books can be accomplished by a female wizard he knows at the NSA who owes him favors big time. Tensions rise as the Chinese plan evolves ever closer to completion and clues of its scope only begin to emerge. The personal lives of the enemy and our heroes bring interludes of humanity to insanity playing out in realistic technicolor. An exciting and satisfying ending is pulled off. Nice ride with this one. A movie of the tale would be fun.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Pat Byrnes

    Coonts hit this one out of the Ballpark!!! What a Thrilling game of Cat & Mouse!!! The Art of War is the first novel I’ve read by Stephen Coonts and I wish I would have picked up one of his novels earlier in my reading adventures. I’ve seen Coonts’ name, but never picked up the name from friends that read. I do have the luxury of now going back and reading from the start. The novel was quick and very entertaining; I didn’t want to put the novel down. The characters of Friend & Foe were masterfull Coonts hit this one out of the Ballpark!!! What a Thrilling game of Cat & Mouse!!! The Art of War is the first novel I’ve read by Stephen Coonts and I wish I would have picked up one of his novels earlier in my reading adventures. I’ve seen Coonts’ name, but never picked up the name from friends that read. I do have the luxury of now going back and reading from the start. The novel was quick and very entertaining; I didn’t want to put the novel down. The characters of Friend & Foe were masterfully woven together to create a HIT (High Impact Thriller). What good novel doesn’t have a little humor placed just at the right moment? With the intense Cat & Mouse action between the U.S.A and China, the humor just added to my enjoyment in reading this novel. Mr. Coonts… Awesome Job!!!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Tim

    Much of this story is unfulfilled. It's not such a good idea to kill off decent characters and replace them, if at all, with clueless ones. 4 of 10 stars Much of this story is unfulfilled. It's not such a good idea to kill off decent characters and replace them, if at all, with clueless ones. 4 of 10 stars

  4. 5 out of 5

    Travis Jackson

    Admitting a potential bias from the start, I have been reading Steven Coonts' work for twenty years. With that said, the high expectations are set and met once again with The Art Of War. Jake Grafton and Tommy Carmellini (and even Toad Tarkington) are back once again to save the day. Intelligence chiefs are being killed, but the enemy's "main attack" is just a diversion. The Chinese are looking to nuke a Navy base. There are plenty of twists and turns throughout the book, just as you would expe Admitting a potential bias from the start, I have been reading Steven Coonts' work for twenty years. With that said, the high expectations are set and met once again with The Art Of War. Jake Grafton and Tommy Carmellini (and even Toad Tarkington) are back once again to save the day. Intelligence chiefs are being killed, but the enemy's "main attack" is just a diversion. The Chinese are looking to nuke a Navy base. There are plenty of twists and turns throughout the book, just as you would expect from a Coonts novel. Well worth the read, especially if you have been a loyal follower of Grafton and Carmellini.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Joan Mitchell

    WOW!! This was great from the first page before you even knew what exactly was going on. Painted some pictures of our government that could be good or could be bad - depends on circumstances. The story was suspense u til the last page. I couldn't put it down. Was glad it ended because it was so realistic I didn't want to be so emotionally involved, but couldn't help it. I would recommend this book to anyone. I received this book from Goodreads for free. WOW!! This was great from the first page before you even knew what exactly was going on. Painted some pictures of our government that could be good or could be bad - depends on circumstances. The story was suspense u til the last page. I couldn't put it down. Was glad it ended because it was so realistic I didn't want to be so emotionally involved, but couldn't help it. I would recommend this book to anyone. I received this book from Goodreads for free.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Carl Alves

    In The Art of War, China is trying to make a major power play to upset the balance of power in the world. Their devious and dastardly plan is to take out half of the United States’s aircraft carriers and kill a couple million people in the process by planting a nuclear missile at the Newport naval base. Adding to their dastardliness is their plot to take out high ranking US officials as a diversion. On the case is Jake Grafton, a hard-nosed SOB who becomes the acting CIA director, and Tommy Carm In The Art of War, China is trying to make a major power play to upset the balance of power in the world. Their devious and dastardly plan is to take out half of the United States’s aircraft carriers and kill a couple million people in the process by planting a nuclear missile at the Newport naval base. Adding to their dastardliness is their plot to take out high ranking US officials as a diversion. On the case is Jake Grafton, a hard-nosed SOB who becomes the acting CIA director, and Tommy Carmellini, a snarky, sarcastic thief and spy. This is a fast paced novel that is aided by the classic plot device of the ticking clock. It’s a fight against time to first figure out what the Chinese are plotting and then to find the nuclear missile. The character development is proficient. There are many well-developed characters in the story besides Grafton and Carmellini. Even the president, who is entirely off screen, is very reminiscent of a former president. I liked the way the author played off of current events. One of the main flaws of these types of novels is a lack of realism, but I thought the novel stood up rather well in that regard. Without trying to spoil anything, the only downer involved Carmellini’s female relationships, which I thought harmed his otherwise well-developed character. I also liked the little quotes at the beginning of the chapters from famous people about war, politics, and combat. This was a strong novel that I would recommend reading. Carl Alves – author of Reconquest: Mother Earth

  7. 5 out of 5

    Steven Raszewski

    Ok, so I listened to it on PlayAway from the library. Still a good story which I would have read, just wanted to listen to a book on tape to see if I like them. I still prefer reading with a old fashioned book in my hands. But in case I go blind I got my backup plan ready :-)

  8. 5 out of 5

    John Purvis

    “The Art of War: A Novel” eBook was published in 2016 (February) and was written by Stephen Coonts (http://www.coonts.com). Mr. Coonts has been the author or co-author of over 40 fiction and non-fiction novels. This is the 10th in his ‘Jake Grafton’ series. I received a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence and some Mature Language. The setting of this Thriller is primarily Washington D. C. and Nor “The Art of War: A Novel” eBook was published in 2016 (February) and was written by Stephen Coonts (http://www.coonts.com). Mr. Coonts has been the author or co-author of over 40 fiction and non-fiction novels. This is the 10th in his ‘Jake Grafton’ series. I received a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence and some Mature Language. The setting of this Thriller is primarily Washington D. C. and Norfolk, Virginia, though some scenes do take place in the waters off of China. The primary characters are Admiral Jake Grafton, now working for the CIA, Tommy Carmellini (Author Coonts has a separate series with him as the primary character), who works for Grafton at the CIA, and Lieutenant Commander Zhang Ping of the Chinese Navy. The heads of three intelligence and counter-intelligence agencies, including the CIA, die. Grafton is appointed interim head of the CIA. Zhang leads a Chinese commando team planting a nuclear bomb in Norfolk harbor. He is then positioned in Norfolk to trigger the bomb. He waits patiently for the time to strike. The Chinese have intelligence indicating that the US Navy will bring 5 carriers into Norfolk at the same time. Their goal is to cripple the US and open up the western Pacific to their own expansion and control. Carmellini is tasked by Grafton to handle several delicate missions. Along the way he encounters a lost love and their relationship rekindles. The assassin who took out the heads of government agencies targets Grafton and Carmellini. Others target the President of the US. Grafton and the rest of the US intelligence community struggle to find out who is behind these moves and why US leaders are being targeted. I enjoyed the nearly 9 hours I spent reading this 350 page novel. I had read the first of the ‘Jake Grafton’ series years ago and was not a particular fan of that novel. This Thriller was quite good. There is not a lot of action, but enough to keep things moving along. There was a lot of intrigue on the part of US intelligence and the Chinese government. I would certainly pick up and read others in either the ‘Grafton’ or ‘Carmellini’ series after reading this novel. I give this novel a 4.5 (rounded up to a 5) out of 5. Further book reviews I have written can be accessed at http://johnpurvis.wordpress.com/blog/.

  9. 5 out of 5

    J

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Some interesting insights into US Navy and CIA policies, but the characters are 2D stereotypes and the action/drama that (fleetingly) happens is very matter of fact. But wait, after they find and secure the bomb (the whole plot the book is dedicated towards) there's still a few chapters on the US retaliation by blowing up a Chinese vessel - in painstaking, tense detail! If only that intensity was in the previous 90% of the story. Maybe the author just really really liked the idea of vengeance on Some interesting insights into US Navy and CIA policies, but the characters are 2D stereotypes and the action/drama that (fleetingly) happens is very matter of fact. But wait, after they find and secure the bomb (the whole plot the book is dedicated towards) there's still a few chapters on the US retaliation by blowing up a Chinese vessel - in painstaking, tense detail! If only that intensity was in the previous 90% of the story. Maybe the author just really really liked the idea of vengeance on the Chinese...

  10. 5 out of 5

    Derek Mcknight

    Sorry, in almost every respect I wanted to love this book. It is exactly the genre I like and I have enjoyed SCs books in the past but this was full of repeated statements, things that didn't make sense and a real lack of depth of character development and plot suspense. Plodded along okay but I won't be revisiting SC for a while after this Sorry, in almost every respect I wanted to love this book. It is exactly the genre I like and I have enjoyed SCs books in the past but this was full of repeated statements, things that didn't make sense and a real lack of depth of character development and plot suspense. Plodded along okay but I won't be revisiting SC for a while after this

  11. 5 out of 5

    William Lovejoy

    The Art of War is another dazzling product from Stephen Coonts. His familiar characters chase their ways through a tightly woven plot that will keep a reader hanging on. And just when one thinks the story will end, wonderfully, it doesn’t. Highly recommended.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kay

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This is my first book by Stephen Coonts and it was entertaining. I enjoy the characters and the plot, well done! **Possible Spoiler I wonder what happened to guy from Apt. 209? Did I miss something?

  13. 5 out of 5

    Connie

    I am so tired of men who are old enough to know better beating their chests like little boys playing "king of the hill" and justifying violence and cruelty by claiming that "the end justifies the means." Picked the book up on impulse. Had not read his earlier books and will not read any others. I am so tired of men who are old enough to know better beating their chests like little boys playing "king of the hill" and justifying violence and cruelty by claiming that "the end justifies the means." Picked the book up on impulse. Had not read his earlier books and will not read any others.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Clay Davis

    The author made the dull parts of the story interesting. The cover is a little misleading, there were no F-35 mentioned in the book.

  15. 4 out of 5

    John Polson

    Think I preferred Sun Tzu's version... Think I preferred Sun Tzu's version...

  16. 5 out of 5

    Mike Guth

    I listened to the audiobook on MP3 version of this book. About half way through the book, Coonts describes Edward Snowden as a "traitor." Traitor? For exposing the blatant lies of Barry Obama and his intelligence appointees: Klapper, Hayden, et al.? This will be the last Coonts book that I ever read/hear. This book deals with a scheme by China to bomb Norfolk, VA. Keep in mind that the USA has about 1,000 military bases scattered all around the world, while China has maybe 4? See https://en.wiki I listened to the audiobook on MP3 version of this book. About half way through the book, Coonts describes Edward Snowden as a "traitor." Traitor? For exposing the blatant lies of Barry Obama and his intelligence appointees: Klapper, Hayden, et al.? This will be the last Coonts book that I ever read/hear. This book deals with a scheme by China to bomb Norfolk, VA. Keep in mind that the USA has about 1,000 military bases scattered all around the world, while China has maybe 4? See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of... In place of Russiagate, Coonts has jump aboard the China conspiracy being advanced by donald trump (lower case letters intentional) and right-wing extremists who have never seen a war they did not love and endorse. Although I liked the characters of Tommy Carmelini and Jake Grafton from prior Coonts books, I am willing to pass on any future publications by Coonts now that he has revealed himself to be a rabid, vapid champion of trump's anti-China hysteria. There are many reasons that Progressives are opposed to closer economic ties to China: China's human rights policy, China's exploitation of its cheap labor force, China's veiled threats against Taiwan, etc. But pretending China is an aggressive war monger makes it appear that Coonts is blind to the American war machine and hegemony.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Adam

    I received this book for free from the Goodreads free book giveaway contest. What a fun book! China is seeking to change the span of control in the Yellow Sea and in order to take full control, they must get rid of the US Naval presence in those waters. Unable to take the Navy 0n and determined to strike at the heart of the US, China covertly sneaks in to the Norfolk naval yard and plants a nuclear bomb to destroy the carrier fleet, and all cities within a hundred miles of Norfolk. China, knowin I received this book for free from the Goodreads free book giveaway contest. What a fun book! China is seeking to change the span of control in the Yellow Sea and in order to take full control, they must get rid of the US Naval presence in those waters. Unable to take the Navy 0n and determined to strike at the heart of the US, China covertly sneaks in to the Norfolk naval yard and plants a nuclear bomb to destroy the carrier fleet, and all cities within a hundred miles of Norfolk. China, knowing that an explosion of this magnitude will destroy the US, will be free to do as they please with no further US interference. But China may have miscalculated, when they require a distraction to move the bomb into place, by assassinating the heads of several government agencies and attack Air Force One. With the US on full alert, will China get away with their plan? I highly recommend you take this journey and find out!! Filled with twists and turns, intrigue and action, 'The Art of War' a great book to start off your summer reading! Unless you are near Norfolk...

  18. 5 out of 5

    Clwseattle

    The Art of War Chapter 8 "Tragically, making war may be what humans do best."- Ralph Peters I have followed our hero Jake Grafton from his first appearance in books as a naval aviator through all his military and government assignments and by association that of Tommy Carmellini. Stephen Coonts, so much like Tom Clancy, is exceptionally knowledgeable and scarily prescient. Both loom large in The Art of War, but I was a bit disappointed in The Art of War because while the plot was engrossing, bot The Art of War Chapter 8 "Tragically, making war may be what humans do best."- Ralph Peters I have followed our hero Jake Grafton from his first appearance in books as a naval aviator through all his military and government assignments and by association that of Tommy Carmellini. Stephen Coonts, so much like Tom Clancy, is exceptionally knowledgeable and scarily prescient. Both loom large in The Art of War, but I was a bit disappointed in The Art of War because while the plot was engrossing, both Jake Grafton and Tommy Carmellini were flat, almost boring caricatures of their usually large personalities. The end of one semi-minor character was incomplete and very unsatisfying. 4.5 stars for plot, 2 stars for making the personalities of Jake Grafton and Tommy Carmellini repetitive, flat and boring, therefore 3.5 Stars, mid C overall.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kev Smith

    The Art of War turns out to be a good read. The plot is well thought out. Characters are introduced in quick order and one soon knows what type of a story it will be. The various episodes or chapters flow together and the story is enough to keep one interested into those long night hours. The twist at the end is suitable and deserved. I think I'm all 'fictioned-out' with regard to mystery-politics-war type novels because one always knows how they will end so the skill of the writer is in keeping The Art of War turns out to be a good read. The plot is well thought out. Characters are introduced in quick order and one soon knows what type of a story it will be. The various episodes or chapters flow together and the story is enough to keep one interested into those long night hours. The twist at the end is suitable and deserved. I think I'm all 'fictioned-out' with regard to mystery-politics-war type novels because one always knows how they will end so the skill of the writer is in keeping the reader interested and Coonts does this. It would be great to come across an author who could write these kind of books and come up with an unpredictable ending. I haven't found one in a long time. I will however read some more Stephen Coonts books for the escapism.

  20. 5 out of 5

    David Gramley

    Four stars because I enjoyed this book, and it was quick to read and easy to follow. It is not a literary four star book. As with many action books, the situations are unlikely to ever occur, I hope. But if the situation of this book, which is China planning an attack on the US in an updated Pearl Harbor scheme, Coonts has very good characters I’d like to have as real characters in Jake Grafton and Tommy Camerelli. It worked in this book to interchange Tommy’s first person narrative into the wri Four stars because I enjoyed this book, and it was quick to read and easy to follow. It is not a literary four star book. As with many action books, the situations are unlikely to ever occur, I hope. But if the situation of this book, which is China planning an attack on the US in an updated Pearl Harbor scheme, Coonts has very good characters I’d like to have as real characters in Jake Grafton and Tommy Camerelli. It worked in this book to interchange Tommy’s first person narrative into the writing of each chapter. I’ve read many of his books starting with the Flight of the Intruder, and I appreciate the details he embeds into the story based on his own experience.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    At first, several years ago, I was not a fan of Tommy Carmellini...Jake Grafton, one of my favorite characters in fiction, was not involved in the story as much. I must not have been alone, because Mr. Coonts has brought Jake back more to the forefront in the last couple of books I read. Even Toad was in this one!! These books are thrillers and this was certainly no exception. With 2 million lives at stake things tend to get a little exciting!!!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Paul Parsons

    I'm jumping around with Coonts and confusing myself. His hero, Jake Grafton, was killed, or so I thought, in Book II, so imagine my surprise to find him alive and well many books later. So now I'm going back to Book 3 to find out how he survived crashing his jet purposely into an enemy aircraft. These are good military tales, if you're into that, and Coonts throws in a lot of what must be research into warcraft minutia. Being a military brat (Dad served 30+years in the Navy), I enjoy these. I'm jumping around with Coonts and confusing myself. His hero, Jake Grafton, was killed, or so I thought, in Book II, so imagine my surprise to find him alive and well many books later. So now I'm going back to Book 3 to find out how he survived crashing his jet purposely into an enemy aircraft. These are good military tales, if you're into that, and Coonts throws in a lot of what must be research into warcraft minutia. Being a military brat (Dad served 30+years in the Navy), I enjoy these.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    The Chinese are flexing their muscles in the Pacific. They develop a plan to cut the strength of the US Navy in half with a second Pearl Harbor at Norfolk. A series of assassinations are meant to disrupt the government as well. Interesting twists at the end of the story. Tommy and Jake are interesting characters as well.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Laura Poppenwimer

    Jake Grafton saves the day again when a suspected Nuclear device is left at the Norfolk shipyard. This is typical of the Jake Grafton series, good character development, turns in the plot and page turning excitement. I found the beginning of the book a little slow going, but once I engaged with the plot, it was spellbinding.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Stuart Haining

    8/10 16%. A really enjoyable terrorist type yarn only spoiled by what felt like a dramatic change in writing tone and style after the first few chapters and a slightly weak ending - can’t help but wonder if the editors topped n tailed it or a ghost helped somewhere? Shame, might have been a 10 if it had carried on as well as it started but worth Reading again and trying more from this author.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    I loved this. It was a thrilling plot and felt like it could be happening now. It's nice to read a book with such a great variety of characters. A few that were integral to the plot were even "mature". It's nice to have a few heroes that actually have a little gray in their hair! I loved this. It was a thrilling plot and felt like it could be happening now. It's nice to read a book with such a great variety of characters. A few that were integral to the plot were even "mature". It's nice to have a few heroes that actually have a little gray in their hair!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jason Brewer

    While the reader knew what the bad guy was up to, it still had its measure of suspense while the clock ran down and the hero had to figure out what was happening and why. Meanwhile, it was done with a very believable background of geopolitical motivations.

  28. 5 out of 5

    anthony lanigan

    An excellent, well researched action book I liked reading this book. The storyline and the characters were very realistic and the action sequences were gripping. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes action stories

  29. 5 out of 5

    John

    What a wild rollercoaster ride This book was just a good as any of Coonts Jake Grafton books there are a few surprises around the corner and it is filled of excitement and action. I will look forward to the next book with Jake and Tommy

  30. 5 out of 5

    Bonnie

    An entertaining read with some insights into how how our military, government and intelligence organizations operate. And, perhaps, how those of China operate. Coonts fans will be glad to see what their favorite characters have been up to.

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