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Ghost Fleet: A Novel of the Next World War
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Ghost Fleet: A Novel of the Next World War

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  5,291 ratings  ·  618 reviews
What will the next global conflict look like? Find out in this ripping, near-futuristic thriller.

The United States, China, and Russia eye each other across a twenty-first century version of the Cold War, which suddenly heats up at sea, on land, in the air, in outer space, and in cyberspace. The fighting involves everything from stealthy robotic–drone strikes to old warshi
Hardcover, 404 pages
Published June 30th 2015 by Eamon Dolan/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Michael Burnam-Fink
Jul 09, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015, sci-fi, war
Ghost Fleet is a kind of modern update to Red Storm Rising, where a couple of strategic types write up their vision of a future war. In this case, it's China and the US in the Pacific, with cyberwar, spacewar, and drones against good old fashioned American military professionalism. Unfortunately, it fails to live up to its vision, and the workman-like writing isn't enough to compensate.

Let's talk about the tech first, since that's what we're here for. This book is basically one giant sloppy blow
Aug 05, 2015 rated it it was ok
The writing is so horrific. I've never read so much old-man cursing or so many "adverbs," he said somethingly. But the writing isn't the point of this book. It's a showcase of defense technology in an imaginary war. On that front, it's a partial success. It's kind of cool to read about how, for example, a rail gun would be operationally beneficial or how drones could be integrated into air to air combat. However, Clausewitz would roll over in his grave reading this. The imaginary war starts beca ...more
Jul 05, 2015 rated it liked it
John Birmingham
Aug 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
Short review.

I loved it. If you enjoyed the Tom Clancy school of the 1980s and would like to see them redone with modern and future technology, just go buy it.

Longer, more considered review.

It's lucky Tom Clancy wasn't able to put hyperlinks all the way through his books. Not in the early years, anyway. This is what they would look like. A military thriller in which every mention of weapons technology is hyperlinked to an explanatory source. But even more than that, there are hundreds of other i
Sep 19, 2015 rated it did not like it
I give up. When every single character and their grandmother engage in a discussion about the recent changes (speculative, the book is set in our near future ) in Chinese foreign policy that sounds like a white paper by some neocon think-tank, what you're reading feels less like a novel and more like badly written fan-fic by a couple of teens who just want to talk about all the cool weaponry they're salivating over in pornographic detail. Add to that the 3 page chapters which result in very abru ...more
An enjoyable techno-thriller. It's not literature, and it's not political, but it will doubtlessly entertain the legions of Tom Clancy fans (of whom I am not one).

When I write that the book is "not political," I mean that it makes no serious attempt to explore the political aspects of "the next world war." As an international relations specialist, I found that strikingly odd. (view spoiler)
Nick Black
totally unreadable. dialogue on the level of LaHaye and Jenkins's execrable Left Behind. they said this was the new tom clancy; this isn't even the new larry bond OOOOH SICK 90s TECHNOTHRILLER BURN. i will be giving this book away.
Jul 29, 2015 marked it as did-not-finish
Shelves: fiction
No rating, did not finish. Not really a novel, it seemed more of an attempt to alarm complacent Americans about the possible uses of emerging technology in a war between China and the United States. Basically, China, allied somehow with Russia, Pearl Harbors us--in space, on the ground, and at sea (including, literally, Pearl Harbor). The authors attempt to humanize the narrative with recurring characters, but they're not really trying: the heart of every chapter is a technical description of an ...more
Peter Tieryas
Sep 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
An incredible what-if of the next World War, hearkens back to the Tom Clancy novels I loved. I really appreciate how it delves into so many details and makes war feel so palpable. I seriously love geeking out over all the techie details =)
Jim D
Jul 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Wow! What a read. If you like fast paced techno-thrillers like the Hunt for Red October, you will love this book. Also, if you are concerned about the future, and what could happen in a future conflict, read this book. The authors, using outside the box thinking, have posited a scenario that is all too plausible. We rely totally on our satellites, our command and control, our intelligence assets, our advanced weaponry... but what if those things weren't there anymore, or didn't work? This book s ...more
Peter Mcloughlin
Reads like a very jittery and jump cut Tom Clancy. It jumps around multiple characters caught in naval battles in the pacific, Chinese Occupied Hawaii, China and the U.S. This story has America thrown of balance as World War III opens and slowly steadying and rebounding towards the end. WWIII in the author's vision will have commonalities with WWII. A lot of the high tech will be destroyed and subverted and America will have to resort to its aging vintage "Ghost fleet" to Rally after the Chinese ...more
May 02, 2015 rated it liked it
I picked up a copy of this book because it sounded right up my alley. Which I did like this book but the story was just that "Ok". IT was intriguing enough that I was already half way through it before I put it down. Yet, if you asked me to describe what happened in the first half of the book, I could not really tell you. It did not stick with me completely. It was like it was almost there for me but not quite. This is because while the story was interesting, this time for me it was about the ch ...more
Frank Theising
May 01, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction-thriller
Recommended by my peers in professional military circles. I had high hopes for this one based on my favorable opinion of Singer’s nonfiction books (both interesting and informative). Unfortunately, I found it lacking both as a novel and as a strategic thought-piece. In Ghost Fleet - A Novel of the Next World War, Singer sets out to warn against US dependence on vulnerable technologies (GPS, cyberspace, etc), the components of which are largely manufactured overseas, as well as draw attention to ...more
Aug 01, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Richard by: The Economist
The Economist rarely reviews science fiction, so I paid attention when they reviewed this one in Chronicle of a war foretold, and even more after they interviewed the authors and discussed the unusual origin of the book — enough to put this on my To Be Read shelf read this.

It was a kick. Predictably reminiscent of early Tom Clancy, before he corrupted his technowar thriller series with his naive variation of libertarian politics.

I especially enjoyed how the North Shore Mujahadeen subverted the
Yzabel Ginsberg
[I received an advanced copy of this book through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.]

DNF at 56%. I tried, I really tried, but it's been weeks and I just can't get interested in the story or the characters. I don't mind when there is more than two or three, I don't mind short chapters in general; only it's not working at all for me in this novel, and halfway in, I still don't care about what's happening to whom, whether the insurgents will survive, whether Carrie will be found out or no
Apr 06, 2015 rated it liked it
It usually takes me a few days to read a book but for some reason, Ghost Fleet did not hold my interest and it took me a while to read it. The storyline is okay with China going after the USA but it seems to lack something. I just couldn't see the US sitting on their butts not doing anything and China getting the drop on us and for me it was a bit hard to swallow. The technical writing was good and not overbearing.

Character development was poor as you really never got to know them. Overall it wa
Randal White
Apr 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
An exciting book, akin to early Clancy. Lots of action. Very, very well researched (just see the footnotes, they're awesome)! Would have been five stars, if there had just been more attention (or any at all) paid to what was happening in the government and NATO during the whole war. But will definitely read his next book!
Joseph DiFrancesco
Aug 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Singer & Cole didn't miss a trick. This book was fascinating and intelligent 'till the very end. I found the technical aspects involving war in the worlds of today, yesterday and tomorrow, intriguing as well as haunting. I hope to see more from these two. I only wish Tom Clancy was still alive to give it a read.
Doctrine Man
Jul 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The future's not so bright, after all. A fantastic book in the Clancy style, with a decidedly dark twist.
World War III starts when China hacks all our microchips that we've installed in all sorts of things and shoots down our satellites. The occupation of Hawaii is broadcast... along with the insurgency of remnant military soldiers and disgruntled civilians. The old moth-balled ships are pulled out and re-purposed to fight back.

Why I started it: I enjoyed Singer's nonfiction and was interested in this speculative fiction on a war between the United States and China.

Why I finished it: The story star
Jennifer Taw
Oct 17, 2017 rated it did not like it
I tried, I really tried, to hang in there and get through this book so I could see how the Americans triumphed at the end with the combo of old tech and whiz-bang new tech, but no. The writing is so atrocious, the sexism so cringe-worthy and unrelenting, the triteness of it all so deeply boring that there was no way to simply enjoy the cool military gizmos or big and small war narratives. What a frikking shame. Not least because the military bits are cool and scary and cut a little close to the ...more
G.H. Eckel
Aug 20, 2016 rated it liked it
I like techno thrillers and I picked up the book because I heard the military was studying it as a forward-thinking treatise about the next war. It is that. And I do find it fascinating that a work of fiction can affect the "real" world. The high points of the book are about 20% in, where the Chinese knock down our satellites. Once they do, the skies become theirs and their navy then has room to wage war. The other exciting part is the climax near the end. In between, the authors give us terrori ...more
May 15, 2015 rated it liked it
Three stars for narrative and characterization, but 4-5 stars for scaring me about how dependent we are on computer technology.

Not much in character development, but a very scary novel of possibilities. We are all so dependent on technology--from the individual shopping online to big banks and financial institutions to...the military.

What happens when something cuts the communication? Can you imagine?

It isn't that we aren't aware of the dangers, but I doubt many of us have truly considered all
Mike Maurer
Sep 25, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thrillers
Actually a DNF. The first 50 or so pages are just horrid.

I like tech thrillers and Navy stories. Especially with submarines. Here, it looked interesting, with the Zumwalt on the cover and a promise of next generation total war. In the first few parts of the book, I've been to a lot of the places. Suisun Bay. Okinawa. Neat. But no.

The authors want to be 15-20 years ahead of today. OK. It is supposed to be based on real or upcoming technology. OK. But the authors really don't understand how things
Aug 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A common comparison, including from the authors themselves, is to Tom Clancy's Red Dawn Rising. I read that book many years ago and have forgotten much of it. But like that book, this is a sprawling, multi-theater epic conflict between superpowers. Unlike that book however, this story takes place not just in the typical land/sea/air theaters of war, with diplomats and spies playing their parts, but also in space, cyberspace and in venture capital / Silicon Valley worlds too. As with Clancy's boo ...more
Nick Brett
Sep 15, 2015 rated it did not like it
This is a (very) techno-thriller set in the near future. China attacks the US, utilising all the technology that has been sold to the US but has the ability to shut down or reduce the technological capability of the US. The only chance the US might have of a fight back is an old ghost fleet, marked for destruction but containing the sort of old technology that has not been tampered with by the sneaky Chinese.

It sounded very much like my kind of thing, but it is so keen to talk about technology t
Sep 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
If you need another reason to fear the Chinese, this story about a near-future sneak attack on the United States is it. What makes the book so scary is how completely believable it all is. Corner-cutting low-bidder military contractors and suppliers, tone-deaf politicians worrying more about their narrow constituencies and lobbyists than the safety of the country, a calcified military command structure preparing to fight the last war – these are all great American traditions stretching back to t ...more
Jul 12, 2015 rated it liked it
As much as I enjoyed Singer's previous works of non-fiction, his first attempt at a novel leaves quite a bit to be desired. First the good; his writing style makes for an easy flow of the book. Singer's description of what future warfare may look like at the tactical level of war is fun to read, this includes how forces may use both soft and hard technology. Now the bad...little to zero character development throughout the book. I felt zero empathy for any characters...the only interesting sub-p ...more
Ryan Mannina
Feb 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: war-books
This book is an engaging and thought-provoking work that will keep you on the edge of your seat. The authors imagine a terrifying future that may be much more realistic than you might think. The thought given to current and future technologies and their employment on the battlefield is imaginative, but there's certainly an element of "is this already happening" as you read it and compare the book with events happening in the real world every day.

I was a little disappointed that the authors seem
Mar 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
While at the engineering duty officer senior course, I took advantage of their wonderful library and knocked this one out. I have read many other works by this author that broadened my understanding of where warfare is headed. Mixing future warfare into a futuristic warfare techothriller was shear genius. My head was spinning about all the technology and acquisition work that I needed to work on as I read through these pages. Future warfare will be a hybrid of man, machine, software, and the ele ...more
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Peter Warren Singer is Strategist and Senior Fellow at the New America Foundation. He previously was Director of the Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence at the Brookings Institution and the youngest scholar named Senior Fellow in Brookings's 99-year history. He has been named by CNN to their "New Guard" List of the Next Generation of Newsmakers, by the Smithsonian Institution-Nationa ...more
“He compared the intelligence task to solving a jigsaw puzzle, except that you didn’t get the box cover, so you didn’t know what the final picture was. And you got only a few pieces at a time, not all of them. And even worse, you always got a bunch of pieces from some other puzzle thrown in.” 3 likes
“again: I live in lonely desolation, And wonder when my end will come.” 2 likes
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