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Ghost Fleet: A Novel of the Next World War

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  7,890 ratings  ·  845 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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Average rating 3.71  · 
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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
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
May 14, 2020 rated it did not like it

To date, this is the worst book of 2020. I managed to make it one quarter of the way through before gagging to a halt.

Xenophobic, jingoistic and hugely derivative tale of a sneak attack on the US by China with Russian cooperation(?). The characters are stiff and unbelievable, the dialogue is inane. Never is a coherent explanation offered for the attack(there's a scene about red and blue lines on a map and China's Manifest Destiny, and some talk about an undersea gas field, that's it). All th
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. ...more
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
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)
Oct 12, 2020 rated it it was ok
Military Science Fiction\Political Thriller\Murder Mystery mashup.

My paperback dead tree copy was a moderate 379 pages with a US 2015 copy write.

This book was co-authored. P. W. Singer is an American political scientist, an international relations scholar and a specialist on 21st century warfare. He is the author of six (6) non-fiction books. This is his first work of fiction. August Cole is an American writer, analyst, and consultant, and a former defense industry reporter for The Wall
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 =)
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
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
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
Chris Gager
Apr 07, 2019 rated it liked it
A loaner from work-friend Dan(a former career Navy pilot). May start tonight, time permitting.

Got into this page-turning techno-thriller last night. It helps to have been in the military, especially the Navy(I was) but its not essential. I assume that other techno-geeks might be able to find flaws and faults in the plotting and details, but I can't. I was pleased to see the Zumwalt get some page-time. I gather from reading other reviews that it will be coming back to the plot. The "Z" was built
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
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
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
Jun 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
"Massive enjoyable near future military fiction."

Very entertaining, and very believable in its extrapolation of current technology into a future setting. Drone warfare and hacker armies battling alongside 20th-century naval vessels. The Characters all felt real. The tension wasn't forced. Exactly what the blurb offered and more.
Mar 19, 2020 rated it it was ok
Trash writing, but the technology featured is fascinating
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 t
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
Sanjay Varma
Nov 27, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: novels
Incredibly disappointing book. It presents itself as a Tom Clancy novel but it lacks the characters, motivations, and strategies that made Clancy novels so exceptional. Every female character is a prostitute, while male characters cannot even be described as one dimensional. Missing too, is any resemblance to geopolitical realism. Countries form alliances and attack each other for no particular reason.

This book copies a lot of its technologies and tactics from Iain Banks' sci-fi novels, Frank He
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! ...more
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. ...more
Kev Chaloner
Jun 23, 2019 rated it did not like it
Irritating and predictable.
I agree with many of the critics, that "Ghost Fleet" is the bringing of Tom Clancy's 1980s techno thriller "Red Storm Rising," into the 21st Century...A scenario that's part reality and part SciFi, but a scenario that is all too plausible as the PRC has become such an integrated part of America's technological world...very scary novel of possibilities...Solid, page-turning thriller!!! ...more
Nov 20, 2020 rated it did not like it
The writing of this book is absolutely atrocious. I couldn’t finish it. Just awful. Don’t waste your time.
Chris Chester
Jul 08, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nerd-fiction
tl;dr Ghost Fleet reminds me a lot of Independence Day, but with the Chinese instead of aliens, and written by Tom Clancy under supervision of a defense contractor.

I would certainly never classify this book as good. At its best, it's a page-turning thriller for those who have strong feelings about various military weapon systems, possess a real visceral fear about the inevitable end of American hegemony, and who talk about "The Chinese" with a mixture of revulsion and fear. So basically, your ru
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
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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 101-year history. Described in the Wall Street Journal as “the premier futurist in the national- security environment," has been named by the Sm ...more

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