The Trident Deception: A Novel

The Trident Deception: A Novel

by Rick Campbell

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"The best submarine novel since Tom Clancy's The Hunt for Red October." —Booklist (starred review)

The USS Kentucky—a Trident ballistic missile submarine carrying a full complement of 192 nuclear warheads—is about to go on a routine patrol. Not long after it reaches the open sea, however, the Kentucky receives a launch order. After receiving that launch order, it is cut off from all counter-orders and disappears into the Pacific while it makes the eight-day transit to the launch site. What the Kentucky's crew doesn't know is that those launch orders haven't actually come from the U.S. government.

Rogue elements within the Mossad have learned that Iran has developed its first nuclear weapon and, in ten days, will detonate it—and the target is Israel. The suspected weapon complex is too far underground for conventional weapons to harm it, and the only choice is a pre-emptive nuclear strike. With limited time, this rogue group initiates a long-planned operation called the Trident Deception. They'll transmit false orders and use a U.S. nuclear submarine to launch the attack.

In this thriller from Rick Campbell, with only 8 days before the Kentucky is in launch range and with the submarine cut off from any outside communication, one senior officer, the father of one of the officers aboard the submarine, must assemble and lead a team of attack submarines to find, intercept and neutralize the Kentucky before it can unknowingly unleash a devastating nuclear attack.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250039002
Publisher: St. Martin''s Publishing Group
Publication date: 03/11/2014
Series: Trident Deception Series , #1
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 37,508
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

RICK CAMPBELL, a retired Navy Commander, spent more than twenty-five years on multiple submarine tours, finishing his career with tours with the Naval Operations staff in the Pentagon and in the Washington Navy Yard. On his last tour, he was one of the two men whose permission is required to launch the submarine's nuclear warhead-tipped missiles. Rick lives with his wife and three children in the greater Washington, D.C. area, and is finishing the sequel to The Trident Deception.

Rick Campbell, a retired Navy Commander, spent more than twenty years on multiple submarine tours. On his last tour, he was one of the two men whose permission was required to launch the submarine's nuclear warhead-tipped missiles. Campbell is the author of The Trident Deception, Empire Rising and Ice Station Nautilus, and lives with his family in the greater Washington, D.C. area.

Read an Excerpt


Under normal circumstances, the thirteen men and women seated in the conference room would have been dressed in formal attire, the men wearing crisp business suits, the women turned out in silk blouses and coordinating skirts. They would have struck up lively conversations, attempting to persuade their colleagues to accept one proposal or another, their animated faces reflecting off the room’s varnished chestnut paneling. But tonight, pulled away from their evening activities, they wore sports slacks and shirts, their hair wet and windblown, their faces grim as they sat quietly in their seats, eyes fixed on the man at the head of the U-shaped conference table.
Beads of rain clung to Levi Rosenfeld’s Windbreaker, left there by a spring storm that had settled over the Middle East, expending itself in unbridled fury, sheets of rain descending in cascading torrents. Prime Minister Rosenfeld, flanked by all twelve members of Israel’s National Security Council, fumed silently in his seat as he awaited details of an unprecedented threat to his country’s existence. He wondered how such critical information could have been discovered so late. At the far left of the conference table sat Barak Kogen, Israel’s intelligence minister. Although Kogen was not a member of the Security Council, Rosenfeld had directed him to attend tonight’s meeting to explain the Mossad’s failure.
At the front of the room, a man stood before a large flat-screen monitor. Thin and short, wearing round wire-rimmed glasses, Ehud Rabin’s physical presence failed to reflect the power he wielded as the leader of Israel’s second-strongest political party and as Israel’s defense minister. Ehud waited for Rosenfeld’s permission to begin.
Rosenfeld nodded in his direction.
Pushing his glasses onto the bridge of his nose, Ehud stated what everyone in the room already knew. “The Mossad reports Iran will complete assembly of its first nuclear weapon in ten days.” The lights in the conference room flickered, thunder rumbling in the distance as if on cue.
Rosenfeld looked at his intelligence minister. “Why did we discover this just now, only days before they complete assembly?”
Kogen shifted uncomfortably in his seat, his eyes scanning each member of the Security Council before coming to rest on Rosenfeld. “I apologize, Prime Minister. Nothing is more important than preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. But Iran has deceived us and the rest of the world. We were fortunate to discover the true extent of their progress in time. We will be more vigilant in the future.”
There was something about Kogen’s quick apology rather than stout defense of his Mossad that gave Rosenfeld the impression he was hiding something. But perhaps the evening’s tension was clouding his intuition. He turned back to Ehud. “What are our options?”
Ehud pressed a remote control in his hand, stepping aside as the monitor flickered to life, displaying a map of Iran. “Weapon assembly is occurring at the Natanz nuclear complex.” A flashing red circle appeared two hundred kilometers south of Tehran. “Uranium for additional weapons is being enriched at Isfahan, and plutonium is being produced at their heavy-water plant near Arak.” Two more red circles appeared in central Iran. “Eliminating the facilities at Arak and Isfahan will be easy, but destruction of their weapon assembly complex at Natanz will be impossible with a conventional strike.” The map zoomed in on the Natanz facility, a sprawling collection of innocuous-looking buildings. “Iran has built a hardened complex beneath the Karkas mountains, connected to the main facility by tunnels. While a conventional strike will collapse the tunnels, it cannot destroy the weapon assembly complex.”
“So how do we destroy this facility?”
“Since the complex cannot be destroyed with conventional weapons, that leaves one option.”
Rosenfeld leaned forward in his chair. “What are you proposing?”
Ehud glared at the prime minister. “You know exactly what needs to be done here, Levi. We have a responsibility to protect the citizens of our country. There is no question this weapon will be used against us, either directly or indirectly. We must destroy this facility before Iran completes assembly of this bomb, even if that means we have to employ one of our nuclear weapons.”
The conference room erupted. Some council members passionately agreed with Ehud while others chastised him for proposing such an egregious break in policy. Rosenfeld slammed his fist on the table, silencing the room. “Out of the question! We will not use nuclear weapons unless they are used against us first.”
Ehud’s eyes narrowed. “Then millions of our people will die, because Iran will use this weapon against us. We can either strike now, before our men, women, and children are murdered, or afterward. If we do not strike first, their deaths will be on your conscience.”
The defense minister’s assertion hung in the air as Rosenfeld surveyed his council members, some of them staring back, others with their eyes to the table. Whether they agreed with Ehud or not, they could not avoid the underlying truth.
If Iran assembled this weapon, it would eventually be used against Israel. That was something Israel could not allow. But a nuclear first strike! Although the prime minister and his Security Council had the authority to authorize the use of nuclear weapons, morally …
Rosenfeld looked down one side of the conference table and then the other, examining the faces of the men and women seated around him, eventually returning his attention to Ehud. “Are there are no conventional weapons capable of destroying this complex? Not even in the American arsenal?”
Ehud’s lips drew thin. “The Americans have the necessary weapons. But they will not provide them to us while they engage in discussions with Iran.” Ehud’s voice dripped with disdain as he mentioned America’s attempt to convince Iran to abandon its nuclear ambitions with mere words.
“Do not discount our ally so easily,” Rosenfeld replied. “I will meet with the American ambassador tomorrow and explain the situation.”
“You are blind, Levi.” Ehud’s face tightened. “The Americans have abandoned us, and you fail to recognize it.”
“That’s enough, Ehud! Provide me with the information on the weapons we need, and I will broach this with the United States.”
Ehud nodded tersely.
Rosenfeld stood. “Unless there is more to discuss, I’ll see you tomorrow morning.”
The council members filed out of the conference room, until only Rosenfeld and Kogen remained.
Turning to Rosenfeld, Kogen said, “Prime Minister, may I have a word with you, privately?”
“Of course. What would you like to discuss?”
“It’s best we not talk here.”
*   *   *
Footsteps echoed off the gray terrazzo floor as the two men, each lost in his own thoughts, walked down the Hall of Advisers toward Rosenfeld’s office. On their right, paintings of Israel’s prime ministers hung in shallow alcoves, beginning with the image of their country’s first premier, David Ben-Gurion, who guided Israel through its War of Independence. At the far end of the hallway, a conspicuous bare spot on the wall marked the location where Rosenfeld’s portrait would someday hang.
Glancing at the shorter and heavier man walking beside him, Kogen thought Rosenfeld had aged more than could be attributed to the normal passage of time. But that was easily explained. Shortly after his election six years ago, the prime minister had weathered a three-year intifada. Then there was the personal loss he had endured, compounded by his dual responsibilities as father and prime minister. Yet despite the toll of his years in office, the older man walked with a determined pace and slightly forward lean, as if barreling through unseen obstacles in his path. The brisk pace was his only exercise; workouts were always something to be scheduled in the not too distant future. As a result, he had steadily added padding to his midsection. But Kogen knew Rosenfeld considered his weight acceptable as long as the circumference of his waist remained smaller than the width of his shoulders. Fortunately, Rosenfeld had broad shoulders.
Kogen, on the other hand, had retained his youthful physique, lean and muscular. The taller man, always impeccably dressed, he projected an air of competence and confidence. To the uninformed, Kogen was the more ideal image of a prime minister. But his service had been limited to the military and Israel’s intelligence service; he’d been appointed intelligence minister shortly after Rosenfeld’s election as prime minister.
Reaching the end of the hallway, Rosenfeld and Kogen passed through a metal detector and into the Aquarium, the security guard’s eyes displaying no hint of curiosity about their arrival so late on a Monday evening. The Aquarium section of the PMO, the Prime Minister’s Office building, where foreign leaders visited their Israeli counterparts, contained a plush, well-appointed lobby, offices for Rosenfeld and his closest aides, and a communications center that allowed for minute-by-minute contact with the Israel Defense Forces. Kogen reflected on the many decisions Rosenfeld and previous prime ministers had made in that small room, guiding Israel through its turbulent history; decisions that paled in importance to the one that would be made tonight.
*   *   *
Following the prime minister into his office, Kogen sat stiffly in the chair across from Rosenfeld’s desk, scanning the content of the modestly furnished room as he collected his thoughts. The furniture was spartan and utilitarian, the desk and chairs made from natural unstained maple, unadorned with intricate carvings. The shelf behind Rosenfeld was filled with books arranged in no particular order. The office, with its indecipherable filing system and simple furnishings, reflected the prime minister perfectly—it was difficult to gauge his reaction to complex issues, yet straightforward once a decision was made. Although Kogen had known Rosenfeld his entire adult life, he could not predict his friend’s response. Rosenfeld’s decision would determine whether four years of painstaking preparation had been in vain.
Heavy drops of rain pelted the prime minister’s windows as Rosenfeld waited for Kogen to speak. As impatience gathered in Rosenfeld’s eyes, Kogen steeled himself. He cleared his throat, then began. “We must destroy Natanz, Levi. You know better than anyone the sacrifice we will endure as a nation if Iran is allowed to develop nuclear weapons.”
Rosenfeld glanced at the framed portrait of his family, still sitting on his desk. “You’re not telling me anything I don’t already know, Barak.”
Lowering his voice, Kogen continued, “Iran is a cesspool of contempt for Israel, intent on exterminating our people. Natanz must be destroyed before this weapon is assembled. We do not have the necessary conventional weapons. Therefore it must be destroyed with a nuclear strike.”
There was a long silence as Rosenfeld contemplated Kogen’s assertion. Finally, Rosenfeld spoke. “I will not authorize the preemptive use of nuclear weapons. From a political and moral standpoint, that is something we cannot do.”
Kogen leaned back in his chair, a sly smile emerging on his lips. “I never said Israel would launch the nuclear strike.”
Rosenfeld blinked, not comprehending Kogen’s statement. “Then who?”
The younger man’s smile widened. “America.”
A puzzled expression worked its way across Rosenfeld’s face. “America? The president would never authorize this.”
Kogen hesitated a moment before continuing. It was finally time to reveal the Mossad’s most closely held secret. “The president’s authorization isn’t required, Prime Minister. Only yours. The Mossad stands ready to initiate an operation that will result in America destroying Natanz. Your authorization is the only step remaining.”
Rosenfeld stared at Kogen for a long moment, then his eyes went to the portrait of his family again. No one understood better what was at stake than Rosenfeld, and Kogen knew he was struggling. Iran didn’t have an army massed on Israel’s border. They didn’t have a nuclear arsenal in the process of being launched. Yet the threat Iran posed was severe. It had to be dealt with, and deceiving America into employing one of its nuclear weapons was the perfect solution.
It didn’t take long for Rosenfeld to come to a decision.
“Absolutely not!”
Frustration boiled inside Kogen. Still, he harbored hope Rosenfeld would eventually come to the proper decision. The Mossad plan was a radical proposal, and the prime minister would need time to accept it. After a few days of reflection, Rosenfeld would see the wisdom in Kogen’s solution.
Showing no outward sign of his frustration, Kogen stood. Before turning to leave, he said, “In ten days, Prime Minister, Iran will complete assembly of this weapon. You have until then to decide.”

Copyright © 2014 by Rick Campbell

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The Trident Deception 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 34 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good suspenseful yarn with some well developed characters. Would make a great movie! The look at the technical details is fascinating. Reminds me of
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I looked forward to turning each page...I loved the detail and thought provoking plot and characters. Definately a strategic thriller; thought provoking and a heads up for those who need planning and gaming scenarios.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great story with lots of action.   The details of the submarine tactics and plot twists were very well done.  Hard to put down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I highly recommend "The Trident Deception." It was a good story and told very well. I had a hard time putting it down. I think this would be a good movie. I look forward to reading Rick Campbell's next book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Looking forward to the next on by this author mc
BlueMaxxNY More than 1 year ago
Overall solid military techno thriller Realistic in many aspects. Good tension, good detail. Odd tendency for author to add romantic/sexual tension/emotional notations and comments when referring to female lead character... as if somehow it was necessary when having a female character. Totally superfluous to otherwise good tale.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A little too technical at times but the book was very good.
Dennie61 More than 1 year ago
EXCELLENT !!!! Very Hard to put down.. Won't regret buying this one..
insanepoet65 More than 1 year ago
TITLE: The Trident Deception AUTHOR: Rick Campbell GENRE: Military/Political Thriller PAGES: 608 I love a good military/political thriller. Tom Clancy got me hooked on them with The Hunt For Red October. His passing has saddened me as a reader of the genre, wondering where my next fix will come from. I found it! With The Trident Deception, Rick Campbell has awakened that feeling Tom Clancy gave me the first time I read one of his books. He took me to the edge of my seat, then threw me off! Just when I have clawed my way back, he took me to the edge again and threw me over again! It is a vicious cycle he achieves again and again. The story is this: Iran is close to perfecting a nuclear bomb. Israel wants to stop them before the bomb is turned on them. To do so, they arrange for orders to be sent to a U.S. submarine, ordering it to launch its full complement of nuclear missiles on Iran. This sets off a massive game of cat and mouse, and a chase through the ocean that will leave you breathless. One of the better part of Campbell’s book is that he gives you insight into what life of an Unites States submarine as it patrols the sea, which is not boring by any stretch of the imagination. I will give you one warning. When you get to around 100-125 pages left, get up, get something to drink, use the restroom, then buckle up for on of the biggest white knuckle reads you have had the pleasure of reading in a very long time. 5 Bookmarks pout of 5
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A great story very well written. Loved the details and facts. Can't wait to read the next book. If you love submarines stories with real content you will enjoy this one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I absolutely love submarine books. This is a fantastic story, once you get started you won't want to put the book down. Rick Campbell is a excellent storyteller. Can't wait to read the next two books. If you like Patrick Robinson, Tom Clancy or Michael DiMercurio you'll love Rick Campbell. Just do yourself a favor and pick up The Trident Deception!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very timely story. Well written. Good read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great story very fast paced and hard to put down
Scootertsm More than 1 year ago
The book is hard to follow and the plot does not thicken. Not good for casual reading but for the individual who likes lots of facts and details and who likes looking for the actual plot. Found this book good but difficult and I read all the sub books.
wandererDE More than 1 year ago
Booklist? You're freakin' out of your mind. Want the 2nd best modern sub novel, read Mark Josephs "To Kill The Potemkin". The author of this novel tried to emulate the late great techno author and fell flat on his face. If Rick Campbell served aboard a boomer, he's utterly safe from prosecution by the NIS. All of his facts are fantasy. I will not delve into individual factoids but 99.99% of his operational protocols are pipe dreams. Damnit, if a boomer ascends to sensor depth it's antennas are going to pick up thousands of low band, mid band and high band signals. Think they wouldn't listen in on USA radio news programs, the BBC shortwave? ELF coding is not discussed. Three categories of safeties, TARGETING, ARMING and LAUNCH. This turkey had Naval Intelligence rolling around the E-Ring pounding the tile with their fists. I was generous - I gave this novel a second star out of amusement. Booklist lost all credibility due to their projected ignorance of how the military and NSC operates.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really enjoyed the book.  I'm not a big fan of so much detail but I found the info on the submarines fascinating.  Looking forward to the sequel.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What an awesome read! Could not drop the book, had to keep reading to find out what was going to happen next. Was surprised to discover the traitor even though there were subtle hints. Recommend for any submariner enthusiast.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed it thanks
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Tough to put this one down once you start reading it. Great plot with plenty of action. The author obviously has vast knowledge of submarine warfare, but as a reader who knows nothing about submarines, the story was easy to follow and not burdened by technical jargon. Great work!