First Prize is Nothing

by Jim Kirker


The Marion Incident

At the height of Cold War tensions in 1970, the heyday of détente through Mutually Assured Destruction, a U.S. Fleet Ballistic Submarine, The Marion, undertakes a strategic deterrent patrol in the Mediterranean.  As the mission progresses, the Executive Officer slowly comes to realize that his Commanding Officer is mentally deteriorating  into a dangerous state of paranoid delusion. Given the temper of the times, and realizing that the nuclear trip wire could be so easily breached, the Exec, Mike Craig, must somehow get the ship safely back to port without allowing his irrational Captain to light the fires of World War III.            

Narrowly successful in shepherding the ship back to port, the Exec then finds himself battling for his  professional survival against the Navy’s chain of command whose overriding concern is to protect the image of the iconic Hyman G. Rickover – rather than determining the reasons for the harrowing brush with  Armageddon. 

All descriptions of life aboard the Marion, its operations, equipment, tactics and the portrayal of its operating environment at sea in the 1970's, at the height of the Cold War, are factual and accurate.

While the ship and its characters' names are fictional, all major elements of the Marion's patrol and its aftermath are authentic.


Book Cover