|The Last Ship by William Brinkley is a novel of life in the tin-can Navy after a global nuclear disaster.|
Bereft of communications of any sort, the Captain of the U.S.S. Nathan James believes his ship is the last remaining bastion of humanity in the war torn world. Thestory begins with the remnants of the crew searching the Southern Hemisphere for an uncontaminated island where they can set to repopulating the earth. This is the modern U.S. Navy; there are women aboard.
The society that is created is not much different than a ship at sea, with the Captain as supreme judge. I found this a bit unbelievable in that, despite being well trained and used to taking commands, without the existence of the United States of America, all U.S. Navy rules and regulations become an historic curiosity. As a veteran, I find it hard to grasp why the men would not revolt in a grand fashion. Certainly there is no love lost between a Captain and his men, in spite of what foolishness the Captain may believe.
To repopulate the 'Earth,' a small island in the South Pacific, the female sailors are forced into state sponsored prostitution. The Captain forces the women to sleep with all of the men in rotation, in hopes of finding a man who was not sterilized by the high levels of radiation, and so can procreate. When one man and one woman find love and wish to make their relationship exclusive, they are tossed from the civilization to die in the wild. At this point, th story lost all believability to me. Service men would simply not put up with this behavior from their officers.
Then the Russians arrive in a submarine, peace between men is finally realized, and the Russian men prove to be capable of reproducing, and so this brave new world will be populated by the children of the enemies who caused the devastation in the first place.
Yawn. It barely even works as Deus Ex Machina.
At times, I truly enjoyed this book. Brinkley obviously know quite a bit about the Navy in general and Destroyers in particular, but upon completing the story, I find that he lacks any understanding of the REAL Navy -- the brave and strong willed men and women who make it work.
The Last Ship comes off as a way for Brinkley to live out his adolescent and misogynistic fantasies of being the King of the World. While enjoyable in spells, there are much finer post-apocalyptic novels that actually make sense. I'd suggest looking for some of those if the interest strikes you.