Hailed "an extraordinary novel of men at war" (Washington Post), The Last Ship is the book that inspired the TNT mini series starring Eric Dane, Rhona Mitra, and Adam Baldwin, with Michael Bay as executive producer.
The unimaginable has happened: The world has been plunged into all-out nuclear war. Sailing near the Arctic Circle, the USS Nathan James is relatively unscathed, but the future is grim and Captain Thomas is facing mutiny from the tattered remnants of his crew. With civilization in ruins, he urges those that remain - 152 men and 26 women - to pull together in search of land. Once they reach safety, however, the men and women on board realize that they are the earth's last remaining survivors - and they've all been exposed to radiation. When none of the women seems able to conceive, fear sets in. Will this be the end of humankind?
This thrilling tale of post apocalyptic suspense is perfect for readers of Going Home by A. American, Lights Out by DavidCrawford, The End and The Long Road by G. Michael Hopf, and One Second After by William Forstchen.
©1988 William Brinkley (P)2014 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
This is one of the books in which I both loved and hated. The loved the premise of the book. However, at times the style of writing drove me to the point of going postal! Strangely, at other times I found it like a drug which left me wanting more. At times it felt like the author was using words for the sake of using words! At other times the descriptive nature of the language was like sweet music to my ears.
I couldn't help but think about the author. What sort of person was/is he? Did he really speak and think like this in real life? I bet he would be the life of a party. I imagine he could insult me in 15 different languages.
I would like you to imagine me saying this in the voice of Forrest Gump; “I’m not a smart man, but I know what…” it takes to finish this book. It takes commitment. It takes a certain type of mood. Perhaps a certain type of insanity because unless you like to examine every last thing in detail. If you are the type of person who goes out into the rain to try and count the rain drops then you will love this one!
My advice is simple, listen to the sample not once, not twice, but over and over again for at least an hour. If you can still stomach the style of writing then go for it! You will have what it takes! This is the title for you. It will certainly give you a good credit per hour ratio, which is very important if you have to watch your cash flow like me (cheap skate actually for me).
If you have any doubts about the style, then do yourself a favour and let this one pass. You will go mad in an attempt to make it to the end. Because, frankly the story is good enough for you to attempt it. If you buy it and don't make it through to the end you will hate yourself. If you do make it through to the end you will still probably ending up hating yourself. It will only be worse for you if you work in a industry in which you have to deal with people. I know my tolerance dropped sharply while listening to this one... If I have to tell one more person "have you tried turning it off and on again' I will hit them over the head with my keyboard while asking myself the question why did I spend 29 hours of my jam packed week listening to "The Last Ship"?
So you have been warned sailor!
"Very punctilios word choices"
First of all, the TV series if VERY loosely based on this book. About the only thing in common is the ship and a few of the sailors names. That's fine with me because the idea behind the book is very good. Yes, some of the information is a bit dated, but I was glad to hear the ship had a good supply of VHS and cassette tapes.
The word choice in this book was very punctilios (you can look it up too). Halfway through the book I was convinced the author was just starting to make words up. I even did a web search for a dictionary just so I could start looking words up to catch him. Perhaps due to the generational gap, but the authors literary style would have fit in better had the book taken place in the 1700's.
"... the waters offering us a spondaic series of soft swells which gave a gentle roll and pitch so synchronized as to make the ship seem for once in fraternal rapport with the sea and to move through it with a serine swish. The sea all about lying in a melancholy splendor, luminous stillness the universe seemingly held in hands of tranquility ..."
The narrator didn't skip a beat in his reading of this book. There were no edits or stutters as he muddled through these words and his voices varied and were appropriate. Maybe the narrator read the same "word of the day" books the author did.
I liked this book but now feel like I have neglected my study of the English language and will endeavor to broaden my vocabulary so I can talk good too. 😀
"Not what I expected"
The Last Ship was totally unexpected. When I finally got through all 29 hours I felt it was time well spent, although again, it left me with mixed feelings.
Books like this are simply not written any more. It had the feel of post-apocalyptic novels like On the Beach or Earth Abides. However it was written in an almost 19th century style. Think Melville or even Poe. Very formal and philosophical.
Pick up Moby Dick again.
As I said before, the author was extremely erudite. In other words he would not use a fifty-cent word if a two dollar word was available. This book would be a treasure-trove for scrabble fans. Because it was written in the late 80's it is a bit anachronistic technology-wise. The author also allowed some glaring errors in order to heighten the plot.
"An amazing book"
The depth of the story line illustrating the terror of nuclear Armageddon around the world. But also the hope of a small band of men and woman have for the future of humanity.
Other books of on this subject that come to mind are The Road and On the Beach but this book surpasses them all by illustrating the horror of what these weapons of mass destruction can accomplish
By far the Captain of the last ship. He is more than the narrator but the soul of the story. His humanity and strong leadership under unprecedented circumstances is stirring and believable.
A epic story of survival.... for humanity.
I am surprised by the negative comments of this book. William Brinkley has written a masterpiece of fiction of the horrors of the atomic age. Anyone who reads this book will be left with some images that will linger for a very long time. But also an appreciation of what we have now with our families and world around us.
"Not like television series but still excellent!"
This is not the modern television series. It is a story set in the nuclear 1980's from the point of view of the Captain of a Naval Destroyer carrying possible First Strike Nuclear Weapons. The unthinkable happens and a nuclear holocaust wipes out everything. "What happens??
You are in the captain's mind as he struggles with and makes unbelievably difficult decisions. You see his values and his prejudices as well as his strengths and his deep love of his crew and his ship. This book leaves a lot of the mysteries and questions unanswered. You will wonder along with the captain whether he is making the right decisions . This book gave me a lot to think about.
This is one of the most remarkable books in the post-apocalyptic genre I've ever read or listened to. The author manages to keep the pace going steadily even though it is a very long novel. I really couldn't put it down for the nearly 30 hours it took the narrator to read the book.
Bravo to Lane for managing to narrate such a long book without tiring the reader out. He does a great job for nearly 30 hours.
Unfortunately, as the cover of this audio book notes, this book has already been made into a series on the TNT network. I say unfortunately, because as is too often the case, the television gurus ignored the bulk of the book to create a video monstrosity. The TV series follows a plot unrecognizable from that of 'The Last Ship.' It's not worth watching.
Author Brinkley published this book as the Cold War was coming to a close, so it is technically a wee bit dated. But with the potential for world-scale nuclear disaster still very much alive the book remains timely.
I actually had to find out when this book was published (1988) because of some of the attitudes and comments of the main characters. It is all about the navy and no one can argue the military is less than enlightened when it comes to attitudes about women but there are parts of this narrative that seem like they come from the 1880s. (For example, when a rape occurs aboard ship, the Captain actually asks the ship’s physician if the woman had been a virgin?!).
That aside, the story did hold my attention because of the premise. Multiple mutual nuclear missile strikes take out almost all of humanity. The missles are launched from navy ships and enemy submarines. Some of the few survivors of the apocalypse are shipmates aboard U.S. Navy Destroyer, the Nathan James. The Nathan James is one of the first few Navy vessels to hold a mixed gender crew. There are several plot lines (scarcity of food and fuel, PTSD, radiation contamination, command authority, reproduction ethics, religion…) that raise interesting questions and kept me listening. But, everything in the book is forced through the spectrum of THE SEA. Everything is seen, told, evaluated and experienced from a naval standpoint. There are several instances where it is stated outright with no irony what so ever that seamen are just better people in general and certainly better equipped to withstand the apocalypse not because they happened to be at sea when the bombs start to fall but because they are better trained, better equipped, smarter, stronger and better disciplined than ANYONE else in the world.
As noted by other reviewers, the story is bloated with extra narrative, but I would recommend the listen if you have a diehard interest in naval or post-apocalypse adventure. Christopher Lane is one of my favorite narrators and did a fine job here.
"Superfluous voluminous thesaurusful prose"
Efficient elegant effective writing
No, I wish them to remain my friends.
Suitable, adequate, tolerant. Does a good job considering the material.
My annoyance kept my mind off the commute
"Redundant and R-rated"
The descriptions were grand at first but soon became verbose and repetitive.
The sex scenes were needlessly detailed and vulgar and were out of character with the rest of the book.
The TV show that is very loosely based on this book is much better.
Is was not worth the read.
However, the reader did a fantastic job with the voices and accents.
"worth a read if just barely"
Long windedness pulls away from a cool concept. not bad overall though. also the sense of mystery seems forced. good ending though. I didn't see it coming.
"Thoughtful deep contemplation on a possible apocal"
It's definitely in the top audiobooks I've read.
The wistful reminiscences of the captain juxtaposing the current scenario and world with that of his memories brings into focus what has been lost.
It would be if not for the fact it's ~30 hours long!
It's not a super fast based book but it is so well worth the listen, part of the charm is the seeming peace that punctuates the moments of fear and disaster. The narration is fantastic and Christopher Lane's voice is rich and deep but also versatile enough to cover all required situations. Although the book did reach a satisfying conclusion I could have definitely listened to another 30 hours!
Starts off a bit slow but becomes a really good story to listen to wold definitely recommend listening to it
"Tragic. Beautifully written"
One of the best books I have listened to. Beautifully written with unbelievable use of language. Comparable to Moby Dick or some other classic.
Tragic, frightening, but very relevant story
The Road. This is much longer but worth every minute. Not for those who are impatient for action.
Voices really suited the characters. The measured manner of speech of the Captain was beautiful to listen to - it really expressed his character
A classic dystopian novel.
"Not the TVs series story!"
This is a very enjoyable story, but unlike the TVs series this is not about a global pandemic, oh no! Something far worse!
Some interesting plot twists thrown in for good measure.
Majority of the story is told from a first person perspective, not an un-enjoyable format but unlike my usual authors (Patrick O'brian, Julian Stockwin)
It is long, 29hours or so.
I will be listening to it again.
It's long...but afterwards you will wish it was longer. There are times when the descriptive passages become close to painful and you just want to shout "just tell me what happens". But you need to persevere! There are still questions left unresolved throughout but...in reality of course those involved would also be in a position of not knowing. Highly recommended especially if you've ever served at sea.
I usually give books the time to settle but have a feeling I will not return to this book.
I expected more but really disappointed. The first book I will not be finishing in a long time
Five stars all the way.
This book from 1988 is sadly still relevant.
And for a book from the eighties forward thinking.
Not at all dated.
"Great story let down by massive over-description"
Someone with the patience to listen to everything being described twice before any action takes place
when I got bored of listening to it
Hard to say
I love the storyline. It is intriguing and I really wanted to get to the explanation of the back-story but I was just so bored of the lengthy preambles to any action. The author got carried away with the use of excessively lengthy explanations of everything and yet, when he forgot to embellish it, the story and characters were great.
"The Captain's Log"
Many comparisons are drawn between this book and "On the Beach" written some three decades earlier, indeed there are many similarities though there are far greater differences. The novel harks back to a time where the thought of nuclear holocaust was greater than perhaps it is today, though it is also quite a poignant note of how entirely man could destroy himself.
The book is told entirely from the perspective of the Captain of the Nathan James, who is seldom referred to by name and in fact throughout the book you never learn his full name. The Captain tells in mellifluous detail about the life aboard a Navy destroyer, his role as the Captain and what decisions he must make to keep his crew alive as the world is consumed with radiation.
The book takes you deep into the mind of the Captain, and as such spends an enormous amount of time on reflection and various ponderings. At times this can slow the progress of the story down considerably, indeed there are moments where it feels as though the good Captain has swallowed a thesaurus given the vast amount of descriptions he can apply to the various situations.
This is a long book though one that I have enjoyed greatly, and it really felt as though I was in the Captain's cabin with him throughout.
"unoriginal and slow"
Read On The Beach instead. The narration was completely destroyed by the narrator's hiss on the letter "s" which could easily been reduced in post production.
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