It is the greatest advance in American defense technology in decades?an attack submarine capable of incredible underwater speeds. There is only one problem: A key element of the prototype is missing?and the man who developed it is dead. At the same time, ships have started vanishing mid-ocean, usually never to be found again, but when they are, sometimes bodies are found aboard?burned to a crisp. What is going on? And what does it have to do with an Italian submarine that vanished in 1943? Or did it? It is up to NUMA director Dirk Pitt and his team, aided by a beautiful NCIS agent and by Pitt’s children, Dirk, Jr., and Summer, to go on a desperate international chase to find the truth. But what they discover is a much, much greater threat than even they imagined?