THE AQUANAUTS

 
Full Name: William Martin
Series Name: The Aquanauts
Codename: Tiger Shark
Nationality: American
Organization: Secret Underwater Service
Occupation Agent

Creator: Ken Stanton
Time Span: 1970 - 1974
ABOUT THE SERIES

       William Martin is the leader of the Aquanauts.
       This group of highly trained operatives is part of the elite Secret Underwater Service. To provide adequate protection to the nation from enemies who would either strike from the sea or attack naval underwater missions, the U.S. Navy established this top secret organization. The mission of the SUS was twofold: train personnel to be able to handle extremely difficult underwater missions and to actually carry out those tasks when the President so orders.
       The men who volunteer for such a position were dubbed the Aquanauts. Classified as Minnows at first, they were able to assume the much coveted name of Shark when they had proven their abilities. The best man of the group was alone given the title of Tiger Shark and was empowered to do whatever was necessary on a mission - even kill.
       The first man to be so named died in action. His replacement was William (Bill) Martin, a lieutenant in the Navy and a decorated war hero with a Navy Cross with oak leaf cluster. Standing 6'2 and weighing 215 lbs, this black-haired, blue-eyed Annapolis graduate was 30 years old and in perfect physical condition.
       He was also exactly what this clandestine organization demanded - a rugged, fearless man who put the interests of the country before those of his own.

       A common belief about this series seemed to be that it was for young adults. The Sea Hunt style covers, adolescent titles (Operation Sea Monster and Operation Mermaid), and a hero with the name Tiger Shark, all contributed to that image.
       Reading them, however, will change that attitude. While they are somewhat juvenile, they are hardly meant for a juvenile audience. Fairly good love scenes and vicious knife fights abound throughout the pages. One book even starts with a man's plan to change his sex!

BOOKS

Number of Books:11
First Appearance:1970
Last Appearance:1974

1 Cold Blue Death Cold Blue Death
Written by Ken Stanton
Copyright: 1970

Devilfish was the code name for a vital operation in the waters of the Bermuda Triangle. Someone was out to destroy the mission but Tiger was there to save it.

2 Ten Seconds To Zero Ten Seconds To Zero
Written by Ken Stanton
Copyright: 1970

American submarines were becoming sitting ducks to the Soviet's new anti-sub missile called the Sea Serpent. Tiger must steal the secrets behind this dangerous weapon.

3 Seek, Strike And Destroy Seek, Strike And Destroy
Written by Ken Stanton
Copyright: 1971

When a Chinese captain with a strange underwater craft lobs a missile at the U.S., the danger from the Bamboo Curtain becomes clearer but what of Madame Hee?

4 Sargasso Secret Sargasso Secret
Written by Ken Stanton
Copyright: 1971

A marine biologist has come up with a way to feed starving millions but someone is not pleased with his success. Tiger must keep alive him and his daughter, Poppy.

5 Stalkers Of The Sea Stalkers Of The Sea
Written by Ken Stanton
Copyright: 1972

The man behind savage attacks on U.S. interests is a Soviet spy of American origins. Tiger must track him down from icy northern waters to hot foreign bordellos.

6 Whirlwind Beneath The Sea Whirlwind Beneath The Sea
Written by Ken Stanton
Copyright: 1972

Something is causing unnatural explosion along the ocean floor, resulting in the loss of thousands. Tiger is sent to find who or what is behind the catastrophe.

7 Operation Deep Six Operation Deep Six
Written by Ken Stanton
Copyright: 1972

On her maiden voyage, the navy's newest supersub, the J1, just disappeared. Now its sister ship, the J2, is ready for launch and Tiger is on site to keep an eye on her.

8 Operation Steelfish Operation Steelfish
Written by Ken Stanton
Copyright: 1972

The Soviet villain from #5 is back, trying to get his hands on the newest weapon the Navy is testing in the Caribbean. Tiger must find a way to stop the theft.

9 Evil Cargo Evil Cargo
Written by Ken Stanton
Copyright: 1973

The Mob has stolen a Russian submarine in Cuba to smuggle drugs into the U.S. Tiger is sent to stop them but he is told for diplomatic reasons not to damage the sub.

10 Operation Sea Monster Operation Sea Monster
Written by Ken Stanton
Copyright: 1974

Some creature of monstrous proportions is randomly striking the underwater American sea lab and Tiger is ordered to find and eliminate the creature.

11 Operation Mermaid Operation Mermaid
Written by Ken Stanton
Copyright: 1974

The report was that a Chinese sailor was attacked by a mermaid. As crazy as that sounded, Tiger is sent to find the truth. So too were several Soviet agents.

MY COMMENTS

       The stories are well written and modestly enjoyable. They don't extend much beyond skin deep but they are not bad and are worth a try or two.

       The author was really Manning Lee Stokes, a man who cut his teeth on Nick Carter as well as The Expeditor, and a science fiction adventure series about Richard Blade. The man could definitely write action adventures.

       I first read this series when I was a teenager and I was surprised at some of the things the Sharks did. Surprised and excited because I wanted to go into the Navy and maybe I could do this kind of thing. Did not work out that way, of course, luckily, but as a teenager, I craved action, and thought myself invulnerable.

GRADE

My Grade: C

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