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Behind the story of The Seventh Angel with Jeff Edwards

Jeff Edwards and the cover of his military techno-thriller The Seventh Angel
Jeff Edwards and the cover of his military techno-thriller The Seventh Angel
The Seventh Angel: Stealth Books (January 1, 2011); Jeff Edwards photo by Dennis Mock

Jeff Edwards is a part-time consultant with the Department of Defense and an award-winning author of military thrillers. His latest is “The Seventh Angel.” In this interview, the San Diego author talks about the military’s reaction to his book as well as why he wrote it.

“I’m incredibly proud of the Navy’s reaction to ‘The Seventh Angel’,” said Edwards. “The book is currently on the Chief of Naval Operations Recommended Reading List, and copies have been forwarded to the professional reading libraries of every ship, submarine, and shore station in the entire Navy. It’s also mandatory reading for the Undersea Robotics Class at the Naval War College.”

What differentiates “The Seventh Angel” from other military techno-thrillers is the approach Edwards took to the story. He said, “In nearly two and a half decades of active duty, I never met the kind of handsome, hard-muscled supermen who seem to populate most military thrillers. Instead, I served with ordinary men and women who worked together to accomplish extraordinary things. Their only superpowers were training, hard work, and dedication. The Seventh Angel and my other military novels focus on that kind of collective heroism. The real heroes who keep this country strong look an awful lot like you, your next door neighbors, and the people you know. Those are the kinds of heroes I write about.”

Edwards said that he read reports about the declining state of the forces entrusted with guarding the ex-Soviet nuclear arsenal. Those reports triggered an alarming realization. “It gradually dawned on me that the collapse of the USSR might have actually increased the threat of global nuclear war. A situation that terrifying is just crying out to be turned into a pulse-pounding military techno-thriller.”

The result of that reasoning is a military thriller in which a rogue Russian missile submarine threatens the world with nuclear destruction and a lone U.S. warship must destroy the submarine, before it can destroy us.

In “The Seventh Angel,” a military revolt in southeastern Russia puts a former hardline Soviet leader in command of a ballistic missile submarine and its arsenal of nuclear weapons. His goal is to re-ignite the communist revolution and recapture the might and glory of the fallen Soviet Union. Without warning, Russia, Japan, and the United States become hostages in a scheme of international nuclear blackmail. When the warheads start falling and people begin dying, no one can pretend that it’s a bluff. As the earth rushes toward extinction, a lone U.S. Navy warship must penetrate the Siberian ice pack to destroy the submarine before it can destroy the world.

In the process of writing the book, Edwards and his agent had a series of cell phone conversations about what would happen if various American cities were attacked by nuclear weapons. He said, “We talked about radiation fallout footprints, body counts, panicked evacuations, and the points at which hospitals, police, and emergency responders would become completely overwhelmed by casualties. Somewhere in the middle of our discussions, we realized that we had probably triggered several hundred of the keywords used by the NSA to zero in on terrorists. So far, neither one of us has been visited by the black helicopters, but I’d just like to say it again for the benefit of our friends in the National Security Agency… It’s only a book. We’re not planning to nuke anybody. Not even Cleveland. I promise!”

More information

Jeff Edwards is a retired U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer, and an Anti-Submarine Warfare Specialist. His naval career spanned more than two decades and half the globe, from chasing Soviet nuclear attack submarines during the Cold War, to launching cruise missiles in the Persian Gulf. Edwards has won awards such as the Admiral Nimitz Award for Outstanding Naval Fiction, the Reader’s Choice Award, the Clive Cussler Grandmaster Award, the Military Writer’s Society of America Gold Medal for Navy Fiction, and the American Author Medal. Learn more Jeff Edwards on his website at

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