In 2008, a top secret US submarine went missing on its test voyage off the coast of Antarctica. After years silent, its emergency beacon is suddenly activated, but strangely, the beacon is emanating from a point miles below the ice sheets of the frozen continent.
The race is on. The Chinese government, alerted at the same time as the Americans, is after the submarine’s secrets. And the Americans need to retrieve their technology, quickly and quietly, from a place now marked as an international forbidden zone.
With the reluctant assistance of petrobiologist Aimee Weir, Alex Hunter and his team of HAWCs return to the location of their first mission together.
But only a few members of the team know the truth. A treacherous horror lies in wait for them, deep beneath the Antarctic ice.
I found this to be a very enjoyable semi-supernatural, horror and high tech thriller. Alex Hunter is back in his role as a super-hero style elite agent and he is thrown into a mission that brings him back to one of his old “hunting grounds”. There are a few threads in Alex Hunter’s history that are tied together in this book and, at least, one rather interesting new one that is begun.
Alex Hunter is sent back to the mysterious (Jurassic) caves below the ice sheets and is once again forced to confront the horrors that lie beyond the ice. Just to add to the suspense (and the mess) he also has to deal with a Chinese communist elite team who are doing their best to screw things up, often by shear stupidity. Actually these guys frustrated me enormously. I would say that they where a proper depiction of commie fanatics who never ever got a glimpse of the world outside of their little bubble of commie propaganda but their reluctance to take in the facts around them and their ludicrous fanaticism was making me squirm when reading it.
To me the enjoyment of this book came from the rest of the characters and the setting. A few of Alex friends are back, including of course Amiee Weir. A few new are introduced as well of which Cate is the one I quite liked. I also liked Sam dealing out some serious pain in his exoskeleton suit.
The book is going for the, not too original, World War 3 nuclear holocaust threat but that is pretty okay. The main parts of the book play themselves out down the Jurassic caves below the ice though and these are the good parts. The Chinese commie fanatics are, as I wrote above, really frustrating in their fanatic stupidity but at least they do get what the deserve in the end, after having screwed things up royally of course.
The last parts of the book, where our friends managed to escape from their imprisonment in the world below the ice was stretching it a wee bit though. It was not altogether bad but it felt a bit like some A-Team or other Hollywood TV-show in how they managed to “make due” with the hardware at hand.
Not surprisingly the ending left a few loose ends which I assume might be used in future books. One was more or less the usual oh by the way the monster is not truly dead kind of loose thread but the one I like was the one about Alex’s son. That one had been brewing all through the book and I am quite looking forward to know where the author will be going with that one.
Bottom line, for me, is that this is an above average techno / horror thriller and I am looking forward to the next instalment in the series.