Ice Hunt
James Rollins
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Ice Hunt
James Rollins
544 pages
June 2004
rated 5 of 5 possible stars

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The latest undersea research American submarine, the Polar Sentinel is on a routine trip to the Arctic when Captain Perry, Dr. Amanda Reynolds and her team of scientists make a startling discovery in its freezing waters – a gigantic inverted and shifting ice mountain containing a secret scientific laboratory carved into its icy heart. Further exploration reveals the lab’s identity to be Russian. Perry uneasily wonders why Ice Station Grendel was created in the first place -- and why here, and why was it ultimately abandoned leaving its scientists to die tragically inside?

As the scientists and people from the nearby Omega Research Station excitedly get involved in their new discovery, sinister conspiracies are developing at lightning speed on both the U.S. and Russian sides. What is this secret, that both governments seem ready to launch another Cold War in order to posses it? Meanwhile, a Russian nuclear attack submarine draws silently nearer to Grendel.

In Alaska, on the edge of the Arctic Circle, Fish and Game Officer Matt Pike spots a plane crash and rides to the rescue of its lone passenger, a reporter on his way to Omega. Suddenly, for no apparent reason, they find themselves being relentlessly hunted by some ruthless two-footed predators. To escape them, Matt takes his ex-wife’s help, and soon they’re all winging their way to Omega, not realizing that the danger is already ahead of them. A battle is about to be fought in the deadly cold and secrets unearthed, and on their outcome rests the fate of the entire world.

The scope and magnitude of James Rollins’ plot are staggeringly vast. But by basing Ice Hunt’s entire concept on valid and provable scientific facts, the author has made the whole horrific scenario feel too real for comfort. The story’s taut pace will surely keep readers on the edges of their seats, while the interminable suspense has them biting their nails, and the non-stop excitement becomes a mere side effect. Add to this in-depth characterizations and lots and lots of conflict - political, ideological and personal - and you have a well-researched, well-developed thriller in your hands. Equally awesome and effective are the atmospheric descriptions -- whether it’s Alaska in Summer or the frigidly cold Arctic. On some pages there is a surfeit of excitement and danger, the abundant chase and action sequences seem to be stuck in an infinite loop and not everything is satisfactorily explained. Despite these minor faults, the book remains a fantastic read.

© 2003 by Rashmi Srinivas for Curled Up With a Good Book

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