Robert Ludlum's The Arctic Event
James Cobb
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Buy *Robert Ludlum's The Arctic Event (Covert-One)* by James Cobb in abridged CD audio format online

Robert Ludlum's The Arctic Event (Covert-One)
James Cobb
narrated by Jeff Woodman
Hachette Audio
12 CDs/12 hrs.
September 2007
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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There's a lot to like about The Arctic Event - it's generally exciting, there are several interesting threads that weave their way together as the story progresses, there are some strong characters. There are also some annoyances, such as some rather cardboard cut-out characters (Professor Trowbridge springs to mind here), a couple of very cheesy scenes and some unlikely events. However, this book has the sort of action you'd expect from this genre, and in that it doesn't disappoint.

When a scientific party discovers a crashed airplane on remote Wednesday Island in the Canadian Arctic, it sets in train a whole series of actions. It turns out that the Russian plane is over fifty years old; when it crashed, it may have been carrying an anthrax payload. The Americans want to recover the plane and make the anthrax safe if it's still on board; the Russians know that there might actually still be something significantly worse on the plane so send one of their men along with the American team.

The U.S. team is led by Colonel John Smith. One of the other members of the party is Randi Russell, a young woman whose sister was John's fiancée. Randi and John have had problems with each other for several years, and at the beginning of the story their relationship is prickly. The third U.S. member is Valentina Metrace, a rather scary woman historian who is a knives and weapons expert. She feels like a black widow spider character, especially after she fixes her attention on John Smith as her future lover. All three characters seem superhumanly skilled in their chosen fields and are, of course, also very attractive.

It's not just the Americans messing around on Wednesday Island; Gregori Smyslov, a Russian liaison, is working with them - or is he? There is also a team of Russian Spetsnaz fighters as well as a renegade arms dealer, all there for their own reasons. When battle breaks out in the freezing arctic environment, it takes a special kind of bravery and teamwork to prevail.

There's action in the snow, firefights, helicopter chases, running and hiding, double-crossing and disobeying orders. The dialogue is often bland and cheesy and the action sequences nothing new, but it's still an exciting listen if one can overlook the distinct plot improbability of the cause of the whole story: the Russian plans to go to any length to keep the March 5th event under wraps. This book may not win any literary prizes, but it's good entertainment value.

The audiobook version is well-narrated with varied voices and accents, although the flow of the story is sometimes marred by a few unnecessary sound effects. However, the pacing of the narration is good and helps the story to keep its momentum.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at © Helen Hancox, 2008

Also written or created by Robert Ludlum:

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