***** Five out of Five Stars
Review by: Mark Palm
When asked once where he got his ideas, the speculative writer Harlan Ellison said that he subscribed to an idea factory in Schenectady that sent him a fresh six-pack of ideas every week.
I have raved over and over again about the works of Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, and just in case you missed it, before I will do it again. Together and separately the two have been producing excellent thrillers for over twenty years, and one of the hallmarks of their success is their constant innovation. Every book brims with so much scientific and historical erudition that you can believe that they have a similar subscription as Mr. Ellison.
So I was a bit surprised when I heard about their latest book, Beyond The Ice Limit, which is a sequel to The Ice Limit which was originally published fifteen years ago. Like their other novels, The Ice Limit was excellent, and it was complete, so I was a bit skeptical about a sequel; but guess what? They proved me wrong. Not only is Beyond The Ice Limit every bit as good as the original novel, but Preston and Child actually upped the ante by placing Gideon Crew, a character in one of their other series, into this novel. That he fits in seamlessly is just par for the course.
Now bear with me a bit, for I have to give you an idea of what Beyond The Ice Limit is about, and why it is so good,without dropping spoilers for it, and the book that preceded it as well.
Five years before, Eli Glinn, head of Effective Engineering Solutions led an effort to recover the largest meteorite ever discovered from a remote island off of the coast of South America. The mission was a failure, ending in the deaths of over a hundred people; but that’s not all; it turned out that the meteorite was actually an organism from deep space that has since planted itself in the seabed, and is growing, with disastrous consequences for Earth.
Now Glinn wants to return and destroy the organism, and he recruits Gideon Crew, who with his unique skill set,( nuclear weapon specialist and art thief), seems tailor-made for the adventure. The story literally takes off from the first page and never lets up for a second. The events of the first novel are quietly slipped to the reader as Crew is introduced to the job and the people with whom he will be working. All of the characters, are well-drawn, particularly the scientists, which is typical of the authors. The science itself is cutting-edge, believable , and presented in a way that never slows the pace or impedes the action. And the action is exceptional. There is blood and gore but it is never gratuitous, and is used to illustrate the danger of the situation.
Preston and Child do an exceptional job of mixing science-fiction and horror, and using one to intensify the other. It’s great to read a book where the more you learn, the more frightening it gets. Early in the novel you get the feeling that The Effective Engineering Solutions gang has the job well in hand, but as events unfold, and things start to go more wrong, I started to think that no-one was going to escape with their lives. That’s when you know that a thriller is really working; when you start to think that the authors just might be willing to destroy the earth. So if you want to find out if we are all going to make it or not, read Beyond The Ice Limit.
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