Wednesday, April 4, 2007

'Subterranean' by James Rollins

ISBN: 0380792648
Format: Mass Market Paperback, 410pp
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Price: $7.99

Subterranean was Jurassic Park meets Journey to the Center of the Earth, but with a lost tribe of marsupial humanoids. It was just great. Great action, great adventure, great suspense, great mystery, and even some great romance — this book had it all.

It starts with some great characters: Ashley, an American anthropologist with her son Jason; Ben, the Australian cave diver; Linda, an American biologist; Khalid, a Egyptian geologist; and Michaelson, the Army man with a hand full of SEALS backing him up. These people form a team that Doctor Blakely has put together to search a cave under the Antarctic continent. There are other characters that come and go, some a little more unexpectedly than others.

In the main cavern, Alpha Base, dwellings have been carved all along one wall. Thousands of years old, maybe millions, these small homes belong to an extinct humanoid creature, or so the scientists believe. There are worm holes leading off the main cavern and the team has been put together to search the worm holes. They discover right before their departure that they are not the first to go down — a team went before them but never returned. They are not only on a discovery mission but also a rescue mission.

What they find in the bowels of the earth is like nothing else. Ben, the man with all the cave experience, claims that it is unlike anything else on the entire planet. They encounter living dinosaurs, species thought to be extinct long ago. All sorts of creatures block their path and obstacles are constantly being overcome, as they move farther and farther down. Alliances are formed and broken as the darkness presses close and they become lost in the maze of caves.

Some of the descriptions were a little light. You get a pretty good feel for the caverns and the different caves but it wasn’t always a clear picture. Sometimes you forget the characters are in a cave but that didn’t happen very often.

The thrill and the action take the front seat and are the driving forces for the book. The action never lets up, leaving you gripping the edges of your book and turning pages at a frantic pace. At every turn something new has happened and you hate to put it down.

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