Beneath the Dark Ice
by Grieg Beck; narrated by Sean Mangan
When superhuman special forces soldier Captain Alex Hunter leads the second recovery team to investigate a new cave found under the Antarctic ice, he has no idea what he’s getting himself into. The elite military squad he commands, along with several scientists and other civilians, thinks they’re investigating a potential new petroleum resource. Little do they know that something altogether different awaits them in the deep caves … Beneath the Dark Ice. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist!) A few thoughts:
- Beck brings the best of the cryptozoological military thriller tradition to this book, blending thrilling action and cool creepy crawlies. He ratchets up the tension by introducing multiple pressures on our heroes (both psychological and physical), and brings the book to a satisfying conclusion.
- I’m fond of books that suggest ways evolution may have found a pocket outside the main biosphere we know and love, as in Steve Alten’s MEG or Dave Freeman’s Natural Selection. Whether there’s any scientific validity to these stories, I have no idea.
- Beck’s hero, Alex Hunter, is entertaining the way Bruce Willis’ John McLaine is: he’s fun to think about as long as you don’t take him too seriously. Hunter has more depth than famed action novel hero Mack Bolan, but only just.
- The other characters are a little better rounded, with the other protagonist, Dr. Aimee Weir getting an equal amount of attention. The other characters slot nicely into needed archetypes, though the cowardly villain, Dr. Silex (sp?) is a bit extreme. But really, you don’t read a book like this for complex characters with subtle nuance.
- Beck does a great job giving life to the main monster in the book (which I won’t detail in too much depth here), giving it an unfamiliar psychology with a believable (sort of) physiology. Or at least, it’s got a hint of Lovecraftian creepiness about it.
A solid, very enjoyable cryptozoological spelunking military adventure thriller for fans of the genre. Not a lot beyond that, so not recommended as a serious or weighty tome, but great for what it is.