When a plane crashes into the Antarctic ice, exposing a massive cave beneath, a rescue and research team is dispatched. Twenty-four hours later, all contact is lost. Captain Alex Hunter and his highly trained squad of commandos are fast tracked to the hot zone to find out what went wrong - and to follow up the detection of a vast underground reservoir. Accompanying the team is an assortment of researchers, including petrobiologist Aimee Weir. If the unidentified substance proves to be an energy source, every country in the world will want to know about it - some would even kill for it. Once inserted into the cave system, they don't find any survivors - not even a trace of their bodies. Primeval hieroglyphs hint at an ancient civilisation, and an ancient danger. Spectres of the dead haunt the tunnels. Within hours, one of the party will die. To bring his team out alive, Alex will need every one of his mysterious abilities beneath the dark ice.
©2009 Greig Beck (P)2011 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd
I don't know when or why I purchased this audio book. I just found it in my library. ?
One fine day I started listening...
It started out (aside from unnecessary preface by author - I advise skipping that!), as a somewhat interesting adventure story with a fantastical creature element and a government agent back-story. All was okay until the last half when the story lagged and the narrator sounded like he was drinking.
By the end of the story I was no longer able to suspend disbelief (eg.,takes place Antarctica), and the plot held no more surprises.
Verdict: skip it.
I'm not going to deal with the plot. It's too painful. Let's talk characters instead. Every character in this book suffers a truly massive case of HCSS (Horror Character Stupid Syndrome); the book is a textbook example of Roger Ebert’s "Idiot Plot" (defined as any plot containing problems which would be solved instantly if all of the characters were not idiots).
Case in point: all through the book, characters have watched a number of friends/colleagues get sliced, diced, & devoured by the Giant Primordial Squid. The GPS suckers (ha!) in the victims by using its Dead Friend Decoys, which it creates using tentacles which have the ability to swell up into lookalikes of the people it’s eaten. Near the end, one character had to be left behind for a while, all alone in the dark with the monster, pretty much guaranteed to get eaten. The gang eventually goes back into the cave & they see the stranded woman standing in the dimness, blank-faced, mute, animated as a stuffed moose, looking exactly like a brainless fake. Does the gang say “Oh no, she got eaten, it’s a decoy! Run away!” Do they hell: “Gasp! She’s alive!” And two of them run to her and give her a big hug. Slurp! I don’t consider this a spoiler because my turtle could see this coming and was not surprised.
The characters are so two-dimensional they’re not even good stereotypes. We have:
The Super Soldier who, through no fault of his own, has been transformed into Something Beyond Human, so of course no one could possibly love him and he’ll never get to know love again, like he had with She Who Had to Be Left Behind. Does he find love with the Super Smart Scientist Girl (who can somehow see past his cool exterior to the warm yet damaged, hidden heart within)? No points for guessing correctly.
The Evil, Greedy Yet Banal Scientist: For anyone old enough (or unlucky enough in reruns) to see the original “Lost in Space” TV series, this guy is more obnoxious & fingernails-on-chalkboard irritating than Dr Smith. What’s even harder to believe is the response of the other characters to this guy: he’s sneeringly condescending, insulting, nagging, nit-picking, tantrum-throwing, sexual-pass-oozing, & power-tripping throughout the book. He repeatedly insists upon moving the whole bunch ever-deeper into the cave so that they end up serving themselves as sequential meal courses for the monster, in order to demonstrate his ‘revolutionary’ machine and make mega-bucks for himself. But everyone treats him with incredible patience and forbearance; nobody even snaps at the guy, making then all immediate candidates for sainthood in my book.
The Super Smart Scientist Girl:
…I can’t go on. You can fill in the blanks.
The science in this book is beyond ridiculous. I know it’s fiction so the author gets to make stuff up. I discovered –and have loved-- science fiction since I was 9. But these compressed-air-bullet weapons are real doozies. Not solid projectiles powered by air. These guns fire adjustable-sized….wads…of compressed air that shoot through ambient air (without dissipating) & impact things just like bullets. As if you could call forth your inner mime & pretend to make a snowball, pack it down tight, throw your pretend-air ball at a window & watch the shards fly! Just like that, only at bullet speeds. Sorry, not even my disbelief suspension mechanism is up to that.
(Well, just goes to show how little I know. There is an actual picture of a biological version of this weapon, Shukaku expelling an air bullet, at the Naruto wiki, under Drilling Air Bullet Harbour Blow. The technique is explained quite simply, under Drilling Air Bullet. It's so obvious --the amount of chakra makes them powerful-- I'm surprised I didn't think of it.)
The size of the monster is another issue: it’s variously compared to a blue whale (90-100 ft) and a 747 (184- 250 feet, depending on the model) sized. Apparently not even the author knows out how big the thing is.
Small peeve; (but really, the book is so bad it begs griping at minutiae): the reader pronounces “debris” as “DEB-ree” which would be irritating enough, but evidently it’s the author’s favorite word. It was used more than 14 times in a little over 2 hours. When I start counting things, I KNOW an audiobook is irretrievably awful.
A much, much better biological SF/thriller is “Fragment,” by Warren Fahy it’s got better science AND is more exciting, has better characters, writing, etc. Better read, too. There are times in “Fragment” when the scientific explanations may be somewhat overwhelming to the non-scientist, but even if you zone out in those small spots the book is a decent page-turner and, at times, a lot of fun.
Step away from "Beneath the Dark Ice" and put down your wallet. You will regret the lost money and time.
I liked the character of Arcadian and his struggle with his darker, more primitive nature as he tries to protect his group.
Yes, though sometimes it got almost tiring as the group kept running and hiding from the same creature.
I really liked the ending....but if I describe it I'd be giving it away.
No, just an enjoyable adventure story
The story is similar to James Rollins', "Subterranean" but it had some different twists and turns. I was very glad the author didn't extend the Russian "bad guy" encounter any further, because the drama with the creature was enough to keep my interest. So many "action/adventure" authors overdo the conflict by inserting too many antagonists which actually takes away from their stories, for example David L Golemon's books. My only complaint with this novel, is that some of the run, jump, hide scenes could have been shorter. I didn't quite get the need for the epilogue, which was out of context with the ending.I had read this in paperback a few years ago and hearing it on audio was even better Very good narrator.
The Antarctic is all the rage for suspense stories these days, and this offering is one of the better ones. Abit gory at times, but overall a deft action/adventure/fantasy all wrapped up into one icy concept. Need more than a small amount of belief suspension, but overall an entertaining piece of suspense. The James Rollins appreciators will get this one !
I had heard quite a lot of ranting about the Alex Hunter series and Greig Beck in general on different forums, and was really looking forward to this one, but it wasn't quite what I expected...sometimes boring and a little repetitive...NOT a good thing for a an adventure/thriller like this one. Beck also makes several factual errors about the military side of things, but it doesn't really ruin anything as the story actually has a decent pace and has likeable characters.
All-in-all not a 5 star effort, but a solid 3. I will certainly buy and read/listen to book 2, just to see if things improve enough for me to put the whole series on my reading lists...
Say something about yourself!
Sean Mangan was absolutely fantastic, a new favorite reader of mine. Perfect on the narration in my opinion.
I love the idea(s) behind the book but I just could not connect with the story. I don't really know how to put it but I did not feel as though as was there in the cave with the characters, some of my favorite books make me feel as though I'm there myself. Details of creatures and the main characters was great but I'm not sure I felt the same way about the world the story is set in, I believe this is the area I felt distant from.
The author references the Spyderco Manix knife as one of the only folding knives that can be opened one handed yet this is just ridiculous as most
I expect books like this to be improbable and have no problem with that. However, about 80% of this one ranges from ridiculous to impossible. The characters include a caricature of an arrogant scientist, a bunch of special operations soldiers that seem to be slightly less competent than Gomer Pyle and a main hero who can do everything short of leaping tall buildings in a single bound. The instances that the author violates the laws of physics and the other sciences are too numerous to count.
Save your credit and spend your time on better books. Do yourself a favor and pass on this one.
Dead Eye by Mark Greaney.
The narrator did an acceptable but not super job given the drivel he had to read.
Pretty much all of them.
I'll be seeking a refund for this one.
This was a very interesting take on an Antarctic find, and subsequent adventure.The narration was excellent! The story was not the normal 2 or 3 mixed sub stories that need to come together at the end. However, there are enough different things happening all within one story that keeps it interesting. There are a couple things that are quite unbelievable but then again, what do we really know about what's underneath Antarctica. It's a real page turner that keeps you wanting more. I highly recommend it.
I like Jack Reacher style characters regardless of setting. Put them in outer space, in modern America, in a military setting, on an alien planet... no worries. Book has non moralistic vigilante-justice? Sign me up! (oh, I read urban fantasy, soft and hard sci-fi, trashy vampire and zombie novels too)
For the first 3/4 this is a fairly decent action-adventure. Sure, there is a "monster" in it, but it is still relatively believable. The last 1/4, however, got annoying with the "history lessons" the author was trying to impart. A collection of people are trying to escape caverns and monsters and Russian assassins and yet they stop to read hieroglyphs and tell the story of the people who were there thousands of years before. Well, a) these modern people are fleeing for their lives and b) they have no food or water and c) they have already watched half their team get murdered and/or eaten... sorry, they are not going to be interested in some foolish story about ancient peoples. Nor am I. It is supposed to be action-adventure, not an anthropological history lesson.
As an action-adventure, it wasn't too bad - just enough running around and just enough killing to keep you reading. None of the characters are fully fleshed (i.e. any one of them are disposable as snacks for the monster, and you won't really care). And the main character (Alex) has super powers so... well, why not, lots of action heroes have super-human powers and we still read about them.
The narration is fine. There is nothing particularly gory and I don't recall any swearing. No sex either. I'll read more with Alex as the center piece since it is just some brain fluff to pass the time. Nothing unexpected, nothing thrilling, but nothing glaringly obnoxious either...
This story started out really well, great concept, good reader, writing style very nice... but it wore on and on and on and added more and more weirdness until I just wanted it to be over. I really did expect an alien ship to show up. Would have fitted right in. Maybe add some elves too. Willing suspension of disbelief just ain't in it! Plus I lost interest in which of the characters lived or died. A very bad place to be in any book. I ended up listening to the last hour on double speed because I did want to know how it ended but golly, if I'd had the book, I would have skimmed whole pages.
Thought provoking and very well read by Sean Mangan. Stretches the imagine. What if? Enjoyed it.
"worth a read, but not a favourate"
the writing style was pretty basic. the character building only centered on a very limited cast and could have gone deeper and into others, the narration was basic without any attempted voice alteration for different characters so I found it pretty one dimensional. but, it was still a good yarn and I got to the end so couldn't of been that bad!
wasn't sure about choosing this originally, as i'm not really one for science fiction - but do like to try new things, especially from new writers. It had everything, gripping from the beginning. Will definitely be waiting for more from this new author.
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