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Publisher's Summary

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

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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Too bad negative stars isn't an option

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.

193 of 222 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Action Packed Amazement!!!

Would you listen to Beneath the Dark Ice again? Why?

I would absolutely listen again to this riveting, hold onto the seat of your pants masterpiece! The imagination involved in creating this thrill ride is unprecedented!

What did you like best about this story?

Anything went in the center of the earth. Just when I thought nothing could top the horror this handful of people could face... something does!

Which character – as performed by Sean Mangan – was your favorite?

I was fascinated by Alex Hunter's ability to keep his emotions at bay in the most stressful situations. His undaunted professional demeanor is the only thing which kept the scientists trudging along. His resolve was unflappable, and to say it was impressive is putting it mildly.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I got very emotional with the nonstop, unrelenting "surprises" from this netherworld. Things completely unfamiliar to the world as we know it would suddenly appear and do the most ghastly, unimaginable things. These would make my heart race and I would root for the characters to "MOVE IT!"

Any additional comments?

Sheer genius! What a joy to listen... I am in awe of Mr. Beck.
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!
PS: This is NOT for the feign of heart. It will get your heart pumping from the beginning and it won't slow to the VERY end.... This one is a MUST LISTEN, and WILL NOT Disappoint!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Jules Verne meets X-man.

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.

23 of 27 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Matthew
  • SEATTLE, WA, United States
  • 03-30-12

Icy and unique

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 !

32 of 39 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Addictive

This thriller by Greg Beck is a fast-paced, edge of your seat journey into our primordial past. Enjoy it!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Bob
  • North Lauderdale, FL, United States
  • 02-01-12

A fun and interesting read.

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.

25 of 31 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Kent C.
  • Gainesville, FL United States
  • 01-24-14

Waste of a Credit and Time

Would you try another book from Greig Beck and/or Sean Mangan?

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.

What do you think your next listen will be?

Dead Eye by Mark Greaney.

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

The narrator did an acceptable but not super job given the drivel he had to read.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Beneath the Dark Ice?

Pretty much all of them.

Any additional comments?

I'll be seeking a refund for this one.

24 of 31 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Up there with Matthew Reilly

He is my favorite author and Mr Beck thrilled me just as much as he does. Will be collecting more of his books.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Yay! A new favorite author!

Alex Hunter is the perfect superhero. I fell in love right along with Amy. I hope to read many more of these books!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Old Sci-Fi meets new Sci-Fi

Interesting and unexpected storyline twists. That said, killing "EVERYONE" off makes a book neither bad nor good, however it can make it a bit predictable.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Rob
  • 03-31-17

Very enjoy

I really enjoyed this book. It kept me gripped from start to end. Well written and well read.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Nautilus
  • 08-04-16

kids stuff

if you are twelve then this is for you, the dialogue is lame and the story very predictable

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • John
  • 01-14-16

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!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Pen Name
  • 01-08-16

gripping

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • L
  • 01-06-13

Marvellous

Thought provoking and very well read by Sean Mangan. Stretches the imagine. What if? Enjoyed it.

5 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 09-17-18

Do not bother with this poorly written cringefest

Unless you have a mental age of 14 or lower please stay clear of this book, your neurons will scream out in agony trying to process the illogical thought process every character has.

The author has zero understansanding of how anyone from the military talk or act so it's like listening to how 8 year olds would army same applies everywhere else.

tldr: you will spend most your time asking yourself if you're suppost to take the story seriously

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Mrs. Melanie M. Austin
  • 08-19-18

A slow start but once it gets going its brilliant

Loved this and cant wait for the next in the series. It was a bit slow to start but once it got going I didnt want it to stop.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • linda warren
  • 05-12-18

Beneath the dark ice

What a brilliant read keeps you on the edge of your seat ,right until the end ,you feel right there in the mist of things .you can feel the fear and bravery of the people in the book ,and almost taste and smell the creatures . I do not like horror mystery ‘s but I could not put this book down. Great reading ,thank you

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Dalton Powell
  • 04-25-18

quality book

loved it from start to finish I could not put it down . the way you write just captivates the audience.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Sweetheart1
  • 05-21-17

goddamn best book

Greig Beck...Sean Mangan...what a team! Alex Hunter is an awesome and very likeable bloke.thank you

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • michelle robinson
  • 04-28-18

Left wanting to know more...<br />

Narrator was great!
Storyline was really interesting....but I wanted more in the way of archaeological info/background. Felt it was too short.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Scott
  • 11-13-17

Great Book

Really liked this book. Exciting and kept moving, great to listen to while driving. Cheers

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 09-13-18

Well worth the read/listen.

I really enjoyed the book. I second the sentiment mentioned in the foreword it's Mathew Relly meets Jules Vern and if your a fan of either you will enjoy this.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 08-18-18

Mixed Bag

There are some great facets to both the story and the main character, which don’t really reach their full potential. Worthwhile for a casual listen but it didn’t get me properly engaged in the outcome because there are too many layers that don’t get resolved deeply enough.
The narrator is okay but didn’t get the military talk sounding genuine which doesn’t help.