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Ice Hunt    by James Rollins order for
Ice Hunt
by James Rollins
Order:  USA  Can
Avon, 2004 (2003)
Hardcover, Paperback, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by J. A. Kaszuba Locke

Suspense and intrigue abound in Ice Hunt by James Rollins. It's an adventure onto the polar ice, where civilians, military, and research teams head to a manmade experimental ice mountain. Ice Station Grendel was abandoned seventy years before. Camouflaged, it was not meant to be found. However ...

Converging events set the momentum of Rollins' novel. A fur trapper reports finding a deserted Eskimo village, its huts and their contents undisturbed. The ice phenomenon is inadvertently discovered by an American research submarine, the Polar Sentinel, under the command of Captain Greg Perry. In Brooks Range, Alaska, Fish and Game Warden Matthew Pike sights a plane plummeting to earth. Upon investigation, he finds the pilot dead, and rescues passenger Craig Teague, a reporter with the Seattle Times on assignment to write an account of the (supposedly secret) Scientific Ice Expedition (SCICEX). Two people parachute with motorcycles from a plane, their objective to destroy all evidence of the crashed bush plane.

Matt and Craig are hunted by unknown adversaries. They make their way to the quarters of Matt's ex-wife, Jennifer Aratuk, Sheriff for the Nunamiut and Inupiat tribes, who lives with her father John. The foursome, along with wolf Bane, take to the air in the sheriff's Twin Otter, only to be chased by two Cessna. Their initial destination is diverted to Kaktovik, after an explosion as the plane attempts to land on Prudhoe Bay. After numerous attempts to kill them, reporter Craig muses, 'Something's going to happen out there. Something no one wants the world to know about.' Finding their way to the U.S. Omega Drift Station, they are safe until the Russians take over, as Captain Perry's crew on the Polar Sentinel sit steadfast, deep under the ice ... silently waiting.

Admiral Viktor Petkov, boards the Russian nuclear submarine Drakon, with orders to destroy Ice Station Grendel, and with consequences that could trigger the next ice age. Members of the U.S. research team experience a sense of movement and noise within and without the ice, but dismiss it as a 'trick of shadows'. The biological and geological discoveries lead to horror, while U.S. Delta Forces arrive and attempt to retake the base from the Russians. Matt says, 'Someone has to take responsibility. A line has to be drawn. Science cannot ignore morality in its desire to leap forward. We all lose when that happens.'

James Rollins expertly employs technology and science, strong characterizations, vivid descriptions of Alaskan territory, as well as dramatic pursuits in the air, on the ground, and underwater in the frigid Arctic. His continuous, fast-paced maneuvers place the reader at the scene of spine-tingling skirmishes within the mammoth ice creation. Rollins delivers intense surprises, before a conclusion that is ingenious, and unforeseen. Don't miss Ice Hunt.

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