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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Terminal Freeze by Lincoln Child


Terminal Freeze by Lincoln Child

Two hundred miles north of the Arctic Circle lies Alaska’s Federal Wildlife Zone and is one of the remotest parts of the world. Scientists have gathered at an old military bunker that had been built in the 1950's as an outlying base to watch for Russian missiles. But it's no longer needed for that but continues to be staffed with a small staff for scientific monitoring. This group of scientists is financed by a media conglomerate who invests hoping for documentaries to come out of finds. They have come to collect evidence of global warming or to collect evidence because of global warming. A tiny native family come to warn the scientists to stop their work and leave because there is great danger. Paleoecologist Evan Marshall, is the main character. They are working in a valley while around them huge chunks of ice of cracking off the cliffs. One day a chunk cracks off and falls and behind it is a cave. In the cave is a prehistoric cat-like animal encased in the ice. This find brings the media conglomerate's documentary filming team and stars and the military base becomes crowded with people intent on commercializing this find. They cut the animal out of the ice and begin to thaw it.

Then, all hell breaks loose. Violent and bloody deaths happen just like the natives had warned them. I don't know why so many people have this fantasy that primitive peoples have, or had, some kind of spiritual knowledge, natural wisdom and supernatural abilities that modern mankind doesn't have. I find it to be a pretty silly assumption. They were human beings like we are human beings with no more goodness, or special knowledge than we have. They suffered like we do and have evil like we do...they are just human beings. But Child plays into that with the mysterious Usuguk, the native shaman.

The scientists, film crew, and small military contingent try to catch this frenzied monster. The violence is graphic so I wouldn't recommend it to someone under 16.

This book reminded me of The Relic but instead of a monster from South American jungles to the Natural Museum it's the Arctic and a military base. A little too much the same. As someone else said on Amazon.com, "Child long ago discovered a formula that works for him (and his writing partner), and is very faithful to it. Whether you will like "Terminal Freeze" depends entirely on how you feel about that formula."

I like the formula and read it in one sitting. But it is like some of his others.

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