After a team of American scientists at Wilkes Ice Station discover what seems to be a spaceship in a four-million-year-old cavern below the ice, two of the divers disappear while checking out the craft. Lt. Shane "Scarecrow" Schofield and his highly trained team of Marines respond to the scientists' distress signal. By the time the leathernecks reach Wilkes, three days later, one of the scientists has killed another, six more members of the Wilkes team have disappeared in the ice cave and eight French scientists from a nearby station are for some reason at the U.S. base. Would the French government kill Americans to capture a frozen UFO? Probably: six of the French "scientists" turn out to be the members of the French special forces. From that discovery onward, this first novel offers nonstop thrills as Schofield and his team fight for their livesÄand for those of the remaining American scientistsÄagainst French and British commandos and a secret American spy group; against killer whales and strange aquatic mammals; and against time, for both the French and British commandos harbor "eraser" plans to wipe out all survivors in case of mission failure. Reilly's debut evokes a host of predecessors, including Jaws, The Andromeda Strain, The X-Files and the combat novels of Tom Clancy. It also echoes the work of Ian Fleming, as the outrageously heroic Schofield comes off as less a real Marine than a fantasy action figure on a par with Bond. There's not much that's original hereÄeven the set-up is reminiscent of the classic SF film The Thing, about a saucer buried in Arctic iceÄbut Reilly doesn't really need to be original, not at the pace at which he whips his story line past readers. Employing crude but effective prose, a nonstop spray of short, punchy paragraphs and cliffhangers galore, this is grade-A action pulp. (Sept.) FYI: Ice Station was previously published by Pan Macmillan in Reilly's native Australia, where it sold 30,000 copies. Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Fans of Clive Cussler will enjoy this first novel by Australian author Reilly. Set in Antarctica, Ice Station pits a group of U.S. Marines against a host of unexpected adversaries. Buried deep in the ice, in a layer 100 million years old, is something that arouses the greed of governments around the globe. Their respective Special Forces units are unleashed in this inhospitable land in a race to claim the hidden treasure. The book moves along at a good pace, and as with all well-told military thrillers there are plenty of unexpected twists, turns, and betrayals. Reilly's characters are colorful and engaging, and his bad guys are more wrong-headed than evil. The laws of science are sometimes shunted aside to make way for improbable weaponry and impossible situations, but that's just part of the fun. Recommended for public libraries with large military fiction collections.ÄPatrick Wall, Univ. of South Carolina Lib., Spartanburg Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.