I’m not that new to the thriller genre – I’ve read a fair share of them. Most of which I’ve picked up at the bestseller’s section of my friendly neighborhood bookstore, and if I did enjoy an author’s book I would look up their other works and assume the rest of their books should be quite as enjoyable. A few names come to mind here, in order of favorite: Jeffrey Archer, Dan Brown, John Grisham, etc.
Truthfully I’ve never heard of James Abel (I picked this up at the library, in the ‘recently returned’ section), but as I enjoy submarine movies, or anything revolving around deadly hush-hush military secrets generally – the cover illustration was what seduced me into a second flirtatious glance. Submarines, check. Military, check. Something threatening to wipe out the world, check. Love, Nope. 3 out of 4 ain’t bad. Worth checking out, I thought.
Writing flows easily -clear and linear. Understanding of plot doesn’t require much re-reading of lines and therefore brain cells preserved. Hooray.
So, a summary: Guy goes to investigate mysterious top secret stricken military submarine in the Arctic. Encounters problems along the way. Foreign military intervene. Do they share similar interests? Humanitarian mission intent? What is this mysterious thing the crew on board the stricken submarine discovered? What is the U.S. government hiding? Do they already know what it is?
You will encounter numerous cliffhangers but fret not, the author is not evil enough to leave you hanging for dear life too long – he relents and releases you from your frustrating curiosity in the next 10 pages (or maybe in a few instances the following chapter, as the next one is a flashback on some sub-plot).
If you are an Eskimo or an keen scientist determined to explore the final frontiers of humanity’s understanding of the earth such as the Arctic, or some other icy region, you will better relate to much of the physical environment the characters fumble about it. If you aren’t, well – James Abel makes one of the characters explain to you. Think an ice expert with a decade of studying the Poles educating a U.S. Colonel who has spent most of his career in the dusty heat of Afghanistan.
Rating: 7/10 (easy reading, genre appeals to me [read: submarines, military, worldwide annihilation – or prevention of], cliffhangers not too frustrating, would be better if I had lived in the Arctic for a year, no substantial plot twist to satisfy my insatiable appetite).
P.S. This seems to be a first book in a series. An excerpt on the next, titled ‘Protocol Zero’, is included at the end. Looking forward to read it. Sub-plot semi-spoiler: main character develops some relationship with somebody. This relationship seems to develop in the next book (okay, not really a spoiler *wink*. I would never give a spoiler away!)