Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Deep Zone: A Novel (with bonus short story Lethal Expedition)

The Deep Zone: A Novel (with bonus short story Lethal Expedition)
by James M. Tabor
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $7.19

4.0 out of 5 stars 4 Stars But With a Slight Reservation, April 24, 2013

"Burned by her own government in a trumped-up scandal, brilliant microbiologist Hallie Leland swore she’d never return to the world of cutting-edge science and dangerous secrets. But a shocking summons from the White House changes all that. A mysterious epidemic is killing American soldiers in Afghanistan—and poised for outbreak in the United States and beyond. Without the ultrarare organism needed to create an antidote, millions will die. Hallie knows more about “Moonmilk” than anyone—but it can be found only at the bottom of the deepest cave on Earth. To get there, she and her team of experts must brave a forbidding Mexican jungle crawling with drug cartels, federales, and murderous locals. And in the supercave await far greater terrors: flooded tunnels, acid lakes, bottomless chasms, mind-warping blackness—and a cunning assassin with orders to make the mission a journey of no return".
If you are an adventurer in life or just an armchair adventurer, this is going to be a novel you just can't put down. The only problem I had with this book was that there was just a touch too much technical data for me, otherwise this was almost as good as Frozen Solid: A Novel, "Frozen Solid" has a little more finesse than "The Deep Zone" did. Anyone who has an interest in caving is going to LOVE this novel since most of it takes place in a 'super cave'.

This book was written with a lot of skill and attention paid to fine dovetails, both in drawing his characters and on the world around his characters. The research that went into this novel is astounding, and the author discusses what he has used in this novel and has explained at the end of the novel, that all of these things he speaks of which sound like jokes or made up things, are in actuality real items, inventions, products -whatever. As far as the cave descriptions, those too are real though not all in one place like in this particular supercave. And yes, supercaves exist too. Something I did not know before reading this book

There is so much about our world that I don't know or don't understand. When an author takes a subject that I know little or nothing about and is able to spin a story that, although complicated, is still explained so someone like me could understand and enjoy it, I latch on to that author and buy every book of theirs I can.

Hallie is an extremely strong woman both in body and spirit and when the government asks her to be on a team to go to this supercave to harvest some more of the organism (Moonmilk) they need to produce an antidote for a disease that is hitting our armed forces, she has no problem in saying yes.

Of course there are nefarious people just as adamant that this outbreak not be contained by "Moonmilk" and this is where the fun begins. Accidents can happen especially since they will be traversing lakes of acid, narrow horribly high bridges of rock, nearly bottomless pits of water and other fun and relaxing places in the cave.

An interesting if slightly unbelievable side story, is that a relationship starts to blossom for Hallie and one of the teams members. There is also a slightly unbelievable albeit super exciting fight between Hallie and her twice shot love interest.

There is an exciting if slightly rushed ending and I really recommend that you do read the next novel which is even more polished than this one and even more breath-taking with its excitment.

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