Despite the submarine cover art and the rather awkward title, this is no by-the-numbers military thriller: rather, it's a full-blooded, multidimensional adventure story set in the frozen wilds of Alaska, both atop the ice and underneath it. And it's one heck of a fun ride. Matthew Pike is a Fish and Game officer cataloging bear populations in the remote Brooks Range--but he's also an ex-Green Beret, which comes in handy when trouble drops out of the sky in the form of a crashed bush plane, a cryptic survivor, and some very nasty and well-equipped pursuers. Meanwhile, an American submarine stumbles on an abandoned research station buried under the Arctic ice cap, unleashing a race to conceal the horrors that took place there and to capture the priceless scientific secret still locked within.
James Rollins invokes the polar environment so vividly you can hear the wind shriek and feel the ice forming on your nose, and the scientific/medical puzzles at the story's heart may remind you of Michael Crichton's best. The characters, while mostly familiar hero or villain types, are crisply drawn and in some cases quite sympathetic, but it's the nonstop action that carries you along. During several climactic chase scenes, you may find yourself laughing in pure delight--or gasping for breath--as Rollins keeps finding ways to ratchet up the tension one more notch. Ice Hunt is an escapist's delight. --Nicholas H. Allison