Beneath The Dark Ice by Greg Beck

When a plane crashes into the Antarctic ice, exposing an enormous cave system, a rescue and research team is dispatched. Twenty-four hours later, all contact is lost.

Captain Alex Hunter and his highly trained commandos, along with a team of scientists, are fast tracked to the hot zone to find out what went wrong. Meanwhile, the alluring petrobiologist Aimee Weir is sent to follow up on the detection of a vast underground reservoir. If the unidentified substance proves to be oil, every country in the world will want to know about it–even wage war over it. Or worse.
Once suspended into the caves, Alex, Aimee, and the others can’t locate a single survivor–or even a trace of their remains. Nor is there a energy source, only specters of the dead haunting the tunnels. But soon they will discover that something very much alive is brewing beneath the surface. It is a force that dates back to the very dawn of time–an ancient terror that hunts and kills to survive…

Right I make no apologies for loving big dumb books, probably because I’m a big dumb person.  And this books falls so far into big dumb territory it leaves a crater big enough to wipe out the dinosaurs.  

Greig Beck jumps into the big pond where James Rollins and Andy Mcdermot are the big fish.  The question is,  can this already  over extended ecosystem take another new species of author?  

Greg certainly knows how to write a fast paced action novel.  From the prologue which is a reworking of the Croatan legend, we switch to modern day to where a mutimillionare businessman crashes his private jet into an ice shelf in the Antarctic. 

Luckily there is a team of super duper American soldiers led by Captain Alex Hunter, why do these guys never have normal names?  However, Captain Alex Hunter is no ordinary soldier, he is gifted with super strength, speed and stamina, but cursed with a temper from Hell.  How did he come by these gifts I here you say?  He was shot in the head, and the bullet logged in his brain, causing his brain to over produce certain hormones resulting in his superhuman strength.  “It was a million to one chance Doc” 

Note :  The Ginger Nuts of Horror, in no way endorses the shooting of oneself in the head, in the attempt to become a super soldier. 

Soon the team of soldiers and scientist are on there way to discover what happened to the first party.  Once there they are faced with terrors not only from the environment, but from a crack team of Russian assassins  lead by the guy who put the bullet in Hunters brain, and from the denizens of the deep that have note seen the light of day since time began.  

This book fails on a number of levels, mainly the clichéd characters, from the sly evil scientist who goes of the rails, to the conflict between Hunter and the Russian assassin, Christ the guy should have been given a Hooded Claw moustache to twirl.  However the book is a truimph of big dumb fun, the creatures that the team face as they travel below the ice sheets are wonderfully  mental, psycho sea scorpions, giant killer salamanders, something resembling the Sarlacc pit from Star Wars.  A lot of this does read like At The Earth’s Core  and at one point one of the characters does mention that it feels they are in Pellucidar.  

If you like these sort of books then this is a worthy addition to the genre, a good book let down by some overworked clichés.

When a plane crashes into the Antarctic ice in a violent storm, exposing a massive cave beneath, a rescue and research team is dispatched. Twenty-four hours later, all contact is lost.

Captain Alex Hunter and his crack team of highly trained commandos are fast-tracked there to find out what went wrong, accompanied by an assortment of researchers, including petrobiologist Aimee Weir. Within the caves lies an unidentified – and unnatural seeming – substance. If it proves to be an energy source, every country in the world will want to know about it – some even kill for it.


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