The Ice Station – Matthew Reilly

The premise of the book is simple: a group of divers in Antarctica find a spaceship enclosed by ice. The unfortunate underwater explorers get attacked soon after, serenading the listening Wilkes Ice Station with their screams. In panic, the radio operator sends an S.O.S. across all the channels. The U.S. immediately dispatches a Marine Recon Unit led by Lieutenant Shane Schofield to secure the American station. But the United States wasn’t the only country to hear Wilkes cry for help…

The French come first, bearing food, medical supplies, and hidden weaponry. Bent on taking the extraterrestrial technology for France, the Premier Regiment Parachutiste d’Ifanterie de Marine (elite commandoes) barrage the Americans with everything from miniature crossbows to mortars. If that wasn’t bad enough, killer whales with a taste for human flesh take up residence in the Station’s water access. And a crazed scientist convicted of homicide is locked up somewhere in the complex.

As the body count grows higher, Schofield and his unit are faced with everything from missile bearing submarines to liquid nitrogen bombs. Things get even worse when a wounded soldier is found dead with indications of poison and evidence of a traitor within the Marines soon starts accumulating.

Overlaid between the pulse-pounding action, seasoned diplomat George Holmes negotiates for the renewal of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. But the French keep stalling…
And in New Mexico, a Washington Post reporter investigates the claims of a U.S. government program designed to assassinate American soldiers that had seen too much.

Ice Station contains some of the most intelligent, well researched action I have ever read. His description of weaponry, both real and imaginary, is precise enough even those with no military background can immediately understand what he is talking about. His depiction of Antarctica research stations and their history also shows a strict attention to detail.

This dedication to research can even be seen in the basic plot structure as well. Excerpts from The Cambridge Lectures by Jonathan Kendrick and Watergate by William Goldridge were placed before the prologue to tie in a factual element; Reilly takes the truth and twists it, giving his story arc greater plausibility.

Reading Ice Station is like watching a non-stop action movie unmarred by cheesy acting and poor special effects. Using succinct descriptions, an abundance of cliff-hangers, and copious plot twists, Reilly has crafted an adrenaline-rushing, heart-pumping, edge-of-your seat military thriller. Shane Schofield is the Jack Bauer of Ice Station.

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