THE WAVE by Christopher Hyde


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The recent events at Three Mile Island may draw a few extra readers to this busy first novel--it combines an atomic waste-disposal threat with a gargantuan wave of water caused by dam sabotage. The action begins as the U.S. government becomes aware that its Columbia River dam series is actually a potential fallingdominoes disaster setup: if the world's largest dam, the Mica, in British Columbia should give way because of heavy rains loosening a massive earthslide, then the resulting wall of water would gather force and knock down dam after dam in the nine-dam series and only grow stronger. What's worse, the atomic waste storage depot at Richland Nuclear Reservation is directly in the path of the water, which will burst the buried storage drums and make the whole Northwest as well as the Pacific itself madly radioactive for 500,000 years or so. So Jonathan Kane, regional director of the Office of Environmental Safety and Inspection, flies to the Mica Darn and sees the building horror of the earthslide. But local officials give Jon the runaround and pretend to refuse to believe him; and he's virtually kidnapped by the military, which has already foreseen the disaster and plans to blow up the Canadian dam right now in hopes of saving the American dams. Meanwhile a terrorist pretending to be an ecology guerrilla occupies the Richland breeder reactor and holds it hostage for $500,000. And some clandestine U.S. agency is now actively trying to murder Jon and his journalist girlfriend Chuck (Charlene). The dam is blown mid-novel, and a 750-foot wave moves at 93 m.p.h. down the Columbia, crushing all before it. The multiple plottings and conspiracies are the usual implausible stew--but the real, technical dangers at the heart of the novel will inspire a fair measure of warranted fear and trembling.

Pub Date: Aug. 10th, 1979
ISBN: 0385513011
Publisher: Doubleday