When the earth’s poles are apart, everyone’s comfy. Shift them a bit, you get headaches. Shift them a lot, you’re in for cataclysm.
And, believe it or not, there are malevolent geniuses out there prepared to shift an electromagnetic storm in the name of unspeakable ambitions. Precisely what these are, the authors don’t make as clear as they perhaps should, but then they do have their priorities. What matters most to Cussler/Kemprecos is the big bang, the monstrous cause-and-effect. Cause: a man-made major shift in the magnetic poles. Effect: a geological movement that you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy. Next to this kind of planet-bashing, H.G. Wells is Mickey Mouse. So send in the super-heroes, namely ex-CIA guy Kurt Austin (Lost City, 2004, etc.), he of the “rugged, sun-burnished features” and “piercing light blue eyes the color of coral under water” (not to mention a nerd’s brain and a jock’s reflexes). “Just a simple marine engineer” is how he likes to describe himself, fooling no one who’s ever gone up against the National Underwater Marine Agency (NUMA), for which he directs the storied Special Assignment Team. It’s while kayaking among a pod of orca whales that Kurt first gets a whiff of connivance and conspiracy. The whales behave in a manner stunningly unlike themselves, and Kurt narrowly escapes with burnished features intact as playful orcas morph into sharp-toothed killers. Until Kurt and the gang find the cause—and foil the foul fiend behind it—the world as we know it will teeter on the brink of extinction.
Glacial pace, paper-thin characters, slap-dash prose and a probable warm welcome from a large and loyal audience.