MINUTES TO BURN by Gregg Andrew Hurwitz


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Navy SEALs go to the Galápagos to battle anything that moves in a rousing actioner reminiscent of Jurassic Park, The Dirty Dozen, Lord of the Flies, and maybe even Beowulf.

In the year 2007, hurricanes and earthquakes are making life miserable throughout the Western Hemisphere. Two scientists are dispatched to Sangre de Dios in the Galápagos Islands to mount instruments that will help track the canes and quakes. But they can't do it alone. Enter a half-dozen SEALs, half-soiled if not actually dirty, to assist and protect the scientists, then see them home safely once the mission is completed. And what an infelicitous mix of trained SEALs it is, ranging from the brave, admirable, pregnant Cameron Kates to the wild, woolly, and aptly named William Savage. At the outset, the SEALs regard this mission as a cakewalk, almost not worth getting their game-faces on for. Soon enough, however, they learn that Nature is never to be underrated. First, a hellish aftershock maroons them. Next, they discover that a new strain of ecological virus, a baby bubonic plague as it were, is running rampant on Sangre de Dios. Unsettling stuff, clearly, but nothing compared to that band of mantids: monstrous, man-eating, nine-foot-tall insects produced by a series of unfortunate biological mutations. Pressure builds, the SEALs snarl at each other, and a mini-mutiny breaks out, while the murderously intelligent mantids stalk and make terrible inroads among them. Cameron, however, keeps on keeping on, bravely and admirably ignoring her physical limitations and eventually triumphing the way all right-thinking readers will want her to.

Vivid cast, engrossing story. Hurwitz (The Tower, 1999) demonstrates once again that he's a thriller writer to be reckoned with.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-06-018886-3
Page count: 450pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 2001


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