U.S. Navy scientist Jason Parker and other operatives mobilize to secure secrets and technologies left on Earth by a race of aquatic aliens in Clarke’s (Middle Waters, 2014) sequel.
The author, a diving scientist for the Navy, continues his series about a steely, Dirk Pitt–style hero who knows his way around deep-water dives, sunken caves, paranormal phenomena, and romance with attractive women. Parker made contact with amphibianlike extraterrestrials, colloquially known as “Frogs,” who dwelt unseen in Earth’s deepest oceans for some 10,000 years. Russian weapons tests led to the creatures’ sudden (and rather ominous) departure at the end of the last book. Now there’s evidence that, in their haste, the Frogs left behind some very important property. In Siberia, Russians find one of the alien’s triangular spacecraft, seemingly abandoned in a deep lake. Meanwhile, in Mexico, Parker and a Navy rescue team stumble across an enigmatic tribe of benign, bioluminescent, telepathic humanoids living underground who were genetically sired by the Frogs as slave labor. And then there are other, derelict spaceships, some of them detected by CIA operatives via extrasensory “remote viewing.” The book’s mix of psychic phenomena and hard-science submarine tech is a bit eccentric, and the author gives shoutouts and salutes to the 1989 James Cameron film The Abyss as well as to the fantastic fiction of James Patterson and Robert Jordan. The characterization tends to be basic, but readers who like the novel’s Tom Clancy–ish acronyms (a glossary of military jargon is provided), superpower rivalry (the Russians are even called “Commies” in dialogue), and suspenseful, Clive Cussler–esque, high-risk salvage ops likely won’t mind. The third act, meanwhile, brings in loads of speculation from the ufological and parapsychology realms and a not-so-subtle plea to give parascience more respect. In a cute addendum, Clarke recaps Middle Waters’ premise in the form of an article from the real-life fringe-science and occult journal Fortean Times.
A seaworthy mashup of military techno-thriller and alien-contact fare.