ICEFIRE by Judith Reeves-Stevens


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Absorbing disaster novel that offers everything but asteroid impact and superblooming viruses, by the Canadian authors of Nighteyes (1989) and—the publisher tells us--William Shatner’s Star Trek novels (sorry, Bill). As in earlier Reeves-Stevens fiction, Clancyitis causes the characters to petrify under hardware description that amplifies oscillations until seismic fault lines fissure with ambient stress the solid-strata prose, while paragraphs burst like rock assaulted by shock-waves of subsonic horror. In other words, when some Chinese army generals decide to overthrow the current government and revert to even more hardline ways, they choose to plant a half-dozen nuclear bombs under the Antarctic permafrost—and then explode them to raise a gigantic wave that will roll up the Pacific at 500 miles an hour, knocking out New Zealand, Hawaii, Japan, and the American West Coast (as well as other places), while during the global turmoil, the generals take over China. Among those who might save some of the world in this scenario are Navy SEAL Captain Mitch Weber and his former lover, oceanographer Corry Rey--except that they—re now at each other’s throats (a plot device similar to James Cameron’s in Abyss, which featured snarling ex-marrieds battling several gigantic tsunamis). The authors have a ripping good time measuring the hydraulics of ocean water being sucked up into the monstrous wave, the cyclonic, tree-popping wind, extraordinary airborne debris, and Hawaii dissolving into one large volcanic soup, while the wave also scoops up oilfields that sparks set afire. . . turning the San Diego—bound wave into ICEFIRE! Can it be stopped? Weber and Rey come up with an idea for dropping the ocean floor, but various world intrigues work against them. The Reeves-Stevenses feel duty-bound to present every thrilling ergometric fraction of their maelstrom--and that’s okay for folks who can hack such projectile detail. Meanwhile, the publisher, arming its publicity missiles, says the movie is due in 1998 or 1999, with its basic plastic humans fighting a gale-force soundtrack. (First printing of 75,000; author tour)

Pub Date: July 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-671-01402-1
Page count: 484pp
Publisher: Pocket
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 1998