Chinese soldiers and Navy SEALs race to retrieve a fallen satellite in the Arctic Circle only to discover a common enemy in a gigantic sea creature in Kwa’s debut sci-fi thriller.
When the Chinese launch a satellite that’s capable of spotting subs, the U.S. government tries to hijack it electronically. After its attempt is intercepted, the satellite crashes to Earth. Master Chief Carter Bohem’s SEAL team is sent in to recover it, but they’re beaten to it by the People’s Liberation Army—but only by the one member who survived an attack by a serpentine beast. Capt. Marcus Cartaneo is ordered to extract the team, and soon the creature is pursuing his ship, the U.S.S. Seawolf. The author doesn’t waste any time introducing the monster: snakelike, coiled, with a “bullet-shaped head.” Its constant attacks are reminiscent of Hollywood action-movie scenes, and the author ramps up the suspense whenever the characters’ fates hang in the balance. But even in scenes without the sea serpent, the story keeps up a frenetic pace. At one point, for example, Marcus rushes to save his wife and daughter, stuck near a naval station during a hurricane. The gargantuan, multitoothed beast is terrifying, but its most frightening traits are its most humanlike—it doesn’t always attack for food but often for revenge, as it blames the crashed satellite for destroying its hatchlings. It’s also clearly intelligent; at one point, it creates a makeshift iceberg to prevent the soldiers’ escape. The human characters, meanwhile, aren’t static—Marcus, for example, is rethinking his life in the Navy after a colleague’s suicide. The novel’s environmental message is a bit heavy-handed, as it overtly blames global warming for the beast’s onslaughts and ensuing carnage, but it doesn’t slow the plot down.
A thriller with the speed and precision of a tightly edited action film, headlined by a colossal monster that could give the kraken a run for its money.