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COLD SEA RISING by Richard Moran



Pub Date: April 1st, 1986
Publisher: Arbor House

Tidal waves threaten to surge out of Antarctica and wreak havoc upon the world, but American scientists save the day; a hard-working but predictable disaster novel (Moran's first) with cut-along-the-dotted-line characters. McMurdo Sound, Antarctica, 1999: when an enormous, ice-shattering explosion rocks the American Antarctic Research Station, beautiful glaciologist Melissa McCoy (the first human being conceived and born in Antarctica) is sent aloft in a helicopter to investigate. She brings back terrifying news: a massive underwater volcano has erupted, melting the ice bridges that anchor the Ross Ice Shelf (twice the size of New Zealand) to the continent; the entire Shelf is now bobbing in the Pacific like an ice cube in a highball. In its absence, the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is melting rapidly, due to fierce volcanic action--if left unchecked, water levels will rise 20 feet or more, causing tidal waves which will flood port cities and inundate low-lying coastlines all over the globe. Into the ensuing commotion steps Melissa's father, Admiral Waldo Rankin, a gruff old Antarctic expert of the I-don't-take-any-bull-from-cowering-politicians-even-if-they-are-the-President type. The White House allows him to gather a crisis team, and he appoints famous New York Times reporter Josh McCoy, Melissa's estranged husband (because she prefers penguins to parenting) as media liason. He's secretly contacted by Russian geologist Anya Cherepin--his mistress when he was Moscow Bureau Chief--who tells him the Soviets are planning on using the Ross Ice Shelf as a base for military operations against the world. World War Three nearly follows, but the bellicose (and unbelievably clumsy) Bears trip over their own paws, drowning their entire invasion force after one of their own subs inadvertently sets off a nuclear missile under the Shelf; free to concentrate on science, Waldo, Josh and Melissa use Star Wars lasers from orbiting satellites to silence the volcano and save the day, although Melissa dies in the attempt and Josh is forced into the comforting embrace of Anya, who has defected. All in all: a few nice special effects but unexceptional of its type.