THE TRENCH by Steve Alten


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A sequel to the riveting Meg (1997), continuing the adventures of a prehistoric shark with a mouth like a garage door that marauds in the ocean’s upper waters along the California coast. In the previous installment, a supposedly extinct shark species was kept alive by the thermal warmth of smokers on the sea- bottom. When Meg and a pregnant female broke through the sludge and rose topside, all hell broke loose until the pregnant female’s offspring was drugged and imprisoned in a Marine showcase near Monterey. Now, four years later, oxygen-rich waters and overfeeding have nurtured the captive Meg to a size larger than either her father or mother. She’s in estrous and unfathomably hungry, can smell male sharks and tasty whales offshore, and at last breaks through the steel bars that have been placed between her and the open sea. Since she’s just swallowed three young boys, she also has a taste for human flesh. Her rage to feed leads to some startling effects, including a female photographer’s being bitten in half in her kayak, with Meg coming back to swallow the kayak and the body’s other half. The humans, meanwhile, are total stereotypes, and some of their drama and its setting appear to have been borrowed from James Cameron’s film The Abyss. Readers who saw Godzilla know that the climax must involve a whole family of monsters spreading about, although the present tale involves, as well, another extinct species: a reptile that’s four or five times larger than Tyrannosaurus Rex doesn—t get along with Meg. But don—t think Alten will kill off his golden gobbler. Best scene: Meg copulating with a smaller male, than eating him—just a bridal whiff from Melville and D.H. Lawrence. Not exactly taxing on the intellectual side, but a nail-biting summer read. (Author tour)

Pub Date: July 1st, 1999
ISBN: 1-57566-430-5
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Kensington
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 1999


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