A Book Spy Review: ‘Beyond the Ice Limit’ by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

Beyond The Ice Limit Preston and ChildBeyond the Ice Limit opens on the heels of a mission that was conducted five years prior. Eli Glinn, head of the Effective Engineering Solutions (EES), led the mission near a remote island off the coast of South America. The objective was to recover the largest meteorite ever discovered. Initially, everything went according to plan, then it all fell apart–literally.

During the return trip home, a violent storm rocked the Atlantic waters, causing devastating sailing conditions. Glinn’s ship, the Rolvaag, was ripped apart and sank to the bottom of the ocean floor, taking more than one hundred crew members–and the meteorite–with it. 

Glinn survived, barely, but sustained life-changing injuries that would plague him the rest of his days. 

By the time we meet up with Glinn and Gideon Crew (the protagonist), EES has discovered, thanks to sonar imaging, that the “meteorite” is in fact not a meteorite at all. In a stunning turn of events, the rock is revealed to be a living organism from space–also known as an alien, later referred to as the Baobab. It’s living on the ocean floor more than two miles below the surface, and to make things even worse, it’s growing. 

Worst of all, it has the ability to infect people and poses a direct threat to all of humanity. Earth and her citizens are in danger, and there’s only one man who can save them–Dr. Gideon Crew. 

My Thoughts

I’ll be honest, I’m not sure how I felt about the idea of an alien rock living in the ocean. Eh, okay? I’m not too into sci-fi unless it’s Star Wars, to be honest. But I’m open to reading anything (except for the Twilight series–I’ll die before that happens), so I pressed on. Then it was revealed that the real reason Gideon Crew is involved is because he’s a nuclear weapons expert–and that’s all it took for me to get interested. 

I like action and explosions, so when you’re talking about nuking a weird alien life-form deep under the ocean waves, I’m totally there. Bring it on! 

Preston and Child are a great tag-team and have churned out some really thrilling stories together. But I found the way in which the Baobab infects people–the process involves a worm swimming up a person’s nose and into their brain–kind of silly. It’s horrific, sure,  and there’s no doubt that would totally suck. I just wish there would have been a cooler, more creative way for the Baobab to use its powers. 

The other issue I have with this book is that the dialogue ranges from realistic to not believable, depending on the situation. That’s a minor gripe I suppose and, hey, the argument could always be made that you never know for sure what someone would say in the event that an alien is found living in the ocean. Personally, I’d imagine a much more “colorful” reaction. 

The strength of this book is the action that takes place on the ocean because it’s very different from anything else out there that I’ve come across. I’ve never been on a ship in the middle of the ocean, nor do I care to be (especially after reading this book), but I was able to understand everything because the authors did a fine job explaining whatever isn’t already obvious, without bogging the story down. 

All in all, I can see Beyond the Ice Limit being a huge hit for fans of sci-fi thrillers, but struggling to hold the attention of the casual political or military thriller reader. 

Book Details

Authors: Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

Pages: 372 (Hardcover)

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Release Date: May 17, 2016 (Order Now!)


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