“There are places on planet earth, where common sense doesn’t apply” – Toba Beta
While aliens and alien civilizations have always found a place in popular culture and a permanent corner in our imaginative minds, what has equally befuddled us is the complete lack of contact with such a foreign entity or culture. Given the sheer number of planets and galaxies in our universe, even the staunchest of creationists will agree, at least in secret that some sort of life should exist outside of earth. But the conundrum of having no proof to show for their existence still remained, that is until now.
Author Marshall Chamberlain’s latest novel ‘The Ice Cap and the Rift’ is the sequel to ‘The Mountain Place of Knowledge’ and is also the second book in the Ancestor Series. This time the action shifts to Iceland where a massive combo quake rips apart a 15 mile long rift in a large ice cap. When satellite images reveal a large doomed structure frozen in cave ice, it piques considerable interest & curiosity among the international community regarding the secrets hidden below the ice. On cue, steps in U.N’s Institute for the Study of Unusual Phenomena headed by an ex-marine and geologist, John Henry Morgan. Morgan and his group of scientists discover some ancient and possible alien technology hidden under the ice which could provide answers to questions we haven’t even thought of and which would serve for the betterment of mankind. But there are many internal and external forces around that would rather use these secrets for their own good. With enemies both far and near threatening to sabotage the mission, Morgan and his team must successfully thaw away the threats and preserve the priceless technology in time.
As the simple and self explanatory title suggests, a series of earth quakes that take place in a remote area in Iceland creates a gigantic rift in an ice plate threatening the normalcy of continental plates of our planet. Although the American government, military and NATO are quick to arrive on the scene, the U.N too gets involved and it sends its specialist unit ISUP and a group of scientists to explore the strange phenomenon. The group investigating the mystery consists of Henry Morgan, Mary Ellen, Eddy Levitt, Landis Shasha and a NATO commander Kevin Barr. Although Morgan is portrayed as the leader of the pack, the rest of the team members too have been given enough space to showcase their skill and personalities. And since it a sequel to a book and because there are a lot of returning characters, sometimes their interactions and talks about past adventures can leave you indifferent especially if you haven’t read the first book like me. But inadvertently their periodic chatter about the incident at the Belizean mountain and Trinium manages to raise your curiosity and makes you want to read the first book too.
A lot of things work very well in this novel which sometimes juggles multiple genres and themes at various points in the course of the book. For example, the scientific know-how and relative information has not been presented as mere fantasy gibberish but rather as credible facts. In fact this delicate handling by the author can be seen in a lot of other places as well, especially in the description of the ever changing geography and in the dialogues of an equally large number of characters. It’s almost like he ventured out into the wild with a camera, recorded everything and then jotted down on paper everything he captured. And that is perhaps why the entire novel has a cinematic feel to it, the chapters are small and precise and each one cuts away and blends into a new one seamlessly. There are no jarring notes and the editing deserves full marks for this effort.
The worldwide cat and mouse game played out with ISUP team members on one side and the rest of the world makes for great reading and helps in making The Ice Cap and the Rift one of those books that you won’t be able to put down after you begin. And that bit about aliens in the book raises your expectation sky high about what the author intends to do with it in the third book of the series.
Print Length: 311 pages
Publisher: The Grace Publishing Group; First edition (October 2, 2014)