On the day of a solar eclipse, the world is changed forever. A series of solar flares somehow set off a series of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions along the ring of fire: stretching from Japan all the way around the Pacific to the west coast of Alaska, Canada, and the United States; Hawaii is in ruins. Air Force One makes an emergency flight from Guam back to DC with the President on board. It is while in the air that the full force of the devastation hits and Air Force One somehow drops into the water like a stone.
Now as the world tries to recover, an investigation and possible rescue mission is immediately launched as the Vice President becomes acting President. Meanwhile Ex-Navy SEAL Jack Kirkland is out in the Pacific with his ship, the Deep Fathom, and crew looking for an old wreck. As he finds it, the earthquakes and eruptions hit and the wreck breaks up and sinks into an underwater volcano, leaving them with nothing but the two gold bars Jack was able to grab with his small submersible. He soon gets the call: the US government is commandeering his ship and salvage services to find out what happened to Air Force One; he has no choice.
At the crash site, Jack heads down in the submersible to track the wreckage of the plane and collecting the Black Boxes. On the ocean floor he also finds a strange crystalline tower with powerful magnetic properties that messes with his instruments and communications, as well as appearing to somehow stop time. Jack also notices ancient carvings on the crystal, what looks to be some form of writing. As the aircraft carrier USS Gibraltar arrives, Jack comes face to face with an old enemy. Brother to his wife who was killed in a NASA shuttle mission; Jack was the only one to survive; his wife’s brother, David, has never forgiven him for her death, and wants to kill him any way he can.
Meanwhile things are heating up between the US and China as suspicious evidence arises implicating the Chinese in the downing of Air Force One; things take a turn for the worse as the missiles begin flying. And yet there is hope as Karen Grace, working on her doctoral thesis at Ryukyu University in Micronesian Studies, has discovered a similar form of crystal at the other end of the Pacific and is working on decoding the language.
While Rollins goes a little over the top with the constant action as no character seems to able to catch a break — there is always someone after them, looking to kill them; he has nevertheless created a very interesting story around the myths of the Bermuda Triangle and the Pacific equivalent known as the Devil’s Triangle. As for the ending, the reader will never be able to see what’s coming, as Rollins goes all out delving into some interesting science fiction to get everything nicely wrapped up at the end.
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Originally written on June 28 2010 ©Alex C. Telander.
For an interview with James Rollins, click here.