Be­tween the Lines De­scent to Dan­ger

Can you han­dle the pres­sure?

RSWLiving - - Departments - BY DOUG GALLOGLY Doug Gallogly lives with his wife Jackie in Fort My­ers.

Marine bi­ol­o­gist Zachary Wal­lace gained no­to­ri­ety as the man who dis­cov­ered the Loch Ness Mon­ster. Fame is a fickle thing, though, and when the tourists stop vis­it­ing Loch Ness, Wal­lace is shunned. His mar­riage is on shaky ground and his fu­ture un­cer­tain, but there is an­other lake. And some­thing even more dan­ger­ous awaits. Best-sell­ing author Steve Al­ten’s new novel “Vostok” (Rebel Press, 2015, $24.95) tells of Wal­lace’s jour­ney to the depths of Lake Vostok, which is hid­den be­neath the ice of East Antarc­tica for more than 15 mil­lion years.

Fol­low­ing the dis­cov­ery of the fos­silized re­mains of two gi­ant pre­his­toric crea­tures in the ice of Antarc­tica, an ex­pe­di­tion through the ice to Lake Vostok is planned. Need­ing an ex­pert marine bi­ol­o­gist, they call on Zachary Wal­lace, whose study of the Loch Ness Mon­ster makes him a nat­u­ral choice. Us­ing spe­cial­ized lasers to make a path through the ice, a mini-sub car­ry­ing Wal­lace, the pi­lot, and a beau­ti­ful Chi­nese sci­en­tist makes its way to Lake Vostok. The over­sized hun­gry preda­tors they en­counter aren’t ter­ri­bly sur­pris­ing, since the book cover fea­tures a fierce-look­ing caiman, but some­thing even more sur­pris­ing awaits Wal­lace in the re­cesses of the mas­sive sub-Antarc­tic cav­ern. And the fu­ture of hu­man civ­i­liza­tion hinges on his ac­tions.

“Vostok” is the se­quel to “The Loch” and the Florida writer’s lat­est work—and it does not dis­ap­point. His fast-paced sto­ries fea­ture gi­ant pre­his­toric crea­tures, but he takes the time to de­velop char­ac­ters that a reader can care about. Zachary Wal­lace is a three-di­men­sional char­ac­ter with real flaws and fears and he faces un­be­liev­able ob­sta­cles in a very hu­man fash­ion. If you like over-the-top ac­tion with down-to-earth char­ac­ters, pick up “Vostok.” You’ll be glad you did.

Best-sell­ing author Steve Al­ten is the founder of Adopt-An-Author, a pro­gram that works with teach­ers to en­cour­age kids to read. He lives in south Florida with his fam­ily.

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