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In the prologue to this exceptional supernatural thriller from Masello (Bestiary), two lovers-Lt. Sinclair Copley of the 17th Lancers and Eleanor Ames, a nurse from Florence Nightingale's Harley Street hospital in London-fall into ice-strewn seas from a British sloop foundering near Antarctica in 1856. In the present, Seattle writer Michael Wilde, who's recovering from a personal tragedy, can't resist the opportunity to go to Antarctica to write a magazine article about the Point Adélie research station. Past and present stories alternate until Michael makes an amazing discovery in a submerged block of ice off the Antarctic coast-two frozen bodies, bound in chains. After Sinclair and Eleanor revive, Masello slowly and subtly reveals how they came to transcend death. The thrills and, most decidedly, the chills mount to a believable, sad and hopeful ending. Fans of John Campbell's "Who Goes There?"-the basis for the movie The Thing-will find much to like. (Feb.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
November 19, noon
the doorbell was ringing, and even though Michael heard it, he did not want to wake up; the dream he was in was too comforting. Kristin was with him, and they were driving in his Jeep on a mountain road. She had her bare feet up on the dashboard, the radio was blasting, and she was laughing, her head held back, her blond hair blowing in the wind from the open window.
The doorbell rang again, a series of short bursts. Whoever it was wasn’t going away.
Michael lifted his head from the pillow—why was there an empty bag of Doritos next to his face?—and glanced at the lighted numerals on the clock—11:59. And then, even as he rubbed his eyes, it flicked over to noon.
The doorbell, again.
Michael threw the blanket back, dropped his feet onto the floor. “Yeah, yeah, hold your horses,” he mumbled. He grabbed a bathrobe off the back of the door and shuffled out of the bedroom. Through the opaque glass in the front door, he could see a shape—somebody in a hooded parka—standing on the stoop. Michael moved closer.
“I can see you, too, Michael. Now open the door—it’s freezing out here.”
It was Joe Gillespie, his editor at Eco-Travel Magazine.
Michael turned the bolt and opened the door. A cold rain spattered against his bare legs as his visitor hustled in. “Remind me to get a job on the Miami Herald next time,” Gillespie said, stamping his feet.
Michael picked a sodden copy of the Tacoma News Tribune from the stoop, then gazed off at the shrouded peaks of the Cascade range in the distance. That was why he’d originally bought the house—for the view. Now it was just an awful reminder. He gave the paper a shake and closed the door.
Gillespie was standing on the threadbare hook rug—the one Kristin had made—with water dripping from his parka. He brushed the hood back, and what was left of his hair fuzzed out around his head.
“You ever check your e-mails anymore?” Gillespie asked. “Or maybe your answering machine?”
“Not if I can help it.”
Gillespie blew out a frustrated sigh and looked around the messy living room. “Jesus, Michael, do you own stock in Domino’s? You ought to.”
Michael did note a couple of pizza boxes, and some empty beer bottles, scattered around the coffee table and stone hearth.
“Get dressed,” Gillespie said. “We’re going to lunch.”
Michael, still barely conscious, just stood there with the wet paper in his hand.
“Come on, I’m paying.”
Michael said, “Give me five,” tossed the paper to Gillespie, and went to get started.
“Take ten,” Gillespie shouted after him. “Throw in a shave and shower.”
Michael took him at his word. In the bathroom, he switched on the space heater—the house was always cold and drafty, and though he often swore to himself that one day he’d do some insulating and basic maintenance, that day never came—and turned on the hot water. It would take a minute or two to get warm. The medicine chest above the sink was open, and half a dozen orange prescription bottles sat on the shelves. He grabbed the one on the bottom shelf—the latest antidepressant the therapist had prescribed—and downed a tablet with a handful of the now-tepid water.
Then, much as he dreaded the prospect, he closed the cabinet and looked at himself in the mirror. His shaggy black hair was even more unruly than ever this morning, curling off his head on one side and mashed down flat on the other. His dark eyes were red-rimmed and cloudy. He hadn’t shaved in a couple of days and he could swear—was this possible?—that even though he had just turned thirty, a couple of the chin whiskers were coming in gray. Time’s winged chariot . . . damn. He slapped a fresh blade into the razor and made a few hasty swipes at his stubble.
After a lukewarm shower, he put on some jeans, a denim work shirt, and the cleanest, driest pair of boots he could find by the front door. Gillespie was sprawled in his worn leather armchair, carefully peeling the pages of the newspaper away from each other. “I took the liberty of raising your blinds and letting in some light. You might try it sometime.”
They drove in Gillespie’s car—a Prius, of course—and went to the same diner they always did. Though there wasn’t much to recommend the place in the way of décor—vinyl booths, linoleum floor, and a pastry carousel with garish white lighting—Michael liked it at the Olympic. It was about as far from a chain restaurant, or God forbid, a Starbucks, as you could get, and it had the added virtue of serving breakfast all day. Michael ordered the lumberjack special, and Gillespie had a Greek salad with a side order of cottage cheese and a cup of herbal tea.
“Whoa, there,” Michael said. “Sure you’re not overdoing it?”
Gillespie smiled while pouring half a packet of Equal into his tea. “What the hell—it’s on the expense account.”
“In that case, I’m having dessert.”
“Good idea,” Gillespie said. “I dare you to order a slice of the lemon meringue.”
It was a running joke between them, that the lemon meringue pie on the top shelf of the carousel had not budged, much less been replaced, in the five years they’d been coming here.
While they ate, Michael couldn’t help but notice that Gillespie had placed a FedEx envelope on the seat next to his thigh. Occasionally, Gillespie would reach down and touch it, just to make sure it was still there. Must be something important, Michael thought, and since it hadn’t been left in the locked car, it was probably something that was going to involve Michael somehow.
They talked about the magazine—a new photo editor had been hired, ad sales were up, the good-looking receptionist had quit—and the Seattle Mariners. Sometimes, Gillespie and Michael went to the games together at the Safeco Stadium. What they didn’t talk about was Kristin—Michael knew that Gillespie was steering clear—and they didn’t talk about the envelope either, until Michael, mopping up his egg yolks with the English muffin, finally broached the subject.
“Okay, I’ll bite,” he said, gesturing with the crust of the muffin. “The suspense is killing me.”
For a second, Gillespie pretended to be uncertain of what he was referring to.
“Is that the layout for my Yellowstone story?”
Gillespie looked down at the envelope, pursing his lips, as if still trying to come to some decision. “No, the Yellowstone story ran last month. Looks like you’re not even reading the magazine anymore.”
Michael felt caught out—especially because it was true. For the past few months, he’d hardly ever read his mail, checked his AOL account, called people back. Everybody understood why, but more and more he felt the world was losing patience.
“This is something I think you should see,” Gillespie said, sliding the envelope across the table.
Michael wiped his fingers on his napkin, then opened the packet and took out the papers inside. There were photos—some of them, in black and white, looked like satellite reconnaissance shots—and a sheaf of papers with the National Science Foundation name and logo on top. Many of them were datelined “Point Adélie.”
“What’s Point Adélie?”
“It’s a research station, and pretty minimal at that. They study everything from climate change to the local biosphere.”
“Where is it?” Michael asked, reaching for his coffee cup.
“The South Pole. Or at least as close to it as you can get. The Adélie penguins migrate there.”
Michael’s coffee cup stopped in the air, and despite himself, he felt a quickening in his blood.
“It took me months to set this up,” Gillespie went on, “and get the necessary clearance. You have no idea the kind of paperwork and red tape you have to go through to get somebody onto the base down there. The NSF makes the CIA look friendly. But now we’ve got it—permission to send one reporter to Point Adélie, for a month. I’m planning on getting an eight-to-ten-page spread out of it—four-color photos, maybe three or four thousand words of text, the whole enchilada.”
Michael sipped the coffee, just to give himself a second to think.
“I’ll save you the trouble of asking,” Gillespie said. “We’re paying the usual rate per word, but I’ll bump you up on the photos. Plus, we’ll cover your expenses, within reason of course.”
Michael still didn’t know what to say, or think. Too many things were tumbling around in his head. He hadn’t worked—he hadn’t even thought about working—since the Cascades disaster, and he wasn’t sure he was ready to take up his old life again. But another part of him was vaguely insulted. The project had been in the works for months, and Gillespie was only now mentioning it to him?
“When do you need it by?” he asked, just to buy some time again.
Gillespie sat back, looking just the littlest bit pleased, like a fisherman who’s felt a tug on the line.
“Well, there’s the catch. We’d need you to leave on Friday.”
“Yes. It’s not easy getting down there. You’ll have to fly to Chile—Santiago—then on to Puerto Williams. From there you’ll take a Coast Guard cutter as far as the ice allows, then they’ll chopper you in the rest of the way from there. It’s a very narrow window of opportunity, and the weather can close it at any time. Right now, it’s summer down south, so there should be days when it’s actually well above zero.”
Michael finally had to ask. “Why didn’t you tell me sooner?”
“I knew you weren’t interested in working just now.”
“Who was what?”
“Come on, Joe. If you’ve been setting this up for months, you must have had somebody else lined up to do it.”
“Crabtree. He was going to do it.”
Crabtree again—the guy was always breathing down Michael’s neck, trying to snag his assignments. “So why isn’t he going?”
Gillespie shrugged. “Root canal.”
“He’s got to have a root canal, and no one’s permitted to go down there unless they’ve got a complete bill of health. Most of all, since there isn’t any dentist on call, you’ve got to have a note from your dentist saying everything’s in perfect working order.”
Michael couldn’t believe his ears. Crabtree had lost the assignment because he had a gum problem?
“So, please,” Gillespie said, leaning forward, “tell me you don’t have any cavities and your fillings are all intact?”
Michael instinctively ran his tongue around the interior of his mouth. “As far as I know.”
“Good. So, that just leaves the main question. What do you think, Michael? Are you ready to get back in harness?”
That was indeed the million-dollar question. If he’d been asked last night, the answer would have been no and don’t call again. But there was something stirring in him, something he could not deny—a flicker of that old excitement. All his life he’d been the first one to accept any challenge, to climb the sheer cliff, to bungee jump from the top of the bridge, to dive for the bottom of the coral reef. And though he’d tamped it down for months, that feeling was welling up in him again. He glanced at the satellite photo on top of the pile—from above, the base looked like a bunch of boxcars, scattered on an icy plain close to a rocky, barren shoreline. It was about as bleak a picture as could be, but it called to him as if it were a beach in Brazil.
Gillespie watched him closely, waiting. A wintry gust blew raindrops against the diner window.
Something started to turn in Michael’s mind. His fingers rested on the grainy photo. He could always say no. He could go back to his place and . . . what? Have another beer? Beat up on himself some more? Throw away some more of his own life, to make up for what had happened to Kristin? (Though how that would make up for anything, even he could not say.)
Or, he could accept. He glanced at the next photo in the pile. This one, taken at ground level, showed a hut, raised on cinder blocks a few feet above the ice. A half dozen seals were lying around it like sunbathers.
“Do we have time for some pie first?” Michael asked, and Gillespie, after smacking the table in triumph with the palm of his hand, signaled for the waitress.
“Lemon meringue,” he called, “all around!”
From the Hardcover edition.
Get out your credit card or make haste to your nearest library and get this book! It grabs you on the first page and doesn't let loose of you until the end. Where a lot of thrillers with adventure as a key element are written to appeal mainly to a male audience, Masello's thriller will capture just as many women. There's adventure in an exotic and hostile environment, non-stop suspense, supernatural horror, riveting historical fiction, and even some romance. If you enjoyed the movie "The Thing" or the novel "The Ruins" by Scott Smith, or you like novels that take place in the Arctic or Antarctica, you'll love this one.
3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 3, 2009
Blood and Ice just captured me from the 1st page to the last page. I basically read it in one sitting. What a totally awesome read. Part horror, part supernatural, do yourself a favor and read this book.
3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 24, 2008
In 1856 British 17th Lancers Lieutenant Sinclair Copley and Florence Nightingale's Harley Street Hospital Nurse Eleanor Ames are in love. However, on the 28th of December the pair falls overboard from the HMS Coventry sloop in the icy waters of the Southern Ocean near Antarctica. Neither body is found.<BR/><BR/>In November of the present in Seattle, writer Michael Wilde needs time away from to escape a tragedy that haunts his sleep since he lost his beloved Kristin who lies in a coma; her residence being that ward of Tacoma General Hospital. Whereas her parents believe she will soon come home; he knows she is no longer there as in his mind her soul moved on. Thus he accepts an assignment from Eco-Travel Magazine to write an article on Point Adelie Research Station in Antarctica. Michael finds two bodies frozen in a block of ice; each chained. Shockingly once the ice is melted, Sinclair and Eleanor are alive.<BR/><BR/>This excellent paranormal thriller hooks the audience even before the rescue as both the present and past rotate somewhat perspective with each subplot fascinating. The story line is fast-paced and filled with chills; not all from the weather conditions as readers and Michael need to know the facts re the mysterious nineteenth century couple for personal reasons perhaps more than simple curiosity.<BR/><BR/>Harriet Klausner
2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 30, 2011
I should have read more reviews. Was not prepared for this to be a vampire book. It turned out to be fair read but just not my taste.
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Posted September 27, 2011
After reading about halfway I was convinced it was another Clive Cussler shlock piece. Then the ice melted and I found it had thawed into another cold hearted vampire Cirque du Freak shlock piece.
When will someone drive a stake through the heart of this stuff and we get on to more engaging novels. One or two Vamp novels a year are more than enough. But when writers need $$$ they turn to Drac dreck.
I suppose readers are turned on by going through these things hunting for something new.
1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 10, 2013
This is the second Robert Masello novel I've read, and he is now officially one of my favorite authors. A fun, easy read with a hero you can root for. Fast-paced but with enough internal monologue, emotional depth, and description to really draw you in, yet not bog down the story. Interesting characters with great back stories. A blending of science, history and the paranormal -- all the things I love! Highly recommended.... off to buy his backlist!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 16, 2013
A kind of Twilight with a science touch. This author usually writes horror though I wouldn't classify this under it due to the romance themes. Nice little read, though too much romance for meWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 8, 2013
Posted December 19, 2010
Blood and Ice by Robert Masello
Well there was certainly a lot of ice, but very little blood. Blood and Ice was not terrible, but it was not really great either. It had great potential, but failed to follow through. The book was well written and I may try another book by this author, but I must say this was my first impression and I was not impressed with the complete package.
The book offers a familiar story of 2 young lovers torn apart by war, and a second story of a man that has lost his love in a tragic accident. Although it sounds like there would be a lot of angst, there really was not, which is good we all have enough of that from Twilight series. The vampire twist in this one is decent, and again has great potential, but fails to follow through.
The characters are well developed, interesting and have what it takes to make a great book, but it falls short of getting there. The story of the ice freed lovers has good grit and movement, but needs a bit more edge. The ending felt a little rushed, and a little to tidy.
The author does a good job implementing the timeline changes. The flashbacks and memories are well constructed and fit well into place making it easy to follow.
Overall not a bad book.
Posted June 16, 2009
"Blood And Ice" by Robert Masello is two stories, the first the love story of a doomed Victorian couple from two hundred years ago and the other, a scientific expedition to the South Pole. One journalist Michael Wilde finds the frozen bodies of the couple chained together in the ice, the adventure begins. But when the ice melts and they become alive again, terror takes over. This isn't really a horror story and I wasn't sitting on the edge of my seat. But the story unfolds nicely to keep one's interest in what would happen next. It was an enjoyable weekend read.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 1, 2009
It could be argued that the flashbacks into how the couple became essentially vampires is essential to the story, but I found myself wanting to hurry those sections along and get back to the present time line. Some of the science seemed a little unbelieveable also. One of the mysteries never explained was the origin of the creatures carrying the blood infection that turned them into vampires.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 17, 2009
When I was looking at this book, I thought it would be a adventure packed, thrilling, and romantic story. Although there was action and some thrill, I found the book to be dull. The action seemed to draw out to slowly for me, it was predictable, and not romantic at all. I disliked a majority of the characters, particularly the main one. A good thing about the novel was that it seemed to be very well researched, it was very original, and there were parts that were very interesting, such as the story of the vampire lovers. But it wasn't enough to capture me. If you're going to read it, I suggest borrowing it from someone, from the library, and waiting until it comes out in paperback.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 27, 2009
I loved "Blood and Ice." The imaginative storylne was original, absorbing, dramatic and thrilling. What happens to Sinclair and Eleanor 150 years ago affects the lives of those stationed at a modern-day research station in the Antarctic. One of those deeply involved is journalist Michael Wilde. Masello's well written and fast-paced story combines horror, sci-fi, adventure and romance into a delicious book you will not be able to put down. I deeply cared about what happened to Sinclair, Eleanor and Michael, as well as those assigned at the South Pole. I enjoyed reading about the Crimean War. Highly recommended.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 26, 2009
Ho hum, another vampire book. Not terrible, kept my interest. I hated the first half of the book when we kept going back in time to the boring 1800's. I would never read it again and would not recommend it to any one. But over all not terrible
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Posted April 25, 2009
This book had a lot of elements that reminded me both of Diana Gabadoon's Outlander series and the John Carpenter movie The Thing. The book starts with a British couple on-board a ship near the South Pole sometime during the 1800's. The woman (Eleanor) is sick and the man (Sinclair) is secretly trying to aid her with some mysterious wine bottles. When the crew finds out about the bottles they raise up against the couple. They are chained together and tossed overboard into the icy polar waters.
The book then picks up in the present time with a photographer (Michael) sent on assignment to a remote base in the Antarctic. He first has to make peace with his own family as his wife is in a coma and her parents blame him for his wife's condition.
Michael ends up in the base in the Antarctic and has to deal with extreme weather and living conditions while he works on a magazine story dealing with the scientific research on the base. One of the things he does is to accompany some scientist on a dive under the ice. While underwater Michael stumbles upon a woman with a chain around her frozen into the ice (can we say Eleanor and Sinclair?).
As the story progresses we learn Eleanor and Sinclair's story as she was a nurse and he was a military officer who fought in the Crimean War. Little by little the reader starts to understand more what was in the bottles and why the couple was thrown overboard.
As other readers have pointed out, to tell too much of the story would ruin it with too many spoilers. Michael is a deep character with his own internal demons because of what happened to his wife and Eleanor and Sinclair have a very interesting tale of how they met and what later happened to them.
I liked this book and finished rather fast and the ending does leave things possible for a sequel so if the author has one in mind, I will be game.
Posted July 1, 2009
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Posted February 24, 2009
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Posted October 16, 2009
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Posted June 15, 2009
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Posted May 28, 2011
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