Meg: Hell's Aquarium

( 102 )

Overview

The Philippine Sea Plate... the deepest, most unexplored realm on the planet. Hidden beneath its ancient crust lies the remains of the Panthalassa, an ocean that dates back 220 million years. Vast and isolated, the Panthalassa in inhabited by nightmarish species of sea creatures long believed extinct.

Tanaka Institute, Monterey, CA.:

Angel, the recaptured 76 foot, 100,000 pound Megalodon, has birthed a liter of pups -- five females -- far too ...

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Meg: Hell's Aquarium

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Overview

The Philippine Sea Plate... the deepest, most unexplored realm on the planet. Hidden beneath its ancient crust lies the remains of the Panthalassa, an ocean that dates back 220 million years. Vast and isolated, the Panthalassa in inhabited by nightmarish species of sea creatures long believed extinct.

Tanaka Institute, Monterey, CA.:

Angel, the recaptured 76 foot, 100,000 pound Megalodon, has birthed a liter of pups -- five females -- far too numerous and aggressive to keep in one pen. One solution: A Dubai royal prince is building the largest aquarium in the world and seeks to purchase two of the "runts."

The deal hinges on hiring Jonas Taylor's 21 year old son, David, to be their trainer. Jonas reluctantly agrees, and David is off to Dubai for the summer of his life-- --not realizing he is being set-up to lead an expedition that will hunt down and capture the most dangerous creatures ever to inhabit the planet!

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Bestseller Alten's fourth Meg thriller recycles plot lines from earlier books in the series based on the premise that the fearsome prehistoric shark, Carcharodon megalodon, survives in the Pacific Ocean's Mariana Trench. Jonas Taylor, who discovered the giant shark in 1997's Meg, is still running the Tanaka Institute in Monterey, Calif., a research facility that generates income from exhibiting Angel, a full-grown, 74-foot long megalodon, in a manmade lagoon. The birth of five female pups to Angel complicates the task of maintaining the huge creature. When "the Donald Trump of Dubai" offers to purchase two of the baby megs to stock a new aquarium in his country, Jonas's college-age son, David, accepts a large fee to go to Dubai to help the two beasts get used to their new habitat. David winds up having numerous close encounters with death in setups that will be fresh only to those who haven't read the three previous Meg books.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal
Jaws redux: In this debut, no one believes that deep-sea submersible pilot Jonas Taylor has had a nasty encounter with a Megaladonone of those 60' babies said to be the progenitors of today's great white sharkuntil something huge repeatedly snarls up the cables of another deep-sea probe.
Kirkus Reviews
As Jaws meets Jurassic Park, Meg (short for megladon) brings us a 60-foot, 20-ton prehistoric shark with a nine-foot-wide mouth that is likely to gobble up bestseller lists, as well as reappear in 1998 as a summer blockbuster.

In rather characterless prose, debut novelist Alten's well-groomed story rockets like a pre-edited filmscript from event to event. But the author's love of his title character is clear, as he keeps his Lord and Master of the Sea, a female Carcharodon Megalodon, frequently front and center. Seven years ago, Professor Jonas Taylor, a paleontologist and deep-sea submersible pilot, first saw such a shark, thought to be extinct, while diving more than seven miles down in the Marianas Trench. During the Ice Age, members of the species, it turns out, took refuge in the hot thermals on the ocean bottom. Lethally cold water above has kept from them resurfacing. Jonas's first encounter cost two lives, and has burdened him with profound guilt. He goes back down to the abyss anyway, accompanied by Masao Tanaka, the owner of a huge aquarium on the California coast. When a male Megalodon gets entrapped in steel cables in the trench, he's attacked by a pregnant female; she follows the male to the surface, surviving the journey, and discovers a warm new world, filled with varied, easy, hot-blooded prey. Clearly, the shark is an ecological disaster, especially when she gives birth to three more of her kind. Taylor and Tanaka, however, don't want to destroy the shark but rather to harness her drugged body and haul it into confinement. This means some vastly dangerous close work with her once she's located, with Taylor hovering about the monster in a submersible that becomes theinstrument of an utterly amazing climax. A female offspring in captivity at story's end guarantees a sequel.

Weightless characters on a choppy sea—but hellishly riveting.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781935142645
  • Publisher: Variance Publishing, LLC
  • Publication date: 1/14/2013
  • Pages: 344
  • Sales rank: 1,380,617
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.77 (d)

Meet the Author

A native of Philadelphia, Steve Alten earned his Bachelor’s degree from Penn State University, his Master’s from the University of Delaware, and his Doctorate from Temple University. He is the author of the bestselling Meg series, Domain series, Goliath, The Loch, and his most recent bestseller, The Shell Game. Steve Alten is also the founder and director of Adopt-An-Author, a free nationwide teen reading program used in thousands of secondary school classrooms across the country to excite reluctant readers. For more information, please visit SteveAlten.com and AdoptAnAuthor.com.

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Read an Excerpt

Spotting the predator's glow, the chopper followed the female as she headed out to sea, radioing their position to the naval base at Pearl Harbor. Within minutes, both the Nautilus and the Kiku had put to sea, racing north past Mamala Bay. By the time the Kiku reached Kaena Point, the incoming storm had reached gale-force proportions, the raging night fully upon them.

Jonas and Terry were in the pilothouse as the door leading to the deck tore open against the howling wind. Mac slipped into the dry compartment, slamming the hatch closed behind him, his yellow slicker dripping all over the floor.

"Copter's secured. So's the net and harpoon gun. We're in for a rough one, Jonas."

"This may be our only chance. Our last report indicated most of the whale pods have left these coastal waters. If we don't at least tag the female before she heads into open waters, we may lose her for good."

The three entered the CIC, where Masao was standing over a crewman seated at the sonar console. He looked grim. "The Coast Guard broke off their pursuit because of the weather." Masao turned to the crewman. "Anything on sonar yet, Pasquale?"

Without looking up, the Italian shook his head. "Just the Nautilus." He hung on to his console as a twenty-foot swell lifted and tossed the research vessel from one side to the other.

Captain Barre stood at the helm, his sea legs giving naturally with the roll of his vessel. "Hope nobody had a big dinner. This storm is gonna be a bitch."


Life on board the world's first nuclear-powered submarine was relatively calm as the ship entered Waimea Bay one hundred feet below the raging storm.Originally commissioned in the summer of 1954, the sub possessed a single nuclear reactor that created the superheated steam necessary to power its twin turbines and two shafts. Although the vessel had set many records for undersea voyages, none would match her historic journey to the North Pole in 1958. Decommissioned in 1980, the sub was originally scheduled to return to Groton, Connecticut, where she was built, until Commander McGovern petitioned the Navy to bring her to Pearl Harbor as a tourist attraction.

When he learned of the Megalodon attack in the Mariana Trench, McGovern knew the crisis required naval intervention. But he also knew he could not justify the use of a Los Angeles class submarine to locate a prehistoric shark. Danielson's suggestion to use the Nautilus made sense, and so the submarine returned to duty after seventeen years of inactivity.

"Anything on the sonar, Ensign?"

The sonar man was listening with his headphones while watching his console screen. The screen was designed to give a visual representation of the difference between the background noise and a particular bearing. Any object within range would appear as a light line against the green background. "Lots of surface activity from this storm. Nothing else, sir."

"Very well, keep me informed. Chief of the watch, what's our weapons status?"

Chief Engineer Dennis Heller, six years younger than his brother Frank, yet still one of the oldest members of the sub's makeshift crew, looked up from his console. "Two Mark 48 AD-CAP torpedoes ready to fire on your command, sir. Torpedoes set for close range, as per your orders. A bit tight, if you don't mind my saying, sir."

"Has to be, Chief. There's nothing to lock on to here. When sonar locates this monster, we'll need to be as close as possible to ensure an accurate solution."

"Captain Danielson!" The radioman leaned back from his console. "I'm receiving a distress call from a Japanese whaler. Hard to make out, sir, but it sounded as if they're being attacked!"

"Navigator, plot an intercept course, ten degrees up on the fair-weather planes. If this is our friend, I want to kill it and be back at Pearl in time for last call at Grady's."


The Japanese whaler Tsunami rolled with the massive swells, rain and wind pelting her crew mercilessly. The vessel's hold was dangerously overloaded with its illegal catch: the carcasses of eight gray whales. Two more had been lashed to the port side of the ship with a cargo net.

Two lookouts held on to their precarious perch and strained their eyes in weather and darkness. The two mates had been assigned the hazardous duty of making sure the valuable blubber remained firmly secured during the storm. Unfortunately for the exhausted men, their searchlight hardly penetrated the maelstrom. Sporadic flashes of lightning afforded the only real vision of their precious cargo.

Flash. The ocean dropped from view as the ship rolled to starboard, the cargo net groaning with its keep. The sailors hung on as the Tsunami rolled to port. Flash. The sea threatened to suck them under, the net actually disappearing momentarily beneath the waves. Flash. The vessel rolled back to starboard, the net reappearing. The men gasped--a massive white triangular head had risen from the sea with the cargo!

Darkness. The Tsunami rolled, its lookouts blind in the storm. Silent seconds passed. Then, flash, a fork of lightning lit the sky and the horrible head reappeared, its mouth bristling razor-sharp teeth.

The mates screamed, but the storm muted the sound. The senior mate signaled to the other that he would find the captain. Flash. The unimaginably large jaws were tearing at the carcass now, the head leaning sideways against the rolling vessel, gnashing at the whale blubber.

The ship rolled to starboard once more. The senior mate struggled to make it down to the wooden deck, squeezing his eyes shut against the gale and holding tight to the rope ladder. He could lower himself only a rung at a time as the ship listed to port . . . and kept rolling! He opened his eyes, felt his stomach churn. Flash. The sea kept coming, the triangular head gone. But something was pulling the Tsunami onto its side and into the water.


"Captain, the whaler is two hundred yards ahead."

"Thank you, Chief. Take us to periscope depth."

"Periscope depth, aye, sir."

The sub rose as Danielson pressed his face against the rubber housing of the periscope and stared into darkness. The night scope turned the blackness topside into shades of gray, but the storm and rolling waves severely reduced visibility. Flash. The raging Pacific was illuminated, and for an instant Danielson caught a silhouette of the whaler lying on its side.

He pulled back. "Contact the Coast Guard," he ordered. "Where's their nearest cutter?"

"Sir," responded the radioman, "the only surface ship within twenty miles is the Kiku."

"Captain, you'd better look at this, sir." The sonar man stood. His fluorescent screen showed the position of the downed whaler . . . and something else, circling the vessel.
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Table of Contents

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First Chapter




CHAPTER ONE

MEGALODON

Late Cretaceous Period, 70 Million Years Ago The Coast of the Asiamerica-Northern Landmass (Pacific Ocean)

From the moment the early morning fog had begun to lift, they sensed they were being watched. The herd of Shantungosaurus had been grazing along the misty shoreline all morning. Measuring more than forty feet from their duck-billed heads to the end of their tails, these reptiles, the largest of the hadrosaurs, gorged themselves on the abundant supply of kelp and seaweed that continued to wash up along the shoreline with the incoming tide. Every few moments, the hadrosaurs raised their heads nervously like a herd of deer, listening to the noises of the nearby forest. They watched the dark trees and thick vegetation for movement, ready to run at the first sign of approach.

    Across the beach, hidden among the tall trees and thick undergrowth, a pair of red reptilian eyes followed the herd. The Tyrannosaurus rex, largest and most lethal of all terrestrial carnivores, stood twenty-two feet above the forest floor. Saliva oozed from its mouth as T. rex watched, quivering with adrenaline. The two largest duckbills had just ventured out into shallow water, lowering their heads to forage among the thick strains of kelp.

    The killer crashed from the trees, his eight tons pounding the sand and shaking the earth with every step. The duckbills rose on their hind legs and scattered in both directions along the beach. The two reptiles in the surf turned to see the carnivore closing on them, jaws wide, fangs bared, its bone-chilling roar drowning the crash of the surf. The pair of hadrosaurs turned instinctively, plunging into deeper waters to escape. They strained their long necks forward and began to swim, their legs churning to keep their heads above water.

    T. rex plunged in behind them, crashing through the surf and into deeper waters. But as it neared its prey, the T. rex's feet sank into the muddy sea floor. Unlike the buoyant hadrosaurs, the thickly muscled T. rex could not swim and became hopelessly bogged in the mire.

    The hadrosaurs now swam in thirty feet of water. But having escaped one predator, they now faced another.

    The six-foot gray dorsal fin rose slowly from the sea, gliding silently across their path. The current created by the creature's sheer mass began pulling the hadrosaurs into deeper waters. The duckbills panicked at the sudden change. They would take their chances with the Tyrannosaurus. Within the deep waters lurked certain death. They turned, thrashing and paddling frantically until they once again felt the familiar mud beneath their feet.

    T. rex let out a thundering growl. In water to its chest, the predator struggled to keep from sinking farther into the soft sea floor. The duckbills broke in either direction, passing within fifteen yards of the frustrated hunter. The T. rex lunged at them, snapping its terrible jaws, howling in rage at its fleeing prey. The duckbills bounded through the smaller waves and staggered onto the beach. Collapsing on the warm sand, too exhausted to move, the two hadrosaurs looked back once more to face their would-be killer.

    The Tyrannosaurus could now hold his huge head only a few feet above water. Insane with rage, it slashed its tail wildly in an attempt to free one of its hind legs. Then, all at once, it stopped struggling and stared out to sea.- From the dark waters, slicing through the gray fog, the great dorsal fin was approaching.

    The T. rex cocked its head and stood perfectly still, realizing too late that it had wandered into the domain of a superior hunter. For the first and last time in its life, the Tyrannosaurus felt the icy grip of fear.

    If the T. rex was the most terrifying creature ever to walk the earth, then Carcharodon megalodon was easily lord and master of the sea. The red eyes of the Tyrannosaurus followed the gray dorsal fin, feeling the tug of current caused by the unseen mass circling below. The fin disappeared beneath the muddy waters. T. rex growled quietly, searching through the haze. The towering dorsal fin rose again from the mist, now racing directly for him. The T. rex roared and struggled, vainly snapping its jaws in futile protest.

    From the beach, the two exhausted hadrosaurs watched as T. rex was slammed backward through the ocean with a great whoosh, its huge head disappearing beneath the waves. In a moment the dinosaur surfaced again, wailing in agony as its rib cage was crushed within the jaws of its hunter, a fountain of blood spouting from its mouth.

    The mighty Tyrannosaurus rex vanished beneath the swirling scarlet water. A long moment passed, and the sea remained silent. The hadrosaurs turned and lumbered toward the trees. Suddenly they turned, cowering at an explosion in the water. Clutching T. rex in its gargantuan mouth, the sixty-foot shark, nearly three times the size of its prey, burst from the water, its enormous head and muscular upper torso quivering as it fought to remain suspended above the waves. Then, in an incredible display of raw power, the Meg shook the reptile from side to side between nine-inch serrated teeth, spraying pink froths and gouts of gore in every direction. The twenty-ton Megalodon and its mutilated prey crashed back into the sea, sending a great swell of water high into the air around them.

    No other scavengers approached the Megalodon as it fed in the tropical waters. It had no mate to share its kill with, no young to feed. The Meg was a companionless creature, territorial by nature. It mated when it must and killed its young when it could, for the only challenge to its reign came from its own kind. It could adapt and survive the natural catastrophes and climatic changes that caused the mass extinctions of the giant reptiles and countless prehistoric mammals. And while its numbers would eventually dwindle, some members of its species might survive, isolated from the world of man, hunting in the isolated darkness of the ocean depths.

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Interviews & Essays


Before the live bn.com chat, Steve Alten agreed to answer some of our questions.

Q: I know you've studied oceanography. Do you scuba dive? Have you been in the water since finishing Meg?

A: I've just started taking scuba lessons. Today is my first underwater dive. I'm sure I'll be looking around for sharks.

Q: Steve Alten, you've just sold your first novel and the movie rights for a fantastic sum! Where are you going, Disneyland or Disney World?

A: I've sent the wife and kids to Disney World. Right now, I'm too busy finishing my second novel, The Sire, to take time off.

Q: What books do you give as gifts?

A: Meg, because I get them from Doubleday for free.

Q: What's the greatest movie you've ever seen? Are there any movies you watch over and over?

A: I don't know if I have a favorite movie. I definitely enjoy action movies: "Predator," "Terminator," "Jurassic Park," "Independence Day." Meg should be a great movie, especially with the advances in special effects since "Jaws" came out over 20 years ago. Movies like "Ordinary People" and "Parenthood" always get to me as well.

Q: Coffee or tea? Regular or decaf?

A: Sorry, I don't drink coffee or tea, or alcohol for that matter.

Q: What, to you, is the most important day of the year?

A: Every new day is the most important. Having one's health and happiness is all that really matters.


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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 102 )
Rating Distribution

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(63)

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(19)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 102 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 22, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    View the trailer for Meg: Hell's Aquarium

    You can view a trailer for this book here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gPcizsgt7oc

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 12, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Another day another prehistoric monster from the deep.

    I have read all four of the Meg Series and to be honest some of the situations presented in this book were in the other books as well. More people being killed by giant sharks, somebody trying to make money off the sharks, and a trip to the bottom of the ocean. Still not a bad book just not new and exciting.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 20, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    BEST of the MEG Series by far!

    Book 4 was amazing, the best yet! Steve Alten is an amazing writer tells a story in such a way that you are hooked from beginning to end. All of his books are great but the MEG series is by far the best. If you want a great summer read, pick up Hell's Aquarium. I cannot wait for book 5 Night Stalkers!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 16, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    WOW!!!!!

    I don't know where to start,this book had me all over the internet researching all kinds of large prehistoric fish. I also did a google earth fly by of Dubai which you'll find out why when you read the book. I loved all the illustration they gave me a good sense of what I was reading about. The only bad thing was I finished. But in the back pages are some new releases Kronos by Jeremy Robinson that should keep me busy while I wait for the next book Meg #5 Night Stalkers and I plan on reading the domain series. enjoy!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 12, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Awesome Book!!!

    I have been drawn into the Meg series from the beginning and I must admit they only get better. The only drawback is that I couldn't put it down and finished this book within 48 hours.
    I love this book and was so excited to finally get it. I loved the plot and was very excited to see the characters we love in the first books return and expanded upon. Steve Alten did such a wonderful job with this book that I could see these things happening right before my eyes.
    LOVE THIS BOOK!! Can't wait for Meg 5: Night Stalkers

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 5, 2009

    the best in the MEG series!

    impossible to put down.
    loved the science, the characters, the dinosaur species, the suspense, and Jonas.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 17, 2015

    more from this reviewer

    He¿s alive, I¿m not sure he¿ll ever be okay again. I really onl

    He’s alive, I’m not sure he’ll ever be okay again.

    I really only picked this book up out of a love of Jaws and bargains. Perhaps it was my low expectations that set me up to love Steve Alten and this series for life. I was immediately dismissive of the cover which has an oversized shark peering at a boy through an aquarium wall (turns out that’s not a shark but the prehistoric monster Megalodon) and was skeptical of the title which sounds a little sensational and lame. Fortunately I was wrong about everything.

    I LOVE THIS BOOK. It reminds me of the best of Michael Crichton - Grounded in science just enough to be plausible, imaginative enough to stir my sense of wonder, and paced perfectly so that I only want to read this book and nothing else. This isn’t even the first book in the series, but even so, it was a fine point of entry for me. I haven’t been this impressed with a new author in a while, I was really blown away.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2014

    When does the 5th book come out

    When does the 5th book in the series come outs

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2013

    Good Junk Reading

    Steve Alten isn't the best writer, in fact the books have a tendency to be formulated, repeat unnecessary information, and can be a bit tedious in spots. However, if you are just looking for a fun read, something to break up reading more informative and well-written books, you could do worse than this.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 30, 2013

    I loved this book

    Cant wait for book five

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  • Posted May 27, 2013

    I've already read the first 3 books in Steve Alten's ¿Meg¿ serie

    I've already read the first 3 books in Steve Alten's “Meg” series. The first one established the fact that there are some large prehistoric sharks still surviving in this world; sharks where the infants are born at the size of a modern day Great White. The second one built upon it, exploring the possibility that there could be other surviving monster carnivores in the depths of the Pacific. The next two books in the series delve deeper into the world in which those creatures live – and explores how they can be exploited.

    Meg: Hell's Aquarium explores the concept that someone – in this case, an oil-rich Dubai prince – would consider opening a tourist attraction featuring those fantastic creatures. Obtaining a Meg is no longer a challenge, as our protagonist Jonas Taylor has a surplus in his artificial lagoon outside of Monterey, California – and the pups have outgrown the space he has available for them. But the OTHER creatures – ones that not even Taylor's Tanaka Institute has on display – those present a real challenge to collect. The prince purchases several of Taylor's submersibles along with the sharks, and hires Taylor's son to train a crew to pilot them. BUT will those subs and their crew be able to handle the monsters of the Pacific depths?

    I have enjoyed all 4 books currently available in the Meg series. I appreciate the interaction that the main characters have, and their obvious love and concern for each other. The science … this, I'm not as comfortable with. Ironically, it is because of just how close Alten's world is to our own. It doesn't take a big leap to imagine that unknown creatures – unknown MONSTERS – inhabit some unexplored area of the Pacific Ocean. Or that they might be lured out of that area of the ocean at some point. I personally find it much harder to take a “baby step” into a new world than a full-fledged leap, and it is precisely this kind of small gap between our current world and the one Alten describes that we must bridge. However, I don't have a strong enough issue to not enjoy each one of the 4 books Alten has currently released. (The 5th is at some point of development and will be released at some point or another … the author states that he is hoping to tie it into a movie release!)

    I'll be among the first in line to read #5, tentatively titled “MEG: Night Stalkers” when it comes out.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 4, 2012

    When does fifth book come out

    This is such a great book. But I want to read the 5th one.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2012

    It's a great book.

    I have studied sharks my whole life and a book about a megalodon with young is a new level

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2012

    Meg hells aquarium

    That megladon gets owned by that pliosaur

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2012

    Sean

    Kickass fast pace triller

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2012

    ?

    ?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2012

    Great book

    Hardest book to put down it took a couple weeks cause i had work to do but just an amazing book cant wait vor the next one please hurry book 5 please

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2011

    Gggh

    Amazing




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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2011

    Answer to question of first book in series

    The book is called MEG A Novel of Deep Terror

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 30, 2011

    Not my favorite of the Meg books

    Finally got around to reading this one, I have really enjoyed the Meg series, but this one left a lot to be desired. This one was all over the place, the ending felt extremely rushed and left me not really caring if there is another book in there series or not.

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