The Ice Limit

( 44 )

Overview

The largest known meteorite has been discovered, entombed in the earth for millions of years on a frigid, desolate island off the southern tip of Chile. At four thousand tons, this treasure seems impossible to move. New York billionaire Palmer Lloyd is determined to have this incredible find for his new museum. Stocking a cargo ship with the finest scientists and engineers, he builds a flawless expedition. But from the first approach to the meteorite, people begin to die. A frightening truth is about to unfold: ...

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Overview

The largest known meteorite has been discovered, entombed in the earth for millions of years on a frigid, desolate island off the southern tip of Chile. At four thousand tons, this treasure seems impossible to move. New York billionaire Palmer Lloyd is determined to have this incredible find for his new museum. Stocking a cargo ship with the finest scientists and engineers, he builds a flawless expedition. But from the first approach to the meteorite, people begin to die. A frightening truth is about to unfold: The men and women of the Rolvaag are not taking this ancient, enigmatic object anywhere. It is taking them.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
An effort to retrieve the largest meteorite known to man is the captivating idea behind The Ice Limit, Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child's (The Relic, Riptide) latest action-adventure triumph. Funded by an obsessive billionaire, the treacherous expedition to reach the meteorite's current locale -- and retrieve the massive chunk of rock -- draws a talented cast of specialists closer to untold riches -- or a painful demise.
Barnes & Noble Guide to New Fiction
The adventure fiction team of Preston and Child are at it again with a thriller centering on a gigantic meteorite found off the coast of Chile and the egotistic billionaire who decides it must be the centerpiece of his new museum. "Another great read from Preston and Child." While judged not "quite as good as Relic," The Ice Limit is still a "rip-roaring adventure with take-your-breath-away nautical action."
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The summer-beach reader has few better friends than Preston and Child, who, beginning with Relic (1995), have produced one (generally) smart and suspenseful thriller after another, most recently Thunderhead. Their new novel--which, like its predecessors, skirts the edge of science fiction--is their most expertly executed (though not most imaginative) entertainment yet. Its concept is high and simple: a scientific expedition plans to dig out and transport to New York harbor the mother of all meteorites from its resting spot on an icy island offshore Chile. The mission is nearly impossible: not only will the meteorite be the heaviest object ever moved by humanity, but the Chileans, if they learn of the mission, may decimate it in order to keep the meteorite. Six strong if broadly drawn characters propel the premise into action. There's bullheaded billionaire Palmer Lloyd, who funds the expedition, and three (of the many) people he hires to get the rock: world-class meteorite-hunter Sam McFarlane, disgraced for his obsession about possible interstellar meteorites; Captain Britton, disgraced alcoholic skipper hired to ferry the meteorite to the U.S.; and Eli Glinn, cold-blooded mastermind of an engineering firm dedicated to getting incredible jobs done--this one at the price of $300 million. There's Commandante Vallenar, a Chilean naval officer exiled to his nation's southern wastes, who will stop at nothing to defend Chile's honor and property. Finally, there's the meteorite--blood red, impossibly dense, possessed of strange and dangerous properties. Like the premise, the plot is simple, traversing a near-linear narrative that sustains serious tension as the expedition travels to Chile, digs out the meteorite and heads homeward--only to face both Vallenar and a ferocious storm. What the novel lacks in sophistication, it makes up for in athleticism: this is a big-boned thriller, one that will make a terrific summer movie as well as a memorable hot-day read. (July) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
VOYA
When meteorite fanatic Sam McFarlane first encounters billionaire Lloyd Palmer, Palmer dashes his hopes of locating a long-sought-after meteorite in the Kalahari desert. Palmer offers McFarlane the chance to find and retrieve an even more special one—the largest meteorite in the world—that McFarlane's friend and ex-partner died trying to find. Palmer, who sweetens the deal with nearly a million dollars, wants the four-thousand-ton meteorite for his museum of rare and unusual (and costly) items. He engages the services of Eli Glinn's premier engineering firm, Effective Engineering Solutions. EES must figure out how to uncover and extract the huge meteorite from the Chilean island near the edge of Antarctica and to transport it successfully back to Palmer's New York museum. Further complicating the task is the secrecy in which it must be shrouded. Chile's government does not know of the existence of the meteorite, and Palmer wants the government to stay in ignorance, which takes the full efforts of McFarlane, Glinn, and the band of EES specialists. When the meteorite is located, the group becomes aware of its strange behavior—unlike any other meteorite ever found before. Preston and Child, coauthors of many previous thrillers, including Riptide (Warner, 1998/VOYA December 1998) and Thunderhead (Warner, 1999/VOYA Clueless? list, December 1999), again have produced a solid, suspenseful page-turner filled with unexpected twists and unusual characters. The dramatic end will prompt readers to thumb back through pages they just read. Teens who have enjoyed this writing team's earlier work or who relish Clive Cussler's adventure novels will love finding The Ice Limit. VOYACODES: 4Q 4P S A/YA (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12; Adult and Young Adult). 2000, Warner, 449p, $25.99 Ages 16 to Adult. Reviewer: Joanna Morrison

SOURCE: VOYA, December 2000 (Vol. 23, No. 5)

KLIATT
To quote KLIATT's Sept. 2000 review of the Time Warner Audiobook edition: ...[a] tense thriller set in the cold waters near the southern tip of South America and Antarctica. A secret expedition seeks to steal a huge meteorite from an island off the coast of Chile. Where has it come from and why is it there? Not only are the technical difficulties of moving such a massive object awe inspiring but the personal and diplomatic politics are dramatic as well. Dialogue and characters are believable and the story is breathtakingly tense throughout. Refreshingly, the master of the freighter is a woman. For lovers of The Perfect Storm... KLIATT Codes: SA*—Exceptional book, recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2000, Warner, 494p., $7.99. Ages 16 to adult. Reviewer: Jean Palmer; KLIATT , November 2001 (Vol. 35, No. 6)
Library Journal
The scene: a ship near Cape Horn off the Chilean coast. The cast: a well-paid but dedicated and courageous staff of technicians, including a female skipper and a scientist each with a questionable past. The problem in this adventure by best-selling coauthors Preston and Child (Riptide): how to transport the biggest meteorite ever to a New York museum without attracting the attention of the Chilean authorities and the press? Add the further complication that the meteorite derives from a strange, unfamiliar element. At one point, the vessel is attacked and trapped by a Chilean ship. As the suspense builds, the various strands of the plot come together. Will the ship survive? What happens to the meteorite if, indeed, it is a meteorite? The book is recommended with one reservation: if you don t enjoy necessary technical passages, you may be bored. On the other hand, if you enjoy Clive Cussler, you ll probably enjoy this novel. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 3/1/00.] Fred M. Gervat, Concordia Coll. Lib., Bronxville, NY Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal
YA-Hired to locate a meteorite and transfer it to a billionaire collector's new museum, Sam McFarlane uses high technology and groups of experts to find, dig up, and begin shipping the gigantic rock. However, Commandante Vallenar of the Chilean Navy doesn't want it removed from his country. Action on the tanker reaches an intense strain as the crew and members of the recovery team struggle with both the meteorite and a killer storm, a panteonero, which threatens to overwhelm the ship. Gunfire from Vallenar's ship initiates a life-and-death chase as both vessels sail into the frigid waters off Tierra del Fuego. The meteorite, full of unknown properties and prone to sudden bursts of electrical charges, offers the biggest surprise of all, as the ocean stands ready to claim everyone and everything. This is a tempestuous adventure of high seas, high stakes, and high excitement. As characters enter the story, their personalities expand along with the intricate plot, taking on more intensity and power. The extreme hostility of the environment eventually proves to be the deciding factor. Like Sebastian Junger's The Perfect Storm (Norton, 1997), this natural thriller is not to be missed.-Pam Johnson, Fairfax County Public Library, VA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780446610230
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • Publication date: 7/28/2001
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 512
  • Sales rank: 172,469
  • Age range: 14 - 18 Years
  • Lexile: 720L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 4.12 (w) x 6.75 (h) x 1.12 (d)

Meet the Author

Douglas Preston

The thrillers of Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child "stand head and shoulders above their rivals" (Publishers Weekly). Preston and Child's Relic and The Cabinet of Curiosities were chosen by readers in a National Public Radio poll as being among the one hundred greatest thrillers ever written, and Relic was made into a number-one box office hit movie. They are coauthors of the famed Pendergast series and their recent novels include Fever Dream, Cold Vengeance, Two Graves, and Gideon's Corpse. Preston's acclaimed nonfiction book, The Monster of Florence, is being made into a movie starring George Clooney. Lincoln Child is a former book editor who has published five novels of his own, including the huge bestseller Deep Storm.
Readers can sign up for The Pendergast File, a monthly "strangely entertaining note" from the authors, at their website, www.PrestonChild.com. The authors welcome visitors to their alarmingly active Facebook page, where they post regularly.

Biography

Douglas Preston was born in 1956 in Cambridge, MA, was raised in nearby Wellesley (where, by his own admission, he and his brothers were the scourge of the neighborhood!), and graduated from Pomona College in California with a degree in English literature.

Preston's first job was as a writer for the American Museum of Natural History in New York -- an eight year stint that led to the publication of his first book, Dinosaurs in the Attic and introduced him to his future writing partner, Lincoln Child, then working as an editor at St. Martin's Press. The two men bonded, as they worked closely together on the book. As the project neared completion, Preston treated Child to a private midnight tour of the museum, an excursion that proved fateful. As Preston tells it, "...in the darkened Hall of Late Dinosaurs, under a looming T. Rex, Child turned to [me] and said: 'This would make the perfect setting for a thriller!'" Their first collaborative effort, Relic, would not be published until 1995, by which time Preston had picked up stakes and moved to Santa Fe to pursue a full-time writing career.

In addition to writing novels (The Codex, Tyrannosaur Canyon) and nonfiction books on the American Southwest (Cities of Gold, Ribbons of Time), Preston has collaborated with Lincoln Child on several post-Relic thrillers. While not strictly a series, the books share characters and events, and the stories all take place in the same universe. The authors refer to this phenomenon as "The Preston-Child Pangea."

Preston divides his time between New Mexico and Maine, while Child lives in New Jersey -- a situation that necessitates a lot of long-distance communication. But their partnership (facilitated by phone, fax, and email) is remarkably productive and thoroughly egalitarian: They shape their plots through a series of discussions; Child sends an outline of a set of chapters; Preston writes the first draft of those chapters, which is subsequently rewritten by Child; and in this way the novel is edited back and forth until both authors are happy. They attribute the relatively seamless surface of their books to the fact that "[a]ll four hands have found their way into practically every sentence, at one time or another."

In between, Preston remains busy. He is a regular contributor to magazines like National Geographic, The New Yorker, Natural History, Smithsonian, Harper's, and Travel & Leisure, and he continues with varied solo literary projects. Which is not to say his partnership with Lincoln Child is over. Fans of the bestselling Preston-Child thrillers can be assured there are bigger and better adventures to come.

Good To Know

Douglas Preston counts among his ancestors the poet Emily Dickinson, the newspaperman Horace Greeley, and the infamous murderer and opium addict Amasa Greenough.

His brother is Richard Preston, the bestselling author of The Hot Zone, The Cobra Event, The Wild Trees, and other novels and nonfiction narratives.

Preston is an expert horseman and a member of the Long Riders Guild.

He is also a National Geographic Society Fellow, has traveled extensively around the world, and contributes archaeological articles to many magazines.

In our interview, Preston shared some fun and fascinating personal anecdotes.

"My first job was washing dishes in the basement of a nursing home for $2.10 an hour, and I learned as much about the value of hard work there as I ever did later."

"I need to write in a small room -- the smaller the better. I can't write in a big room where someone might sneak up behind my back."

"My hobbies are mountain biking, horseback riding and packing, canoeing and kayaking, hiking, camping, cooking, and skiing."

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Read an Excerpt



Chapter One


Isla Desolación

January 16, 1:15 p.m


The valley that had no name ran between barren hills, a long mottled floor of gray and green covered with soldier moss, lichens, and carpha grasses. It was mid-January–the height of summer–and the crevasses between the patches of broken rock were mortared with tiny pinguicula flowers. To the east, the wall of a snowfield gleamed a bottomless blue. Blackflies and mosquitoes droned in the air, and the summer fogs that shrouded Isla Desolación had temporarily broken apart, allowing a watery sunlight to speckle the valley floor.

A man walked slowly across the island's graveled flats, stopping, moving, then stopping again. He was not following a trail–in the Cape Horn islands, at the nethermost tip of South America, there were none.

Nestor Masangkay was dressed in worn oilskins and a greasy leather hat. His wispy beard was so thick with sea salt that it had divided itself into forked tips. It waggled like a snake's tongue as he led two heavily burdened mules across the flats. There was no one to hear his voice commenting unfavorably on the mules' parentage, character, and right to existence. Once in a while the complaints were punctuated with the thwack of a sucker rod that he carried in one brown hand. He had never met a mule, especially a rented mule, that he liked.

But Masangkay's voice held no anger, and the thwacks of his sucker rod held little force. Excitement was rising within him. His eyes roamed over the landscape, taking in every detail: the columnar basaltic escarpment a mileaway, the double-throated volcanic plug, the unusual outcropping of sedimentary rock. The geology was promising. Very promising.

He walked across the valley floor, eyes on the ground. Once in a while a hobnailed boot would lash out and kick a rock loose. The beard waggled; Masangkay grunted; and the curious pack train would move on once again.

In the center of the valley, Masangkay's boot dislodged a rock from the flat. But this time he stopped to pick it up. The man examined the soft rock, rubbing it with his thumb, abrading small granules that clung to his skin. He brought it to his face and peered at the grit with a jeweler's loupe.

He recognized this specimen–a friable, greenish material with white inclusions–as a mineral known as coesite. It was this ugly, worthless rock that he had traveled twelve thousand miles to find.

His face broke into a broad grin, and he opened his arms to heaven and let out a terrific whoop of joy, the hills trading echoes of his voice, back and forth, back and forth, until at last it died away.

He fell silent and looked around at the hills, gauging the alluvial pattern of erosion. His gaze lingered again on the sedimentary outcrop, its layers clearly delineated. Then his eyes returned to the ground. He led the mules another ten yards and pried a second stone loose from the valley floor with his foot, turning it over. Then he kicked loose a third stone, and a fourth. It was all coesite–the valley floor was practically paved with it.

Near the edge of the snowfield, a boulder–a glacial erratic–lay atop the tundra. Masangkay led his mules over to the boulder and tied them to it. Then, keeping his movements as slow and deliberate as possible, he walked back across the flats, picking up rocks, scuffing the ground with his boot, drawing a mental map of the coesite distribution. It was incredible, exceeding even his most optimistic assumptions.

He had come to this island with realistic hopes. He knew from personal experience that local legends rarely panned out. He recalled the dusty museum library where he had first come across the legend of Hanuxa: the smell of the crumbling anthropological monograph, the faded pictures of artifacts and long-dead Indians. He almost hadn't bothered; Cape Horn was a hell of a long way from New York City. And his instincts had often been wrong in the past. But here he was.

And he had found the prize of a lifetime.

Masangkay took a deep breath. He was getting ahead of himself. Walking back to the boulder, he reached beneath the belly of the lead packmule. Working swiftly, he unraveled the diamond hitch, pulled the hemp rope from the pack, and unbuckled the wooden box panniers. Unlatching the lid of one pannier, he pulled out a long drysack and laid it on the ground. From it he extracted six aluminum cylinders, a small computer keyboard and screen, a leather strap, two metal spheres, and a nicad battery. Sitting cross-legged on the ground, he assembled the equipment into an aluminum rod fifteen feet long, with spherical projections at either end. He fitted the computer to its center, clipped on the leather strap, and slapped the battery into a slot on one side. He stood up, examining the high-tech object with satisfaction: a shiny anachronism among the grubby pack gear. It was an electromagnetic tomographic sounder, and it was worth over fifty thousand dollars–a ten-thousand down payment and financing for the rest, which was proving to be a struggle to pay off atop all his other debts. Of course, when this project paid off, he could settle with everyone–even his old partner.

Masangkay flicked the power switch and waited for the machine to warm up. He raised the screen into position, grasped a handle at the center of the rod, and let the weight settle around his neck, balancing the sounder the way a high-wire artist balances his pole. With his free hand he checked the settings, calibrated and zeroed the instrument, and then began walking steadily across the long flat, staring fixedly at the screen. As he walked, fog drifted in and the sky grew dark. Near the center of the flat, he suddenly stopped.

Masangkay stared at the screen in surprise. Then he adjusted some settings and took another step. Once again he paused, brow furrowed. With a curse he switched the machine off, returned to the edge of the flat, rezeroed the machine, and walked at right angles to his previous path. Again he paused, surprise giving way to disbelief. He marked the spot with two rocks, one atop the other. Then he walked to the far side of the flat, turned, and came back, more quickly now. A soft rain was beading on his face and shoulders, but he ignored it. He pressed a button, and a narrow line of paper began spooling out of the computer. He examined it closely, ink bleeding down the paper in the mist. His breath came faster. At first he thought the data was wrong: but there it was, three passes, all perfectly consistent. He made yet another pass, more reckless than the last, tearing off another spool of paper, examining it quickly, then balling it into his jacket pocket.

After the fourth pass, he began talking to himself in a low, rapid monotone. Veering back toward the mules, he dropped the tomographic sounder on the drysack and untied the second mule's pack with trembling hands. In his haste, one of the panniers fell to the ground and split open, spilling picks, shovels, rock hammers, an auger, and a bundle of dynamite. Masangkay scooped up a pick and shovel and jogged back to the center of the flat. Flinging the shovel to the ground, he began feverishly swinging the pick, breaking up the rough surface. Then he scooped out the loosened gravel with the shovel, throwing it well to the side. He continued in this fashion, alternating pick and shovel. The mules watched him with complete impassivity, heads drooping, eyes half-lidded.

Masangkay worked as the rain began to stiffen. Shallow pools collected at the lowest points of the graveled flat. A cold smell of ice drifted inland from Franklin Channel, to the north. There was a distant roll of thunder. Gulls came winging over his head, circling in curiosity, uttering forlorn cries.

The hole deepened to a foot, then two. Below the hard layer of gravel, the alluvial sand was soft and easily dug. The hills disappeared behind shifting curtains of rain and mist. Masangkay worked on, heedless, stripping off his coat, then his shirt, and eventually his undershirt, flinging them out of the hole. Mud and water mingled with the sweat that ran across his back and chest, defining the ripples and hollows of his musculature, while the points of his beard hung with water.

Then, with a cry, he stopped. He crouched in the hole, scooping the sand and mud away from a hard surface beneath his feet. He let the rain wash the last bit of mud from the surface.

Suddenly, he started in shock and bewilderment. Then he knelt as if praying, spreading his sweaty hands reverently on the surface. His breath came in gasps, eyes wild with astonishment, sweat and rain streaming together off his forehead, his heart pounding from exertion, excitement, and inexpressible joy.

At that moment, a shock wave of brilliant light burst out of the hole, followed by a prodigious boom that rolled off across the valley, echoing and dying among the far hills. The two mules raised their heads in the direction of the noise. They saw a small body of mist, which became crablike, broke apart, and drifted off into the rain.

The tethered mules looked away from the scene with indifference as night settled upon Isla Desolación.

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First Chapter

Isla Desolación

January 16, 1:15 p.m

The valley that had no name ran between barren hills, a long mottled floor of gray and green covered with soldier moss, lichens, and carpha grasses. It was mid-January-the height of summer-and the crevasses between the patches of broken rock were mortared with tiny pinguicula flowers. To the east, the wall of a snowfield gleamed a bottomless blue. Blackflies and mosquitoes droned in the air, and the summer fogs that shrouded Isla Desolación had temporarily broken apart, allowing a watery sunlight to speckle the valley floor.

A man walked slowly across the island's graveled flats, stopping, moving, then stopping again. He was not following a trail-in the Cape Horn islands, at the nethermost tip of South America, there were none.

Nestor Masangkay was dressed in worn oilskins and a greasy leather hat. His wispy beard was so thick with sea salt that it had divided itself into forked tips. It waggled like a snake's tongue as he led two heavily burdened mules across the flats. There was no one to hear his voice commenting unfavorably on the mules' parentage, character, and right to existence. Once in a while the complaints were punctuated with the thwack of a sucker rod that he carried in one brown hand. He had never met a mule, especially a rented mule, that he liked.

But Masangkay's voice held no anger, and the thwacks of his sucker rod held little force. Excitement was rising within him. His eyes roamed over the landscape, taking in every detail: the columnar basaltic escarpment a mile away, the double-throated volcanic plug, the unusual outcropping of sedimentary rock. The geology was promising. Very promising.

He walked across the valley floor, eyes on the ground. Once in a while a hobnailed boot would lash out and kick a rock loose. The beard waggled; Masangkay grunted; and the curious pack train would move on once again.

In the center of the valley, Masangkay's boot dislodged a rock from the flat. But this time he stopped to pick it up. The man examined the soft rock, rubbing it with his thumb, abrading small granules that clung to his skin. He brought it to his face and peered at the grit with a jeweler's loupe.

He recognized this specimen-a friable, greenish material with white inclusions-as a mineral known as coesite. It was this ugly, worthless rock that he had traveled twelve thousand miles to find.

His face broke into a broad grin, and he opened his arms to heaven and let out a terrific whoop of joy, the hills trading echoes of his voice, back and forth, back and forth, until at last it died away.

He fell silent and looked around at the hills, gauging the alluvial pattern of erosion. His gaze lingered again on the sedimentary outcrop, its layers clearly delineated. Then his eyes returned to the ground. He led the mules another ten yards and pried a second stone loose from the valley floor with his foot, turning it over. Then he kicked loose a third stone, and a fourth. It was all coesite-the valley floor was practically paved with it.

Near the edge of the snowfield, a boulder-a glacial erratic-lay atop the tundra. Masangkay led his mules over to the boulder and tied them to it. Then, keeping his movements as slow and deliberate as possible, he walked back across the flats, picking up rocks, scuffing the ground with his boot, drawing a mental map of the coesite distribution. It was incredible, exceeding even his most optimistic assumptions.

He had come to this island with realistic hopes. He knew from personal experience that local legends rarely panned out. He recalled the dusty museum library where he had first come across the legend of Hanuxa: the smell of the crumbling anthropological monograph, the faded pictures of artifacts and long-dead Indians. He almost hadn't bothered; Cape Horn was a hell of a long way from New York City. And his instincts had often been wrong in the past. But here he was.

And he had found the prize of a lifetime.

Masangkay took a deep breath. He was getting ahead of himself. Walking back to the boulder, he reached beneath the belly of the lead packmule. Working swiftly, he unraveled the diamond hitch, pulled the hemp rope from the pack, and unbuckled the wooden box panniers. Unlatching the lid of one pannier, he pulled out a long drysack and laid it on the ground. From it he extracted six aluminum cylinders, a small computer keyboard and screen, a leather strap, two metal spheres, and a nicad battery. Sitting cross-legged on the ground, he assembled the equipment into an aluminum rod fifteen feet long, with spherical projections at either end. He fitted the computer to its center, clipped on the leather strap, and slapped the battery into a slot on one side. He stood up, examining the high-tech object with satisfaction: a shiny anachronism among the grubby pack gear. It was an electromagnetic tomographic sounder, and it was worth over fifty thousand dollars-a ten-thousand down payment and financing for the rest, which was proving to be a struggle to pay off atop all his other debts. Of course, when this project paid off, he could settle with everyone-even his old partner.

Masangkay flicked the power switch and waited for the machine to warm up. He raised the screen into position, grasped a handle at the center of the rod, and let the weight settle around his neck, balancing the sounder the way a high-wire artist balances his pole. With his free hand he checked the settings, calibrated and zeroed the instrument, and then began walking steadily across the long flat, staring fixedly at the screen. As he walked, fog drifted in and the sky grew dark. Near the center of the flat, he suddenly stopped.

Masangkay stared at the screen in surprise. Then he adjusted some settings and took another step. Once again he paused, brow furrowed. With a curse he switched the machine off, returned to the edge of the flat, rezeroed the machine, and walked at right angles to his previous path. Again he paused, surprise giving way to disbelief. He marked the spot with two rocks, one atop the other. Then he walked to the far side of the flat, turned, and came back, more quickly now. A soft rain was beading on his face and shoulders, but he ignored it. He pressed a button, and a narrow line of paper began spooling out of the computer. He examined it closely, ink bleeding down the paper in the mist. His breath came faster. At first he thought the data was wrong: but there it was, three passes, all perfectly consistent. He made yet another pass, more reckless than the last, tearing off another spool of paper, examining it quickly, then balling it into his jacket pocket.

After the fourth pass, he began talking to himself in a low, rapid monotone. Veering back toward the mules, he dropped the tomographic sounder on the drysack and untied the second mule's pack with trembling hands. In his haste, one of the panniers fell to the ground and split open, spilling picks, shovels, rock hammers, an auger, and a bundle of dynamite. Masangkay scooped up a pick and shovel and jogged back to the center of the flat. Flinging the shovel to the ground, he began feverishly swinging the pick, breaking up the rough surface. Then he scooped out the loosened gravel with the shovel, throwing it well to the side. He continued in this fashion, alternating pick and shovel. The mules watched him with complete impassivity, heads drooping, eyes half-lidded.

Masangkay worked as the rain began to stiffen. Shallow pools collected at the lowest points of the graveled flat. A cold smell of ice drifted inland from Franklin Channel, to the north. There was a distant roll of thunder. Gulls came winging over his head, circling in curiosity, uttering forlorn cries.

The hole deepened to a foot, then two. Below the hard layer of gravel, the alluvial sand was soft and easily dug. The hills disappeared behind shifting curtains of rain and mist. Masangkay worked on, heedless, stripping off his coat, then his shirt, and eventually his undershirt, flinging them out of the hole. Mud and water mingled with the sweat that ran across his back and chest, defining the ripples and hollows of his musculature, while the points of his beard hung with water.

Then, with a cry, he stopped. He crouched in the hole, scooping the sand and mud away from a hard surface beneath his feet. He let the rain wash the last bit of mud from the surface.

Suddenly, he started in shock and bewilderment. Then he knelt as if praying, spreading his sweaty hands reverently on the surface. His breath came in gasps, eyes wild with astonishment, sweat and rain streaming together off his forehead, his heart pounding from exertion, excitement, and inexpressible joy.

At that moment, a shock wave of brilliant light burst out of the hole, followed by a prodigious boom that rolled off across the valley, echoing and dying among the far hills. The two mules raised their heads in the direction of the noise. They saw a small body of mist, which became crablike, broke apart, and drifted off into the rain.

The tethered mules looked away from the scene with indifference as night settled upon Isla Desolación.

(c) 2000 by Splendide Mendax, Inc., and Lincoln Child"

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 89 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Exciting thriller

    Billionaire Palmer Lloyd wants to own the world¿s reputedly biggest meteorite, which is allegedly on Chile¿s Isla Desolacion. Palmer knows that the incredible find would be the perfect selling point of his new museum. All he wants done is the transporting of the gigantic outer space rock from Cape Horn to New York Harbor without the Chilean government knowing what he has done. Budgeted cost is $300 million to move twenty million pounds halfway across the world. <P>Needing talented but disgraced individuals, Palmer hires infamous meteorite hunter Sam McFarlane, ruthless engineer Eli Glinn, and alcoholic sea Captain Britton among others. The leaders expect major problems. It was not a surprise to them when the Chilean government, in this case exiled officer Commandante Vallenar, tried to stop them. They expected nasty weather and even had a drop dead switch for any catastrophe so that the devastating storm was not a shocker. However, none of the trio was prepared for the powers of the meteorite to kill the crew one at a time. <P> THE ICE LIMIT is an ultra-action packed adventure that will thrill sub-genre fans with its non-stop action. Though the premise is a bit simplistic, the story line goes full throttle as Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child puts the peddle to the metal. The lead charcaters are all interesting in their own way. Amidst numerous deaths Sam feels vindicated, Eli feels whole again, and Britton feels as if she regained her life. The climax is a real kicker as expected by this talented duo of realistic scientific horror tales (see RELIC, RIPTIDE, and THUNDERHEAD, etc.) who scores with another frightening but exciting novel. <P>Harriet Klausner

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2009

    What a disappointment!

    I expect much more from these authors!! They had a great plot idea and made me care about the characters. However, not only did the story crawl through most of the middle of the book, but the book ends horribly!! The way all the storylines were resolved left me utterly unsatisfied! Characters were killed off (in my opinion) needlessly, and others were permanently disfigured, but we don't find out how!! Last but not least, the only place to read the epilogue is online!! And I only stumbled across that by chance!! Seriously?! I suggest picking up Relic or Thunderhead by the same authors. Much better books!!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2007

    Can't wait for the sequel!

    I have read everyone of Preston & Child's books except for Thunderhead and have thoroughly enjoyed every single one of them. I just haven't read anyone else who can write like these guys. Ice Limit was a great read although I have to admit that I much prefer the Agent Pendergast series. For those of you feel like the book ended abruptly, go the Preston and Child website and click on Ice Limit. They have provided a Webilogue which pretty much tidies up the ending. They have also announced that there will be a sequel. Can't wait!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2005

    Takes a while to get into, but the ending is well worth it

    The one thing that disappointed me about The Ice Limit was the fact that it took awhile to actually get to the action. While not as scary or gory as their other books, particularly Cabinet of Curiousities, Relic, and Brimstone, it is more scientific than gruesome. The ending was by far the best part, making the surprise ending to The Relic pale by comparison. It doesn't seem possible that the last sentence is the end. It's a cliffhanger that you can't possibly see coming and one that will leave you craving for just one more page.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2003

    Awsome & suspensefull

    An awsome and nail biting book. Technically flawed, dont dig too deep just enjoy. I think the best novel from either writer since The Relic. A true edge of the seat thriller. With a Heart stopping ending. Even a sad poinent scene with Sally Britton and the engineer. This book blows away anything from Crichton and many other more well know science ficton/fiction writers. A must read/listen to.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2001

    A great Adventure

    New and exciting concept in adventure. Read it in three days. Couldn't figure out the ending till I got there, and it was a surprise then. Highly recommend.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 17, 2001

    A great diversion from the ho-hum techno-thriller

    Preston and Child have done it again. This novel is definitely a page turner. This intrepid group of explorers are hunting for the largest meteorite in the world, and it is an adventure. Any science fiction/fact reader will enjoy the depth of the information. Everything has a tinge of reality (enough to make the characters seem real). My only criticism is that the character line uses the classic Eccentric Billionaire, Driven Engineer and Bumbling Scientist stereotype viewed so often in novels like this. Still, all in all, it was a great read.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2001

    Great book!

    I enjoyed this book very much. The characters are well defined, the suspense is captivating and the story line is believable. I am impressed with writers who don't waist my time on endless gore or sex just for shock value. I am pleased when a story keeps my interest and I love being able to actually visualize the settings. Thanks guys. This book was well worth my time and money!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2013

    The Ice Limit

    I enjoy all their works!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2013

    Great story

    I think this is nearly as good as Relic. The story is interesting without being fantastical. And, the particular landscape - Cape Horn - is fascinating in that it is a populated place (or nearly so) and yet so wild and dangerous. I wish these two would put aside the Pendergast series for a while and write more books like this.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2012

    Had me hocked

    Another great one

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2012

    One of the good ones

    I just remember that i liked this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2010

    Frustratingly slow

    The narrator made everyone sound like they were talking suspiciously all the time. No normal voices. Made the book tedious but the story was good.

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  • Posted January 28, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Had high hopes in the begnning, but it failed to entertain.

    The book starts great, but then slowly become repetitive. At one point i was reading and reading about various character's back history while the plot wasnt moving. The authors had great charcters but with a weak plot, their is really no reason to continuing caring about the characters. The plot could be summarized in two chapters while the character developement takes up the whole book...and then the ending made me fell that i had just wasted my time reading this book....

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  • Posted August 4, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    My first Preston & Child book was a good pick

    This book was recommened to me by a friend who is friends with the authors. It was a good pick. I think the writing style is great, the character development and story details were great and the pace was good. One character at the end that doesn't make it was excellent throughout the book. I think the authors realized this and brought him back in another book. I have another book Brimstone I had not read yet but looking forward to that too. Good first book to read from Preston and Child if you wanted to start somewhere.

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  • Posted May 11, 2009

    Had to wait a while before things got interesting.

    This one took a while before things got interesting. However, I have liked most all of their books, so I knew there would be some sort of twist if I just stuck with it. The concept was fascinating, so, as long as you have some time to wait for something to happen, you'll probably enjoy this book!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2006

    Wasn't what i expected

    i was excited at first to read the next book, but it just wasn't as good as their other ones. it was kind of boring and i didn't even bother reading the entire thing i just skipped to the parts that seemed interesting. The ending was pretty good though, a real cliffhanger. i hope their next book is better

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2002

    BORING!!!!

    After reading their previous work I couldn't wait for 'The Ice Limit'. After reading it I wondered why I even bothered. It was very slow in the begining. Most of the main characters were unlikable and the ones that I could sympathize with died. It just didn't seem to reach the level of their earlier works.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2002

    Ice Limit: really 'rocks the boat'

    A great read, full of suspence and trills. a different type of antagonist from a great immagation. Recommened to all readers.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2001

    Great Read

    It starts of with great action, and just keeps getting better. You won't want to put it down until you are done with the last page. Kept me guessing, and guessing, and guessing.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 89 Customer Reviews

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