The icy wastes of Antarctica provide the forbidding setting for this environmentally aware thriller from Reiss (The Last Crusade). When the international agreement to preserve the continent from economic exploitation is endangered by a forthcoming diplomatic summit about oil and mineral rights, environmental activist and media darling Robyn Cassidy stages a dangerous protest. She undertakes a solo ski trek along Purgatory Road, the central mountain pass that ends at the conference site. Though she gets stranded in a fierce storm just a mile from a U.S. scientific base, her SOS is ignored until geologist Jack Amirault defies orders and sets out to save her; accompanying him is his sister Evylyn's financ, Brian, who crashes through thin ice and is killed. A year later, as the conference gets under way, Jack is persona non grata among his colleagues because of Brian's death and Evylyn's subsequent breakdown. Robyn appears to continue her protest; then Evylyn is killed. Determined to prove she was murdered, Jack uncovers harsh truths about his colleagues, as well as a spy after oil and mineral secrets, but ends up being handcuffed by his fellow scientists. Robyn springs him and in a rousing denouement, the two, chased by helicopter, race along Purgatory Road to the conference site in order to save the continent. Reiss accurately captures the stresses of an isolated research base while making his frozen world real enough to keep readers shivering between the action scenes. (Feb.)
The prolific Reiss (The Last Spy, LJ 11/15/92) delivers an unfocused thriller that is both murder mystery and Green Peace homily. Dr. Jack Amirault, a navy seismologist stationed in the Antarctic, defies direct orders by rescuing Robyn Cassidy, a sexy ecological activist who gets stuck in a blizzard while protesting the exploitation of Antarctic oil and mineral reserves. When Jack's sister Evylyn, also a scientist working at the Antarctic base, is found dead a year later, few give any credence to his allegations of murder and conspiracy, even though she was working on a secret project for the navy. Was she killed for her research-or to prevent her research from being used for industrial development? Has Robyn gone overboard in her quest to save the Antarctic? Is Jack just paranoid, or will he too meet with an "accident"? The surprise ending answers all. Suitable for larger collections.-Rebecca House Stankowski, Purdue Univ. Calumet Lib., Hammond, Ind.