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The Trench (Meg Series #2)

The Trench (Meg Series #2)

4.4 59
by Steve Alten, Steve Allen

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Its appetite is ravenous. Its teeth scalpel-sharp. Its power unstoppable as it smashes the steel doors holding it in a Monterey, California aquarium. The captive twenty-ton Megalodon shark has tasted human blood, and it wants more.

On the other side of the world, in the silent depths of the ocean, lies the Mariana Trench, where the Megalodon has spawned since the


Its appetite is ravenous. Its teeth scalpel-sharp. Its power unstoppable as it smashes the steel doors holding it in a Monterey, California aquarium. The captive twenty-ton Megalodon shark has tasted human blood, and it wants more.

On the other side of the world, in the silent depths of the ocean, lies the Mariana Trench, where the Megalodon has spawned since the dawn of time. Paleo-biologist Jonas Taylor once dared to enter this perilous cavern. He alone faced the monster and cut its heart out; and he wears the painful scars of that deadly encounter. Now, as the body count rises and the horror of the Meg's attack grips the California coast, Jonas must begin the hunt again.

But to do that means returning to the dark terror of the trench . . . where the Meg is waiting. Using himself as bait, Jonas will enter the ultimate battle - a fight to the death between man and beast in the darkest recesses of the ocean . . . and a fight for his sanity from the depths of his own tormented soul.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
So how bad is this spawn of Meg, which Doubleday declined to publish (albeit perhaps in an earlier version)? About as bad--and as good--as its predecessor. Alten can still write a mean giant prehistoric shark scene, but he flails like a fish out of water at nearly everything else (of his #1 human villain, psycho billionaire Benedict Singer, he writes, "Benedict stood before the window, his arms outspread, emerald eyes blazing as he reveled in his glory"). It's four years after the bloody doings of Meg, and Angel, the daughter of the Carcharadon megalodon of that novel, is now terrifying tourists at a Monterey aquarium. She escapes, however, and starts eating them--munching on yacht-goers, a kayaker, a submariner--and swallows other animals, including a media-darling whale named Tootie, before she returns to her home in the Pacific's Mariana Trench. The novel isn't all d j -vu shark action, though, since Alten bifurcates the narrative. While paleobiologist Jonas Taylor, who killed Meg, pursues Angel across the seas, his wife, Terry, suffers misadventures galore in the Trench as she tries to uncover exactly what that billionaire (who's in partnership with her father, who owns Angel), is up to 35,000 feet down: nasty work involving nuclear fusion supplies for terrorists, it turns out. Alten's evocation of the Trench and its dangers (including more prehistoric beasts), and of the machinery--subs, minisubs and a giant underwater station--that would challenge them, is evocative and backed by rigorous scientific detail. His human vs. human conflict is screechingly melodramatic and his dialogue littered with exclamation points, but when Angel rolls back her eyes and opens her jaws for the kill, readers will remember with a thrill why they picked up this novel in the first place. (July) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
VOYA - Joanna Morrison
Paleo-biologist Jonas Taylor has encountered the shark from hell. A Cacharodon megalodon, this living fossil is believed to be the ancestor of sharks such as the Great White. At sixty feet long, armed with seven-inch teeth, the Meg is the fiercest predator ever known. And hell is the Mariana Trench, the huge underwater canyon that is the deepest part of the planet. In Alten's first book, Meg (Doubleday, 1997), Taylor encountered this underwater nightmare. Not only did Taylor find and kill the Meg, he managed to capture a young Meg, which, when put on display, becomes even more popular than the killer whales of Seaworld. The young Meg, a female, manages to escape from the Tanaka Institute and wreak havoc along the Pacific coastline, engulfing--among other victims--an entire seagoing wedding party. Taylor vows to either recapture or kill it. Meanwhile his wife, Terry, has joined mysterious mogul Benedict Singer aboard a ship whose ostensible purpose is to investigate a recent accident in the Mariana Trench. Terry becomes aware that Singer's motives are not pure and must save herself from both Singer and his nefarious crew as well as... more prehistoric munchers from the Trench! Teens will eat this up. The Trench is recommended for readers who want non-stop suspenseful action, and who can also suspend a sense of disbelief. If Peter Benchley's Jaws (Crest, reissue 1991) or White Shark (St. Martin's, 1995) is in your school library, you will also want Alten's books. VOYA Codes: 3Q 4P S A/YA (Readable without serious defects; Broad general YA appeal; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12; Adult and Young Adult).
Library Journal
The Meg (Carcharodon megalodon, a really, really big shark) is back in this sequel to Meg (LJ 5/1/97), which picks up right where Alten's last killer thriller left off (in the second chapter there's even a two-page synopsis recapping the previous action and plot to bring new readers up to speed). Angel, the female offspring of the Meg killed last time around, is being held in captivity and displayed by hero Jonas Taylor and aquarium-owner Masao Tanaka. But Angel is huge and deadly; when she escapes from the aquarium, the predictable rock 'em-sock 'em mayhem ensues. So Jonas must face death and his own fears once again and return to the Marianas Trench in another attempt to rid the world of this prehistoric menace. Nearly a carbon-copy of Meg, this action-packed technothriller reads like a movie script and won't provoke many thoughts but will satisfy fans of Meg and Peter Benchley. Recommended for most fiction collections.--Rebecca House Stankowski, Purdue Univ. Calumet Lib., Hammond, IN Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A sequel to the riveting Meg (1997), continuing the adventures of a prehistoric shark with a mouth like a garage door that marauds in the ocean's upper waters along the California coast. In the previous installment, a supposedly extinct shark species was kept alive by the thermal warmth of smokers on the sea-bottom. When Meg and a pregnant female broke through the sludge and rose topside, all hell broke loose until the pregnant female's offspring was drugged and imprisoned in a Marine showcase near Monterey. Now, four years later, oxygen-rich waters and overfeeding have nurtured the captive Meg to a size larger than either her father or mother. She's in estrous and unfathomably hungry, can smell male sharks and tasty whales offshore, and at last breaks through the steel bars that have been placed between her and the open sea. Since she's just swallowed three young boys, she also has a taste for human flesh. Her rage to feed leads to some startling effects, including a female photographer's being bitten in half in her kayak, with Meg coming back to swallow the kayak and the body's other half. The humans, meanwhile, are total stereotypes, and some of their drama and its setting appear to have been borrowed from James Cameron's film The Abyss. Readers who saw Godzilla know that the climax must involve a whole family of monsters spreading about, although the present tale involves, as well, another extinct species: a reptile that's four or five times larger than Tyrannosaurus Rex doesn't get along with Meg. But don't think Alten will kill off his golden gobbler. Best scene: Meg copulating with a smaller male, than eating him—just a bridal whiff from Melville and D.H. Lawrence.Not exactly taxing on the intellectual side, but a nail-biting summer read. (Author tour)

Product Details

Publication date:
Meg Series , #2
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.30(w) x 6.92(h) x 1.16(d)

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By Steve Alten


Copyright © 1999Steve Alten
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-7860-1804-8



Deep Pressures

Mariana Trench 12 degrees North Latitude 144 degrees East Longitude

March 22, 2001

Retired Navy deep-sea pilot Barry Leace wiped the sweat from his palms as he checked the depth indicator of the Proteus. Thirty-four thousand, seven hundred and eighteen feet. Nearly seven miles of water above their heads, sixteen thousand pounds per square inch of water pressure surrounding them.

Just stop thinking about it ...

Barry glanced around the tight quarters of the four-man submersible. Racks of computer monitors, electronics, and a bewildering jungle of wires filled the pressurized hull. The watertight coffin barely had room for its crew.

Below the navigation console, team leader Ellis Richards and his assistant, Linda Heron, stared out through tiny portholes in the floor of the Proteus's bow.

"See those animals with the furry green pelt?" Linda asked. "Those are Pompeii worms, capable of withstanding temperature variations from twenty-two degrees all the way to eighty-one degrees Celsius. The hydrothermal vents supply sulfur for bacteria to live off, which in turn are digested by the tube worms—"


"—which are a source of food to all sorts of bizarre-looking life-forms."

"Linda, enough with the goddamn biology lesson," Ellis said.

"Sorry." Embarrassed, the petite geologist turned back to the porthole, cupping her hands around her eyes to eliminate glare.

Smiling to himself, the sub's fourth crewman, Khali Habash, looked down from his control console at Linda. The girl loved to talk, especially when she was nervous, a quality the Arab never hesitated to exploit.

Khali's real name was Arie Levy, a Jew born and raised in Syria. It had been nearly ten years since the day Arie had been recruited by MOSSAD, Israel's covert intelligence agency. Since that time he had led a double life, spending half his time in Israel with his wife and three children, traveling around the Arab world and Russia the rest of the time, posing as a plasma physicist. It had taken four hard years of sacrifice for the agent to infiltrate Benedict Singer's organization, but here he was, seven miles beneath the Pacific, about to learn secrets that could change humanity forever.

Arie checked the external temperature gauge.

"Hey, Linda, can you believe the water's seventy-eight degrees?"

The girl perked up again. "Incredible, isn't it? We call it hydrothermal megaplumes. The hot mineral water pumping out of these black smokers is seven hundred degrees. As it rises, it warms the freezing seawater column until it reaches neutral buoyancy at about twelve hundred feet above the floor of the Trench. Ocean currents then spread the plume laterally. The floating layer of soot from the minerals creates a ceiling that acts like insulation, sealing a tropical layer of water along the bottom of the gorge."

"The layer never cools?"

"Never. These hydrothermal vents are 'chronic' plumes. They've been active since the Cretaceous period."

Ellis Richards checked his watch again. As the project's team leader, he was perpetually worried about falling behind schedule. "Christ, three hours and it seems like we've barely made any headway. Linda, is it just me, or does it seem like this pilot has no idea what he's doing?"

Barry Leace ignored the insult. He checked his sonar and cursed under his breath. They had moved too far ahead of the Benthos, Geo-Tech Industries' (GTI) mobile deep-sea lab community and submarine docking station. The billion-dollar mother ship resembled a domed sports arena, with a false flat surface for an underbelly, dangling three mammoth shock absorbers for legs. Hovering just above the turbulent seafloor in neutral buoyancy, the 46,000-square-foot titanium structure reminded Leace of a monstrous man-o'-war as it followed them north through the most hostile environment on the planet.

Barry Leace had served on three different submarines during his tenure in the Navy. He had long ago become accustomed to living in claustrophobic quarters beneath the waves. Not everyone could make it as a submariner. One had to be in tip-top mental and psychological shape, able to perform while knowing that drowning in darkness within a steel ship hundreds of fathoms below the surface was just an accident away.

Barry had that fortitude, that mental toughness, proving it time and again during his twenty-six years of service. That's why he was so surprised at how easily his psyche was unraveling within the Mariana Trench. Confidence that had been nurtured through thousands of hours of submarine duty had suddenly dissipated the moment the Proteus cleared its abyssal docking bay aboard the Benthos.

Truth be known, it wasn't the depths that unnerved him. Four years earlier, through man's intervention, Carcharodon megalodon, a prehistoric sixty-foot species of Great White shark, had risen from this very trench to wreak havoc. Although the albino nightmare had eventually been destroyed, and its surviving offspring captured, at least a dozen people had died within its seven-foot jaws. Where there was one creature, there might be more. Despite all of Geo-Tech's precautions and technical innovations, the submersible pilot was still a bundle of nerves.

Barry pulled back on the throttle controls, slowing the main propulsion engine. He had no desire to get too far ahead of their abyssal escort.

"What is it now, Captain?" Ellis asked. "Why are we slowing?"

"Temperature's rising again. We must be approaching another series of hydrothermal vents. The last thing I want is to collide with one of those black smokers."

The team leader squeezed his eyes shut in frustration. "Goddamn it—"

Barry pressed his face against the porthole, eluding Ellis's tirade.

The submersible's lights illuminated a petrified forest of sulfur and mineral deposits, the towering stacks rising thirty feet or more from the bottom. Dark billowing clouds of superheated, mineral-rich water gushed from the mouths of the bizarre chimneys.

Arie watched Ellis Richards move menacingly toward the pilot's navigational console. "Captain, let's get something straight. I'm in charge of this mission, not you. My orders are for us to cover no less than twenty miles a day, something we'll never come close to at this snail's pace."

"Better safe than sorry, Mr. Richards. I don't want to get too far ahead of the Benthos, at least not until I get a feel for this sub."

"A feel for ... I thought you were an experienced pilot?"

"I am," Barry said. "That's why I'm slowing down."

Linda looked up from her porthole. "Exactly how far ahead of the Benthos are we, Captain?"

"Just over six kilometers."

"Six kilometers, that's all? Benedict Singer's going to flip." Ellis Richards looked like he was about to have an aneurysm. "Look, Captain, the Prometheus and Epimetheus are expected to arrive topside early next week. Neither submersible can even begin its work until we complete ours."

"I know that."

"You should. GTI's paying you a king's ransom to pilot the Proteus. We can't keep waiting for the Benthos to play catch-up every time we go out. We'll add another thirty days or more to our timetable, which is completely unacceptable."

"So is dying, Mr. Richards. My job is to keep us alive in this hellhole, not take chances so you can earn your bonus for coming in ahead of schedule."

The team leader stared at him. "You're scared, aren't you, Captain?"


Excerpted from THE TRENCH by Steve Alten. Copyright © 1999 by Steve Alten. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Steve Alten is the author of the New York Times bestseller, Meg. A native of Philadelphia, he now lives in South Florida with his wife and children.

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The Trench (Meg Series #2) 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 60 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book, while immensely enjoyable, instilled in me one of maybe three things in my life that have ever truly terrified me: deep, cold, black water, with something, some unknown beast out there just waiting....God, it's scary.
hcw03 More than 1 year ago
Alten continues where he left off. A riveting tale that will keep you on edge. Note for parents -- This book is a little more adult themed than the first novel. Overall, an engaging tale that you won't want to put down.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It's so amazing that I'm going to do a rhyme about it. Here Goes. I couldn't put the book down through and through, I always loved the non-stop action, too. The scenes were great, the characters ever better, not to mention that the shark was always very clever.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A great sequel! More complex and in dpeth than the first. Alten dosen't dissapoint.
jlgc More than 1 year ago
The Trench is the second in the Meg adventure series written by Steve Alten. Tanaka Oceanographic Institute has been housing the young female megalodon for several years. The meg has continued to grow and mature. It is now trying to escape, and escape it does. At the same time, Tanaka’s company has been maneuvered into working with a questionable Russian billionaire, Benedict. Jonas, Mac, and Celeste, Benedict’s protégé, are running up and down the Pacific coast trying to catch the meg, named Angel. They fail epically and people are killed. For some reason, all the blame continues to fall upon Jonas Taylor. Terry, now, Jonas’ wife, ends up underwater with Benedict in the Mariana Trench. Benedict is secretly working with the Iranians and searching for something in the Trench under the guise of relaunched the failed UNIS project. Celeste on a mission to get some specific information from Jonas and Terry is in danger practically from the minute she boards the support ship. I like shark movies, even the silly ones. They are quite humorous. With none of them am I overly concerned about the science of the story. It’s the same with this story. There’s a lot of science in it that I don’t understand. There are feats of strength that are unbelievable. There are episodes of luck that are almost unbelievable unless you are willing to just believe. Some reviewers condemn this book because of that. However, I don’t. The story was well written and cohesive. However, the unsuccessful chasee of Angel seemed to take such a long time and they never even caught the meg. How many stupid ideas can they come up with to catch this animal when they should have just killed it? Jonas knew this but was outvoted and outmaneuvered to the point of death. One thing that I had just a bit of problem with is how fast Jonas healed from his various adventures and was able to continue. Celeste just annoyed me. I didn’t particularly care for Jonas accepting all the blame that was directed at him and then some for a situation he continually tried to stop without the help of those who should have been helping him. I also didn’t care for the relationship between Jonas and Terry. I believe that Terry went into the marriage with eyes wide open and shouldn’t have been giving Jonas flack within a few years of marriage. Especially when Jonas was continually concerned with the fact that it was a matter of time before Angel escaped and nobody else would listen his warnings. However, I was happy to see fidelity in both Jonas and Terry when they were tempted and tested. And Jonas was very much tested by Celeste. I could have done without the interaction between Sergei and Terry. However, I understand that with bad guys, sometimes you have to show just how bad they are. Overall, I would recommend this book if you like deep sea adventures, giant shark stories, and interesting pseudo-science. It’s not great literature, but it’s a good yarn.
Bastett More than 1 year ago
Action packed and full of great scenes, this was one book I could not put down. After the first book I was on the edge of my seat. This book pushed me over the edge and wouldn't stop. If you haven't read Meg, put this on your short list. This is one series I am happy I took a chance on. It's worth your time.
aprilmrm More than 1 year ago
This installment in the Meg series isn't nearly as good as the first, but it entertains nonetheless. It picks up a few years later in Jonas and Terry's lives. Is it the best writing? No. Is it incredibly far-fetched? Yes. But I enjoy aquatic predator plots, and this book qualifies. There is great attention to detail and plenty of startling action. Not the best in the series but not the worst either.
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Booktraveler More than 1 year ago
The Plot is compelling. The characters face issuses with all the realistic inner conflits that all people feel, when they are being tested. A good read...it kept me up way past my bed time.