Mare Cetus, a lifeless world nearly twelve light years from Earth, is riddled with strange and spectacular caverns. Explorers have long sought knowledge, fame and fortune on Mare, but lately an increasing number of them have met their demise in mysterious ways. Earth year 2165: Hunter Larson leads a team to lay claim on a priceless ore deposit hidden deep within the black maze of Mare's Laramax caverns. His thoughts haunted by the grisly events surrounding the last expedition to probe the Laramax, he's relying on Renata Stone, a brilliant and accomplished cavern explorer, to add stability and vigilance to his volatile team of experts. Unknown to Hunter, the Corporation has implemented a plan to ensure the mission's success--but at what price? As Hunter's team penetrates the blackness of the Laramax, they are blind to the terrifying fate that awaits them.
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.06(d)|
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Set in the Earth year 2165. The Explora Corporation sends ten people to inspect the caverns on Mare Cetus. Mare is an enigma to most. It sits at the edge of Tau Ceti's habitable zone. Though conditions are excellent for a thriving habitat of various species of life, Mare is void of any life whatsoever. Only Commander Hunter Larson knows at the beginning that the team is actually on Mare Cetus to lay claim on a large, priceless mineral deposit hidden deep within the caverns. Once known, the team members pack up to leave. Each member is an expert in their field. To lay claim on a stake is beneath them. However, once Hunter tells of the bonus they would receive if they remain, all agree to stay. Renata 'Rene' Stone is Second in Command, a pilot, engineer, and Cavern Scientist. Trent Logan is Third in Command. He is an archaeologist and robotics expert. Ramon Ramirez is a Subsurface Engineer and Groundwater Specialist. Arielle 'Ari' Talarian is a Planetary Geologist. 'Ramon and Ari are a couple.' Edison March is a Subsurface Engineer with a history in dentistry. Garrett Jansen is a former mercenary, now the Security Specialist. Devon Snow is an Internal Observer 'IOB'. Isis Sandalo is a Biochemist subcontracted to Explora. Richelle Ivers is an Organic Sedimentologist, also subcontracted to Explora. Shortly into the caverns, the robotics start disobeying commands and go rogue. Sometimes they actually seem to go beyond what is in their programming, as if they were actually thinking for themselves. Trent, the expert in robotics can find no possible way for this to be. When Hunter and Ramon cannot seem to stop bickering at each other, Rene must assume command. One team member dies and soon others are lost. Stranger still, instruments are now acting odd and a bio-scan shows that the team members are having abnormal spikes in their brain waves, pointing toward mental impairments. One catastrophe after another has each person looking at the others with suspicions. The worst part is that a few team members are positive they are being followed in the caverns even though no life registers on any piece of equipment. One member is attacked during a blackout, even though no one was close to her. Yet the scars support her claim. Rene becomes the glue that seems to hold the group together. Each member is trying to sway Rene to their view, but with the outrageous changes in everyone around her, Rene feels alone. Unable to contact Explora or request help, Rene must keep the team moving toward safety, while avoiding rogue robotics out to kill them, possibly one or more unknown entities stalking them, mental disabilities showing in everyone 'including herself', and more. Even with all this, Rene has no idea just how much trouble she is really in! ***** This is hard sci-fi. By that I mean you must read every word to get the full impact of everything going on and to ultimately understand what happens toward the end. Those who understand Spanish will be able to follow everything Ramon says. Most of the time he speaks English, but he often switches over to Spanish when talking to himself or making some sort of rude remark about someone in the party. Even if you read every single word, chances are you may not 'get' the things mentioned or shown toward the beginning of the book unless you read it twice. 'I did.' Personally, I love books that you can re-read and find things you missed the first time around. They are subtle things that most will not catch the first time. The author has the option of stopping the story right here or continue another using some of the same characters. Toward the end of this story, the author gave many cool scenarios that could easily turn into future plots. I can only hope that Jim Erjavec decides to run with the Mendrax thread. *****
As the author of 'The Second Virgin Birth,' I must say that 'The Caverns of Mare Cetus,' is one good science fiction tale. It starts with a bang that will immediately grab you, then settles back to an uneasy calm, the tension building throughout the rest of the novel, chapter after chapter, until it gets to what I would call a literally cinematic climax. If you're good at unraveling a storyline, you'll need all your wits to figure out where this one is going. It's not because the author's misleading or pulls events out of a magician's hat, it's because the author is good at building an insidious plot. Most of the story takes place in a huge cavern on the lifeless planet of Mare Cetus, a planet some twelve light years from Earth. The year is 2165. The team exploring the caves has all kinds of high tech equipment at their disposal, but they are ill prepared for what happens to them as they get deeper into the caves. Time and again, the author springs traps on the reader, catching you with thrills when you least expect them. Then just when you think you might have things figured out, something changes the course of the story, and now you're going in a slightly different direction. Later you realize that new direction was dictated by the puzzle pieces that had been there all along, right in front of you. You just needed to put them together. Very late in the book, I was certain the author had to have finally run out of surprises. He hadn't. I should have known better than to let my guard down. This is not your average science fiction novel, and it's certainly an excellent novel for a first-time author. It was entertaining from start to finish, and I felt the author was challenging me, as well as the characters, to figure out the secrets of the caverns. I would highly recommend this novel to anyone who wants a fast-paced story with some powerful dialog and excellent character development. I look forward to his second novel.
Erjavec has written a lurid tale that creates reader anxiety and interest via enigmatic characters and the not-so-fictional future technology that betrays them. Imagine your present dependence on communication technology scaled up several orders of magnitude to allow you to navigate and map in vast underground cavern systems, and your survival acutely challenged when the technology begins to fail you. Couple this with a twisted subplot on the corporate manipulation of human intelligence and you have a frenzied finale that illuminates the internal good of the human spirit, while provoking many what-if questions on our ultimate fate. Cognizant readers will find the plot less cryptic than those people looking for a quick read, but there is ample entertainment for all science fiction fans.