Vostok

Vostok

by Steve Alten

Paperback(Mass Market Paperback - Reissue)

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780765388025
Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
Publication date: 05/03/2016
Series: Meg Series
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 480
Sales rank: 123,827
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 7.40(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Steve Alten is the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of more than twenty novels, including The Loch, Meg, and the Domain trilogy. His work has been published in more than thirty countries and is being used in thousands of middle and high school curricula as part of Adopt-an-Author, a free teen reading program used nationwide to encourage reluctant readers.


P. J. Ochlan is an Audie Award-winning, multiple Earphones Award-winning, and Voice Arts Award-nominated narrator of hundreds of audiobooks. His acting career spans more than thirty years and has also included Broadway, the NY Shakespeare Festival under Joseph Papp, critically acclaimed feature films, and television series regular roles.

Read an Excerpt

Vostok


By Steve Alten

Tom Doherty Associates

Copyright © 2015 Alten Entertainment of Boca Raton, Inc.
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-7653-8802-5


CHAPTER 1

Who in the world am I? Ah, that's the great puzzle.

— LEWIS CARROLL


Drumnadrochit, Scottish Highlands, Scotland

The village of Drumnadrochit lies on the west bank of Loch Ness, a sleepy Highland hamlet of nine hundred nestled between Urquhart Bay, the Caledonian Forest, and two thousand years of history. I was born in Drumnadrochit. In fact, I died here and was resurrected — twice. I suppose that last rebirth was more of a metaphor, but when your existence is haunted by demons and you exorcize them by staring death in the face, that's what we Templars call a resurrection.

More about that later.

Drumnadrochit achieved its modern-day fame by proclaiming itself the Loch Ness Monster capital of the world. Two hokey museums, a few smiling plesiosaur statues, hourly tours by boat, and enough souvenir shops to shake a stick at was all it took — that and Castle Urquhart.

No doubt you've seen photos of Urquhart, its ruins perched high on a rocky promontory like a medieval memory, the loch's tea-colored swells roiling against its steep cliff face, the surrounding mountains drifting in and out of fog. Perhaps the photographer caught an unexpected wake or a mysterious ripple, or better still something that resembled humps violating the surface. Such are the sightings that once enticed a quarter of a million tourists to Drumnadrochit each spring and summer, everyone hoping to catch a glimpse of the legendary monster.

My name is Zachary Wallace, and I'm the marine biologist who resolved the legend. Using science, I brought light to seventy years of darkness, separating a contrived myth from the presence of a very real, very large amphibious fish that had become a serious threat to locals and tourists alike. In the end, I not only identified the predator, I baited it, stared into its eyes, and vanquished the miserable beast from its man-imposed purgatory.

In doing so, I turned a thriving cottage industry into a bunch of vacant bed-and-breakfasts, rendered two local museums obsolete, and brought ruin to a brand-new family-owned five-star resort. If you're curious, the whole story is there in my tell-all biographical thriller, aptly titled The Loch.

This is the story of what followed, a tale I had intended to leave by audio diary to my wife, Brandy, and our young son, William. As usual, it began when I was manipulated into accepting a mission by the most diabolical creature ever known to inhabit the Great Glen — my father.

In his youth, Angus Wallace was a brute of a man who possessed the piercing blue eyes of the Gael, the wile of a Scot, the temperament of a Viking, and the drinking habits of the Irish. Now in his seventies, he's less temperamental but just as wily, and abuses Viagra and women along with his whiskey.

In his younger days, it was yours truly that he abused, mentally, not physically.

Angus met my mother, the former Andrea McKnown, when she was on holiday. It didn't take long for the older, dark-haired rogue to sweep the naive American beauty off her feet. I was born a year later, heir to the Wallace heritage. I was small compared to my big-boned Highlander peers, leaving my father to right his namesake's "bad genes" the only way he knew how — by intimidating the runt out of me.

I won't bore you with the details, other than to mention one pivotal event that transpired on my ninth birthday. Angus had promised to take me fishing on Loch Ness so I could try out an acoustic fishing lure, my new invention. Those plans changed, however, when I caught my inebriated sperm donor naked in a tent with a local waitress.

Allowing a childhood's worth of anger to get the better of me, I returned to the loch and launched the boat myself. As fog and night rolled in, my reverberating acoustic device attracted a school of fish and with it a very real creature that rarely left its bottom dwelling. Without warning, my boat flipped over, and I found myself treading in forty-two-degree water. Then something closed around my lower body and dragged me with it into the depths.

Terrifying darkness surrounded me; the growling gurgles of the creature accompanied me into the abyss, my lower body held within its jaws. I saw a flash of white light, which caused the demon to release me, and then those tea-colored waters quenched the fire in my aching lungs ... and I drowned.

When next I opened my eyes it was to hellish pain, a veterinarian's needle, and the frightening face of my rescuer and best friend's father, Alban MacDonald. At the time Alban served as water bailiff, and it was lucky for me that the man I disrespectfully called "the Crabbit" had happened upon the scene to rescue my sorry, pulseless arse.

When my mother learned what had happened (the Crabbit and the vet claimed I had become entangled in barbed wire and thus the bloody markings), she saw to my recovery, divorced my no-good father, and moved us to the good ole U.S. of A.

America: land of the free, home of the brave — only I was neither free nor brave. In an attempt to escape the mental abuse associated with my drowning, my traumatized brain had compartmentalized and isolated the incident. Buried in denial, the unfiltered memory remained dormant, waiting for just the right moment to return.

That moment occurred fourteen years later.

By the age of twenty-five, I had earned bachelor's and master's degrees from Princeton and a doctorate from Scripps, and my research into deep-sea acoustic lures had been featured in several prominent journals. As a budding "Jacques Cousteau," I had been asked to lead a National Geographic-sponsored expedition to the Sargasso Sea, in search of the elusive giant squid. To attract the legendary colossus, our three-man submersible was armed with a lure I had designed, that emulated the sounds and vibrations of salmon.

We descended into the blackness of the depths and waited, our patience rewarded with what would be the first visual documentation of Architeuthis dux — the giant squid. Unfortunately, the lure summoned not only a hungry squid but a swarm of unexpected and unknown predatory fish. The squid panicked and tore loose our ballast tank, sending us spiraling into oblivion. The acrylic cockpit cracked and threatened to implode as we waited desperately for a drone to secure a towline. The underwater robot finally reached us in four thousand feet of water.

It seemed we had been spared a horrible death, but as the surface ship drew us out of the depths, the crack in the bubble cockpit continued to spiderweb until the sea burst in on us — 233 feet below the surface. The sea rushed in and killed the pilot. Dragging the cameraman from the sinking sub, I kicked for the surface ... and drowned again.

This time when I came to, I was in a hospital bed. My colleague, David Caldwell, conveniently blamed me for the pilot's death and for the loss of the submersible. Fired from my teaching position at Florida Atlantic University, I left the hospital intent on finding a new job.

My brain had other plans.

Unbeknownst to me, this second near-death experience had released long-dormant childhood memories from the first. Sleep became my enemy, as I constantly woke up screaming from night terrors. Worse, I found myself deathly afraid of the water, the anxiety threatening my future as a marine biologist.

In the span of a few months, I had lost everything — my job, my career, my fiancée, and my quickly fading sanity.

I began drinking heavily. Being inebriated kept me from entering the deepest stages of sleep where the night terrors lay in wait. Days were devoted to recovering from hangovers, nights reserved for binging on expensive booze and cheap women, both of which I found in abundance in South Beach, my new haunt.

That's where Maxie Rael found me. My half-brother, whom I never knew existed, had come to bring me back to Scotland.

The aforementioned five-star resort, known today as Nessie's Retreat, had been Angus Wallace's idea, and my father rarely met an idea (or a woman, for that matter) that he didn't fall in love with. The Wallace clan had left him title to a prime stretch of waterside real estate just south of Urquhart Bay, and once the zoning laws had been manipulated in his favor, Angus wasted no time in leasing the land to Mr. John Cialino of Cialino Ventures. As partners, my father and the well-connected "Johnny C." intended on bringing luxury accommodations to the Scottish Highlands.

Then one fateful afternoon during the construction phase, my father and John engaged in a heated argument on Urquhart Bluff, and before you could say, "Yer bum's oot the windae!" Angus struck his younger partner with a right cross, sending Johnny's arse (and the rest of him) into Loch Ness, "ne'er tae be seen alive again."

While I was struggling to survive my own post-traumatic symptoms in Miami Beach, Angus was locked away in a Highland prison cell awaiting his murder trial. He had sent Maxie to bring me to Scotland so that my estranged father would have both of his sons by his side in his fight to stave off the gallows and prove his innocence.

Seventeen years away from the old man, and I fell for his lies hook, line, and sinker.

It was all part of a well-orchestrated plan intended to save my father's neck, jumpstart his new venture, and force me to face the demons of my past — all by placing my head in his noose.

That noose unexpectedly tightened when the creature's temperament suddenly changed.

* * *

Two years have passed. With my demons exorcized, I felt free to marry my childhood sweetheart, Brandy MacDonald, a dark-haired beauty with sultry blue eyes and a body that could have landed her in any swimsuit catalog on the planet. Our son, William Wallace, named after our legendary ancestor, was born fifteen months ago. Last summer Nessie's Retreat, bankrolled by Angus's lover Theresa (Johnny C.'s widow), opened to great fanfare.

Ten months later the resort and Drumnadrochit were both on the verge of bankruptcy.

Don't get me wrong, the hotel is first-class. Every one of its 336 rooms features a balcony view of Loch Ness, and each of its third-floor luxury suites is equipped with a fireplace, sauna, and Jacuzzi.

The problem: no monster.

Loch Ness, without its legendary creature, was just a peat-infested twenty-three-mile-long deepwater trough filled with water far too cold in which to swim. It wasn't just Angus's hotel that was hurting. Without Nessie, all of the Highland villages had become destitute, the vacation equivalent of Orlando without Disney World and its other local theme parks. Of course, Orlando is a modern city located in sunny Florida. The Scottish Highlands are an isolated cold-weather region with seasons more akin to Alaska's. Centuries ago, our Highland ancestors worked the land to feed and clothe themselves; these days the villagers were committed to tourism. It was the feast of summer that got them through the famine of a long winter, and the sudden downturn to the Highlanders' livelihood threatened an economic and cultural collapse.

Concerned over the state of its villages and the economic toll they were taking on the capital city of Inverness, the Highland Council had been holding monthly brainstorming sessions to figure out how to bolster tourism for the coming season. My father attended these meetings with Brandy's father, Alban, and her big brother, Finlay "True" MacDonald, my boyhood friend. The imposing Highlander with the auburn ponytail and Viking aura served as master of arms. Although the meetings were open to the public, True's Do Not Allow to Enter list had one name on it — mine.

In the span of two years, I had gone from local hero to persona non grata. With tourism down, hundreds of villagers faced the prospect of being unable to feed their families without government subsidies, and I soon felt their wrath. Why couldn't Wallace have subdued the creature without vanquishing it in the public eye? Had he no respect for the legend?

As they say, no good deed goes unpunished.

By December, I had become a hated man and was forced to move my wife and son from our once-rent-free cottage into the near-vacant resort. I no longer visited Sniddles or Drumnadrochit's other watering holes, preferring the hermit-like quiet of Nessie's Lair, the resort's closed restaurant and pub.

To be honest, I never wanted to return to Drumnadrochit in the first place, let alone live here. I was a U.S. citizen, and the American lifestyle was what I coveted. Moreover, I was a marine biologist and an inventor, and most of the serious job offers were coming from the States. But Angus had given me twenty-five percent ownership of the resort and had asked me to be around as a celebrity in our inaugural tourist season, plus my old man was bonding with our newborn. So we stayed.

Then the disaster of summer struck, and my father-in-law Alban was diagnosed with ALS. Suddenly relocating was put on the backburner. By Christmas I felt like a caged tiger.

To make matters worse, Brandy and I argued on a daily basis, most of our spats having to do with money. For nearly a year, I had earned a good living traveling the world, signing books at sold-out appearances where I'd tell enraptured audiences how I had battled a sixty-foot barbed-toothed species the Navy had nicknamed the bloop and our Highland ancestors had called guivres. But fame is fleeting, and my fifteen minutes in the limelight faded quickly, thanks to a myriad of YouTube videos overexposing my tale.

Having gone through most of our savings, we soon found ourselves financially underwater, like the rest of the Highlanders. Unlike the villagers, however, I had options — lucrative teaching and research offers from private facilities and major universities. But my loving wife made it quite clear that until her father passed she would not leave Drumnadrochit.

Brandy MacDonald-Wallace was the yang to my yin, a fiery-tempered Scot who believed in God and faith and that her husband suffered from an addiction to logic. I believed in cause and effect, science and the laws of physics, and that petitioning the Lord with prayer every Sunday was the equivalent of tossing quarters in a wishing well. We had been childhood pals but she was clearly the alpha dog, the one person who could get me to climb a tree to its canopy, jump in a half-frozen pond as part of an initiation into her "club," or pursue my dreams as a marine biologist. I was Brandy's emotional ballast, the person she sought when things went bad, like when her father was feeling ogreish — a common occurrence after her mother died. Had we remained together during our adolescent years we'd have married ten years sooner, but my mother had moved me to the States long before our hormones took over, and that was probably a good thing.

While my early years of puberty were chastised by long hours devoted to study and a physical regimen designed to give me a fighting chance on the football field, Brandy's teen years were spent rudderless and rebellious. Pregnant at sixteen, she found herself abandoned by both her boyfriend and her overbearing father, whose response to his daughter's loss of innocence was to cast her adrift. Brandy moved into a women's shelter, miscarried in her fourth month, and spent her remaining years of adolescence in a boarding house run by nuns. Ten years would pass before she spoke to her father again.

When she was nineteen, Brandy met an American stockbroker and accepted his marriage proposal as a passport out of the Highlands. Seven months after the couple had moved to California, Brandy was riding her ten-speed bike on a mountain highway when she was struck from behind by a car. Her injuries were severe and she spent several weeks in intensive care — during which time her husband had an affair. A year later she returned to the Highlands divorced and lonely, with just enough money to purchase a second-hand passenger houseboat from which she eked out a living giving tours of Loch Ness during the warmer months.

Her life changed when she worked winters as a volunteer at the hospital in Inverness.

"Negative energy, Zach. I brought about my own darkness as a wayward teen and attracted negative people to my aura. T'was God's will that sent me to the hospital on the brink of death, but really I was dyin' spiritually in a bad marriage, having cast myself from His Light. Volunteering at the hospital in Inverness changed my energy and summoned ye to Drumnadrochit to marry me. It takes a selfless act tae bring one back into God's heavenly Light."

Brandy had already gotten into two fistfights with locals who had the bollocks to criticize her husband and his work. Yet as the days of winter grew shorter and the villagers' desperate hours grew longer, she began to sound more and more like my father.

"Been o'er to the neebs, Zach. There's bairns bein' put tae bed hungry. Instead o' grabbin' yer daily nips and starin' at the loch every day, why dinnae ye use that big ol' brain o' yers and figure oot a way tae lure another monster into the Ness."


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Vostok by Steve Alten. Copyright © 2015 Alten Entertainment of Boca Raton, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Tom Doherty Associates.
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.

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Vostok 3.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 25 reviews.
wolfe27006 More than 1 year ago
I generally love reading Steve Alten's novels as I consider his MEG series one of the best I've ever read, however I have to admit that this novel was all over the place, it went from looking for an ancient monster to finding aliens and dimensional portals. I did enjoy the crossover by adding Jonas Taylor to the mix but otherwise I was sadly disappointed.  I can only hope that his next Meg novel will be much better than Vostok.
Dave_ah More than 1 year ago
I regret to say, that my conclusion is that this is a terrible peice work with great 1/2 begging. From start it goes like MEG series. A good amount of science with some speculation. Then it goes cookoo land.  Alten took all the nonsense from Internet conspiracy theorists and made use of them. This nonstop absurd garbage from hacks like Jim Marrs, Alex Jones, is by now old, boring, and absurdly insulting. I am  not certain whether I should be sadly disappointed, or livid at having my intelligence insulted. To be sure, Alten is a good to great writer. So ,Steve, buddy, GET THE FRICK OFF THE CONSPIRACY BULL!
lifeasleels More than 1 year ago
I had a really difficult time rating this one. I wanted to be as fair as possible so I felt that straight down the middle was the best option. I didn’t hate the book, but I didn’t love it. I didn’t necessary like the book, but I didn’t completely dislike it either. Confused? So am I. We start the story off with Zachary at home with his wife and son. In my opinion, it started very slowly. We know that Zachary is a scientist and that he alone killed the tourist industry (along with his family industry) when he killed the Loch Ness “monster”. Not a whole lot happens when all of a sudden, there are scientists from Antarctica seeking Zachary’s assistance in researching Lake Vostok. As in actually going under miles of ice into a lake that hasn’t been accessed in millions of years. He refuses, but his father – who we learned earlier on is really a not so great man – pretty much tricks his way into getting money and Zachary signing on to this little experiment in Antarctica. Honestly, I was bored until the day that Zachary, the Dr and the ‘sub’ pilot began their trek. What was found in Lake Vostok, what they encounter – fast action, suspense – I couldn’t put it down (and fell asleep with the book in my hands a few times!) The time spent in Lake Vostok was by far, my favorite part of the entire book. Unfortunately, after the suspense and action, I found myself lost again. I personally had a really hard time with a lot of the language being used. I felt quite dumb really. And while I say I was lost – I don’t necessarily mean that in a negative way. I sort of understood what was happening, but it was jumpy. If you got lost on any point, it was hard to find your way back through. I am not sure if I would categorize this as science based beliefs or spiritual based beliefs or both, but I felt that I had a good understanding of what was happening. All in all, if you can get passed the scientific terminology and the slowness of the beginning and about three quarters of the way through – it was a good read. It wasn’t a book necessary in my ‘niche’ but it was a book that I kept telling hubby he would really like. It was a science-y nerdy type topic that I think would hold his attention a lot longer than mine.
dwatson More than 1 year ago
Antarctica is one of the coldest most desolate places on Earth. There isn’t much life there except penguins, seals and scientists looking into the origin of the planet. Under a thick sheet of ice lies Vostok, a 1000 mile deep lake heated by thermal vents and untouched for millions of years. When fossils are found suggesting that there was life in the lake, a team of scientists are recruited to explore its depths. One of the recruits is Marine biologist Zachary Wallace.  He is reluctant to leave his family for the six month mission but the idea of being the first to explore the lake and other circumstances lead him to Antarctica. Once there Zachary and his crew use a submersible armed with lasers to cut through the ice and look for life forms that were believed to be extinct. Vostok by Steve Alten is a hard book to review, the scope of this book is huge. When I started reading it I thought it was going to be a Michael Crichton type thriller about finding sea monsters. You do get that in this story but it goes even further by getting into the origin of the universe, ufo conspiracies, parallel dimensions and scientific explanations to back it all up. There is so much information in this book that you will probably get a headache when you read it. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it, but some of it went way over my head. I thought the first half of Vostok was excellent, in fact early on I was thinking it was one of the best books I’ve ever read. The scenes with the submersible going through the lake were everything I thought they would be. Steve Alten paints a vivid picture of life in a prehistoric world and all the creatures involved in it. He also manages to build a fair amount of suspense as the crew tries to escape from danger. I also loved the scientific explanations behind what we see in the book. The science behind the book is fascinating because even though some of it may seem far-fetched, Steve gives very detailed explanations how this could be true. This book covers UFOs, God’s existence and parallel dimensions. Everything is explained well, but the problem is that there is too much going on. I was into the exploration of the lake, I liked all the characters and then the half way point comes in the story and it goes in a completely different direction. Despite my problems with it I would still recommend Vostok. I loved the explanation of the origin of the universe and all the action in the story. I also love the character of Zachary Wallace. In particular I enjoyed the relationship between him and his wife Brandy. I liked how its shown that some of the choices that Zachary made had put a strain on their marriage, yet when they are faced with the prospect of being separated, you see that they still love each other despite their differences. When Zachary is in danger later in the book I loved how he regrets that he will be leaving his wife and son alone. I  felt that the author was showing a very realistic husband/wife relationship and it added a lot to the book. The positives far out weigh the negatives in this book and I think Science Fiction fans will enjoy Vostok.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I started reading this book excited to enjoy a new entry in The Loch and Meg series. The book starts out being interesting and then quickly becomes bogged down in pages of science that detracts from the storyline. The second half of the book turns into absolute mess by moving away from creature horror and going into aliens and existentialism. They have no place in this book. Entire chapters that make no sense and question humanity's creation ruin the book. The last third of the book is one of the most confusing and biggest waste of time I have ever read. The only reason I kept reading was to finish the book and see if Alten could salvage sit and redeem himself. He didn't. One of the worst endings I have ever read. Stick with giant sharks eating people Steve Alten. It's what your good at. Leave aliens, time travel, and existential questions to Stephen Hawking.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Disappointing. All over the playing field. If you feel you must read this book...get it from the library!
Sgt_Hulka More than 1 year ago
I'm a huge fan of Mr. Alten's Meg series and "The Loch", but this was a disappointment. It started out as a very promising sequel to "The Loch", but went in a completely different directing mid-way through. Hopefully he bounces back with the next Meg novel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Alten really dropped the bomb on me when he announced a follow-up to The Loch; I was both excited and somewhat anxious. However, I was happy Alten did not exacerbate the style and theme of the first book. After killing the Great Glen's star attraction, Zach's desperate need for a steady job certainly compelled me to continue reading. However, I think Alten overwrought the story. The discovery of other organisms once thought extinct is once again a focal point of the story. I understand Jonas and Zachary occupy the same story universe and share a relationship, but in my opinion, Alten is exhausting his readership by repeating story elements of his previous books. Even the quantum-physics/alien plot-twist wore on my nerves. It quantum-leaped (no pun intended) from an otherwise simple and entertaining story to an overly complex circus of time-travel and half-hearted character change. I can't fault Alten for exploring different subjects and possible scenarios for his stories, but I think I would have enjoyed the story more if he had approached the Antarctic venture slowly. Alten could write two other books just about the time-traveling and the Mars extinction elements. I like the direction he's taking this series, but I think Alten could present the story more gradually and with less twists and turns. Believe me, I never thought I would say this about Alten. He's a great story-teller, and he's great at working anticipation and suspense into his stories. He should slow up with this one, though. Zachary's life is undoubtedly an amazing one; it shouldn't be rushed in any one book. I recommend this book, but all readers should be cautious. It is very fast-paced and fit to burst with life-changing material.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love the science behind the story which we expect from Steve Alten . The best parts are in Antarctica &the Vostok and Steve Alten fans may loved that he brought beloved characters from the Loch and the Meg books. However bringing aliens into the plot may seem odd and confusing to others . Vostok is fast pace action and keeps you on your toes but in the middle of the plot you are wondering what is Steve Alten doing???
Klatuu More than 1 year ago
I actually couldn't finish reading this one. First 1/2 was fine. Then, to borrow a Hollywood term, the author jumped the shark and the story became unreadable. I like Alten's other books so this stinker can be excusef.
Deal_Sharing_Aunt More than 1 year ago
This book challenges the mind. It makes you think about time, and the idea of multiple universes. I am still thinking about how the author combined the different times and he did it well. There was no confusion, and I felt like I was floating through time. He also did a great job of traveling through universes.  It seemed possible because it was so easy to read along and I feel like It could be easy for me too. The history of Earth's formation is something that I will never know because I was not there. The author definitely offers an interesting possibility. Included the ice age and the extinction of species. The quotes at the beginning of each chapter were great! Especially because the author mentions "Alice in Wonderland" later on in the book. There are really great quotes in this book. Oprah Winfrey, Lewis Carroll and John Lennon are just a few quoted in this book. This story has so much more. There are great pictures (especially the ones of Antarctica), past lives and interesting communication. I even liked the Scottish accents! The ending made me rethink Earth as I know it, and I really wonder what surprises will be in book 3 (hopefully the author is already writing it!). This is also a crossover between two of the author's series. I am giving this book a 5/5. I was given a copy to review, however all opinions are my own.  
lauralovesreviewingLT More than 1 year ago
I loved Steve’s Meg series. Who wouldn’t love a prehistoric shark loose in today’s oceans. I’ve read the complete series and then moved on to The Loch. Another winner with a prehistoric creature lurking in Loch Ness. Steve has brought two amazing characters together from these books. Marine biologist Zachary Wallace and Dr. Jonas Taylor. Both of these men have drowned and come back from meetings with giant terrors of the deep seas. Neither ever thought they would enter primal waters again, but here they go. From the village of Drumnadrochit, Scotland, to America, and back to Scotland to battle and defeat the beast of Loch Ness, Zachary is now about to jump down the rabbit hole into the coldest place on earth. Antarctica. But not on the surface. H he’s going two and a half miles below the ice cap to an undersea lake called Vostok. No man has ever gone there before and Vostok has been undisturbed for over 15 million years. Here be monsters. Behemoths of unimaginable size and voracious appetite. Imagine it if you can. Lasers burn the way, forming a narrow tube for the sub to pass through the ice cap. You break through and fall, plunging into a vast undersea lake over a thousand feet deep. A beast rises, mouth gaping wide, teeth taller than you, so huge you can’t grasp it. When things go wrong, which they do, who do you call for help? How long will it take for them to get there, if they even can? And what if there is another reason for sending you down there? Something ancient, powerful, non terrestrial that you have to retrieve. Big brother has their sticky fingers in this expedition. They want what’s down there. No one knows what they are up to. You get it or die trying. Sounds like a conspiracy doesn’t it? The cast of characters is diverse and many. Some were old favorites and some were new to me. I crossed my fingers the good guys would survive, but you never know with Steve. He’s not above killing some off. And the bad guys. Some were just annoying, and some I’d drop through the tunnel myself. By the time I reached the third part of the book, I was feeling the terror, the frustration, the courage of these characters. And then the author took the story in yet another direction. I stumbled a bit. Partly because it was hard for me to grasp how it worked at first. And partly because I didn’t want it to go in that direction. I was dragged kicking and screaming away from my beasts. I went with it though, and soon was engrossed and into it. Vostok is the crossover book that brings The Loch and The Meg series together for the upcoming release of Meg 5: Nightstalkers. The title alone has me imaging all types of monsters. I follow Steve’s newsletter and have been waiting years for his Meg book to be made into a movie. It will be coming soon and I’m sure it will be a huge hit. From there, maybe we’ll be meeting these beasties on the big screen. Thanks so much to Steve Alten and Rebel Press for gifting me a Limited Edition Hardcover copy for my honest review. What a strange, terrifying, spectacular ride it’s been from the first Meg book to Vostok and beyond!
PureJonel More than 1 year ago
This novel is packed full of adventure, suspense and unforgettable discoveries that will all leave you breathless.  Alten’s descriptions and narrative easily transport readers to the most hostile terrain on earth.  The scientific bent of this novel was so interesting.  I can’t stop thinking about the possibilities.  The technical nitty gritty of the story made it oh-so-real.  I was so caught up in the story that I was repeatedly late for things because I lost track of time. The main character of the novel tells his story in a very stratingforward and personal way, allowing you to feel like you’re talking with him.  I absolutely loved the way that we get to know him.  Alten takes us in to the various choices his main character can make and the outcomes.  Learning about him via his discoveries and approaches to puts everything into perspective.  Those that he surrounds himself with also add to this.  The supporting cast definitely fills out their respective roles in the novel well.  Alten develops each for a certain purpose, without leaving readers feel like there’s nothing more to the characters.  Nationalities and personalities are all well developed.  The dialogue and accents were spot on, truly enhancing the story.   This is one of those novels that I can’t sum up in a few paragraphs.  It’s an unforgettable novel that is a must read for one and all.  And to answer a couple of other questions about it:  Can you read this novel without having read its prequel, THE LOCH?  Definitely.  This easily reads as a standalone.  Will I be going back and reading it anyways (along with the tie in to Alten’s MEG series)?  Hell yes! Please note that I received a complimentary copy of this work in exchange for an honest review.
JBronder More than 1 year ago
Zachary Wallace is on the down hill slide from his fame at killing the Loch Ness monster. Tourism has ended and many are starving. Things are not any better at home either. Brandy, Zach’s wife, is trying to get him to go along with his fathers plan to start a rumor about another monster. She also wants Zach to go along with his father’s idea of starting a rumor about another monster. This leads to things getting tense between the two. Then Dr. Liao has an offer that he can’t refuse. Ming Liao works on Antarctica and they have just discovered a Mesozoic crocodile. Since Zach is a marine biologist they recruit them to go under the ice to Lake Vostok to figure out what is going on, if these creatures are alive or if they were just frozen. But when they get there they realize that this is just a cover. There is something causing a mysterious magnetic interference. Zach is told to help figure out what is causing it. But there are some powerful people that want this technology and will go to any length to keep it secret. The story starts with Zach trying to keep everything from going off the deep end but it just seems he is not going to be able to change the path. When Dr. Liao offers him the job he tried to do the right thing but gets sucked in with the help of his father. Once there he forgets about everything outside of Antarctica. I loved the descriptions and I couldn’t put the book down for long. I just wanted to know what happened next. Then the book goes into part two. I have to say that I didn’t catch on to the change of scenery right away and was very confused. I also was not that impressed by the initial jump. It does work its way around to the point and purpose of this diversion but I almost put the book up. I cheated and looked at other reviews and saw that someone said that then ending is great and to keep reading. I will agree with that. Vostok started out great, didn’t impress me, and then finished well. I haven’t read Loch or other books by Steve Alten and now I want to after reading Vostok. I received this book for free from Laura at iRead Book Tours for review.
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Klynn913 More than 1 year ago
i was beyond excited to read this book ! I really started to love it until i started reading the alien part with the quantum physics and i felt it was just alot of filler . I love books about sea monsters and animals thought to be exctinct and adore the Meg Series . I have a few chapters left I hope this turns around.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had a very hard time understanding the plot, as well as there was no one being attacked by monster fish.  As far as this book is concerned, I find it hard to consider this as a precursor to his next shark book 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I stopped reading it half way thru, feel like I should ask for a refund.
jmac2 More than 1 year ago
I have been waiting for this book for what feels like forever. well worth the wait. awesome book. this is why Steve Alten is my favorite author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved all of Steve alten's book but this one was not one of his best and one you think it is near the middle changes the subject of this monster book entirely he added dimensions,quantum physics,aliens,UFO'S,other planets,and portals. Besides the looks of it its a monster movie until the middle and near the end Jonas Taylor and Zachary Walllace find the same liopleurodon in Meg:hells aquarium and at the end of the that chaper David,Jonas taylors son dies and a bit after a couple chapters Jonas Taylor dies and near the end Zachary wallace does something and brings all those people who died back to life and sry if i spoiled it.and David and Jonas taylors deaths were to tragic for me i fealt heartbroken and sad.