Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Blood and Ice by Robert Masello
For most of the book, Blood and Ice, is two incredible stories, beginning 150 years ago with the harrowing events that transpired on the ship, Coventry, once it was blown far off course into the dangerous waters of the South Pole. Sinclair, an affable, idealistic young soldier, and his beloved, Eleanor, are chained together and thrown overboard into the freezing glacial waters. What crime did they commit that the crew thought they deserved such treatment?
Fast forward to present day, to Michael Wilde, journalist, an adrenaline junkie high on life until a terrible accident forces him to withdraw from life, an accident that has left the woman he loves unconscious in a hospitable bed, her prognosis grim. Michael's employer, after months, pushes him to take an assignment on how scientists work in the most extreme climate in the world, the South Pole.
The author does an excellent job of alternating between both stories with thrilling suspense until they collide, mixing science and folklore in an exciting way. I'm almost afraid to say the word....shhh, come closer...closer....vampire...because perhaps you might think I'm giving something away. But I'm not; it's on the back of the book (but strangely not in the classification for the Library of Congress) and told in a way you would not expect.
The magic is the unique story and how it brilliantly unfolds. Robert Masello is a wonderful storyteller. There's nothing cliche about his writing and it's not like any other vampire novel I've read before. His masterful descriptions made me feel like I was there along side each and every character, experiencing it all for myself, and isn't that why we read-to live vicariously through the characters? To feel the excitement and pride of the soldier eager to fight for his country? To feel the bone chilling bite of the arctic wind on our skin, or feel the claustrophobic dive in freezing arctic waters and seeing with our minds eye a glacier wall descend and disappear into the dark depths below?
There's a lot that's scary in this book: Arctic diving, living in the harshest environment in the world, the Crimean war and the conditions afterwards, and for those that love the paranormal, the vampire- still scary, even if you know it's coming.
As always, what makes me love a book, is the way an author makes me love the characters so much that I can't put the book down, the way they can turn a phrase making me shudder with fear or my eyes well up with heartfelt emotion. (I'm weird that way) It's awesome when that happens! This is a great story blending history, science and horror. I ~almost~ want a sequel. I can't help wondering what the characters are up to now.