When Lincoln Miller, an ex-Navy Seal and now an NCIS agent, is sent on a cush assignment in an underwater research facility just off the coast of Key Largo, he’s a little annoyed. He’s a man of action, after all, and sitting around all day in the submerged lab is as far from “action” as anyone could possibly get. Of course, that’s exactly what his superiors at the NCIS are hoping for…give their best agent some much needed R&R before he burns out. And after about a week of relaxing within the cramped confines of the lab and regular scuba excursions into the crystalline waters off Florida’s coast, Miller is starting to think his bosses might have had a good idea after all.
That is, until he looks out one of the facility’s portholes to see a wave of dead fish and a swath of strange red flakes sinking to the bottom of the ocean. Quickly donning his scuba gear, Miller leaves the safety of the lab to investigate. The carnage he beholds to the sea life around him leads him to venture to the surface where the entire world seems to be awash with tiny red flakes falling from the sky. Stunned, if not a little amazed by what he’s seeing, Miller takes out his scuba’s regulator to soak in the strange meteorological tableau…only to realize he’s unable to breathe!
And from that point on, Jeremy Robinson’s SECONDWORLD really kicks into high gear and quite honestly doesn’t stop until the last page. Yeah, yeah…I know. Everyone ALWAYS says that, right? It’s about as cliche’ as it gets whenever you see book blurbs and reviews. “The new thriller by suchandsuch is a high octane thrill ride that won’t let up ’til the final page.” That’s what they always say and nine times out of ten, I question if they’re being sincere. So in my case, let me assure you: I’ve never been more sincere. Some spoiler-free examples to prove I’m right? Well, from the moment the protagonist realizes the oxygen has been completely depleted from the air, he’s almost crushed by a dying whale, devoured by a frenzied tiger shark, and drowned ABOVE the surface of the ocean…all before he even gets to Miami where he is hunted by a gang of respirator-wearing neo-Nazis who claim responsibility for depleting the oxygen from the atmosphere of three major cities around the world (with plans for an escalated encore seven days later). Um, yeah…that all happens within the first few chapters. So imagine what the rest of the book is like.
“Wait a minute,” you might be saying. “Nazis in the 21st century? Sucking the oxygen from the atmosphere? That sounds awfully far-fetched.”
My response to you is two-fold. First, I say, “Duh! It’s fiction. A action-packed thriller. Adventure at its finest. Escapism at its best. So what’s wrong with a little far-fetchedness, right?” However, that also leads me to the second thing I’d say, which is: “But relax…it’s actually not as far-fetched as you might think.” Robinson has done a masterful job of scientifically explaining a very plausible way that these Nazis have succeeded in doing just that. At least, it made a lot of sense to me. As a matter of fact, there were a few places in the book I kept asking myself what was real science and what was from the dark corners of Robinson’s mind. It really was difficult to tell.
And here’s something you don’t hear every day in a review…many of the characters were VERY likable (even SOME of the bad guys). You actually cared about them. When you closed the book up before bed, you wondered how they were doing the moment you woke up. Two characters stand out as perfect examples of this: a young girl who was severely burned just prior to the disaster in Miami who Miller saves in an abandoned hospital. She becomes, for Miller, the focal point of everything. She becomes the reason he does what he does and why he risks so much. In many ways, she is the driving force behind the whole adventure. And unlike a lot of children depictions in fiction, this one was not only very real…but extremely likable. Not annoying at all.
But I’ll be honest. The character that stands out above all others in SecondWorld is Vesely, otherwise known as “Cowboy”. Cowboy is a riot! He’s eastern European who is fascinated with American westerns. “I’m gunslinger,” he often says after taking out a handful of Nazis with pinpoint accuracy. But Vesely is also a Class A conspiracy nut…a conspiracy nut, however, who knows more about what the Nazis are up to than anyone else on the planet. To be honest, Robinson could write an entire series just around the Cowboy character, in my opinion.
So it seems that this review is all butterflies and rainbows. Was there nothing negative about it? Honestly, not much. I’m really having to dig into my memory as I write this to come up with something and the only thing I can think of is that there were a few scenes where I thought Miller and his friends were EXTREMELY lucky that the author was on their side. You know what I mean? There were a few times (and ONLY a few times) where a guard looked left when they should have looked right, etc. But as an adventure author myself, I know that sometimes, a little serendipity is necessary, if not unavoidable. Furthermore, those instances were so few and far between that, like I said, I really really had to think about it just to come up with at least one negative.
No. I’ve always been a huge Jeremy Robinson fan…ever since reading KRONOS. But I honestly have to say that SECONDWORLD is probably my favorite of all his books. Excellent job, Mr. Robinson. Excellent job. Keep knocking ’em out of the park like that and you’ll continue to go to amazing new heights.
Definitely give this book five out of five stars without any reservations at all.
So, what are you doing still staring at this page? Go pick up a copy of it already. Sheesh! Do I have to do everything around here? Haha! Seriously, here’s the link to SECONDWORLD on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/SecondWorld-Jeremy-Robinson/dp/0312617860/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1339627702&sr=8-1
FYI, I listened to the audiobook narrated by Phil Gigante and can’t tell you how impressed I was with his reading. He did a fantastic job and really brought the characters to life with his different voices and accents. If you enjoy audiobooks, you’ll definitely enjoy his performance (and I definitely don’t say that about all narrators…I’m pretty particular).