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I'm on a self imposed quest at the moment to complete my Dean Koontz collection, but my "rules" insist I only source the books from either charity shops or car-boot sales. Here's a review about another charity shop lucky find - Icebound. (The charity shop in question by the way is Barnados in Plymouth - they do four books for 99p, amazing value). The book was originally called Prison of Ice and was first released under a pseudonym (David Axton) in the 70s, and this version was touched up by Koontz and released in 1995. It's still in print today.
A group of scientists are stranded on an iceberg in the Arctic Ocean after an undersea earthquake dislodged their chunk of ice. The problem is though, the section of berg they're floating on has had 50 holes drilled it - each one full of explosives and timed to explode in 12 hours. They'd planted the explosives deliberately - as part of an experiment to see if an iceberg could be towed to warmer climes and turned into water for irrigating crops in drought stricken areas. I would have loved to have seen the risk assessment for that - bet they hadn't factored in for an undersea quake to leave them sitting on a ticking time bomb.
As they struggle to survive and somehow remove as many explosives from the ice as they can, to make things worse there is a member of the group who is trying to kill at least one of the other members.
A twist of fate sees a Russian spy submarine break its cover and offer assistance with rescuing the team - but it's not going to be easy in the middle of a storm and with no accessible landing points on the berg. It's a suspense / thriller with a few icy twists along the way.
Koontz typically writes books with a few of different types of plots - they are either supernatural crime chillers, or supernatural conspiracies, and then there's the left of field like the "Odd" series and his "Frankenstein" books, but these still have elements of the classic Koontz style. This book is hard to fit into any of those categories and at one point part way through the book, I had to look at the spine to check that his name really was on the book.
I would compare this book to some of Matthew Reilly's adventure / suspense novels for it's style and type of plot. There's also an element of lingering paranoia about 'zose Russians who turn up and it was easy to tell that the book had first been written during the cold war and then re-touched a few short years after the fall of the wall. It was interesting to note the attitude towards the Russians in his writing - very much a sign of the times and a reflection of the fear most westerners had about the nuclear stalemate situation with our new allies back then.
Koontz has been on record as saying that this book was a homage to people like Clancy, and to books like Ice Station Zebra. I think he'd chose his words very carefully there - I agree that it's a homage to but in no way can be held as an equal to those sort of books. If you want to read the best of the books in this style, read Maclean.
With regret, I have to say that this book was average at best. As a big Koontz fan, I only finished it out of loyalty and to satisfy my OCD tendencies when it comes to reading all of the books from an author that I like. I would only recommend it to Koontz obsessives, those that, like me have to acquire all of his books. On a more positive note, I don't consider the book as an entire waste of five hours of my life so will revise my initial thoughts about a star rating and award the book 2 stars.
If you come across this book and have never read a Koontz novel before, please don't judge him too harshly and think that all of his books are like this. If that were the case, you would probably not want to read any of his other work. Let me recommend that you make a decent brew, go to bed earlier one night and instead read Intensity or The Watchers, both by Koontz. You won't regret it. But you might regret reading Icebound.
RRP £7.99 - although it's available brand new on Amazon for £5.99
A frozen wasteland, a group of scientists, a psychopath and a lot of explosives ? could these be a recipe for excitement and tension? THE PLOT A group of scientists are working in the Arctic laying explosives, which will detonate at midnight and break off one section of the icy plateau. Unfortunately they are hit by a subterranean tidal wave, which breaks off the edge of the ice and sets the scientists adrift on an iceberg, together with the explosives, which have started their countdown to detonation. As if this was not enough to give the team something to occupy their minds, they discover that there is a psychopath in their midst, who is hell bent on murder. A nearby Russian surveillance submarine tries to make a daring rescue, but can they do it before midnight and before the scientists are murdered by one of their own? CHARACTERISATION The plot does sound exciting and you would have thought that the pages would be packed with suspense and tension. However, I felt no real affinity with the characters and, as a result, I didn?t really care what happened to them and, therefore, no suspense! This is one of Koontz?s shorter novels and this combined with the fact that there are approximately seven major characters may have lead to the lack of in depth character analysis. Whatever the reason, at the end of the day I did not empathise with our heroes and really wasn?t particularly bothered whether they were blown to bits or ended up with an ice pick in the back of their heads. I was not enamoured with even those characters that Koontz made a special effort with. One scientist named Rita suffers from a terrible ice phobia, which only begs the question why does she chose to work in the Arctic? We are supposed to believe that she is a strong woman determined to prove to herself that she can overcome her fear. That may be the case but that doesn?t mean that she has to surround herself with nothi
ng but ice and snow for months of the year! Surely not shrieking at the site of a glass of whisky on the rocks would have been a start. WHAT A TEASE Koontz uses a technique designed to have the reader sitting on the edge of their seat, desperate to know further information. He frequently starts to tell a story from a character?s past, as they begin to drift off into reminiscence. Then their sentence is ended with several dots as they are interrupted and mentally brought back to the present. What he is trying to do is so obvious and unsubtle. I felt like shouting, ?I don?t CARE ? just get on with the story!? Such a blatant tactic only resulted in antagonising me and did not make me more interested in the characters. COUNTDOWN The last few chapters of the book should obviously be the most exciting. The scientists are making a desperate attempt to reach the submarine before the explosives go off. Koontz tells us the time to explosion at the start of every chapter and these reminders of the time become more and more frequent as we approach zero hour. However, even this nail-biting crescendo is ruined as Koontz chooses this moment to enlighten us as to those earlier interrupted reminiscences of the characters. Surely this isn?t the moment? Had we been told earlier in the novel we might have been better equipped to empathise with the characters but at this stage in the game all that was achieved was that the pace and momentum of the story was broken and the tension released. MURDEROUS INTENT Being set in such a desolate icy landscape the fact that a psychopath is in your midst should result in heightened fear as there is nowhere to run, no sign of help and you are dependent upon each other for survival. Once again Koontz misses an opportunity. While he is good at emphasising the fatal capabilities of the cold and ice, he does not detail the cold fearful isolation of the landscape
and what should have been an intensely claustrophobic and terrifying atmosphere fell far short of this. The fact that there was a killer on the loose seemed of little significance and seemed to be more of a problem that would be looked at later, rather than another impending threat that was making an already hazardous situation worse. DUSTBIN BOUND The book was an easy read. However, there was so little characterisation that I felt little urge to pick up the book, as I was not interested enough to find out what was going to happen next. With such a promising premise Koontz could surely have produced a better quality, more exciting and highly charged novel than this. OTHER INFO Publisher: Bantam Books, Broadway, New York Price: £5.99 ISBN: 0-553-58290-9
I read this book a few years ago when I had more time to read. I decided to re-read it last week and was pleasantly surprised to find it was still as gripping as the first time. Icebound is set on an Arctic iceberg. Eight scientists who have put forward the theory that icebergs could be floated out to sea and then dragged to where fresh water is desperately needed, are there to help prove their theory. Their mission is to free a large iceberg from the icecap and let it float south using the oceans currents. Having just finished placing the last of 60 charges to help separate the iceberg, they find themselves adrift on a larger iceberg, freed from the main icecap by underwater tremors. Now with only 12 hours to go before the charges go off they have no way of getting to safety before their berg is blown apart. To make matters worse the worst storm of the decade has hit and any thought of air or sea rescue is impossible. Can things get any worse? - the answer to that is yes, becasue someone on the team is a murderer! However, monitoring all this activity is a Russian submarine. Will the Russian captain decide to help these capitalist scientists? If he does will he be able to help before the midnight deadline? The book is an easy read with non of the sometimes over technical details found in a Tom Clancy novel. Koontz admits that he was trying to emulate the books of Alistair MacLean - and I think he has done quite well. Not your usual Koontz novel - the characters are shallow and the action is fast paced - but well worth a read.
Icebound is one of Koontz older books, which he has re touched and released to cash in on his current mega bucks writer status. Its still a nice short exciting thriller with thick chunky white sheets and short chapters in the hard back, making for a swift enjoyable read. Its set over twelve hours on the most baron of icy landscapes at the pole, and such is its pace that you could easily read the 380 pages in that period. A group of scientists from various disciplines in environmental and the Eco fields are gathered in this unforesaken land to blast away a chunk of ice, to tow off to warmer climes. As they return from a temporary camp where they are planting five of fifty explosive charges,a series of seismic vibrations rumble and creak through the merciless landscape.Its time that the team made a move and got back to base sharpish. Back at base camp. Gunvald Larsson is monitoring these quakes with increasing alarm as a worse case scenario is quickly vectored in. A big shudder and movement of ice sends the team flying as a 5.4 reeks havoc on the ice sheet, as the two munitions team return to a wrecked temporary camp. But something’s wrong with the compass on the skidoo and they are no longer facing the way they were. The ice is moving and they are adrift with no way off, and the clock and bombs are ticking. With the weather closing in and the body temperature dropping, they have to stay alive and warm until someone or thing can rescue them. The trawlers are two far away being bounced around by 40ft waves and the helicopters cant get off the pad. And to throw more terror into the pot, the bombs can’t be diffused and are about to blow the iceberg into lots of big and little pieces of glittering shards of death. But the situation deteriates more when one of the more famous adventurers on the ice is almost murdered when heads were turned. Being the son of a famous American Docgherty preside
ntial family (basically the Kennedy’s) he makes for quite a reputable target for anyone who bares a grudge. As word spreads between the group of the murder. A crackling of static comes through on the radio, and they are not locals. It seems a highly covert sophisticated Russian sub is in the area, and they are the only chance of getting our intrepid scientist of the ice. Captain Golov of the Russian navy is the only man who can save these international scientist, and is about to risk the roth of his country by rescuing the team, with or with out the permission of the powers that be. The Russian is haunted by the death of his son through cancer and not being at his side through both their pain, as he wasn’t told as he was on a secret mission. Can the captain’s pain be eased through this redemption, or will the cold and peril of a demented killer claim our heroes before a way is found to escape their ice tomb. The clock is ticking……… Its crisp quick read with the Koontz signature all over it making for an enjoyable thriller and suspense packed story. If you know the guys work then you will love it.If not then it’s a great book to sample the authors style and pace.
On a mission in the Arctic, a team of scientists pack high explosives into the ice that will detonate automatically at midnight. When a tidal wave breaks the ice loose, the group are marooned with no way of stopping the bombs. And worse still, they discover that one of them is a ruthless killer.