Review: “Abduction” by Robin Cook

Perry Bergman has bet his fortune and his company on a risky venture. When Dr. Suzanne Newell, a geophysical oceanographer, accidentally discovers a seamount on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, her studies reveal a magma chamber with surprisingly thin walls. Earth’s liquid core could be within four hundred feet of the ocean floor. Perry dispatches his ship, the Benthic Explorer to drill into the mount and determine what lies beneath it. Bergman’s team struggles to penetrate the hard shell of the chamber, breaking drill bits and shattering the project’s budget.

Perry arrives on the Benthic Explorer as another drill fails. Richard Adams and Michael Donaghue are the company divers tasked with changing out the broken bit. Perry is deathly afraid of submarines and reluctantly joins Dr. Newell and her pilot Donald Fuller in the Oceanus, a submersible which is carrying tools for the repair. They descend to the well head in advance of the divers. Suzanne and Donald take Perry on a tour of the seamount, showing him dramatic undersea columns, which resemble the Giant’s Causeway on the northern coast of Ireland. They approach a transverse fault that penetrates the seamount and are startled when they find it isn’t a fault at all. It is a large rectangular shaft that is so deep their sonar can’t find its bottom. As Donald pilots the Oceanus into the shaft, unknown forces suck them down beneath the sea floor. Perry is certain they’re lives are over. This is where Robin Cook’s delicious science fiction tale begins.

Perry Bergman and his associates are mysteriously reunited with the two divers. The five characters are now adventurers, exploring Interterra, a world beyond their comprehension. All is not as it appears. They learn of an ancient age when humanity was faced with annihilation and are astonished by the steps taken by an advanced civilization to ensure survival. It becomes unclear whether they will ever return. They have been abducted.

“Abduction” is reminiscent of Jules Verne’s classic, “A Journey to the Center of the Earth,” but offers the reader much more. It is a novel filled with cutting-edge science and a haunting vision of a society born of the fantastic application of hyper-advanced genetic engineering. Perry Bergman and his associates must choose between the utopia of Interterra and the lives they’ve left behind on the ocean’s surface. Cook bends our minds in the final pages, leaving us thoroughly entertained and breathless as we emerge from his imaginative tale. The implications are startling. The vision of our inhumanity is troubling. And the story’s afterglow is enlightening.

Moore later…

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