It begins deep beneath the Pacific Ocean, where a nuclear bomb strikes at the fiery hot heart of the earth. Churning, spewing boiling lava, a volcano rises with unnatural speed from the ocean floor -- the source of a new mineral that promises clean, limitless nuclear power.
It continues in hot spots around the globe: Hawaii, where a secessionist movement is about to turn violent and the American army may be asked to fire on U.S. citizens; Washington, D.C., where the subway system becomes the site of a running gun battle; the Far East, where disrupted diplomatic negotiations jeopardize world peace; a rogue Russian submarine, circling the infant volcano.
Caught in the middle is Philip Mercer, a geologist and a one-time commando with shady contacts in all the right (or is it wrong?) places. When Mercer learns that the daughter of an old friend is being kept under armed guard in a local hospital, he vows to rescue her, not knowing that this is the first step in unraveling the fantastic secrets of Vulcan's Forge.
A nifty evil-scientist gimmick jump-starts Du Brul's thriller debut. In the 1950s, a Soviet nuclear blast creates a baby volcano in the South Pacific seabed that will take 40 years to rise to the surface. The blast also forges a new metal potentially worth billions. Fifty years later, rogue KGB agent Ivan Kerikov secretly sends a submarine to guard the emerging islandwhile he gets rich in a shady Korean deal. After the sub sinks a research ship, geologist (and ex-CIA commando) Philip Mercer races to protect lone survivor Dr. Tish Talbot, now in a D.C. hospital. Foiling an attack, he spirits Talbot to his home, strewing the streets and Washington subway with bodies. Talbot's maritime contacts lead Mercer to a KGB shipping front in New York, where more bodies pile up. Meanwhile, Takahiro Ohnishi, an agent planted in Hawaii during the Soviet era, is fomenting riots among Hawaiians demanding to secede from the U.S. (this was Soviet Plan B, in case the volcano rose in Hawaiian territory). Can Mercer stop them? Du Brul's well-calculated debts to Fleming, Cussler, Easterman and Lustbader, his technological, political and ecological research and his natural gift for storytelling bode well for a more seasoned sequel. (Mar.)
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December 05, 2005
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