A few hundred years ago, Cascadia Island didn't even exist. Like the Washington seacoast, it was rock submerged beneath the Pacific. A massive earthquake changed that, exploding the rock upward, making it land -- unstable land, according to seismologist Dr. Doug Lam.
Lam has spent years researching the Cascadia Subduction Zone. He published a theory that the unrelieved tectonic strain beneath the idyllic landscape of Cascadia Island could be triggered with modern construction processes -- with catastrophic results. The paper was disregarded, even ridiculed, by his peers and by megawealthy developer Mick Walker, who stands to earn millions from the construction of a luxury resort on Cascadia. The elegant casino, hotel, and convention center will reap millions for him even if the tiny island only lasts for a short time...
When a series of earthquakes begins to shake the Northwest Corridor, Doug's worst fears are confirmed. In an attempt to convince Walker to evacuate Cascadia immediately, Doug hurries to join guests arriving for the resort's grand opening. As the tremors wreak havoc across the Northwest coastal area, the military is left with too few resources to assist the people on Cascadia. Convinced that the island will be in ruins within hours, Doug reluctantly calls upon his girlfriend, Jennifer Lindstrom, president of Nightingale Aviation -- a major medical transport helicopter company -- for help.
With snow falling, visibility dropping, and winds increasing, Doug embarks on an impossible mission with Jennifer and Nightingale's helicopters to evacuate over three hundred people, while smaller earthquakes continue to herald the approach of a catastrophic tsunami.
John J. Nance hurtles readers along a nail-biting quest to rescue hundreds of stranded vacationers and resort staff. Meticulously researched, and with the signature authenticity only a veteran pilot could provide, Saving Cascadia is a hair-raising thriller of awesome magnitude.
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Simon & Schuster
March 02, 2005
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Excerpt from Saving Cascadia by John J. Nance
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA THURSDAY EVENING, NOVEMBER 24th
Twice now on the way back from dinner Diane Lacombe had aborted the process of lighting a stale cigarette. She'd been dredging them from the depths of her purse ýher emergency stash buried just in case she had to fall off the wagon some night ýbut once again she tossed the unlit cigarette into a street-corner trash can, pushing back her mane of auburn hair with an unsteady hand. Relaxing right now was an apparently useless quest, and the need to rummage for yet another cigarette was rising.
She calculated the number of blocks back to her Mission District apartment and dug in her purse for an emergency package of chewing gum instead. Too much agony with nicotine patches to blow it all now.
The Tonga Room had been fun, and all the more so since it was one of her dad's favorites, set amid the elegance of the grand old Fairmont Hotel. Some of her best childhood memories centered around lush, elegant dinners with her parents, the princess daughter scrubbed and dressed up and feminine, demonstrating impeccable manners and basking in family privilege and tradition. But this evening's visit to that world had felt like a hologram. She could see it, but she couldn't actually touch the old warmth of those moments, though nothing in the hotel had changed. Since she'd left for college, the childhood years were now only glimpsed through a murky lens, as if they belonged to someone else. It was an awful feeling she was determined to change.
A neighborhood tavern she'd frequented over the years was just ahead and she decided to duck in for their usually pathetic attempt at an espresso. She took the tiny cup to a dark corner like an addict, placing her laptop case by her feet where she could keep an eye on it.
Not for the first time she felt around in her coat pocket for the reassuring shape of the CD that she'd intended to hand to her father at dinner. Just the thought of committing that act was the source of her jangled nerves. It might as well have been a small nuclear device, she thought. It would have killed him just as surely. What had she been thinking?