Blood and Ice by Robert Masello

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Blood and Ice by Robert Masello

Category: Horror
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Melony Sanders
Reviewed by Melony Sanders
Summary: An adventure/horror story set in Antarctica.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 512 Date: July 2010
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 978-0099523871

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Journalist Michael Wilde cannot pass the opportunity of spending some time at a research station in Antarctica. His girlfriend is in what could be a permanent coma following a trip that they both made together and he needs to get away. Expecting to see some amazing sights, he is not disappointed. What he was not expecting, however, was to find a block of ice during a diving expedition in which the bodies of a man a woman, perfectly preserved, were chained together. By their side were several bottles of what appeared to be wine. However, once the bodies are brought to the surface and defrost, strange things start to happen and before long, everyone at the research station is fighting for their lives. Will Michael ever manage to return home safely?

This is an extraordinary story that I really wasn't expecting. It starts off as what seems like a very ordinary adventure story. Michael Wilde is an adrenaline junkie and is always on one trip or another in search of an exciting story. There is, however, a suggestion from early on that the story will eventually take another turn, because interspersed with Michael's story is the love story of two people, soldier Sinclair and nurse Eleanor during the Crimean War. About a third of the way through, the two stories begin to merge in a way that is very surprising, even if you have read the back cover and the action then begins to really start.

Michael Wilde is not the most exciting fictional character I have ever come across - but then it is more about what he does than who he is. It is easy for the reader to feel sympathy for him, because we discover that his girlfriend is lying unconscious in a hospital bed and is unlikely to ever recover. Even worse, Michael was with her when she had her accident and cannot help blaming himself for what happened. This edge gives the first part of the book a little more oomph - without it, it probaby would have been a little boring and some readers may not even have reached the most exciting parts of the book.

With the exception of Sinclair and Eleanor, the other characters are, like Michael, there because the story couldn't have happened without them. Sinclair and Eleanor's characters do have a little more depth to them, although Sinclair in particular does not come across well - he's rich, selfish and impulsive. Eleanor, on the other hand, is a much more sympathetic character and this does help to give the story as a whole a little more meaning, if only because the reader wants to know what is going to happen to her, as well as how she came to find herself in this predicament. The author does a good job of keeping the reader guessing by hinting at things and then moving on.

I am not familar with Robert Masello, who is apparently an American award-winning journalist, television writer and novelist. However, there is no doubt that he has put a great deal of effort into compiling this novel. The scenes in Antartica in particular are extremely well-described, so that it is easy to visualise the barren, perishing landscape. Yet, the novel never becomes a travel guide - it is very much a story and a well-told and well-written one at that. At 500 pages, it is a long book and one that could easily have been boring, but there simply isn't time for it to become dull.

The only criticism is perhaps that it isn't immediately obvious what genre of book this is - even after having read and digested it. It looks a little like it is going to be a vampire story, and there is a little of that involved. However, it is largely an adventure/horror/fantasy story and some may find that it is a bit too fantastical for their liking. It's certainly not a book for people who like their fiction to be realistic - the ending is particularly hard to get to grips with. However, in some ways, this is a positive point, because it is impossible to guess exactly what is going to happen next.

This is an intriguing book that most people who like horror and fantasy will enjoy, particularly if they like an element of extreme adventure thrown in as well. It is full of surprises and the author certainly knows how to draw the reader in. There is a quote from The Times on the back cover that suggests the book is made for Hollywood, and without a doubt, it could make an excellent film. It has certainly piqued my interest enough to want to read more of this author's work - especially if it is in a similar vein. Recommended.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

Further reading suggestion: If you enjoy this type of fiction, you will also like The Naming of the Beasts by Mike Carey and Hideaway by Dean Koontz.

Buy Blood and Ice by Robert Masello at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Blood and Ice by Robert Masello at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Blood and Ice by Robert Masello at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Blood and Ice by Robert Masello at Amazon.com.


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