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Keith Turnbull and Ken Hames
ARRSE Rating
3.5 Mushroom Heads
The book opens with a simplified, single page biography for each of the authors. The first is Ken Hames and the description is very brief regarding his childhood but more forthcoming concerning his military life and achievements therein. Where Keith Turnbull is concerned, although he has always been a civilian initially gaining a Master’s degree in Politics, his career has seen him closely associated with the military. Somewhat similar in what they have achieved, this gives an inkling as to what type of book they have written.

The preface to the book is really a prologue and introduces Tom Selkirk in a sort of flashback to 2012 where Selkirk and a comrade, both members of a branch of the Special Boat Service, are in an extremely serious situation during an operation which has gone badly wrong. It seems they have been sent on an operation which neither could expect to return from but for Selkirk there is salvation in the form of being found by local hunters.

The book proper then moves to the present day on a sub Antarctic island called Bouvet Island, some five miles across and highest point of about 2000 feet, which is said to be the most remote island in the world. In this small outpost, Isabelle Braving and her research colleague, Jack Betters, are spending three months carrying out research for their employers Star Frontiers Global. However, things do not go quite as planned with Jack pressing buttons on a black box he discovered on the beach. Also, unbeknown to them, a group formed within what used to be the USSR has detonated a nuclear device in the sea floor relatively nearby and a tsunami effect causes them to launch their emergency pod which would transmit a beacon signal until they were rescued. The little black box also emits a signal which causes more than one organisation to start taking action and Selkirk is enticed from his self imposed hideaway in Scotland to suddenly become the accomplished leader of a team of a British naval special forces experts. Life is made more difficult when the admiral who commands his team finds there are traitors in high places who would disrupt the efforts of the team. This, coupled with an email sent earlier by Isabelle causes a murder and attempts to kidnap her brother Nathen in England, as well as a firefight which ensues while opposing forces attempt to rescue Isabelle.

In the meantime, Nathen and Isabelle’s father Spencer is leading a diving team in a minisub to search for proof of the natural destruction of the Minoan world thousands of years ago. When they do gain access to an entrance taking them below the seabed they are surprised to find that someone else has already entered this subterranean world and involving Spencer’s team in an unintended confrontation with those Selkirk is battling against.

Isabelle and Nathen prove to be helpful to Selkirk in following up on information which leads him and his team into batle more than once against these potential terrorists in Gibraltar, Santorini and Venice, eventually discovering and eliminating a plot which could affect the whole world.

The book provides many thrills as it moves at a fairly fast pace, jumping from area to area but it is a bit annoying when some characters are suddenly introduced and involved with no real indication of who they are until further on. Although the plot is currently a feasible one some of the descriptions and abilities seem a bit far fetched and almost the sort of thing to be found in comics.

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