DEEP FIRE RISING
Combining his extensive knowledge of geology, mining and technology with relentless action sequences and exotic locales, Du Brul's latest (after River of Ruin ) is 496 pages of nonstop, over-the-top adventure. Protagonist Dr. Philip Mercer, a wealthy geologist, "sometime" consultant and field agent for the times "when the worlds of science and terror collide," is charged with overseeing the installation of a temporary nuclear waste holding tank at Nevada's infamous Area 51. But after Mercer is nearly killed by assassins while on a Vegas furlough and then inexplicably saved by the stunningly beautiful Tisa Nguyen, he learns of a secret group called the Order. Headquartered in a Tibetan monastery, the Order can supposedly predict disastrous world events using an ancient machine, but a faction of the Order with sinister plans for world domination now jeopardizes the planet's survival. As Mercer barely escapes each near-death situation, well-drawn secondary characters—like his one-legged, hard-drinking 80-year-old best friend, Harry—help ground this adrenaline-drenched tale. Though not as suave as James Bond or as scrappy as Indiana Jones, smart, resilient Mercer is a savvy adventure hero for the new millennium. (Dec. )
Forecast: Browsers will gravitate to the book's fiery red and orange cover, which sports praise from Clive Cussler.