Matthew Reilly, Author . St. Martin's/Dunne $24.95 (336p) ISBN 978-0-312-28625-5

ETs with a mordant sense of drama turn the New York Public Library into "the labyrinth" for an interstellar survival game show in this ungainly thriller from Australian Reilly (Ice Station). Seven players, each from a different world, compete for their lives, combating not only each other but also a monster called the Karanodon. The earthly representative is Dr. Steven Swain, chosen for his courage in successfully fighting off a gang of thugs who invade his operating room. Unfortunately, Swain happens to be holding Holly, his plucky little daughter, at the moment he's transported into the labyrinth, so she goes with him. The most devilish trick the "sponsors" provide is an unremovable digital bracelet, whose face shows how many opponents remain, and will commence a deadly 15-minute countdown should its wearer manage to escape the library's electrified confines. Derivative of Michael Crichton's techno-thrillers as well as Stephen King/Richard Bachman's The Running Man, the book offers constant, nail-biting action, but not a lot of reverence for one of New York City's greatest public institutions. (Mar. 10)

Forecast:As the author admits in a note, this was his first novel, originally self-published in Australia. It should sell well to established fans who won't mind being disappointed to discover it's not up to the standard of Reilly's later work.

Reviewed on: 02/24/2003
Release date: 03/01/2003
Genre: Fiction
Mass Market Paperbound - 424 pages - 978-0-312-99004-6
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