Thunder of Erebus

Payne Harrison, Author, Jim Wade, Editor Crown Publishers $22 (496p) ISBN 978-0-517-58405-7
In the near-future of this techno-thriller, American scientists have developed a new superweapon. The ``graser,'' or ground laser, provides the destruction of a nuclear blast without the fallout. But the graser requires a rare element, and the only sizable deposit is in Antarctica. Trouble begins when a reorganized Soviet Confederation sends an elite strike force, including the supercarrier Tbilisi , to the South Pole. The U.S. seems on the verge of a low-cost, high-tech victory when Soviet cruise-missile torpedoes drastically change the balance of forces and Mount Erebus, a long-dormant Antarctic volcano, comes to life. Harrison ( Storming Intrepid ) supplies a plausible motive for renewed Soviet-American conflict. His technologies are convincingly extrapolated from existing weapons systems. And Harrison effectively marshalls a large cast of characters, among them Dana Harrow, the female geologist who discovers Erebus's secret; and Marine general Myron Tharp and Navy pilot Blackjack Pershing, both interesting variations on familiar stereotypes. Yet Thunder of Erebus succeeds above all as an action novel. Harrison's depiction of clandestine operations under Antarctic conditions and his narrations of the U.S. air attack on the Tbilisi and the Russian undersea riposte are masterpieces of combat fiction. No fan of the genre can afford to overlook this bombshell. 100,000 first printing; $100,000 ad/promo; Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club selections; author tour. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/29/1991
Release date: 05/01/1991

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