cover image Zodiac Station

Zodiac Station

Tom Harper. Harper, $14.99 trade paper (400p) ISBN 978-0-06-237130-0

Harper (The Orpheus Descent) brilliantly uses a framing device straight out of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein in crafting an utterly compelling, sophisticated page-turner set in the Arctic. Capt. Carl Franklin and his crew aboard the U.S. Coast Guard ice-breaker Terra Nova face a baffling mystery when they rescue a man named Thomas Anderson from an ice floe in the middle of nowhere. Anderson, who’s in bad shape from hypothermia and frostbite, tells Franklin that he’s a researcher from Zodiac Station, a scientific base on the island of Utgard. Martin Hagger, a biologist who believes that life on Earth originated at the poles, recruited Anderson, but when Anderson arrived at Zodiac, Hagger was gone. This was but the first of many puzzles Anderson encountered. After the base was devastated by an explosion, Anderson traveled more than 100 miles in just four days in search of help. Franklin, who finds aspects of Anderson’s narrative questionable, probes relentlessly for the truth about what happened at the research outpost on Utgard. The plotting is complex but logical, with a fairly clued and stunning payoff. Agent: Jane Conway-Gordon, Jane Conway-Gordon Ltd. Literary Agent (U.K.). (May)