cover image PANDORA'S CURSE


Jack B. Du Brul, . . Onyx, $6.99 (472pp) ISBN 978-0-451-40963-8

Combining plenty of thrills and a touch of romance, Du Brul's action-packed contemporary adventure zips along like an out-of-control locomotive as geologist Philip Mercer, the James Bond–like hero from the author's previous novels (Charon's Landing, etc.), becomes embroiled in another mission to save the world. Duped by a good friend, Mercer travels to the arctic to reopen a long-abandoned American base camp. In the process, he uncovers a dead body and, eventually, the Pandora Project, a Nazi mercenary's plot to unearth a deadly radioactive element and sell it to the highest bidder. In an effort to derail the project, Mercer leads his team on an arctic odyssey of narrow escapes and death-defying maneuvers in boat, dirigible, submarine and plane. A well-researched foundation of facts and details grounds the reader in this frosty setting, but the story is sometimes difficult to swallow: a cruise ship filled with the world's religious leaders gets caught in the middle of the fray, and Mercer winds up rescuing the Dalai Lama. Mercer's love interest, Dr. Anika Klein, is his fitting counterpart and a strong heroine, and their romance adds a degree of warmth to this swift, sensational tale. Those who enjoy a good adrenaline rush will find plenty here to satisfy. (Sept. 4)