Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Deep Zone by James M. Tabor (CBR-V #15)

Cannonball Read V: Book #15/52
Published: 2012
Pages: 432
Genre: Adventure/Thriller

4 stars: Very good. Would recommend.

This book kind of looked like a generic thriller book at first, but the Kindle edition went on sale for .99 so I figured I'd give it a try. I've always like caves anyways - I grew up in a rural area that had two local caves that did tours and stuff, so we went there a lot for summer camp and school field trips. 

The book seemed kind of long at first, but it quickly got my interest and then I couldn't put it down. Basically, an antibiotic-resistant skin eating bacteria is rapidly spreading through the armed forces stationed overseas. It's extremely deadly (only 10% chance of survival) and is now spreading through military hospitals. Within a few weeks, most of the population could be wiped out. The only hope for finding a cure is deep inside of a Mexican supercave - one of the deepest caves in the world. Hallie Leland has been there before and discovered a substance dubbed "moonmilk" which has shown success in treating this particular bacteria. However, they need more samples, so Hallie leads a group back down the cave to retrieve more.

The caving stuff was fascinating. I like that James Tabor has written a nonfiction book on caving, because you can really tell he knows his stuff. Easily the best parts of the book were the caving sections. However, there was a LOT going on throughout the rest of the book. The group at the disease lab was relevant and interesting, and so were the scenes in Afghanistan with the doctors and soldiers over there. But there were way too many other random subplots that probably should have just been left out. Any more than two or three subplots and everything just gets sort of muddled. 

Overall, I did enjoy this book. It flowed well and made me want to keep reading. I might check out the author's nonfiction caving book soon. 

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