In Raising Atlantis, Thomas Greanias struggles to craft an original tale with a central idea and setting that have both been done before in a genre in which plots can tend to be cookie-cutter. It's difficult for Greanias to find his own voice and style.
The story opens with a military mission in Antarctica (reminiscent of Matt Reilly's Ice Station). We very quickly learn that the United States military has discovered Atlantis beneath the ice (think Clive Cussler's Atlantis Found). We then meet the hero, Conrad Yeats, who has read Chariots of the Gods one too many times. Conrad is hastily (as in a couple of pages) whisked away to the Antarctic at the behest of his cold (pun intended), distant father who never loved him and has unfinished business way down south.
The story then makes the obligatory Vatican connection with ex-nun/ex-Yeats crush Serena "Mother Earth" Serghetti. In true Da Vinci Code fashion, she is an expert on languages and will serve as the Robert Langdon of the story. It works out well for our heroes, as it turns out she is able to read Atlantean at first glance without any study whatsoever.
The plot doesn't get much more original from there. We have plenty of Tihuanaco references (think Link by Walt Becker) and discussions of continental shifts (along the lines of Polar Shift and Atlantis Found by Cussler). Also, there are three competing military factions (Ice Station) vying for the secret of Atlantis.
The exploration sets off a chain of odd decisions by the characters and inexplicable/illogical events. For example, a blast of heat melts a valley out of a two-mile-thick sheet of ice, but our heroes, who are sprinting away from the flames, escape unsinged. There is some good action in parts and Conrad becomes a badass just when he needs to, despite the fact that there was no indication up to that point that he might have it in him. Conrad's father has an odd reason for wanting his son there and no one really knows why he brought his dog along on this top secret mission into the world's most inhospitable locale.
The Atlantean city is intriguing, but too much is left to the reader's imagination. There's little description, save generic Egyptian parallels. The culminating event, though cheesy, at least hasn't been done before, as far as I can remember, though Greanias makes up for it by giving Conrad a Dirk Pitt/Shane Schofield-worthy ending.
The good news is, I checked the book out from the library. No money out of my pocket. The bad news is, Greanias' next book, The Atlantis Prophecy, sends our heroes to Washington DC for a mystery involving the Founding Fathers, the Washington Monument, and the hidden world beneath. No, I'm not making it up! It's true! Atlantis Found meets National Treasure.
If you truly love action thrillers and are easily entertained, check this one out for the July 4th holiday, and get a good Sam Adams buzz on before you read it.
Rating: 5/10Powered by Sidelines