Billionaire Palmer Lloyd is accustomed to getting what he wants--and what he wants for his new museum is the largest meteorite on earth. Unfortunately for Lloyd, it's buried on an inhospitable Chilean island just north of the Ice Limit in the most brutal, unforgiving seas in the world.
Fortunately for Lloyd, he knows people--people like Eli Glinn, the hyper-focused president of Effective Engineering Solutions, Inc.; Glinn's nonconformist, genius of a mathematician, Rachel Amira; and the uncannily able construction engineer, Manuel Garza. Lloyd's also tapped the brilliant but disgraced meteorite hunter, Sam McFarlane, and the exceptional supertanker captain, Sally Britton, whose career was unshipped by intemperance and a reef. Of course, such a team has a hefty price tag:
Lloyd's broad features narrowed. "And that is... " EES's plan is to obtain mining rights to the island, secure the allegiance of various Chilean functionaries via blinding sums of money, disguise a state-of- the-art supertanker as a decrepit ore rig, mine the rock, slip it into the ship, and zip back to New York to thunderous notoriety. Unforeseen, however, are a rogue Chilean naval captain, seas to make Sebastian Junger boot, and a blood-red meteorite of undetermined pedigree and a habit of discharging billions of volts of electricity for no apparent reason.
"One hundred and fifty million dollars. Including chartering the transport vessel. FOB the Lloyd Museum."
Lloyd's face went pale. "My God. One hundred and fifty million... " His chin sank onto his hands. "For a ten-thousand-ton rock. That's... "
"Seven dollars and fifty cents a pound," said Glinn.
Like Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child's earlier collaborations (Relic, Thunderhead, and others), The Ice Limit tools along swiftly, blending nicely drawn characters (excepting, regrettably, the book's true protagonist, the meteorite), a reasonably exciting narrative, and enough graspable science and plausible-seeming theories to bring readers happily up to speed and keep them climax-bound. Not the authors' best effort, certainly, but a fine diversion nonetheless. --Michael Hudson