(Image from Barnes & Noble)
"In Antarctica, every decision is weighty, every outcome either a tragedy or a miracle" (29).
A professor of marine biology at University of Oregon, Deb Gardner lives for the few months out of the year when she heads south to study penguins. The 39-year-old feels more at home in the harsh Antarctic climate researching her favorite creatures than she does anywhere else. For the past few years, her trips have had an added bonus: Keller Sullivan. It's during these annual trips that they rekindle their romance, a relationship that doesn't leak into their real lives in the U.S.
In exchange for passage to her research site, Deb is playing tour guide on the Cormorant. Keller is supposed to be on the boat as well. When he doesn't show, Deb starts to worry. Then the Cormorant receives an emergency signal from a nearby cruise liner in trouble. She soon discovers that Keller is on board—that's when she starts to panic. In such a perilous, unforgiving landscape, the Australis—along with her passengers and crew—is surely doomed.
A researcher turned rescuer, a desperate Deb will do anything to save the man she loves. Will their romance end before it even really begins? What will happen to the panicked people stranded in frigid waters far from any hope of salvation? Can life prevail at the frozen edge of the world?
The premise behind My Last Continent, a debut novel by Midge Raymond, hooked me immediately. I enjoy survival stories set in remote locales where characters must battle extreme weather and other impossible obstacles in order to triumph. This story certainly offers that, but it's not as flashy a tale as I expected. Which is a good thing. The slow-building plot appealed to me. It helped me really understand the book's complex characters, intriguing location, and cautionary themes. The animal/Antarctic facts added to the story, giving it depth but never bogging it down. Most of My Last Continent's action comes at the end, which is perfect because, by then, the reader truly cares what happens to Deb, Keller, and their associates. The tension all comes to a head in the book's taut, terrifying conclusion. An engrossing, atmospheric novel, My Last Continent is definitely worth the read. I loved it.
If this were a movie, it would be rated:
for language (a handful of F-bombs, plus milder expletives), violence, blood/gore, and sexual content
To the FTC, with love: Another library