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on 13 November 2011
In a similar vein to Matthew Reilly's Ice Station and James Rollin's Ice Hunt, Beneath The Dark Ice is a rip-roaring adventure guaranteed to keep you turning those pages well into the night.

This is pure popcorn entertainment, so leave your brain at home and enjoy the ride.

Our hero, Alex Hunter, is a super-human (I told you to leave your brain at home) soldier tasked with accompanying a group of scientists and other skilled people into an ice cavern to investigate the disappearance of a previous group of people. Whilst there they meet various creepy-crawlies as well as being pursued by an old foe of Alex's.

The baddies are suitably nasty, the action is frenetic and plentiful and the tension gripping.

Greig Beck is a welcome addition to the action / adventure genre and I can't wait for his next book.
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on 23 July 2013
This book is very much a mash up of ideas from movies and other books; Aliens, The Thing, Journey to the Centre of the Earth among the films with the Atlantean elements reminisent of books by McDermott, Gibbins, Brokow, Pavlou and Greanias, to name a few. The Characters are the standard set of indestructible super soldier(and in this case he pretty much is!), fiesty but flirty love interest, arrogant fellow scientist and "red shirts" who are there to make up the numbers, that you just know will not make it to the end. Never really captures the arctic landscape in the way Rollins or Reilly have in the past. Not sure how many words the book ran too, but each page had very wide margins and a generous font size.
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on 7 August 2013
KK, just finished this book on my Kindle Fire HD and I enjoyed more than I thought I would. After having reading the prologue and then into the story proper I did start having doubts vary early on when I read that our hero was in fact a superhuman hero in that he had incredible lightening reactions (he managed to plucked cup out of the air that sound had dropped and whilst the contents of the cup were still falling through the air he used the same cup to scoop the contents right out of the air), he has superhuman strength and vastly enhanced senses; and this was all due to having been shot in the head where the bullet, lodging in his brain, caused his body to produce certain chemicals/hormones that gave him these superhuman powers. When I read that bit in the first few pages I thought "Oh no, here we go, one of these ridiculous heroes that can pick up a tank by the gun barrel, swing it round and throw it miles whilst surviving a point blank hit from its explosive armament!" However, it wasn't like that at all and didn't get too ridiculous. So what is the story about? A private jet has crashed into the Antarctic with such ferocity that it has opened up a cave complex beneath the ice. A scientific team go in to investigate but are not heard of. In comes our superhuman hero, Alex Hunter, leader of a team of the elite of the special forces (HAWCS) who leads a rescue/discovery mission. Soon they are hunted by a huge monster, larger than a blue whale that not only has intelligence but a creepy way of luring people onto its menu; it can extend one of its lethal tentacles and morph it into an appearance of any of its previous victims at quite some distance from its body. This tricks people into approaching the 'person' and then they are pounced upon.

I enjoyed this book, as I said, a lot more than I thought I did, and I would certainly recommend it if you want a good action-packed read. Will I be getting and reading the sequel Dark Rising (Alex Hunter 2) Yes, actually I will!

A note on the Kindle version; flawless! No proplems whatsoever.
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on 19 December 2011
Not to many books hit the ground running, hold your attention and make you realise that when dawn starts appearing through the curtains then you have been reading for a bit longer than normal!
Beneath the Dark Ice is one of those books that fulfill the above criteria. Loved the premiss, missing Arctic mission, super soldier, something nasty in the depths, Oh and a lost civilisation! Becks writing is fast paced, detailed and thrilling.
Its great to find new authors and I'm looking forward to reading more of Grieg Becks works and I am sure you will to.
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on 8 September 2011
It is my humble opinion that books are still the pinnacle of human civilization. Beneath The Dark Ice is a shining example of this. A plane crashes unexplained into the great white continent, Antarctica. With speed, a rescue and research team are dispatched to the area to discover what happened, and follow up on a possible find that could create a 3rd world war. Team leader Captain Alex Hunter, codenamed ARCADIAN who has some surprising abilities, even to himself, leads the teams beneath the dark ice. What they don't know, something sinister awaits them. Something lurking beneath the ice that triggers a mission they will never forget. That is, those that survive. Bring on the Blockbuster Mr.Beck, I want front row.
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As a fan of fantastical adventure stories of the sort produced by James Rollins, Graham Brown and others I'm always willing to give authors new to the genre a chance, so I decided to give Greig Beck's debut 'Beneath the Dark Ice' a whirl when it was finally published in the UK (it has been available in the US and Australia for a few years, along with its sequels).

I have to say that I will not be coming back for more from this author or his hero Alex Hunter. Beneath The Dark Ice was a string of cliches, preposterous concepts and regurgitated ideas strung together in an incredibly clunky fashion.

Its not that I mind preposterous or fantastical plotting. Some of James Rollins works, especially his early stuff like Amazonia or Subterranean, contain some pretty wild ideas. Graham Brown's debut, The Mayan Conspiracy covers concepts from killer monsters to time travel. I was prepared to go along with all of these concepts for two reasons; firstly the authors anchor them within reasonably plausible real world set-ups and believable characters and secondly the plots and prose flow smoothly and logically.

Beneath the Dark Ice by contrast starts off implausibly and just gets worse as it goes along. I can go with concepts such as primodial caves beneath the Antartic Ice Pack and giant squid creatures, but when you pile-on super-human soldiers, guns that fire compressed air 'bullets', and a seemingly neverending list of other fantastical flights of fancy, some of which are just plain dumb, it becomes impossible to suspend your disbelief. Beck tries to cram too many ideas in the book, to the point where any relation to the 'real world' is lost and with it any vestiges of plausibility.

Probably his worst decision is to make his hero, Alex Hunter, literally super-human. Why he did so I have no idea, but Hunter's ability to move at incredible speed, his amazing senses, remarkable strength and powers of rapid healing just come across as ridiculous. They also rob the book of some of its tension by making Hunter so capable that any question-marks over whether he will survive or not are removed. Had Beck restricted his enhanced abilities to the realm of plausibility (i.e. not being able to heal in minutes or effortlessly lift tonnes in weight) or limited him to one or two improvements only the idea might have worked, but as it is Hunter never feels like a 'real' person. He also lacks anything approaching genuine charisma or depth.

Then again characterisation is pretty poor across the board. Everybody featured in the book, from the haughty but cowardly scientist to the psychotic Russian assassin to the granite-like military commander back at base, is a walking cliche and they all have zero depth. As a result when they die there is almost zero emotional impact.

Cliches also abound in the book's various settings, it monsters and the plot itself. Ancient civilisations under Antartica have been done before by numerous authors, as have monsters in caves. The giant squid creature that Hunter & Co face has elements of movies such as the The Thing [DVD] [1982] and Deep Rising [DVD] [1998] about it, whilst James Rollins and others have all done the 'chased by monsters through ancient underground ruins' thing many times before and far better.

If Beck had been able to inject more tension or a greater sense of wonder into proceeding then maybe the rehashed nature of the story wouldn't have mattered so much, but he doesn't. His prose can at best be described as pedestrian and at worst as clunky and laboured. Action lacks punch and excitement, dialogue feel wooden, descrptions are either unduly bland or ridiculously overblown (characters are forever 'exploding' around their desks or at other people) and there is almost no real tension to proceedings.

By the time events reached the final, rather jumbled denoument after what seemed like an interminable and rather unexciting trek through various caves and ruins I'd decided that this would be the first and last Greig Beck novel I would be tackling. I could be being unfair and he has improved massively as an author since this debut, but life if too short and their are too many works by far more talented writers to be read to waste my time giving him a second shot. Besides which, he would have to dump the ridiculous Alex Hunter as his leading man before I'd even consider picking up any of his future novels.
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on 23 November 2014
I like Clive Cussler and James Rollins books as well as Peter Benchley and other ancient monster stuff. I thought this book might travel along similar lines. Well it did.....and it didn't. It has a genre all of its own and I loved it!!! If I have a criticism of it at all its purely personal......I can read about almost any monster and blood and guts don't bother me too much, but any form of arachnoid, insect or body-invading parasite and I want to run and hide! Like I said, personal, not a book extraction. I need to go purchase the next book now 😉
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on 15 June 2015
Switch off your brain for what could be a novelisation of a unintentionally funny B-Movie. The hero ticks all the classic cliched boxes as does the irritating villain of the piece. You can pretty much cross off the victims before they even enter the cave.

Feels like a Clive Cusslar novel with monsters. Perfect for wasting away a few hours, only draw back is these of brain cells along the way.
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on 19 August 2013
This is a classic adventure/action thriller with great characters and super fast plotting. The author writes in a similar style to Matthew Reilly(whose books I love) so it was perfect for me. Plenty of cliffhangers and a good nemesis to threaten the protagonist, who is an all round intriguing and he could have a good run of stories ahead of him. I will definitely read more of this author!
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 18 August 2011
Right I make no apologies for loving big dumb books, probably because I'm a big dumb person. And this books falls so far into big dumb territory it leaves a crater big enough to wipe out the dinosaurs.

Greig Beck jumps into the big pond where James Rollins and Andy Mcdermot are the big fish. The question is, can this already over extended ecosystem take another new species of author?

Greg certainly knows how to write a fast paced action novel. From the prologue which is a reworking of the Croatan legend, we switch to modern day to where a mutimillionare businessman crashes his private jet into an ice shelf in the Antarctic.

Luckily there is a team of super duper American soldiers led by Captain Alex Hunter, why do these guys never have normal names? However, Captain Alex Hunter is no ordinary soldier, he is gifted with super strength, speed and stamina, but cursed with a temper from Hell. How did he come by these gifts I here you say? He was shot in the head, and the bullet logged in his brain, causing his brain to over produce certain hormones resulting in his superhuman strength. "It was a million to one chance Doc"

Note : The Ginger Nuts of Horror, in no way endorses the shooting of oneself in the head, in the attempt to become a super soldier.

Soon the team of soldiers and scientist are on there way to discover what happened to the first party. Once there they are faced with terrors not only from the environment, but from a crack team of Russian assassins lead by the guy who put the bullet in Hunters brain, and from the denizens of the deep that have note seen the light of day since time began.

This book fails on a number of levels, mainly the clichéd characters, from the sly evil scientist who goes of the rails, to the conflict between Hunter and the Russian assassin, Christ the guy should have been given a Hooded Claw moustache to twirl. However the book is a truimph of big dumb fun, the creatures that the team face as they travel below the ice sheets are wonderfully mental, psycho sea scorpions, giant killer salamanders, something resembling the Sarlacc pit from Star Wars. A lot of this does read like At The Earth's Core and at one point one of the characters does mention that it feels they are in Pellucidar.

If you like these sort of books then this is a worthy addition to the genre, a good book let down by some overworked clichés.
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