An apocalyptic disease has hit our military. Ninety percent of soldiers infected with the bacteria, die. Unanswered questions frighten medical personnel, one of which faces the disease head on, without a level four bio-suit.
Enter Hallie, ex-microbiologist, formerly employed at BARDA, a division of the CDC. Asked to resign, accused of selling secrets, she is now a dive instructor in Florida. At least until, the men in black arrive, whisk her away to Washington D.C., and return her to BARDA.
The last project she worked on included an extremophile, found at the depths of one of the largest and strangest caves on earth. This bit of bacteria was the last best hope of a new class of antibiotics. And is the only hope for the bacterium, ACE.
The team is rounded up, and presented with the option to return to the super cave, where the extremophile was originally found.
The cave, Cueva de Luz, or Cave of Light, is said to possess a life of its own. It inhales, exhales, and the spirit that resides within, can, and will, guide those it wishes to help. Nervous about reentering the cave, Hallie has to rely on her expertise, knowing that even the most experienced cavers have encountered death.
Along with her group, is Bowman, tall, dark, handsome, and ex-CIA agent, he joins forces with Hallie, when one man after the other falls victim to the caves secret hazards.
As the romantic element, Hallie and Bowman are superb. Both characters are well developed, likable, and interesting. Tabor describes the scenes within the cave with expertise. You can feel and hear the water dripping from the rocks overhead. Envision the acid lake, the narrows, and the monolithic chamber in which the extremophile lives.
You sense the urgency of those above ground, battling the bacteria, with little help from available antibiotics. You feel the horror that comes with the understanding that this disease, created by man, has a ninety percent death rate.
Action packed, romantic, scary, and thrilling, The Deep Zone is one of the best books I have read in quite awhile.
About the Author
James M. Tabor (www.jamesmtabor.com) was born in Virginia, graduated from the University of Vermont, and has lived in Vermont since 1980. He earned an MFA from Johns Hopkins University and is a former Contributing Editor to Outside and SKI Magazines. His writing has also appeared in TIME, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Smithsonian, Barron's,and many other national magazines. He was the writer and host of the national PBS series, "The Great Outdoors." In 2007, he was the co-creator and Executive Producer for the History Channel Special, "Journey to the Center of the World."
He is the bestselling,international award-winning author of FOREVER ON THE MOUNTAIN (2007, and BLIND DESCENT (2010).
From James Tabor:
"I received my MFA in the depths of a recession and couldn't find a job to save my life. With a wife and new baby, and needing a paycheck, I joined the Metropolitan Police Department of Washington, D.C.--then notorious as "The Murder Capitol of America." Policing in D.C. was exciting, exhausting,and dangerous.
For a white, upper middle class, son of the South,(my great-grandfather Russell Tabor was a cavalryman with Jeb Stuart) it was also an incredibly valuable, heart-opening, and rewarding experience. To put it bluntly, a lot of cops were dying then, and if incredible African American training officers had not taken me under their wings, I might not be writing to you now.) I hope to write a memoir of those days on the street at some point--a kind of "Training Day" in reverse. Or maybe it'll morph into a novel.
That was one kind of extreme experience. Over the decades, research for my nonfiction writing introduced me to a lot more: mountaineering, hang gliding, scuba diving, caving, horse wrangling,windsurfing,and others. Those close encounters with what Hunter S. Thompson astutely called "edgework" now inform my fiction, as well.
My website, jamesmtabor.com, has lots more details about the books, me, and my life. I'll end by saying that I love hearing from readers, both fans and critics, and promise to respond to every note I get. (Not always quickly, but I will respond.)"