by Steve Alten
Meg: Primal Waters
Forge, July, 2004.
Hardcover, 361 pages.
It has been eighteen years since the events chronicled in the bestselling Meg. The gargantuan prehistoric shark, Carcharadon Megalodon, left behind a baby meg named Angel who has escaped from her tank at a SeaWorld-like exhibit. Jonas Taylor, the adventurer who captured her is now older -- he's 63. Jonas is exhausted from raising his kids and his financial situation is bordering on the desperate when a slimy reality tv producer offers him a lot of cash to go along as a consultant on his hit show, called Daredevils. The new season of Daredevils will put contestants into dangerous situations while they live on a restored sailing ship (think Fear Factor with giant, man-eating sharks). What Jonas doesn't know is that an old enemy has managed to find a way to lure a megalodon to follow the ship -- and that Jonas is scheduled to be the shark's main appetizer. Jonas' wife, who was horribly traumatized by the couple's prior run-in with the meg is opposed to the project, but insists that Jonas take his teenaged daughter along on the journey. Meanwhile, Angel -- now a full-grown shark -- heads back to the West Coast, having fond memories of feeding time at the aquarium.
Meg: Primal Waters is not your run of the mill adventure novel. Steve Alten creates his best novel yet with his middle-aged protagonist, who really isn't sure that he has what it takes to battle a giant preshistoric shark one more time. But battling his teenaged daughter is even more terrifying than taking on the shark. Alten does a great job of creating fully-realized and interesting characters who are put into horrifying situations. But for those that love a good shark attack scene, never fear. There is enough action and shark attacks for three books here; the pace is absolutely relentless. Alten taps right into the primal terror that anyone with a grain of sense feels when a shark the size of a house is heading your way. Neatly woven into the plot are also commentary on everything from baseball, family dynamics and ocean ecology. And if you read this one at the beach, you'll never set even one toe into the water.
--Claire E. White
Meg: Primal Waters is available for purchase on Amazon.com
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This review was published in the July-August, 2004 of The Internet Writing Journal.
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