Publisher: Pocket Books, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY
reviewed by: Lynard Barnes 1/1/2007
Summary: Novel about a discovery in Antarctica. Adventure of Dr. Conrad Yeats and the former nun, Dr. Serena Serghetti.
In fiction, you suspend belief and ride along on the vision of truth projected by the author. The author must burrow through a maze of preconceived notions by the reader in order to construct a fictional reality. Thomas Greanis manages to pull this off to an amazing degree. But by the end of the novel, the reader is left dangling with a “so what” question. The “so what” question is the demarcation line between good fiction, including science fiction, and a river of words.
This is a good story as far as adventurism goes. Ice Base Orion, constructed in the hostile environment of Antarctica in six weeks, is ran by Major General Griffin Yeats. He was at one time the first man on Mars. Now he is in charge of the excavation of twelve thousand years of accumulated snow and ice covering land in east Antarctica. The fact that it was military operation and military operations were strictly forbidden by international treaty made his job dicey.
One of the blades that could make mincemeat of Yeat’s operation is Serena Serghetti. She was a former Roman Catholic nun who had turned her passion into a fight to save the world environment–Mother Earth is the epitaphs assigned to her. One day she is summoned to the Vatican and told by the Pope the Americans are conducting an excavation in Antarctica in violation of the Madrid Protocols of 1991. He tells her that there is a great deal of seismic activity on the continent. Are the Americans doing something to cause the activity. The Pope wants Serena to find out. He also tells her that the Americans may have found something in the Piri Reis World Map (a map dated to 1513 showing Antarctica without ice). If Antarctica was Plato’s Atlantis and the Americans found something that changed the way people view the world could result in moral anarchy on Earth “because humanity has cast aside the Judeo-Christian tradition’. Under that imperative, Serena sets off for Antarctica.
The other main character in RAISING ATLANTIS is Conrad Yeats. He is a television anointed “explorer”, once upon a time an archaeologist. During filming of one of his television specials in Peru on the lines criss-crossing the plains of Nazca, he is forced into a Black Hawk helicopter by a military delegation sent on behalf of General Yeats, Conrad’s father. It seems the younger Yeats is needed for his expertise in archaeology.
The story follows what one would expect of a scifi adventure tale. There is a plane crash, two sets of villains, the do-gooder (Serena of course) and the innocently involved (Conrad, more-or-less the son, Yeats).
There is also the discovery.
While a lot of RAISING ATLANTIS strains the imagination, it is appropriately done. Even he villainous characters are believable–rare in these type stories. As for the reason offered for the earth tilting on its axis every 28,000 years or so, one must first accept that the tilt does in fact occur. A minor debate which does not impinge upon the enjoyment of the story this novel tells.
The highlight of the novel of course is the challenge to “Judeo-Christian tradition”. (The concept should be Judeo-Christian-Muslim tradition since all three religions have the same roots). In the closing chapters of the novel, the author seems to lean toward Zecharia Sitchin’s Anunnaki travelers as the basis for current God beliefs.