Uncaged Reviews: Ice Rift and Ice Rift Salvage by Ben Hammott with Excerpt!

To read an interview with Ben Hammott, please see the April issue of Uncaged Book Reviews.

Ice Rift
Ben Hammott
SciFi/Thriller

In Antarctica everyone can hear you scream!

Humans have always looked to the stars for signs of Extraterrestrials.
They have been looking in the wrong place.
They are already here, entombed in a spaceship beneath Antarctic ice for thousands of years.
The ice is melting and they will soon be free.

A huge rift in the ice is discovered in Antarctica that stretches for 18 miles, (29 km) and 820 feet (250 meters) apart at its widest point.
When environmental scientists enter the ice rift to check out an anomaly on NASA’s satellite scans of the area, they discover something far more life threatening than the raging blizzard trapping them in the rift. They are unarmed and unprepared for their ensuing fight for survival.

Excerpt

OF ALL THE SPECIES on the planet, none were more feared than the female creature that dwelt in the mountain. Though in part, this was due to her vicious nature; what made her such a feared and expert hunter was her extraordinary ability to mimic the sound and form of any animal she heard or encountered. She could be anyone or anything. The Mimic wielded her gift with murderous intent to draw her victims close and never failed to ensnare a victim.
The drone of night creatures flitting through the air and distant howls, screeches and wails that sounded like spectral bloodhounds on the scent of prey, announced the waking of the planet’s nocturnal predators and stirred the Mimic from her slumber.
A young, six-limbed creature, covered in shaggy hair and small horns atop its stubby head, leapt sure-footed from rock to rock and paused to stare into a cave entrance. Though the dark opening was filled with such a foreboding darkness it almost had substance, the creature ignored the danger. It was hungry. It looked at an enticing bush adorned with blue berries and succulent orange leaves outside the entrance, bounced over and bit off a fruit laden twig.
The distant scrape of claws on rock from inside the cave, signalled the approach of the feared mountain creature. Two red eyes appeared amidst the tangible gloom shrouding the cave entrance and focused on the animal. The Mimic changed her appearance and oozed from the cave like a pestilent shadow that crawled from one world to the next to spread putrid blight and savage death.
The shadow of death cloaked the animal. Constricted and choked, the pain-wracked animal was unable to escape or cry out. After a few moments the killer released its victim. It had devoured everything except the bones, which collapsed into a lifeless heap. The thing of indistinct form, neither man nor beast, rose from the ground and morphed into a creature nightmares would be hesitant to welcome.
The Mimic gazed up at the bright fireball streaking through the night sky. At first, her interest assigned it little consideration; it was only another rock falling from the heavens. Though she had often wondered where they came from and what beast was powerful enough to throw them such a distance, they posed no threat and were thus ignored. She was about to direct her gaze elsewhere, when something unusual happened; the sky-fire changed direction. That had never happened before. The object turned in a wide arc, straightened out, and veered toward the mountain where the Mimic lived. When the sky-fire became lost from her sight, the Mimic sought out a higher view point. She clambered up the rocky mountain and perched atop a large boulder. Her eyes focused on the strange object that no longer glowed, skimming above the forest canopy. The trees creaked in protest from the wash of the object that pulled leaves and twigs from their branches and carried them in its wake. Frightened shrieks from disturbed tree-dwelling beasts accompanied its passing. The frantic sound of rustling foliage grew louder as the object approached and rose to match the contours of the steep mountain in its path.
Though the Mimic was wary, she experienced no fear as she stared at the underside of the object as it sped overhead. The lights peppering its base reflected in the Mimic’s eyes when she turned to follow its path over the mountain. So fascinated by the extraordinary object was the Mimic, she barely noticed the storm of debris that washed over her. She had spotted things inside the strange object from the sky―something alive!
The Mimic momentarily pondered what she had witnessed. She knew it didn’t originate from her home world and was something she had not laid eyes on before. Curiosity caused the Mimic to postpone her hunt until she investigated the new arrival. She bounded across the rocks and disappeared over the mountain.
***

The co-pilot glanced at the captain and let out a relived sigh. In the holding area behind their enclosed cockpit, three men depended on the small cargo vessel and their flying skills.
The captain studied the control console. A relieved smile formed on his lips at the lack of any warning lights; evidence the ship had survived the tremulous entry through another planet’s atmosphere undamaged. It was the part he and the crew hated most about these planetary missions. It was their seventh. The creaks, groans and rattles of protest the aged vessel emitted during every stressful arrival on a new planet, were a constant reminder of the hard and hectic life the old craft had endured. Each entry could be its last, killing all those on board. However, if he and the crew were honest with themselves, whatever the danger, they enjoyed visiting new worlds. It broke up the monotony of their five-year shift out of stasis until the next group took over.
The captain gazed out of the control room’s viewing ports at the dark landscape speeding past below the ship. The red glow of molten rock, flames and hot ash spewing from the crowns of distant angry volcanoes lit up the night sky. It was this volcanic activity, spread across half the planet that made this world unsuitable for their primary mission: a new world suitable for colonization. They were here because a scan of the planet they had named DX666, had detected a large beast that would provide a welcome change in diet for the crew aboard the mother ship currently orbiting the planet.
In the craft’s forward lights, the captain glimpsed flashes of the greens, reds and browns of the verdant forest that covered a huge area of the planet’s surface and the home of the thing he sought. He switched on the spacecraft’s landing lights and searched for a suitable place to set down. He spied a clearing in the forest and pointed it out to the co-pilot. “Put us down there, Seb and remain with the ship while the rest of us go hunting.” He climbed out of his seat and strode from the room.
***

The Mimic paused on the tip of a rock outcrop that stretched precariously out over a sheer drop, and watched the flying object swoop down like a giant graceful bird. For a few moments it hung in the air above a clearing in the forest before it slowly descended to the ground, raising a cloud of dust and forest debris.
Keen to examine the anomaly closer, the Mimic dived into the void and plummeted toward the ground. Her outstretched arms morphed into hell-spawn wings and she glided through the air in a gentle curve to the forest far below. She dipped through the canopy and weaved between ancient trees. When she glimpsed the thing ahead, she swooped up the trunk of a thick tree and landed softly on a branch. Her perch groaned slightly as her wings morphed back into arms and she walked towards its tip. She moved aside a branch so she had a good view of the strange object and watched four life forms emerge on a strange object that floated above the ground and head into the forest. Though she wondered why they were here, she wouldn’t follow them; they would return. She was interested in what they left behind, the thing that flew.
She glanced into the sky lit with dawn light and fading stars and wondered where the new arrivals had come from, because they weren’t from her world. Were there other worlds in the sky? If there was, she wanted to visit them. Her eyes wandered back to the object that could take her there and waited for her chance to sneak inside.


Uncaged Review: What a trip this book is. First time back on the ice since she lost her fiancé three years ago, Jane is assigned a job in the Antarctic investigating an ice rift. NASA has also requested an investigation on an anomaly on their radars, located near the rift. Jane and the crew take off and decide to scale down the rift, and what they find is not anything anyone expected. When they find a cavern in the ice, and enter the tunnel, they discover a hell that not all will survive from..

I can honestly imagine this book as a movie. In the tradition of alien movies, this one takes a scary turn for our crew, and you are at times on the edge of your seat and may be biting your fingernails. This book never slows down, and the author’s creative vision never lets up, and doesn’t hold back. If you enjoy a good SciFi/Horror romp, this is a good choice. It kept a great pace, and I never felt the need to “skip ahead.” Reviewed by Cyrene

4 1/2 Stars


Ice Rift Salvage
Ben Hammott
SciFi/Thriller

The spaceship entombed in the huge iceberg calved from the Pine Island Glacier drifts towards the warmer air and ocean temperatures of the South Atlantic. The race is on to claim the alien technology before the ice melts and releases its hold on the trapped alien vessel.

The mission: Board the spaceship and salvage as much alien technology as possible before the doomed vessel sinks to the bottom of the ocean.

The obstacles: A disintegrating iceberg, a collapsing spaceship, an armed Russian salvage force intent on claiming alien technology for themselves, an approaching storm, and the biggest obstacle of all—the spacecraft’s alien inhabitants.

The aliens have another mission—survival—and when opposing species clash, there can be only one victor.

Uncaged Review: Well damn, we are back on that ship. This time out, NASA is bringing in the military to help them salvage the technology from the ship, before it sinks into the ocean forever. And guess what, those monsters are still onboard. Jane and Jack are coaxed back, Richard is given no alternative and Lucy is still stuck on the ship. But for reasons different for each of them, they are all back at the rift.

This is an action packed story, some parts may seem a bit overly explained, but it’s really well written. You really need to read the first one in this series, Ice Rift, to get the full impact of these books. Many things are not explained in book two that are brought over from book one, so I would really not consider this a standalone. But if you like a good SciFi Thriller, these books are a great choice. This story could continue…there is always EV1L. Reviewed by Cyrene

4 1/2 Stars