Dr. Linda Graves, a forty-four-year-old astrobiology researcher with the University of Washington, falls down a previously undiscovered fumarole on Mt. Erebus. Mt. Erebus is an active volcano in Antarctica. Her research partner, Brett Thompson, a Homer, Alaska native and the team’s mountaineer and safety specialist, repels down to her. While at the bottom of the fumarole Dr. Graves collects eukaryote specimens to ship back to the university. At the shipping dock, there is an accident and the container with the eukaryotes is ruptured. And, that is when the horror begins.
It is the end of the season and winter is fast approaching. The researchers are packing up to go back home leaving only a skeleton crew remaining at McMurdo Station, also known as Mac-Town. When the transport never arrives to take those remaining at the Lower Erebus Hut, part of the Mount Erebus Volcano Observatory (MEVO), to Mac-Town Dr. Nathan Hunter, the Principle Investigator for the expedition and a professor of geochemistry at NMT, has Brett lead them via snow machine down the mountain. Upon arriving they come onto a scene that can only be described as straight out of a horror movie. There are dead bodies everywhere and a person running at them with a crazed look in their eyes.
Once they realize that there is no one there to help them leave they seek refuge anywhere they can. But, each noise they make brings out more crazed people intent on killing them. These people resemble zombies even though they are still alive and are easily killed. The group stumbles upon Dr. Graves who has been in hiding since the epidemic broke out. She fills them in on what has happened and they conclude that they are alone in fighting this. No one is coming to help.
Bird’s novel, Erebus, is a frightening look at being left alone with a killer at the bottom of the world. He has done quite a bit of research to make the characters and the location as realistic as possible. The suspense is palatable. The horror is unimaginable. Bird has done an excellent job of telling this story.
I am not a horror fan and I hate zombie stories. This book is so well written that I forgot all about that and thoroughly enjoyed it. Bravo, Steven Bird, bravo.
5 out of 5 stars.