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Thirst by L. A. Larkin


by L. A. Larkin

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In the harsh environment of the Antarctic, the people of Hope Station are been hunted down. Glaciologist, Luke Searle has to fight for survival against a mercenary that will win at any cost, while trying to prevent an environmental disaster. He only has 5 days to fix this, can he stay alive long enough? Does he really know what he is going up against? LA Larkin’s Thirst is an Eco-Thriller set in one of the harshest environments known to man.

Thirst is a fast paced novel that will suck you right in with its constant suspense and the unpredictable elements within this book. The harsh setting of Antarctica and the sense of solitude and danger really helped drive this book and became my favourite element of this book. But there was something in the book that really didn’t sit well with me. This book has one of my Literary Bête Noires in it; the villains. I’ve blogged recently about how I never seem to enjoy cliché villains and unfortunately the fact that the protagonist was up against the Chinese in the book really detracted from my overall enjoyment of this book.

Apart from that one element, this book is a typical thriller, highly enjoyable read with some explosive situations. I’m happy that the book never seemed to go into the realm of formulaic but it did sit on the border and I did feel myself cringe at that thought it might head in that direction. Thankfully Larkin’s was able to recover with her writing style and her research of the environmental aspects of this book. I must admit that towards the end of the book, when I pictured the protagonist Luke Searle, I kept comparing him to Steven Seagal and expected him to act that way.

Thirst was an enjoyable Eco-Thriller which was a lot of fun to read, while I did struggle with the villains being cliché, I did enjoy reading this novel. I would recommend this book to anyone that likes a good light read. I know many people are going to compare this book to Matthew Riley’s Ice Station but that shouldn’t be deterrent, it’s nice to see a female (why is there a lack of thrillers written by women within Australia?) can write a thriller just as exciting as something written by Riley. ( )
  knowledge_lost | Apr 27, 2015 |
As I discovered when participating in the global reading challenge there is a certain ‘sameness’ to the relatively small number of fictional tales in this setting: they are almost all action-packed thrillers with clearly defined bad guys trying to do something awful while good guys try to stop them (and cling on to their own lives in the process). Broadly THIRST, set in the near future, does conform to the tropes but it is a highly entertaining addition to this tiny sub sub-genre of novels.

In this instance the bad guys are led by wealthy Chinese businessman Robert Zhao Sheng who is hell-bent on extracting Antarctica’s fresh water, ostensibly to save his over-populated country from the very real threat of running dry really to prove to his abusive tyrant of a father that he is not the useless nothing dear old dad believes him to be. Larkin’s done a nice job drawing this character who is entirely unlikeable but for whom I couldn’t help but feel a shred of sympathy as I pondered how much damage has been wrought upon the world because of astonishingly shitty parenting.

Central among the good guys is Luke Searle a half-Australian, half-French glaciologist working at a fictional Australian station. He and a small group of researchers are gearing up for the long Antarctic winter…seven months during which it will be impossible to leave or have new people arrive as ships cannot make it through the ice…when the ice harvesting plans require putting Hope Station, and its inhabitants, out of action. During the attack several of Luke’s colleagues are killed and the rest must go on the run: an activity which has all the danger you might imagine of such inhospitable terrain. Mayhem ensues.

This is Larkin’s second novel and, for me at least, a better read than her first in which I struggled to believe the characters’ behaviour and motivations. Even in thrillers, where the action-packed plots require a willingness to suspend disbelief at the outset, a reader needs to be able believe that the characters would do and say the things they are doing and saying in the context of the world created for them. We also need to be provided with enough details about their personalities to care whether the good guys triumph or not. Happily that was the case with THIRST. I certainly wanted the despicable Mr Zhao Sheng to come to a grizzly end and was mentally cheering on Luke, his station leader Maddie and the Russian tour guide they picked up in their escape. And I have to say the story was a ripper of a yarn, keeping me happily absorbed in its chilly action while the mercury soared.

It’s clear from the content (and an afterword) that Larkin has done a lot of research for this book but it’s incorporated pretty well into the story without sound too lecturish. I particularly liked the way she included some titbits about the history of Antarctic exploration, a subject I have become fascinated with thanks to our state museum’s excellent Australian Polar Collection and associated exhibits. The environmental themes she explores are also backed up well and it’s not too much of a stretch to imagine some version of this future for our poor, mishandled planet. All in all THIRST is a thoroughly enjoyable romp that should give you a little pause for thought about a world in which water is fought over in the way oil is today.
  bsquaredinoz | Mar 31, 2013 |
Luke Searle is a hot headed glaciologist who is studying the glaciers of Antarctica as a member of an Australian research team. Personal family problems, plus a need to do things his way,have not endeared him to the team leader Maddie Wildman. Communication with some members of the research team is mysteriously lost. Luke naturally wants to go cowboy and investigate on his own instead of listening to Maddie's orders. The attempt to recover the missing team members is just the start of the troubles. The team soon finds themselves under attack by unknown assailants. Who are these attackers and why have they brought guns and violence to the pristine land of Antarctica? Fast paced action combined with gripping suspense heat up this tale of intrigue in this frozen frontier. I felt the ending was a little soft after all the great action and twists earlier in the book. ( )
  Ronrose1 | Jan 1, 2013 |
One of the earliest thriller writers that got me hooked on the genre was Alistair MacLean. Granted that was a very long time ago now, but in my mind, his books always had a sort of triple threat scenario - place, weather and people. Reading THIRST by L.A. Larkin I was really struck by the similar environment, albeit with a touch more romance than MacLean would ever have countenanced. I was also struck by the characterisation of the central male protagonist. Luke Searle, maverick glaciologist, a cool, calm man much like MacLean's hero's, although slightly less cynical, and overtly more the devoted father than would have been even contemplated back in Ice Station Zebra days.

Set in Antarctica, the book provides a real sense of both the majesty and threat of such a harsh environment. Whilst there is obviously a strong environmental protection theme in THIRST it's done in a show, rather than tell fashion. This made the message all the more succinct and the scenario that the book is exploring even more sinister. There's precious little preaching going on here, but there is a sobering matter of factness about the potential that blatant, self-serving exploitation poses. After finishing the book I will confess to the smallest wish that Larkin might want to turn her attention a little more local, say somewhere in the middle of the mining areas of Australia, and take a long hard look at the effects of rampant greed ... but I digress.

Along with a very evocative setting, Larkin's got some good characters in this book. Both male and female protagonists were believable and felt extremely real. Granted there's a tad of requisite romantic tension, but it isn't all over the story, and didn't get too much in the road of what is, after all, a desperate bid for survival.

Interestingly enough Larkin has remarked that she is one of just a few female thriller writers in Australia, and looking at THIRST from that particular angle, there's nothing particularly obvious about a thriller written by a woman as opposed to those written by men that I've read lately. Perhaps the connection with his son is a little more overt in this book, but that's just pure guesswork on my part. What's important about this observation is that really, thriller fans who don't read books like THIRST just because they are written by women are crazy.

http://www.austcrimefiction.org/review/thirst-la-larkin ( )
  austcrimefiction | Aug 15, 2012 |
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A few years from now, climate change has produced global drought. Wars over water are becoming commonplace.When communications are cut from an Australian Antarctic station and two colleagues go missing, maverick glaciologist Luke Searle and his team are unaware they have fallen victim to a plan to harvest Antarctica's Pine Island Glacier for water. Yet the ruthless leader of this secret project has a second plan, far more ambitious and destructive than the first, which will give his country unchallengeable military power and make him exceedingly rich. But the plan risks destroying the enormous West Antarctic Ice Sheet, causing sea level rises that will not only wipe out low-lying cities, but whole countries. With their station burned to the ground and the team under fire, Luke Searle must not only survive the harshest environment on Earth but battle a mysterious assailant to stop a global catastrophe. Who has hatched this plan, how far will he go, and what will it take to stop him? With complex and intriguing characters, and plot threads skilfully woven together into a surprising and dramatic climax, Thirst will entertain and enthral. Based on L.A. Larkin's experiences in Antarctica and her interviews of scientists who have visited the remote Pine Island Glacier, Thirst is a chilling and explosive action thriller that is a startling reminder of the fragility and power of Earth's most precious resource.… (more)

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