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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on July 15, 2011
The first Alex Hunter novel, Beneath The Dark Ice, contained quite a few nice SF tropes and in Beck's next book, Return of The Prophet, the SF element is amped up even more. As demonstrated in Dark Ice, Beck has a strong grasp of the action genre. His work is exciting, fast-paced and cinematic in feel. He's also good at appropriating from the real world and extrapolating into the very near future. So Prophet takes Beck's protagonist, supersoldier Alex Hunter, into a rogue Iranian state, where an Islamic extremist prime minister is funding outlawed nuclear experimentation, and twists that together with the widely reported and recent fears that CERN's large hadron collider may create black holes capable of swallowing the Earth.

The Iranian's in Return of The Prophet stumble on more than nuclear fission. They manage to create an event that opens a channel through to another dimension, a doorway that allows things that shouldn't exist to come to our world, and a means for an already fanatical prime minister to hasten the end of the world as foretold in the Koran. Alex Hunter and his crack team of HAWC special forces, armed with the type of advanced military materiel that would make James Bond's `Q' green with envy, are dispatched to take out the threat. The action is beautifully choreographed, and the characters are well rounded - in particular Alex Hunter himself. Hunter's powers are still growing in ways that not even his own commanding officer is entirely comfortable with and this adds an extra element of complexity to an already engaging character. Beck continues to provide strong female characters in this second Alex Hunter outing with MOSAD captain Adira who is more than a match for Hunter's HAWCs. And he's not bad at monsters either. The descriptions of the `thing' that emerges from that other dimension are particularly effective, creating visual and auditory images of the creature that will stay with me for a long time.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on June 19, 2011
After Greigs first book (Beneath the Dark Ice), I knew I had stumbled onto a great author. I eagerly awaited his 2nd book (Dark Rising) and I was not disappointed. It has been a while since a book kept me up at night reading but, when you start, you cannot put it down. What can I say, the Arcadian is my hero. I look forward to more Arcadian adventures.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on August 14, 2011
I picked up Greig's 1st book (Beneath the Dark Ice) based on a recommendation from Amazon after purchasing a book by another author (Jeremy Robinson). It was a great recommendation on Amazon's part as I really enjoyed that book. At the end of that book there was an excerpt of his (at the time) upcoming book (Dark Rising). After reading the excerpt I was really looking forward to the entire book as Arcadian (aka Alex Hunter) has become one of my favorite characters! When I got my kindle copy of the book on Tuesday (this being Sunday) I couldn't wait to start reading it. I was not disappointed. I burned through that book in no time! It was a pretty awesome thrill ride. If anyone out there is a Jeremy Robinson and/or a James Rollins fan, you need to take a look at this guy. I think you will enjoy his first two books!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 3, 2012
This ambitious novel draws from all of the genres that I love. The story begins as a kind scientific thriller, when a black hole is created in a secret lab in a Middle Eastern desert. The US calls on superhuman Alex Hunter, think Wolverine meets Indiana Jones, to lead a team of the nation's best military agents to assess and destroy this threatening technology. To complicate matters, Israel has sent two agents to assist the US on the mission, and to steal the secrets behind their mysterious Arcadian project.

The opening section of this novel shifts between different points of view during each chapter, and because of this, the story was a bit hard for me to immediately become engrossed in. Once the main objective and characters are established, the book becomes a very fast and action packed read, and the last third of the story really builds a great page turner pace.

By drawing on influences from some of the best military and science fiction traditions, Greig Beck has crafted a wonderfully entertaining, thrill ride of a novel.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on October 27, 2011
As with Mr Beck's first effort, Dark Rising is a captivating tale from start to finish. An interesting blend of contemporary military adventure & science fiction. The book's hero Alex Hunter (Arcadian) is a great character who is steadily involving into a super soldier with constantly enhancing capabilities. There is great potential for future story lines with Alex and his evolution into an ever more lethal soldier. I would urge Mr Beck to continue producing the exquisite monsters he deftly adds to challenge super soldier Alex Hunter - the battles are thrilling. A wonderful book overall, the only improvement I could think of is to expand the books by a 100 pages or so. I can't get enough of Arcadian!!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 29, 2012
Dark Rising is the sequel to the novel Beneath the Dark Ice. However, while it does contain some references to events from the previous novel, this one is quite a separate story so readers need not worry if they've never read its predecessor.

In Dark Rising, a scientific experiment in Iran has terrifying consequences. The whole lab is destroyed. One of the scientists' bodies mysteriously turns up all the way over in America, horribly distorted and emitting massive quantities of lethal radiation. The body of another of the scientists is found a lot closer to home, but bears the signs of months of decomposition (despite having been missing hardly more than a day).

Detecting a massive gamma ray spike from Iran, like nothing ever seen on Earth, the US fears the possible creation of a weapon of mass destruction and sends a team of military elites to the Middle East to investigate. Leading the team is super soldier Alex Hunter, main protagonist of the first novel. Hunter's superhuman abilities are growing and he does not know what these changes in his body will lead to. He is also haunted by nightmares relating to his frightening experiences beneath the Antarctic ice in the first novel.
The American soldiers team up with a pair of Israelis, who are also sent to find out what's going on in Iran.

Meanwhile, the religiously fanatical Iranian president orders the recreation of the phenomena produced in the first scientific experiment, in the belief that this will bring about apocalyptic events prophecised in the Qu'ran.
More horror ensues from the experiment, including one unnoticed side effect- the bringing of a monstrous otherworldly creature to Earth. In the deserts of Iran, the creature gets a taste for humans.

Overall, this was an enjoyable read, though there are some points of criticism. As in Beneath the Dark Ice, the character of Alex Hunter seems like a bit too much of a Mary Sue. This is especially seen in one scene where he is bitten by a highly venomous saw-scaled viper, and manages to sleep it off! The other characters could have been a bit better written as well.

What really makes the story intriguing is the monster. While certain other aspects of his writing could use some improvement, Greig Beck is excellent at making monsters. The monster in this story is well described and it is extremely powerful and deadly (which is good as it gives the superhuman Alex Hunter something that's actually challenging to fight and truly life threatening to him). It's not as massively huge and strong as the monster from Beneath the Dark Ice, but it has other features that make it at least as deadly and terrifying.
Of course, there's other parts of the novels I've liked as well, but the monsters are probably the main thing that keeps me wanting to read more.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on August 7, 2011
What a great read yet again. With Dark Rising Greig Beck has again grabbed me at the first page and kept me turning pages until I finished. The character Alex Hunter again amazes with his skill and strength. This book takes you to the edge of today's reality and gives you hope that tomorrow can be better. Once you start reading Greig Beck's books you keep looking for his next one to be released nothing you read in between gives you the same level of excitement and page turnability. Enjoy Dark Rising.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
And I'm loving Alex Hunters' adventures. This is science fiction at its best, but mixed with some really cool horror. The futuristic weapons and exciting destinations keep the pace screaming along and very interesting. Entertainment value, eleven on a ten scale! I read a review the other day; someone said something about how in one of Becks books, the plot had a 'scientific flaw' in it or some such??! ...seriously? THIS IS A STORY. Science FICTION. If you want Science FACT, your in the wrong isle. This stuff by Grieg Beck is uber exciting! It's like the first Star Trek; all the cool sci-fi gadgets, the really strange and horrifyingly mind bending monsters and aliens. And the Arcadian. A man that is super human in strength and speed created by -a partial scientific, partially accidental experiment. Resulting in The Arcadian, super spy. Honestly, this is one of the most original story/series going right now. The blend of fact, plausible not-so-far into the future science, and truly freaky creatures is just a blast to read.

In this adventure, the Arcadian and his next batch of elite commandos (to his utter grief, he just can't seem to keep a full crew) are rushed off to the middle east after American spy satellites detect an unimaginably huge Gamma burst. A signal that's is frightening in its power, but puzzling at the same time because it's there and gone again in an instant, leaving no other radioactive signatures behind! Nothing. Impossible! Meanwhile, on a rural road somewhere in the heartland of the United States, a couple of unfortunate farmer trip across a horrific scene in the middle of the road...a body. They can't believe their eyes. Not only is it no longer alive, it's also not ON, but 'melded' half in, half out, of the asphalt. It's stretched like taffy and horribly mutilated with its internal organs pulled out through its mouth! Ick! The unfortunate couple gape in horror...hardly aware as blood begins to seep from their noses as they have just received a fatal dose of radiation.

It seems Iran is about to open Pandoras Box. A brilliant Iranian scientist, working with a super small atomic collider, stumbles upon a way to open up wormholes! And a fanatical Iranian president sees a way to bring about Judgment day for all the infidels of the world.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon January 8, 2012
This is the second Alex Hunter tale I have read (Beneath the Dark Ice) and though this book is not nearly as good as the first it is important in the evolution of Alex Hunter's abilities. The book draws a lot of similarities from the first with Alex's HAWCs paired with a scientist to get something from a foreign power with a giant creature trailing Alex's team. The creature this time is an alien entity brought to Earth from the opening of a small black hole.

Scientists in Iran accidently discover the means to create a temporary black hole. This technology could be used to harness energy greater than the sun. It also could destroy everything that we know. Alex and his team are joined by Adira (an Israeli Special Forces agent) and Zach (an Israeli scientist) to go covertly into Iran and steal the new technology before Israel has no choice to launch a nuclear attack against Iran.

The book moves a lot slower than Beck's first book and the creature that tracks the team bears an amazing resemblence to the creature Alex battled in the Antarctic caves. As the book evolves Alex learns about more abilities that he has and his other abilities seem to get stronger. Alex is like a super Shane Schofield (Mathew Reilly's main character, whose books are similar to these first two Beck books)always going up against the best special force agents and impossible odds. In this book we learn about three brands of Iranian black ops agents and they are so fearsome that the Mossad are even afraid.

An above average action thriller which I give just above three and a half stars.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
"Dark Rising" is the second action-adventure SF novel by Aussie Greig Beck to star Alex Hunter, the "Arcadian". Due to a near-deadly bullet in the brain coupled with some experimental treatments, Hunter has developed super-human strength, speed and sensory abilities that he puts to good use as the captain of an ultra-elite squad of American soldiers called HAWCs (Hotzone All-Forces Warfare Commandos). In this outing Hunter is called upon to work with a couple of Israeli agents to investigate the source of an inexplicable gamma ray burst originating from inside Iran. What they find threatens not only Israeli and American security, but (naturally) the entire world.

Like his first Arcadian novel (Beneath the Dark Ice), Dark Rising is a fast-paced combination of military adventure and SF. Beck handles both aspects in a knowledgeable, believable and interesting way, writing with skill and authority. His pacing is excellent and he and packs a lot of fun into a compact 300 pages. Dark Rising is a fast, fun read, perfect for a long plane ride or a lazy weekend. Beck also manages to make the novel completely stand-alone, despite the fact that it is a sequel to Beneath the Dark Ice, so the two can be read in either order or independently.

I very much enjoyed Dark Rising as well as his first novel, and was extremely excited to find out that there is a third one already published in Australia (The Green Hell), but quite disappointed to find that it is apparently not available in any form in the US, at least at this point. (What - don't the publishers want any more of my money?)

Not to be confused with highbrow literature but certainly tons of fun. Highly recommended.

JM Tepper
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