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Hell's Gate: A Thriller Hardcover – June 7, 2016
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From the Publisher
Bill Schutt talks with James Rollins
James Rollins is the author of War Hawk, The Bone Labyrinth, and many other thrillers.
Rollins: From the science to the settings to even the historical characters, so much is based on fact, but was there a single idea that sparked the creation of Hell's Gate?
Schutt: When I visited the plateau region of central Brazil, I was struck by the idea that if you really wanted to hide something, this would be the perfect place to do it.
Rollins: What your hero, R.J. MacCready, discovers hidden in the middle of the South American jungle is both shocking and terrifying. Can you tell us a little bit more about the possibility that Axis powers were experimenting with technologies so close to American soil?
Schutt: All of the Axis technology in Hell's Gate either existed or was on the drawing board by the time the war ended—including plans for an attack on New York City. We were very lucky that the Germans never really coordinated their technology efforts. Instead, groups competed for funding and kept their projects secret from each other. Had World War II continued into 1946. .. who knows?
Rollins: Like in your novel, I love folding real history into works of fiction. Was there one unique piece of history that became the basis for setting this story during World War II?
Schutt: Germany's rocket complex at Peenemünde was bombed by the RAF in August 1943, but nearly all of its scientists survived. We wondered what would happen if German High Command decided to move these guys somewhere where they wouldn't be found and where they could work on something far more significant and with the potential to win the war.
Rollins: You also sprinkle many intriguing scientific elements into these pages. What was the most interesting—something so good that you just had to put it in the book?
Schutt: There's a certain mammal that I've always found incredibly intriguing but I don’t think the species and its unique behavior have ever been depicted accurately in a novel. Once we developed the Hell's Gate weaponry angle, I wanted to make sure that these critters became a big part of our story. Don't tell MacCready, but they might be my favorite characters.
Rollins: As a vertebrate zoologist and biology professor, you certainly have the scientific background to create interesting new creatures. Without giving too much away, what are some of the unique beasts found in this story?
Schutt: Hmmm. ..tough to answer that one without a spoiler alert. Let's just say there are some presumably extinct animals in Hell's Gate that might have survived into modern times. It was fun to portray them as my colleagues and I believe they might have behaved. There's also a particularly nasty aquatic parasite that makes a surprise appearance, as well as some seriously rude cave-dwelling species.
Rollins: This novel clearly required intense research to create such authenticity, and I imagine much of it was hands-on. Can you share some of this process?
Schutt: I've been very lucky to have studied tropical vertebrates for the past 25 years. Because of this I've spent quite a bit of time in the field. I really wanted to give my readers a feel for what it's like to be on an expedition, to feel what it's like to be out in the middle of a rainforest at night or in an unexplored cave—to experience the smells, the sounds, and even the insect bites.
Rollins: Of course I want to know: What's next for MacCready? Surely there's more to come.
Schutt: Let's just say that Mac is going to need some warmer clothes on his next adventure.
“Bill Schutt and J.R. Finch are two of the best adventure writers to hit the scene in a long time. They blend action and science into a read that opens the door to much, much more. My kind of book!” (Clive Cussler on HELL'S GATE)
“Working within chilling scientific plausibility, this two-fisted jungle adventure swerves unexpectedly down a path of heart-pounding suspense. What emerges from the darkness will haunt you long after you put the book down.” (James Cameron, director/writer/explorer on HELL'S GATE)
“This one pushes the envelope to the edge and beyond, with tension and imagination that crackles from the first page. A terrific story, terrifically told. So take a walk on the perilous side, if you dare.” (Steve Berry, New York Times bestselling author of The 14th Colony on HELL'S GATE)
“The authors adeptly balance science and suspense, and a detailed afterword lays out how much of the story line is based in history. Michael Crichton fans will be pleased that the ending leaves room for a sequel.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review) on HELL'S GATE)
“Coauthors Schutt and Finch are experts in the sciences, and the scenes involving the biology behind what’s really going on in the jungle-there’s a touch of horror in the mix-are fascinating.” (Booklist on HELL'S GATE)
“Hell’s Gate has everything I love in a book: rip-roaring action, strange-but-authentic science, and characters that pop right off the page. An adventure that harkens to the glory days of H. Rider Haggard and H.G. Wells. Warning: Do NOT miss this debut!” (James Rollins, New York Times bestseller of The Bone Labyrinth on HELL'S GATE)
“Scientifically accurate, and chillingly real; Schutt and Finch amplify the many perils that come with any expedition into the unknown. I dashed through Hell’s Gate--cover to cover--with white-knuckle fear of what might be lurking on the next page. Brace yourself, this is no ordinary thriller.” (Darrin Lunde, Author of The Naturalist on HELL'S GATE)
“Just think Indiana Jones. For that matter, this yarn evokes more than a few reminders of Stephen King, Joseph Conrad, and Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Fast-moving fun for thriller readers who enjoy a bit of horror and seeing bad guys get what’s coming to them.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review) on HELL'S GATE)
“Hell’s Gate has a little bit of something for everyone and should appeal to a wide and diverse audience. Thrilling and suspenseful, with a touch of creepy and a dash of terrifying, Hell’s Gate is a fun read with an original plot and a unique cast of characters.” (The Real Book Spy on HELL'S GATE)
From the Back Cover
When a Japanese submarine is discovered abandoned deep in the Brazilian wilderness, a smart, adventurous, and tough zoologist must derail a catastrophic plot in Hell’s Gate.
1944. As war rages in Europe and the Pacific, Army intel makes a shocking discovery: a three-hundred-foot Japanese sub marooned and empty, deep in the Brazilian interior. A team of Army Rangers sent to investigate has already gone missing. Now the military sends Captain R. J. MacCready, a quick-witted, brilliant, scientific jack-of-all-trades, to learn why the Japanese are there—and what they’re planning.
Parachuting deep into the heart of central Brazil, one of the most remote regions on the planet, Mac is unexpectedly reunited with his hometown friend and fellow scientist Bob Thorne. A botanist presumed dead for years, Thorne lives peacefully with Yanni, an indigenous woman who possesses mysterious and invaluable skills. Their wisdom and expertise are nothing short of lifesaving for Mac as he sets out on a trail into the unknown.
Mac makes the arduous trek into an ancient, fog-shrouded valley hidden beneath a two-thousand-foot plateau, where he learns of a diabolical Axis plot to destroy the United States and its allies. But the enemy isn’t the only danger in this treacherous jungle paradise.
Silently creeping from the forest, an even darker force is on the prowl, attacking at night and targeting both man and beast. Mac has to uncover the source of this emerging biological crisis and foil the enemy’s plans . . . but will he be in time to save humanity from itself?as already gone missing. Now, the military sends Captain R. J. MacCready, a quick-witted, brilliant scientific jack-of-all-trades to learn why the Japanese are there—and what they’re planning.
Parachuting deep into the heart of Central Brazil, one of the most remote regions on the planet, Mac is unexpectedly reunited with his hometown friend and fellow scientist Bob Thorne. A botanist presumed dead for years, Thorne lives peacefully with Yanni, an indigenous woman who possesses mysterious and invaluable skills. Their wisdom and expertise are nothing short of lifesaving for Mac as he sets out on a trail into the unknown.
Mac makes the arduous trek into an ancient, fog-shrouded valley hidden beneath a 2000-foot plateau, where he learns of a diabolical Axis plot to destroy the United States and its allies. But the enemy isn’t the only danger in this treacherous jungle paradise. Silently creeping from the forest, an even darker force is on the prowl, attacking at night and targeting both man and beast. Mac has to uncover the source of this emerging biological crisis and foil the enemy’s plans . . . but will he be in time to save humanity from itself?
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