Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Review/Interview/Giveaway: Vostok by Steve Alten

East Antarctica: The coldest, most desolate location on Earth. Two-and-a-half miles below the ice cap is Vostok, a six thousand square mile liquid lake, over a thousand feet deep, left untouched for more than 15 million years. Now, marine biologist Zachary Wallace and two other scientists aboard a submersible tethered to a laser will journey 13,000 feet beneath the ice into this unexplored realm to discover Mesozoic life forms long believed extinct – and an object of immense power responsible for the evolution of modern man.

In this sequel to The Loch and prequel to the upcoming MEG 5: Nightstalkers, New York Times best-selling author Steve Alten offers readers a crossover novel that combines characters from two of his most popular series.




Is is just me or does that face of the critter on the book cover say, "Hmmmm....LUNCH!"  When I read the book info and found out this story reached back into the prehistoric era, I knew I had to read it.  (My tween daughter is a budding paleontologist, and she can pronounce most of the scientific names better than I can!)  And, having a main character that hailed from Scotland gave the book a few bonus points in my book; I am mad about all things having to do with Scotland.

There is a lot on Vostok about parallel universes and the consequences of our choices.  Zachary Wallace is told they are going miles down in the ice of Antarctica to study a prehistoric lake and possible life forms.  But certain corporations and the military have a different agenda, that makes the journey so much more dangerous, for everyone concerned.  There's more than one species of long, light and toothy waiting in the deep.

I am intrigued to read the other books in the series, and I mean that in both the singular and plural.  Vostok is the 2nd in the "Loch" Series and Mr. Alten has another wildly popular "Meg" series.  Somehow, he is going to work his magic and combine the series!  I've never come across that before, and I don't quite see how it will work, but hey, it's like an adventure into the unknown for me, and therefore terribly exciting!

A great read for sci-fi fans, Vostok does require a suspension of disbelief.  I forgot to flip that switch in my mind before beginning to read, so when so when the issues of time vortices and parallel universes came up, it took me a short time to sort out.  Once the lightbulb came on in my head, the story was utterly enthralling.

We find out, alongside Zack, that it was pretty much him against the prehistoric denizens of the deep, because so few of the scientists on the team were really on his team.  And, as frightening as the beasties were (60 feet in length, 4" teeth - YIKES!), some of the humans were flat-out chilling.  The human's lust for money and power in Vostok is far more frightening (to me) than the critters that just wanted to make a quick sandwich out of the Valkyrie submarines.

Zack is faced with a life-altering (no kidding!) choice at the end of the book.  I cheered for his choice.  I think you will, too!



Steve Alten is the New York Times and International bestselling author of fourteen novels, including the MEG series about Carcharodon Megalodon, the 70-foot, 100,000 pound prehistoric cousin of the Great White shark and Domain trilogy, a series about the Mayan Calendar’s 2012 doomsday prophecy. His work has been published in over 30 countries and is being used in thousands of middle and high school curriculum as part of Adopt-An-Author, a free teen reading program, which he founded with teachers back in 1999.

Connect with Steve:  Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter



1.  Tell us more about the Adopt-An-Author program?

AAA is a nationwide free reading program for secondary school teachers that has an incredible track record for getting reluctant teen readers to read. I started the program back in 1999 when I became inundated with email from teens who said they hated to read… until they read MEG, my first novel. Teachers also started emailing me, telling me they were using MEG in the classrooms. I organized the non-profit to support the teachers with free curriculum materials, tests, quizzes, posters – and direct contact between the authors and students via email and in-class speaker phone calls. We began with 8 teachers and have now registered over 10,000! Teachers can register at

2.  How does the creature stay alive in Vostok for so long?

Well, there is a whole food chain down there, fed by geothermal vents and oxygen from the ice ceiling.

3.  Do the scientists suffer pressure problems so far beneath the ice cap?

Yes and no. The pressure is enormous, so they must remain in their tiny sub, but there is a magnetic anomaly that compensates in one region of Vostok.

4.  From where did the idea come to do a crossover with one of your other novels?

I decided it might be fun to introduce the protagonist from MEG to the protagonist in The LOCH since they share similar experiences but approach things in different ways.

5.  Who are your writing idols?

Idols is a bit strong. I deeply respect Crichton, Benchley, Anne Rice, Bram Stoker, Ian Fleming, and many contemporaries.

6.  "Dog Training the American Male" seems to be quite a departure from your other work.  Where did that come from?

It was a brainchild that I wrote originally as a script, then needed something to lighten my mood after my father passed away back in 2012. So I novelized the script. The pen name, L.A. Knight  honors my dad, Lawrence Alten, our Knight in shining armor. The novel is laugh-out-loud funny.

7.  Why do you think your work has such a wide appeal in the military?  (Very cool page on your website, BTW)

I think my novels help our guys and gals in the Armed Forces get away from their realities for a few hours each day. These are really special people and I am humbled by them reading my work.

8.  What differences go into writing for film vs writing novels?

Scripts require a lot of exposition in each line of dialogue, with one page equating to a minute of film. It also requires a certain abbreviated style. Novels are more fleshed out.

9.  What should readers know about you as an author?

That my books are page-turners; you can open any Alten novel to a random page, start reading, and become engrossed.

10.  What would you like readers to take away from Vostok?

A great time, and some thought-provoking issues to ponder.



This is for one of 50 print copies, open internationally!  (How COOL is THAT?!?!?!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Click the logo to go to the tour schedule, where you can find more reviews, interviews, etc, and chances to enter the giveaway!

(Disclosure:  I received a print copy of this book from the author and publisher in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.)


  1. A fascinating and intriguing novel which sounds enthralling and compelling. Thanks. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  2. Thanks, traveler! It was kind of hard to put down! Good luck with the giveaway!

  3. Such a great cover & a helpful review.

  4. I'm so glad you reviewed this book LuAnn! I think my husband and I would both enjoy this novel. Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy! :-)

    1. You're welcome, Ramona. I've got a couple of family members lined up to read my copy. :O)

  5. I would love to win a copy of this book because after reading your review and the author interview I looked up more about the series and wow- so many great things being said all over the place. Thanks for the chance to win a copy. I really like the organization that Steve started- it sounds awesome.

    1. I so agree, Jess. I can't wait to start reading his other works!

  6. I actually love science-fiction as a genre, and this one having a prehistoric element to it as well sounds so cool! Throw in a lovely cover like that one and you have me hooked.