IceStationIce Station was the first Matthew Reilly book I ever read. My brother got given the book for Christmas one year and, after he’d finished reading it and was well into Reilly’s other publications, I was scratching around the house looking for something new to read. I wasn’t in the mood to re-read something I’d already read, and my brother’s suggestion was Ice Station.

I’ve read the book five or six times since I first read it, and every time I delve into it again, it is just as good, if not better, than the first time I read it. What I absolutely loved about this book was that here was this Australian author writing about American marines. Shane “Scarecrow” Schofield and his team are sent to Wilkes Ice Station in Antarctica to secure a discovery made by a team of scientists there, only to find they’ve been set up, and the expedition turns to hell. I loved that this Australian author had the determination to write about Americans, and to do it so convincingly that the Americans love him too.

Ice Station is so jam-packed with action, that reading the novel is like stepping onto a rollercoaster which won’t let you off until there is no more track left and you’re suddenly left airborne, wishing there was more. It is hard for me to pinpoint exactly what it is I love so much about Ice Station– whether it is because it was the first time I’d read a book that was anything like it (and I certainly haven’t come across anything else like it since), whether it was because this Australian writer had written outside the mould of writing about Australia, whether it was the first time I’d read about the world of Marines, which Reilly writes so realistically, and makes that world seem so plausible, or whether the book was set in Antarctica and I’d never read much about Antarctica before. It must be a combination of all these things, together with Reilly’s fast-paced writing, that really makes Ice Station stand out. And despite the wonderful novels Reilly’s written since then, and despite the fact I always eagerly anticipate his next book, none have managed to become my new favourite, although Hover Car Racer and Scarecrow and the Army of Thieves both came notoriously close.

Perhaps it is simply because Ice Station was my first introduction to Matthew Reilly; the book which made me eagerly await each new Reilly novel.

Pan Macmillan Australia, 1998

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