Spire by Fiona Snyckers
Clockwork Books: 3/23/17
eBook review copy; 262 pages
Spire by Fiona Snyckers is a recommended thriller set in Antarctica.
Dr. Caroline Burchell is a surgeon and virologist who has been chosen to
join the team of SPIRE and spend the winter in Antarctica doing
research. SPIRE stands for the South Pole International Research
Establishment. Caroline has brought vials of cryogenically frozen
viruses that she plans to study over the 8-9 months she will be there.
Before she can even begin her research though, the whole team there is
coming down with a wide ranging number of diseases that are represented
in her vials. The only problem is that the seals on her vials are all
still intact which means someone else has brought the same deadly
diseases to the station and released them. Soon Caroline is the only
survivor with no hope of rescue in sight; however soon mysterious
occurrences in the station make her suspect that there may be another
survivor hiding from her.
The set up to Spire is intriguing as I am always up for
virus-outbreak stories. Then it changed into potentially an exciting
lone-woman-against-the-elements story. For a brief, shining moment I
thought it was going to be sort of a twist on The Martian, or Endurance,
only with a female doctor trapped at an Antarctica research station,
but it soon lost some of its initial momentum and morphed into something
else. The quality of the writing is adequate, no glaring problems and
written in a simple, easy to follow style reminiscent of a YA novel.
Once the story changed, it lost its energy. The viruses were introduced
to eliminate everyone and add a twist that was, quite frankly, not very
believable. Add to this Caroline's finding a cat at the station, and her
ability to use the internet, contact people, including colleagues and
her family, Skype, etc., made the disorienting sense of isolation and
solitude vanish. The horrible sense of isolation and potential for
death, etc., was really only fully utilized during one part of the plot.
FYI, it's also not a very tech-savvy novel for those of you who care
about such things.
Now, it is still an interesting story. It was easy to set all my
misgivings aside and just enjoy the novel as is. Don't expect any great
use of the viruses, though, beyond a plot element to isolate Caroline.
This is an airplane book. It will hold your attention and help pass the
time but you won't worry if you never finish it. Apparently it is a
sequel to the novel Now Following You, but you won't need to read that before Spire.
My review copy was courtesy of Clockwork Books.