When Navy Corpsman Elliot "Doc" Carlyle is sent on a mission to diffuse a hostage situation and saves the life of a very influential alien species, he is "rewarded" by being sent on a mission to a planet that is half hellish storms and half unforgiving ice. Aptly named Abyss World, the mission is to find out why communications from a research facility have suddenly stopped. They are being hunted by a species called cuttlewhales -native to the planet - and the Grkr - not native but a major threat.
To be succinct, this book is Call of Duty meets Star Trek and I loved every geek fueled minute of it. Sometimes the long biological, geological, sociological, or technological explanations take you out of the story but for me (a HUGE science geek) I found them all fascinating. It does interrupt the story and it's a little jarring to suddenly leap back into the story after several pages of an advanced chemistry lecture but it was really easy to jump right back into the narrative since the mission is just so damn interesting. The marines and the scientists accompanying them are trying to learn about the cuttlewhales and not get killed by them while also trying to learn about the Grkr... And not get killed by them. Neither species seems very good at communication.
You'll have to bear in mind I have not read the first book so I cannot speak to how the story flows from that book to this one but as a stand alone, it shines just fine. You get just enough back story on Elliot and the surrounding characters to understand them and their roles in his life. So, if you like more space marines in your first contact stories, Lenni recommends this book.
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