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The maw : a novel
2018
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Summary
Winner of the 2018 Clive Cussler Grandmaster Adventure Writer's Competition

2019 Oregon Book Awards Finalist

For fans of Clive Cussler and Michael Crichton, a thrilling tale of an underground expedition to the deep . . . and the ultimate struggle for survival.

Milo Luttrell never expected to step inside the mouth of an ancient cave in rural Tanzania. After all, he's a historian--not an archaeologist. Summoned under the guise of a mysterious life-changing opportunity, Milo suddenly finds himself in the midst of an expedition into the largest underground system in Africa, helmed by a brash billionaire-turned-exploration guru and his elite team of cavers. It's a once-in-a-lifetime chance to finally solve a century-old disappearance of the famed explorer Lord Riley DeWar, an enigmatic figure who both made--and nearly ruined--Milo's fledgling career.

Determined to make the most of his second chance, Milo joins the team and begins a harrowing descent into one of Earth's last secrets: a dangerous, pitch-black realm of twisting passages and ancient fossils nearly two thousand feet underground. But when a storm hits the surface base camp, stranding the cavers and washing away supplies, all communication to the outside world is lost. As the remaining resources dwindle and members of the team begin to exhibit strange and terrifying abilities, Milo must brave the encroaching darkness to unearth the truth behind DeWar's fascination with the deep--and why he never left.
Trade Reviews
Booklist Review
Historian Milo Luttrell gets the chance of a lifetime: to repair his seriously broken professional reputation by joining an expedition to find out what really happened to an explorer who vanished a century ago (and whose remains Milo previously identified erroneously). However, Milo doesn't bargain on following a bunch of adventurers deep under the earth's surface, nor does he expect to be fighting for his life. This effective thriller written by a man who has done a fair bit of dangerous exploring of his own is claustrophobic and shocking and suspenseful. Too often in books like this, an author will give us thinly drawn characters, relying on a compelling, high-concept story to hold our interest, but, instead, Zajonc has built a cast of characters who feel solid and anchored in reality. And that's an especially good thing in a novel that combines elements of fantasy with an adventure thriller. A top-notch genre-blender.--Pitt, David Copyright 2018 Booklist
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