Meg: Hell's Aquarium
The cover of Hell's Aquarium.
|Publisher||Forge Books (Tor)|
|Followed by||Meg: Night Stalkers|
Meg: Hell's Aquarium is a 2009 science fiction novel by author Steve Alten. It is the sequel to Meg: Primal Waters and the fourth book in the Meg series. The book continues the adventures of Jonas Taylor, a paleontologist studying the Megalodon. The book's trailer contains footage from Sea Monsters: A Walking with Dinosaurs Trilogy and Shark Attack in the Mediterranean.
Scarface (Michael Maren's pet Meg) and Monster, Angel's last surviving offspring from her first litter, are hunting. Scarface becomes enticed by a new prospective meal, a Leedsichthys, but however, while distracted by the new meal, he is attacked and killed by a Liopleurodon.
During one of Angel's escape attempts, a crowd handler is killed and eaten by her. An animal rights group called R.A.W. (Release Animals to the Wild) decides to try to get the Tanaka Institute to free the young females (called Elizabeth, Angelica, Belle, Mary Kate and Ashley), even though the world knows the damage that Angel and her mother did when she escaped many years before. Jonas and Terry want to expand the Institute to separate all of the siblings due to their increased aggression and appetite, but the state won't allow any expansion of the facility. Angelica is soon attacked by one of her siblings while being moved and is killed. Later, R.A.W. gets a hold of the incident on tape and posts it to the internet, rallying support to their cause.
The cousin of the crown prince of Dubai, Fiesal Bin Rashidi, comes to negotiate purchasing Mary Kate and Ashley for a large aquarium in Israel. They also want Jonas to help them catch some prehistoric marine creatures from the Panthalassa, a hidden underground ocean which is all that remains of the primordial ocean of the same name. Michael Maren had discovered it and hinted at its existence shortly before he died in Primal Waters. Rashidi soon notices the talent and knowledge that Jonas' son David possesses during a private showing of Angel and they approach him and offer him a job for the summer. All he has to do is train pilots in how to use the Manta Ray submersibles that the institute uses. He goes off to Dubai while Jonas, Mac, Terry and Dani deal with Angel, Belle and Lizzy.
In Israel, David falls for a girl, Kaylie, who is recruited to pilot a sub for bin Rashidi's mission in Panthalassa. David helps train the crew to use the Manta Ray subs and he helps get Mary Kate and Ashley situated in their new home. One of the young Megalodons dies, but David is able to save the other's life. He gets a preview of what the Dubai aquarium wants — including a Mosasaurus, Ichthyosaurus, Plesiosaur, Leedsichthys, Xiphactinus, Kronosaurus, Liopleurodon, Dunkleosteus and other Prehistoric Sea Monsters. Despite being offered lots of money, he refuses the mission of tracking down the prehistoric marine reptiles. Back at the Institute, the pressure is mounting to release the remaining pups. Scientists come in and find out that the Megs have evolved to a state where males are not needed for reproduction anymore, so Angel and the pups either are pregnant now or will be soon. Jonas and Mac have an implant put into Angel's brain which will allow them to control her brain stimuli which ultimately gives them total control of her. Jonas and Terry secretly arrange to release Angel back to the Mariana Trench while the R.A.W. group decides to release Lizzy and Belle by themselves. Lizzy and Belle cause havoc and death with their release and cannot be reined in.
Initially, not on the mission to recover live specimens from Panthalassa, David reluctantly joins the mission in order to keep Kaylie from harm's way and agrees to dive into the subterranean sea to look for the prehistoric creatures that bin Rashidi seeks. Weathering an underwater storm and escaping a pack of Ichthyosaurs which destroys another of the manta-ray submersibles, they discover the wreck of the USS Indianapolis, which had broken through Panthalassa's ceiling. The imposing bulk of the WW-II era cruiser momentarily scares away a pursuing mosasaur, enabling David and Kaylie to reach one of Michael Maren's underwater labs, which is nearby. The docking station is unable to take the strain of the depressurizing and collapses shortly after David and Kaylie are safely inside, effectively trapping them beneath the ocean with limited air and no food. The mosasaur soon arrives and gets crushed under the spherical lab when it rolls on the ocean floor.
Jonas finds out that David is trapped and uses the control they have of Angel to help him save David. While lifting Jonas gets attacked by another mosasaur, but Angel kills it, attracting the attention of the Liopleurodon. Jonas manages to get the lab through Panthalassa but not without problems. Due to their aggressiveness and territoriality, the Liopleurodon and Angel too leave Panthalassa and angrily fight over territory and Angel's kill.
Both creatures eventually surface and the megalodon is killed by the Liopleurodon who is then netted by bin Rashindi's crew, but not before tragedy strikes the Taylors one more time when the Liopleurodon escapes its trappings and engulfs both the dead mosasaur and Kaylie alive, leaving David traumatized.
Sometime later, David hints at his plans to return to Panthalassa, possibly for vengeance, during a psychiatric session. Meanwhile, Belle and Lizzy continue to terrorize the oceans.
Prehistoric animals featured
- Sea Scorpion (possibly Pterygotus)
- Giant Vampire Squid
- Shonisaurus sikanniensis (described as a species of Ichthyosaurus)
- Halisaurus (misspelled as halosaur)
- Unidentified plesiosaur
- Piranha-like Angler Fish
Other articles of the topic Novels : Domenic Stansberry, Rasputin (Card novel), Crafthalls of Pern, Idiots in the Machine, List of spacecraft in the Culture series, House Corrino, Factions in Revelation Space
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- Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror
- The Trench
- Meg: Primal Waters
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