Tomes of Starhopping

Welcome to the land of wonders, where time travel is possible, space travel a reality, and "what ifs" come to life. Join me as I explore new worlds--and old ones--filled with scientific wonders, new civilizations, and strange new mysteries to consider.

W A R N I N G !

This review does not represent the opinions of the general public. It reflects my personal thoughts and opinions on the book.

That said, on to the review!

Title: Beast
Author: Peter Benchley
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Format: Paperback
Copyright Date: 1991

Something lurks deep beneath the sea, something few know about and fewer have ever seen. It is Architeuthis dux, the oceanic giant squid, and it floats silently through the vast depths searching for once plentiful food to satiate its tremendous hunger. Prey is no longer available, however, and the drive for survival sends it in search of what it can but doesn't usually eat. The balance of nature is askew, and what little the Beast finds is quickly devoured. It is a stroke of bad luck--for them--that a sailing couple becomes the monstrous squid's first taste of human flesh. Add to that eight powerful arms, two mighty whips, a rock-hard beak and sheer power and you have a nightmare waiting to happen.

The people living in Bermuda struggle to make ends meet, for they are an ocean-dependent people. Whip Darling, owner of the Privateer and a former fisherman, is barely beyond bankruptcy and poverty and taking any odd jobs he can to provide for himself and his wife. The arrival and appearance of the giant squid in the vicinity only adds to the situation. Whip refuses when the vengeance-seeking father of two victims offers money--a great deal of money--to hire his boat and his services. Whip would as soon avoid the sea altogether, thinking that hunting the squid is a fool's errand, foolish and suicidal. He can maintain his stance until the businessman buys the mortgage on his house and threatens to forclose. Now, faced with the loss of his family, Whip has no choice against businessman's proposition.

The basic premise is scary enough, but no one knows a whole lot about the squid. What does it look like? How intelligent is it? Will it ever just go away? The in-depth information about resource depletion, historic references, and submerged shipwrecks is not overwhelming, because it all has a chilling, in-your-face relevancy to the story. If Jaws terrified you, be ready for another month of sleepless nights, because this time the danger has eight arms--eight long arms--with which to reach over the sides of boats.

Peter Benchley does it again. However, where Jaws made the great white shark a monster to be killed at every opportunity, Beast makes the giant squid into a monster to be killed at every opportunity that is changing because of the circumstances imposed on it. It is a victim of human faults and just the weapon to set things right. Benchley demonstrates considerable environmental awareness as he sends this titanic creature against the human race.

Rating: Thumbs up! If you love a story about the deep sea and its mysteries, get ready for a fast-paced story of chilling possibility!

B O N U S !
Someone made Beast into a movie. Check out my review of The Beast if you're feeling brave.

Buy this book in paperback or visit the Cosmic Tomes Bazaar for other titles.

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