by Michael Crichton
Michael Crichton is one of the most respected writers in his field. Many of his books have become essential reading and a large number have made it to the silver screen. His work is always imaginative and pushes real science to the limited. Sphere is just such a book.
The story is set deep below the South Pacific where a huge vessel has been discovered resting on the ocean floor. A team of specialists is hastily assembled and shipped out in great secrecy. Joining a naval crew the scientists are faced with attempting to solve a perplexing riddle whilst confined in the hostile environment a thousand feel below the ocean surface.
What the crew find inside the vessel reveals more mysteries than they had bargained for. Things begin to take a turn for the worse when a storm forces the surface support ships away, leaving the scientists and their navy crew very much isolated. This is quickly followed by a series of events that leave most of them dead and the survivors fighting for their lives against an unknown and unseen adversary.
Whilst I enjoyed the book, particularly the way it looks at the frailty of the human psyche, it did not hold my attention as much as I had expected.
Like Crichton’s other works, Sphere deals with cutting edge science pitted against human frailties. It has an interesting plot and intriguing characters but it does not have the same vital spark that made the likes of The Andromeda Strain and Congo such compelling reads.