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Subterranean

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3.99 of 5 stars 3.99  ·  rating details  ·  14,157 ratings  ·  446 reviews
Beneath the ice at the bottom of the Earth is a magnificent subterranean labyrinth, a place of breathtaking wonders—and terrors beyond imagining. A team of specialists led by archaeologist Ashley Carter has been hand-picked to explore this secret place and to uncover the riches it holds. But they are not the first to venture here—and those they follow did not return. There ...more
Hardcover, 422 pages
Published March 9th 2010 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published January 1st 1999)
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Community Reviews

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Kasia S.
More like Fraggle Rock than a serious adventure book

I’m a big fan of Rollins, when the guy is good he is very good and the entertainment is grand, sadly for me this was not the case but reading the 1-3 star reviews was comforting ( and hilarious) enough to know that I’m not crazy and that this book was a dud to many other readers as well. Subterranean is one of his first early efforts and it has a shape of a story but personally I found it lackluster, confused and not very well planned out. The
...more
Pam (E.P. Scott)
Subterranean is James Rollins first novel and it's no surprise why he has such a lucrative writing career.

Fun! Adventurous! Exciting! Romantic!

Our main character, Ashley, is asked to join a team of international experts to explore a deep cavern under the ice of the Antarctic. Joining her are Ben, an Australian caver, Linda, a biologist and Khalid, a geologist. Coming along for the ride is her son Jason. To protect them from, well no one actually tells them what, is a highly trained team of Navy
...more
Jaycubed


Subterranean is an uninspired collection of clichés featuring dull, unlikable characters doing foolish things. Rollins is apparently incapable of writing women, mistaking shrill bitchiness for empowered and simpering helplessness for feminine. Ashley, his main character and "empowered" woman, is driven by the phoned-in motivation of motherhood. Her son exists as a character only to be put in danger so that tension can be artificially heightened, despite the fact that if she cared so much about
...more
Gavin
Oh dear, where to start? I could go with witty remarks:

It's Jurassic Park! It's a movie script! It's...SUBTERRANEAN!!!!

Or I could liken it to a children's cartoon, in which case it's basically just Scooby Doo...underground. Fred and Daphne break off from the group and hump like cats while the remaining trio try to outsmart the old innkeeper who's dressed as a cave-trotting velociraptor to scare off the tourists. And he would have gotten away with it too, if it hadn't been for you pesky kids! Sad
...more
Whispers from the Pirate's Ghost Whisper
I can't believe that I didn't review this book. (Sigh) And I call myself a James Rollins fan...

Okay, short review. ... no really, I mean it this time.

Fast paced book. This one wasn't as much the pace as the level of tension and intensity...okay, it was the pace too. The book flew by and left me wanting more. I found the supporting cast to be well done and, for once, I liked all or most of the main characters (including the main villain as a villain). Rollins usually attempts to write strong fem
...more
Adam
What a thrilling, captivating page-turner. Wow, this was a terrific book. A group of scientists led by top archaeologist Ashley Carter are selected to investigate a subterranean labyrinth in Antarctica. Things don't go as planned and the action and excitement never let up. The set up is good, the story is great and the payoff is super. I loved it and am off to pick up my next James Rollins book.
Josh Meares
I made the mistake of asking my dad for a book recommendation and he recommended this. He has pretty terrible taste in books a lot of the time. Subterranean is a suspenseful book in some sense. But every event that happened was like the author making a chess move and every character was a stereotype. You could see the ending of the book from page one. Oh, this person has claustrophobia ... I bet she gets stuck in a tight tunnel and has to overcome her fear. Oh, this lady brought her son ... I wo ...more
Brooke
Subterranean is a solid adventure novel mixed with an archaeological mystery, somewhat similar to Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child's Thunderhead. Parts of it are a little trite (a team member exploring the story's deep caverns has claustrophobia, of course, leading to manufactured moments of suspense that you see coming a mile away), but it's a fun read if you're willing to just go with it. Ultimately, I think the job could have been done in fewer pages; by the last 100, I was skimming here and ...more
Nicole
**Spoiler** Subterranean was the last of James Rollins books that I had not read and I suppose it was a so-so experience. I do love the fast-paced action/adventure that Rollins delivers but I think there was just too much going on in this story. A research team is sent to discover a new environment found underneath the bottom of the world, there they discover the unimaginable…but what they have not been told is that another research team walked through the same passages before them…and disappear ...more
Skyla
So this is by my mum's favourite writer--she has all of his books and frequently tells me about them as she's reading them. When she knew I was looking to read more with an adventure flavour (specifically caves), she gave me some of his.

I expected fun and I got it.

The book's structure is sound, the pacing is quite good. There are some beautiful turns of phrase when it comes to describing the terrain and exploration. Indeed, when the protagonists feel wonder regarding their surroundings and disco
...more
Yona
I'm giving it 4 start, but it was my least favorite Rollin's book. So far there wasn't even one I wasn't crazy about, but the heroine in Subterranean - Ashley drove me crazy almost till the end of the book. I'm used to the military giving the orders, making plans and etc. Here she was leading with no idea about tactics or training or anything, it was even said she shoots better then the trained for years Seals which was just ridiculous...

4 stars, because I liked the end.
Neko
Subterranean was one of the first James Rollins books that I read. I really enjoy suspenseful novels, but have a hard time finding great books. Most of them are either bland or excessively predictable. I am glad to say that Subterranean was a fantastic suspense book.

As is with all of his novels, the descriptions of the environments was beautifully rendered. I could vividly picture the whole scene as it unfolded on the small papers of the novel. The characters have great depth to them without bei
...more
Brian Steele
When an 80-something year old lady brings a bunch of books into my store, many of which catch my eye or are one I've read before, and points to this book and says, "I really liked that," I'm gonna snag it.

Thank you, old lady.

Immediately, I began to draw parallels from Subterranean to Jeff Long's The Descent. However, there's not really much in common between the two. Giant underground cavern systems populated by various creatures - that's it. Long's book is Horror, in my opinion. Rollins has wri
...more
Loren
How to write a best selling thriller: Start by introducing each of your characters and summarize their life history in a single paragraph. Each person should have a stellar resume, while being young and attractive, yet totally down-to-earth. For example, a sexy 26 year-old world-renowned bioengineer who loves beer. Throw in one or two military assholes and an egotistical commander to add conflict to the story. Put your characters together in a bleak, desolate and impossible setting where each on ...more
Owen
I think my favorite part of this trainwreck (after the diamond-softening fungus and the Islamic jihadist who drinks) was Major Michaelson's magical morphing arsenal: every paragraph or so his weapons loadout somehow changes to SOMETHING HE DIDN'T HAVE A MINUTE AGO. Why is a US marine carrying an AK-47? And why on earth would he have sawed the barrel off, thereby ruining the gas tube and making it incapable of firing more than a single shot at a time? And why doesn't he have any 7.62 ammunition f ...more
Zoya Cheboksarova
it was my first James Rollins' book i've read and since then he became one of my favourites ;))) it's a killing mix of thriller, mystery and adventure, stir it carefully and enjoy ;)))
Windy
Deep cave exploration, alternate evolution, and glow in the dark fungus = good weekend read.
Woodwhisperer
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rose
A group of scientists along with military might and the macho Navy SEALS add to this high adventure in the unexplored caves of Antartica. The team is there to learn about a lost civilization and explore the depths but are unaware that a team went 3 months before them only to be lost. They are now looking for the lost team and exploring. It has all the typical personalities set for an adventure, a cholosterophobic biologist, the strong-willed anthrapoligist, an adventure guide for spelunking and ...more
Cherie
I have liked James Rollins books in the past, but this one seemed very juvenile, silly and just not up to his usual standards. I kept thinking that this must have been targeted at a younger audience than he usually writes for. Although many of his novels deal with unusual occurances and supernatural powers, this one just seemed silly. Even the romantic interest in this novel was expressed at almost at a junior high level. If I had never read a James Rollins novel before, I would have no interest ...more
Gordon Sleigh
Well, it was a book. I didn't expect more than pulp, but what a collection of hackneyed tropes and weak 'homages'. The premise is interesting enough for an airport-grade adventure yarn, but the characters are incredibly one dimensional and you can predict all the peril half the book before it happens. Once they started bringing out telepathy and 'destiny' it turned from passable entertaining to an 'Well, I've made it this far, I might as well finish it' grudge-read. Glad it was a Kindle Daily De ...more
Sara
Rollins delivers an action packed thriller guaranteed to make you hesitate before entering any kind cave like structure. I’m a huge Rollins fan and he always delivers a fast paced story with unexpected twists, there’s even a little romance in the mix. I find myself holding my breath during the action scenes because you never know who might die or even lose an arm or leg. Excellent story, kept me guessing until the end. Highly recommend it.
Jennifer Daniel
Started off great then went beserk. I was willing to suspend beleif and accept a strange civilization living under a dormant volcano in Antartica, but when they had marsupial pygmy humaniods being attacked by raptors and deadly fungus it became a little too ridiculous for me. There was also an Army conspiracy, an Egyptian terrrorist, telepathy, a rommance, in general a whole lotta crap going on.
Cynthia
I can always count on action with James Rollins and this book did not let me down. However, just a bit too far fetched. Usually, I read for entertainment but this was a test. I felt the story was dragged out with it's down right stupid accounts just to add another action scene. I would have hit the killer in the head with a rock not leave him sleeping when I'm trying to escape.
Mike
Pretty good. I thought it faded a little towards the end, offering extra action in lieu of actually tying up loose ends. Read Jeff Long's "The Descent" for a much better version of an extremely similar story. That said, this was the first Rollins book I have read and I'm sure I'll now read more.
Anne
A groupo of scientists and soldiers travel into the depths of Antartica to search for a prior team which has been lost. What they find is interesting, but something which I do not believe could happen. But it was a good story with lost of thrills.
Mario
Ewoks undersground being chased by T-rexgators and a sterotypical terrorist. Seriously?
Melbourne on my mind
The idea is a nifty one - lost cave system under an Antarctic volcano turns out to contain a lost civilisation of Not!Humans - but there were numerous parts of the story that just made me want to bang my head against the table. Part of it is, I think, that one of the main characters is Australian. But, having been written by an American author, he's basically a giant ocker stereotype. Add in the fact that he has Indigenous heritage but "Luckily, diluted by generations of European blood, his blig ...more
Adam Wilson
Subterranean by James Rollins gave me one sleepless night, not because it was bad, but because I couldn’t stop reading no matter how close the ringing of my alarm got. This was an excellent novel about cave exploration and discovery. I am only giving it four stars because this has been done bboth before and after this book many times. There is the first team of explorers that goes missing. There is the next team chosen to investigate the caves and then told “the whole story” once it is too late ...more
Melissa
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Rollin advice 22 108 Jul 15, 2014 10:02AM  
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38809
James Rollins is the author of the bestselling Sigma Force series (Sandstorm, Map of Bones, Black Order, The Judas Strain, The Last Oracle, The Doomsday Key, The Devil Colony, Bloodline and The Eye of God); six individual adventure thrillers; the blockbuster movie novelization, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull; Tucker Wayne Series, The Sanguines Series and the Jake Ransom middle ...more
More about James Rollins...
Map of Bones (Sigma Force, #2) Sandstorm (Sigma Force, #1) The Last Oracle (Sigma Force, #5) Black Order (Sigma Force, #3) The Judas Strain (Sigma Force, #4)

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