La Palma
by Raylin Timothy

"There, right where that little piece of clear land is. My house was only a few hundred yards away. Now it’s buried under a hundred feet of lava, pumice, and ash."

There are strange goings-on in the skies and under the earth on an island in the Canaries just off Spain. What begins as minor tremors continue to grow in both number and intensity. Soon, professionals in the area are concerned enough to call in heavy-hitting scientists. One of those called is a foremost geologist and volcanologist currently living the sweet life in a high-rise condo in Miami. But when a fellow earth analyst and old friend asks for help, Dr. Tanner is soon on his way.

Once there, the ex-Oxford and MIT graduate makes connections with a team of scientists, many of whom have previously worked together. Yet none of them have seen the multiplicity of dire warnings projected by events not only in the Canary Islands but also on Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Soon the group is running all sorts of different seismic analysis techniques, computer projections, and on-site cave and volcano explorations, which are all telling them the same thing: massive upheavals in the earth and under the seas are coming—cataclysms of potentially biblical proportion.

Author Timothy fills this story with extensive detail and does a first-rate job of educating readers. With all the attention to science, however, the narrative doesn't lose sight of the very human elements of the tale. Never far from describing impending environmental catastrophes, the author also takes time to dramatize the characters' interactions, which run the gamut from friendship and fun to danger and tragedy. There is a book within a book to this novel that sees no fundamental incongruity between allegiance to accepted science and commitment to a personal belief in God, which makes its beginning, middle, end, and what-comes-next, even more interesting.

Return to USR Home