Author Scott Sigler delivers an adventure on par with ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ but with a focus on anthropology instead of archaeology, and with a backdrop of mining instead a race for historic artifacts. Genre-wise the compare/contrast gets a little tricky. ‘Earthcore’ is present-day sci-fi horror, while ‘Raiders’ is… erm… historical… ah…? Your guess is as good as mine. (Historical-science-fantasy? How else does one sum up: “Fire. Lightning. The power of God or something.”) The point I’m trying to make here is that ‘Earthcore’ is every bit as compelling, as fast-paced, and the only thing it lacks is Harrison Ford.
The story begins with three college students exploring a series of caves and develops to feature a cast of characters including a wily old miner, a seemingly heartless businessman, a genuinely heartless genius, a psychopath, two academics, a couple of soldiers, and enough scientists and other minor (but well-rounded) characters to sink a modest battleship. Add to that a little violence, half again as much greed, and a mystery more well-crafted than most books flying under the ‘mystery’ banner… and you’ve got yourself a book you wouldn’t put down if you could hold it in your hands. (You can actually get a hard copy of Earthcore, but it won’t come cheap.) As a free podiobook, it will accompany you throughout whatever your schedule calls for, just make sure you download enough episodes before leaving for the day.
Sigler reads the book himself and does an excellent job separating the dialogue into distinct voices. His overall narration is well above-par, but the character lines are so good it nearly qualifies for radio drama. (I’d almost bet real American dollars that there’s a Sonny McGinnis hidden away in a sound booth somewhere.) You can hear this book at the Podiobooks website or by searching for ‘Earthcore’ at the iTunes store. And, if you listen to the story and like it, making a donation from the Podiobook site is a decent thing to do. (And before anyone asks: yes, it was necessary to put in the IMDB link for ‘Raiders’ – I actually know people who’ve never seen it. Join me in shaking my head… kids today….)