Kat Delaney is a world class caver and microbiologist. While investigating one of the deepest caves on Earth, she, along with her team of fellow cavers and scientists, becomes trapped. Far below ruins of a Mayan city, they struggle to escape a mysterious cavern, reputedly cursed and haunted by The Lords of Death. Kat’s husband, Mark, a doctor and pioneer of nanotechnology with a deep-rooted fear of caves, must try to rescue her. He enlists the help of a Mayan guide, with, as he will learn, revolutionary tendencies.
Kat must trust her team to keep it together, even though they’re unravelling, and something as threatening as the Lords of Death lurks within the cave. Mark must trust a guide who is blatantly untrustworthy, or Kat will die. Will they escape? Will science be their solution or simply an affirmation of their sentence, and in the end, will the Lords of Death win?
Reprinted in part by permission of Alejandro Bustos
With its fast-paced action and rich scientific details, this thriller is a pleasure to read. In particular, I enjoyed the fascinating references to biology, caving, microsurgery, revolutionary politics and Maya culture, which were interspersed among a healthy dose of exhilarating adventure.
“(The novel) was based on research,” Jackson tells me in a phone interview, when I asked how she came up with the plot. “I have been to Mexico, but (the idea) came from a National Geographic article about the race to the deepest caves in the world.”
Her other scientific ideas, like surgery performed by a nano-sized submarine, or bacteria with special healing powers, were also derived from her extensive research. Jackson’s reading clearly paid off, as her detailed descriptions bring the caving experience to life.
In many parts of the book, I could feel the fear of the trapped characters as they struggled through narrow tunnels, avoided deadly bacteria, and crumpled to the ground in exhaustion from the immense physical challenge posed by the cave....
Looking forward, Jackson is planning on releasing another novel for young adults. “My next project is with the editor and is called Mosaic,” she says. “It’s a ghost-pirate story.”
If the writing is anywhere near as good as Sinkhole, it will be a book that will definitely be worth reading.
Alejandro Bustos, Apt613
Sinkhole begins as a parallel story of a couple that has separated but need to come together again as the result of incredible circumstances. Deborah Jackson has created Kat and Mark, a wife and husband who drifted apart, and a supporting cast of characters, each with his or her own goals and demons. Kat leads an expedition into the deepest known cave system in order to locate microorganisms with potentially healing capabilities. Kat, along with an archaeologist, another scientist, and a caving enthusiast who happens to be in love with her, plumb the depths of a sinkhole that was used by the ancient Maya as a ceremonial pool for human sacrifices. Further into the depths of the earth, they come face to face with hidden treasure –- a Mayan king’s burial chamber but also the source of a deadly pathogen. Mark, in an effort to rescue his wife Kat, confronts his phobia of caves and enlists the aid of a guide who has other, sinister reasons for reaching the site and returning to the surface.
Deborah Jackson explores a variety of human weaknesses and strengths as she leads her characters through the sinkhole and beyond in their quest for fame, fortune, and a miracle cure for disease. Sinkhole not only features a place where the action occurs but also represents the depths of the participants’ feelings, and an overall loss of humanity on the part of one of the characters. The meaning of love, life, and loss are explored as these explorers fight for their lives amidst amazing discoveries, deep in the earth where no one had been for over a thousand years.
Melinda Hills, Readers' Favorite