Chris Angus is joining us today to talk about his novel The Gods of Laki. Here’s the publisher’s description:
From the author of Flypaper comes an adventure about mysterious underground volcanic forces and a savage plot to alter the Earth’s climate.
A race to unveil the secret of Laki, a volcano on the southern shores of Iceland, pits our heroes—a sixteen-year-old Viking girl from the tenth century, a German geologist from World War II, and a former Secret Service agent protecting a female volcanologist—against evil forces with a plan to cause an eruption using explosives, altering the global climate through the release and forcing the price of oil to skyrocket.
Everyone and everything on Laki is in danger, including the possibility of ever unraveling the mysteries of the place, as it faces burial beneath a carpet of lava flows. Caught underground by the fracturing physical breakup of Laki, everyone finds themselves ensnared by Laki itself—an unseen, implacable foe that seems everything but a benign presence. Every move they make appears to be guided and controlled by an intelligence that permeates the netherworld.
Only gradually, through all the conflict between the various factions, does everyone begin to realize that it is Laki itself that has always been in charge.
What’s Chris’s favorite bit?
Part of the serendipity that comes with researching and writing is discovering something you hadn’t expected to find and realizing with a jolt that this bit of knowledge is so fascinating that you are absolutely compelled to incorporate it into your story.
Such was the case in my book THE GODS OF LAKI, set around Iceland’s busy subsurface geology of volcanoes, glaciers, hot thermal waters and subglacial lakes. A race to unveil the secret of the volcano Laki pits our characters against evil forces with a plan to use explosives that will cause an eruption and alter the world’s climate. But much more is going on beneath Laki than anyone suspects. Caught by the fracturing breakup of the volcano, our heroes face an unseen, implacable foe with supernatural power.
The more I read about subglacial lakes, the more fascinated I become, and of course, for a thriller writer, they offer untold bounty. There are many causes of subglacial lakes. Not all are related to volcanic activity. Some may be formed simply from the incredible pressure of the weight of the overlying glaciers, which causes heat that can melt the ice, forming pristine freshwater lakes that may not have been exposed for millions of years. Thus, scientists have a sample of water as it was before humans began to mess with the earth.
There are several hundred known subglacial lakes beneath Antarctica. Lake Vostok is the largest of these. The surface of its waters is some 13,000 feet below the surface of the ice, actually lower than sea level. The lake is 160 miles long by 30 miles wide. Its waters may have been isolated for up to 25 million years and may well contain previously undiscovered life forms.
Did I hear someone say: thriller?
Subglacial eruptions can cause jokulhlaups or great floods of water. The effects of a volcano erupting beneath a glacier can bring about the interplay of forces such as ice, meltwater and molten lava that can have catastrophic results. A subglacial lake that breaks free can cause runoffs equal to a week’s outflow of the Amazon. This all plays into the plot of THE GODS OF LAKI, including the possibility that the isthmus of land that once connected Britain and Europe may have been washed away by the catastrophic release of subglacial waters.
My utter absorption with this phenomenon surprised me. I couldn’t stop thinking about the incredible forces involved. It virtually inserted itself into the story. The choice was not mine. I wanted to know more about it. And now my readers will too.
Chris Angus is the award-winning author of several works of nonfiction and a newspaper columnist. He has published more than four hundred essays, articles, book introductions, columns, and reviews in a wide variety of publications, including The New York Times, the Albany Times-Union, Adirondack Life, American Forests, Wordsworth American Classics, Adirondack Explorer, and many more. He also served for ten years as the book review editor for Adirondac magazine. Angus lives in Canton, New York.