Blood and Ice

Blood and Ice

by Robert Masello

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Journalist Michael Wilde—his world recently shattered by tragedy—has come to the South Pole looking for solace and a new lease on life. But what he finds on a routine dive in the polar sea is something else entirely: the bodies of a young man and a young woman, bound with chains and sealed forever in a block of ice. Beside them is an ancient chest filled with a sinister cargo. Wilde’s search to unravel the mystery of this doomed couple will lead from the battlefields of the Crimean War to the unexplored depths of the Antarctic Ocean, where an age-old curse survives to this day. And as the ice around the lovers begins to melt, Wilde will witness what may be a miracle—or a nightmare—in the making.  What is dead, it turns out, is not always gone.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780553906134
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 02/24/2009
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 512
Sales rank: 193,169
File size: 4 MB

About the Author

Robert Masello is an award-winning journalist, a television writer, and the author of many other books, most recently the supernatural thrillers Vigil (which appeared on the USA Today bestseller list) and Bestiary. His articles and essays have appeared often in such publications as the Los Angeles Times, New York Magazine, People, and Parade, and his nonfiction book, Robert’s Rules of Writing, has become a staple in many college classrooms. His produced television credits include such popular shows as Charmed, Sliders, and Early Edition. A longstanding member of the Writers Guild of America, he lives in Santa Monica, California.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Present Day
November 19, noon

the doorbell was ringing, and even though Michael heard it, he did not want to wake up; the dream he was in was too comforting. Kristin was with him, and they were driving in his Jeep on a mountain road. She had her bare feet up on the dashboard, the radio was blasting, and she was laughing, her head held back, her blond hair blowing in the wind from the open window.

The doorbell rang again, a series of short bursts. Whoever it was wasn’t going away.

Michael lifted his head from the pillow—why was there an empty bag of Doritos next to his face?—and glanced at the lighted numerals on the clock—11:59. And then, even as he rubbed his eyes, it flicked over to noon.

The doorbell, again.

Michael threw the blanket back, dropped his feet onto the floor. “Yeah, yeah, hold your horses,” he mumbled. He grabbed a bathrobe off the back of the door and shuffled out of the bedroom. Through the opaque glass in the front door, he could see a shape—somebody in a hooded parka—standing on the stoop. Michael moved closer.

“I can see you, too, Michael. Now open the door—it’s freezing out here.”

It was Joe Gillespie, his editor at Eco-Travel Magazine.

Michael turned the bolt and opened the door. A cold rain spattered against his bare legs as his visitor hustled in. “Remind me to get a job on the Miami Herald next time,” Gillespie said, stamping his feet.

Michael picked a sodden copy of the Tacoma News Tribune from the stoop, then gazed off at the shrouded peaks of the Cascade range in the distance. That was why he’d originally bought the house—for the view. Now it was just an awful reminder. He gave the paper a shake and closed the door.

Gillespie was standing on the threadbare hook rug—the one Kristin had made—with water dripping from his parka. He brushed the hood back, and what was left of his hair fuzzed out around his head.

“You ever check your e-mails anymore?” Gillespie asked. “Or maybe your answering machine?”

“Not if I can help it.”

Gillespie blew out a frustrated sigh and looked around the messy living room. “Jesus, Michael, do you own stock in Domino’s? You ought to.”

Michael did note a couple of pizza boxes, and some empty beer bottles, scattered around the coffee table and stone hearth.

“Get dressed,” Gillespie said. “We’re going to lunch.”

Michael, still barely conscious, just stood there with the wet paper in his hand.

“Come on, I’m paying.”

Michael said, “Give me five,” tossed the paper to Gillespie, and went to get started.

“Take ten,” Gillespie shouted after him. “Throw in a shave and shower.”

Michael took him at his word. In the bathroom, he switched on the space heater—the house was always cold and drafty, and though he often swore to himself that one day he’d do some insulating and basic maintenance, that day never came—and turned on the hot water. It would take a minute or two to get warm. The medicine chest above the sink was open, and half a dozen orange prescription bottles sat on the shelves. He grabbed the one on the bottom shelf—the latest antidepressant the therapist had prescribed—and downed a tablet with a handful of the now-tepid water.

Then, much as he dreaded the prospect, he closed the cabinet and looked at himself in the mirror. His shaggy black hair was even more unruly than ever this morning, curling off his head on one side and mashed down flat on the other. His dark eyes were red-rimmed and cloudy. He hadn’t shaved in a couple of days and he could swear—was this possible?—that even though he had just turned thirty, a couple of the chin whiskers were coming in gray. Time’s winged chariot . . . damn. He slapped a fresh blade into the razor and made a few hasty swipes at his stubble.

After a lukewarm shower, he put on some jeans, a denim work shirt, and the cleanest, driest pair of boots he could find by the front door. Gillespie was sprawled in his worn leather armchair, carefully peeling the pages of the newspaper away from each other. “I took the liberty of raising your blinds and letting in some light. You might try it sometime.”

They drove in Gillespie’s car—a Prius, of course—and went to the same diner they always did. Though there wasn’t much to recommend the place in the way of décor—vinyl booths, linoleum floor, and a pastry carousel with garish white lighting—Michael liked it at the Olympic. It was about as far from a chain restaurant, or God forbid, a Starbucks, as you could get, and it had the added virtue of serving breakfast all day. Michael ordered the lumberjack special, and Gillespie had a Greek salad with a side order of cottage cheese and a cup of herbal tea.

“Whoa, there,” Michael said. “Sure you’re not overdoing it?”

Gillespie smiled while pouring half a packet of Equal into his tea. “What the hell—it’s on the expense account.”

“In that case, I’m having dessert.”

“Good idea,” Gillespie said. “I dare you to order a slice of the lemon meringue.”

It was a running joke between them, that the lemon meringue pie on the top shelf of the carousel had not budged, much less been replaced, in the five years they’d been coming here.

While they ate, Michael couldn’t help but notice that Gillespie had placed a FedEx envelope on the seat next to his thigh. Occasionally, Gillespie would reach down and touch it, just to make sure it was still there. Must be something important, Michael thought, and since it hadn’t been left in the locked car, it was probably something that was going to involve Michael somehow.

They talked about the magazine—a new photo editor had been hired, ad sales were up, the good-looking receptionist had quit—and the Seattle Mariners. Sometimes, Gillespie and Michael went to the games together at the Safeco Stadium. What they didn’t talk about was Kristin—Michael knew that Gillespie was steering clear—and they didn’t talk about the envelope either, until Michael, mopping up his egg yolks with the English muffin, finally broached the subject.

“Okay, I’ll bite,” he said, gesturing with the crust of the muffin. “The suspense is killing me.”

For a second, Gillespie pretended to be uncertain of what he was referring to.

“Is that the layout for my Yellowstone story?”

Gillespie looked down at the envelope, pursing his lips, as if still trying to come to some decision. “No, the Yellowstone story ran last month. Looks like you’re not even reading the magazine anymore.”

Michael felt caught out—especially because it was true. For the past few months, he’d hardly ever read his mail, checked his AOL account, called people back. Everybody understood why, but more and more he felt the world was losing patience.

“This is something I think you should see,” Gillespie said, sliding the envelope across the table.

Michael wiped his fingers on his napkin, then opened the packet and took out the papers inside. There were photos—some of them, in black and white, looked like satellite reconnaissance shots—and a sheaf of papers with the National Science Foundation name and logo on top. Many of them were datelined “Point Adélie.”

“What’s Point Adélie?”

“It’s a research station, and pretty minimal at that. They study everything from climate change to the local biosphere.”

“Where is it?” Michael asked, reaching for his coffee cup.

“The South Pole. Or at least as close to it as you can get. The Adélie penguins migrate there.”

Michael’s coffee cup stopped in the air, and despite himself, he felt a quickening in his blood.

“It took me months to set this up,” Gillespie went on, “and get the necessary clearance. You have no idea the kind of paperwork and red tape you have to go through to get somebody onto the base down there. The NSF makes the CIA look friendly. But now we’ve got it—permission to send one reporter to Point Adélie, for a month. I’m planning on getting an eight-to-ten-page spread out of it—four-color photos, maybe three or four thousand words of text, the whole enchilada.”

Michael sipped the coffee, just to give himself a second to think.

“I’ll save you the trouble of asking,” Gillespie said. “We’re paying the usual rate per word, but I’ll bump you up on the photos. Plus, we’ll cover your expenses, within reason of course.”

Michael still didn’t know what to say, or think. Too many things were tumbling around in his head. He hadn’t worked—he hadn’t even thought about working—since the Cascades disaster, and he wasn’t sure he was ready to take up his old life again. But another part of him was vaguely insulted. The project had been in the works for months, and Gillespie was only now mentioning it to him?

“When do you need it by?” he asked, just to buy some time again.

Gillespie sat back, looking just the littlest bit pleased, like a fisherman who’s felt a tug on the line.

“Well, there’s the catch. We’d need you to leave on Friday.”

“This Friday?”

“Yes. It’s not easy getting down there. You’ll have to fly to Chile—Santiago—then on to Puerto Williams. From there you’ll take a Coast Guard cutter as far as the ice allows, then they’ll chopper you in the rest of the way from there. It’s a very narrow window of opportunity, and the weather can close it at any time. Right now, it’s summer down south, so there should be days when it’s actually well above zero.”

Michael finally had to ask. “Why didn’t you tell me sooner?”

“I knew you weren’t interested in working just now.”

“Who was?”

“Who was what?”

“Come on, Joe. If you’ve been setting this up for months, you must have had somebody else lined up to do it.”

“Crabtree. He was going to do it.”

Crabtree again—the guy was always breathing down Michael’s neck, trying to snag his assignments. “So why isn’t he going?”

Gillespie shrugged. “Root canal.”


“He’s got to have a root canal, and no one’s permitted to go down there unless they’ve got a complete bill of health. Most of all, since there isn’t any dentist on call, you’ve got to have a note from your dentist saying everything’s in perfect working order.”

Michael couldn’t believe his ears. Crabtree had lost the assignment because he had a gum problem?

“So, please,” Gillespie said, leaning forward, “tell me you don’t have any cavities and your fillings are all intact?”

Michael instinctively ran his tongue around the interior of his mouth. “As far as I know.”

“Good. So, that just leaves the main question. What do you think, Michael? Are you ready to get back in harness?”

That was indeed the million-dollar question. If he’d been asked last night, the answer would have been no and don’t call again. But there was something stirring in him, something he could not deny—a flicker of that old excitement. All his life he’d been the first one to accept any challenge, to climb the sheer cliff, to bungee jump from the top of the bridge, to dive for the bottom of the coral reef. And though he’d tamped it down for months, that feeling was welling up in him again. He glanced at the satellite photo on top of the pile—from above, the base looked like a bunch of boxcars, scattered on an icy plain close to a rocky, barren shoreline. It was about as bleak a picture as could be, but it called to him as if it were a beach in Brazil.

Gillespie watched him closely, waiting. A wintry gust blew raindrops against the diner window.

Something started to turn in Michael’s mind. His fingers rested on the grainy photo. He could always say no. He could go back to his place and . . . what? Have another beer? Beat up on himself some more? Throw away some more of his own life, to make up for what had happened to Kristin? (Though how that would make up for anything, even he could not say.)

Or, he could accept. He glanced at the next photo in the pile. This one, taken at ground level, showed a hut, raised on cinder blocks a few feet above the ice. A half dozen seals were lying around it like sunbathers.

“Do we have time for some pie first?” Michael asked, and Gillespie, after smacking the table in triumph with the palm of his hand, signaled for the waitress.

“Lemon meringue,” he called, “all around!”

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Blood and Ice 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 41 reviews.
isislibrarian More than 1 year ago
Get out your credit card or make haste to your nearest library and get this book! It grabs you on the first page and doesn't let loose of you until the end. Where a lot of thrillers with adventure as a key element are written to appeal mainly to a male audience, Masello's thriller will capture just as many women. There's adventure in an exotic and hostile environment, non-stop suspense, supernatural horror, riveting historical fiction, and even some romance. If you enjoyed the movie "The Thing" or the novel "The Ruins" by Scott Smith, or you like novels that take place in the Arctic or Antarctica, you'll love this one.
PhyllisJ More than 1 year ago
Blood and Ice just captured me from the 1st page to the last page. I basically read it in one sitting. What a totally awesome read. Part horror, part supernatural, do yourself a favor and read this book.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In 1856 British 17th Lancers Lieutenant Sinclair Copley and Florence Nightingale's Harley Street Hospital Nurse Eleanor Ames are in love. However, on the 28th of December the pair falls overboard from the HMS Coventry sloop in the icy waters of the Southern Ocean near Antarctica. Neither body is found.

In November of the present in Seattle, writer Michael Wilde needs time away from to escape a tragedy that haunts his sleep since he lost his beloved Kristin who lies in a coma; her residence being that ward of Tacoma General Hospital. Whereas her parents believe she will soon come home; he knows she is no longer there as in his mind her soul moved on. Thus he accepts an assignment from Eco-Travel Magazine to write an article on Point Adelie Research Station in Antarctica. Michael finds two bodies frozen in a block of ice; each chained. Shockingly once the ice is melted, Sinclair and Eleanor are alive.

This excellent paranormal thriller hooks the audience even before the rescue as both the present and past rotate somewhat perspective with each subplot fascinating. The story line is fast-paced and filled with chills; not all from the weather conditions as readers and Michael need to know the facts re the mysterious nineteenth century couple for personal reasons perhaps more than simple curiosity.

Harriet Klausner
Books4Tomorrow More than 1 year ago
Having thoroughly enjoyed reading The Romanov Cross by this author, I was naturally looking forward to reading Blood and Ice. I was not in the least disappointed! While journalist, Michael Wild, is visiting an Antarctic research station in order to heal from a recent personal tragedy, he discovers two bodies frozen into a glacier. However, when the block of ice containing the bodies starts melting, the bodies disappear and what might have been a career making discovery for Michael turns into a nightmare for the entire research base. This captivating page-turner is most certainly going onto my favorite reads of 2014 list. The story of Michael in the present as well as that of Eleanor and Sinclair in the past unfolds methodically, never giving away too much at once, thus inspiring one to just continue reading.    A master of realistic description, Robert Masello makes the reader see the Antarctic with its storms, bleak but interesting landscape, and fascinating marine life in vivid detail. While telling the 19th century part of the tale, he describes Victorian England and the Crimean war with equal skill. The dialogue, especially that of the characters in Victorian England, is realistically adapted for that period. The characters, even the secondary ones, grew on me—not a good idea as some of them naturally have to fall by the way side. Even Sinclair Copley, whose personality became somewhat warped after his Crimean experience, is a likable, well fleshed out character. In the pages of this book you will travel on both 19th century and modern ships, experience life at an Antarctic research base, attend the very first Ascot Gold Cup and relive the fatal charge of the light brigade. Rooted in Turkish folk lore and filled with adventure, mystery and a bit of masterfully written romance, Blood and Ice is a must-read for anybody who loves a well-researched, suspense laden, yet heartwarming, thriller. (Ellen Fritz)
EvilynJ on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
On assignment in Antarctica at a scientific research station, travel writer Michael Wilde makes an unbelievable discovery while on a dive--a man and a woman, chained together, perfectly preserved in glacial ice. Told in alternating chapters of the couple's story in the 1850s and the present day. The suspense builds slowly, but it is still hard to put down. The paranormal/horror element of the story blends into the action so well, you'll believe every word of it. Highly recommend.
vernefan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In 1856 the HM Brig Coventry, tossing in a wild maelstrom is thought to be cursed by two unwanted passengers. When an unusual bottle of wine is found by one of the crew members, the captain is hailed and warned that Mr. and Mrs. Copley are of evil nature. To save the ship from plummeting down to Davy Jones Locker, Sinclair and Eleanor Copley are bound in iron chains and with their sea chest of strange wine bottles, are tossed overboard to drown in icy seas. In present day Antarctica young wilderness photographer Michael Wilde is on location to shoot some underwater photographs for Eco Travel magazine. He has a two month pass to work with researchers and scientists assisting with various projects of weather, wildlife and the natural habit conditions at the South Pole. While diving beneath the polar ice cap with high hopes of stunning photographs, Michael unearths an antique bottle of what appears to be Madeira. Putting the old bottle in his scavenger sack and swimming further, he finds an entire sea chest of them, and nearby, within a sunken iceberg, the haunting face of a beautiful woman. Thinking his oxygen level must be affecting his coherency, he resurfaces topside to inform the crew of what he thinks he saw. Armed with ice cutting equipment and additional oxygen, Michael and another researcher dive again beneath the frigid waters and uncover the find of a lifetime. Two people, a man and a woman, frozen in time, enchained together in a block of ice for centuries. Cutting them free, hauling them above to safety, has the Antarctic team in awe and bewilderment at what they have found. Secrets are kept from the outside world, and decisions are made after careful contemplation on the best way to thaw these icy specters from the past without decomposition. The Victorian lovers are placed in a saltwater bath for what should be a slow and carefully timed melting process. But¿.while Michael and the team patiently wait, and do some lab tests on the wine bottle contents, Sinclair and Eleanor Copley not only defrost, but come¿alive! Robert Masello has penned a phenomenal suspense horror novel that I doubt any reader could contemplate putting down for one minute. His talent to slowly build the tension as he alternates the story from the Victorian past with Sinclair as a soldier in the 17th Lancers Division during the Crimean War, and Eleanor as a nurse working side by side with Florence Nightingale mending wounded soldiers, to the shocking and violent events in the present as the researchers at the South Pole are under attack and fight one nightmarish battle after another. As the famous Charge of the Light Brigade serves up a battlefield of dead and bloodied soldiers, a sinister entity feeds on the flesh and turn Eleanor and Sinclair into thirsty immortals damned for all eternity. Two entwining stories chained together for a future revelation offer up a superb blend of history, romance, science, and horror. The way this story unravels, is not what you may think, it does not follow the usual rule of thumb, and what I really loved was that the author took an age old story we¿ve all read before and spun a really cool new twist that ended in a most unique way. Robert Masello gives us a well written complex plot, wonderful endearing characters fully developed, and a suspenseful horror novel blended with a surprising integration of love and tenderness amidst the horrors of war and amongst the philosophies of what it means to be human. Where the dividing line between man and monster lies, is brilliantly found between the pages of Blood and Ice. I LOVED this book !!!!
pmatson on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The worst book I read in 2009, hands down. I expected to like it, what with the combination of so many interests - vampires, journalism, science, the Crimean War, etc. The writing as prose wasn't too bad, but the plot-anvils and atrocious characterizations made me wish I could burn it to save other library patrons. I could have accepted the main character being guilt-ridden enough to act totally obsessed, but to have ALL the scientists encountered conspiring in a massive coverup (those that weren't dead yet, anyway), including the brilliant one who just wanted to go back to his fissssshhhh, was just unbelievable. I could go on and on, but I don't want to spoil it any more for those less critical than I.
nyiper on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I was disappointed with this lengthy work. The ending was not helpful at all. There was still far too much left unresolved. And most of the emphasis on the "other" woman in his life, and her sister, was just sort of dropped. There was a lot of icy detail which was fairly convincing but there did seem to be a lot of effort spent on going back and forth "between" time periods and on traversing expanses of ice.
Cherylk on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Michael Wilde is a journalist for Eco-Travel magazine. His boss offers him the chance to travel to the ends of the earth or pretty much close to it. He tells Michael that he has set it up where one reporter is being allowed to go to Point Adelie in Antarctica, near the South Pole. This assignment would be to take pictures of the Adelie penguins and write a report on them. Michael knows he can't pass up an opportunity like this, so he agrees to go. While out on a diving expedition, Michael unearths something so horrific that it leaves him speechless. There located in the Antarctic Ocean is a man and a woman. They are frozen in a block of ice but that isn't the usual thing. It just so happens that the couple has been bound together by chains. It is like the ice has preserved them for all ages. Michael knows that he has discovered a gold mine. His only goal now is to figure out what happened, so many centuries ago. The answer to this mystery will blow you away as Michael possess what could be one of the best kept secrets of all times. Let me first start off by saying Wow! I did not expect to enjoy this book as much as I did. At almost five hundred pages this is a good thing. Though as much as I liked Blood and Ice, there was only one little problem that I had and that was when the storyline would switch from the past to the present. I had a little trouble following at first and would have to check to see if I was going back in time before I would start reading. Other then this issue which I would call minor, I had a pleasure reading this book. Towards the middle of the story, it started to get dark. I don't want to give away the ending but let me tell you that it is good. I plan to check out Mr. Masello's other work.
MarciaDavis on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An adventure that spans continents and centuries -- the story ranges from Victorian England to a remote antarctic research station, where journalist Michael Wilde uncovers a shocking discovery that has been trapped in an ancient glacier for nearly two hundred years.
ComaCalm on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is one of those books where the Author has a brilliant idea and then ruins it by writing a half-assed ending. It starts brilliantly by telling you how Sinclair and Eleanor end up in the ice block, then in the next chapter switches to the present day, with Michael as the main character. The book continues to do the switching each chapter so you learn about Sinclair and Eleanor's life in the past, then Michael's life in the present. Then it slows down three quarters of the way through and finishes with a weak ending.I would have given this book 4 stars but every so often Robert Masello launches into extreme detail about the horrible ways animals kill each other and how humans kill animals. There seems to be no need for it either, it was kind of like he just felt like throwing it in the mix. Then he decides to throw in a leg amputation. Why? Guess he felt like it. I will say this is without anaesthetic so if you have a weak stomach it's probably not advisable.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When I read another review claiming this was a vampire story, I didn't know if I would bother finishing it, well I did. This is science fiction and I was reeled in. A good story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is epic! Read it now!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the second Robert Masello novel I've read, and he is now officially one of my favorite authors. A fun, easy read with a hero you can root for. Fast-paced but with enough internal monologue, emotional depth, and description to really draw you in, yet not bog down the story. Interesting characters with great back stories. A blending of science, history and the paranormal -- all the things I love! Highly recommended.... off to buy his backlist!
madmanxxl More than 1 year ago
A kind of Twilight with a science touch. This author usually writes horror though I wouldn't classify this under it due to the romance themes. Nice little read, though too much romance for me
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One Of The Few Book I Enjoyed Reading This Year.
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muddiestbug More than 1 year ago
I should have read more reviews. Was not prepared for this to be a vampire book. It turned out to be fair read but just not my taste.
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bookwormbookreview More than 1 year ago
Blood and Ice by Robert Masello Well there was certainly a lot of ice, but very little blood. Blood and Ice was not terrible, but it was not really great either. It had great potential, but failed to follow through. The book was well written and I may try another book by this author, but I must say this was my first impression and I was not impressed with the complete package. The book offers a familiar story of 2 young lovers torn apart by war, and a second story of a man that has lost his love in a tragic accident. Although it sounds like there would be a lot of angst, there really was not, which is good we all have enough of that from Twilight series. The vampire twist in this one is decent, and again has great potential, but fails to follow through. The characters are well developed, interesting and have what it takes to make a great book, but it falls short of getting there. The story of the ice freed lovers has good grit and movement, but needs a bit more edge. The ending felt a little rushed, and a little to tidy. The author does a good job implementing the timeline changes. The flashbacks and memories are well constructed and fit well into place making it easy to follow. Overall not a bad book.
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