A fight for survival on a treacherous mountain, by author Paula Welch
When a small explosive device is found on a private jet from Sydney to Christchurch, the passengers, Henry and Gertrude, are diverted to a commercial airline, carrying 500 passengers. Joining them onboard the Airbus is a police officer named Victoria, dispatched by the Australian Federal Police to travel to Christchurch to interview one of the suspects believed to be responsible for planting the bomb. Also on the flight is Wolf, a hit man sent to finish the job he started on the private jet and kill Henry and Gertrude before they reach their destination.
Just before the flight is due to land in Christchurch, news arrives of an earthquake nearby and the crew are advised to divert the flight to Auckland. Captain Benjamin turns the plane around but inadvertently flies straight through invisible gas vapours, choking the engines and causing them to shut down. The plane descends through the peaks of Mt Walter, Mt Green, and Mt Darwin and crash lands on a snowy mountain top. Many passengers are dead and seriously injured, but rescue attempts are impeded by ongoing seismic activity, and precarious conditions. As the survivors await the arrival of the mountain rescue teams, Captain Benjamin tries to maintain calm and order on the plane. The crew and passengers work together to move the dead and treat the wounded, but one passenger has other ideas. Wolf sees an opportunity to finish his job, and sets out to eliminate his targets.
Cloud Piercer is a fast paced, drama and disaster fiction novel by author Paula Welch. The book brings together an aeroplane disaster, a mountain rescue, and earthquakes, avalanches, and volcanic activity; with several subplots, including a murder mystery; and a romance. Yet, this is a gripping disaster novel that doesn’t take itself too seriously. There is a fair bit of death and tragedy, but there are also wonderful uplifting and comedy moments. The characters - each with a unique backstory – are plentiful, diverse, and well developed. The character Pauline, an eccentric, fictional character (and a parody of the author), is a really nice addition. Overall a thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable read.
Star rating: 5 Stars
Summary: A fast-paced, gripping, drama and disaster novel that doesn’t take itself too seriously.