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The Ice Limit Summary & Study Guide

Lincoln Child
This Study Guide consists of approximately 37 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Ice Limit.
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The Ice Limit Summary & Study Guide Description

The Ice Limit Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion and a Free Quiz on The Ice Limit by Lincoln Child.

The Ice Limit is the sixth collaboration between writers Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. In this novel, a meteorite of unknown proportions is discovered on an isolated island in Cape Horn off the coast of Chile. This meteorite is reported to be the largest meteorite ever discovered. Palmer Lloyd, a billionaire who has just begun building a new museum to rival the likes of the New York Museum of Natural History, wants to make the meteorite the centerpiece of his museum. Lloyd hires an engineering firm known for its extreme success rate to recover this meteorite for him. However, no one has ever attempted to move an object this heavy before, and the more the recovery team learn about the meteorite, the more they discover they do not know. The Ice Limit is a novel of scientific discovery and suspense that will leave the reader glued to the page until the final, shocking word.

Nestor Masangkay has found the ultimate meteorite. Unable to believe his own scientific readings, Masangkay begins digging so that he might take a look at the object himself. When he touches it, however, Masangkay suddenly and mysteriously is thrown from the object and killed. A local Indian happens upon Masangkay's body and takes his belongings to sell at Port William. At the same time, multi-billionaire Palmer Lloyd has just bought a set of rare skeletons for the new museum he is building on the Hudson River Valley in New York.

Lloyd's employee buys Masangkay's journal and immediately brings it to his boss, who becomes excited at the idea of owning the meteorite Masangkay describes in the journal. Lloyd hires Masangkay's ex-partner to work with a team that will be sent to recover the meteorite. Lloyd also employs EES, Effective Engineering Solutions, Inc, to recover the object. Eli Glinn, head of EES, has never taken on a project he did not confidentially believe he could successfully conclude; therefore he takes on this recovery with every detail accounted for and every possible obstacle solved.

The recovery mission members board the Rolvaag and quickly makes their way to the Isla Desolacion, where the meteorite is located. Unfortunately, their appearances arouses the attention of a rogue Chilean Naval officer who follows them to the island, convinced they are mining gold and stealing it from his beloved Chile. As the team begins to uncover the meteorite, the rogue officer, Vallenar, begins an investigation of his own.

The recovery team uncovers the top of the meteorite and is shocked to discover it is red. No alloy on earth is red. The shocks continue when the team discovers the meteorite is half the size they expected it to be, but far heavier. In fact, the object is so dense that when they attempt to lift it with jacks, there is a failure in one section of the jack placements. Rochefort, the chief engineer, goes into the tunnels to release the hydraulic fluid in order to lower the jacks, but this act causes a shift in the meteorite, and Rochefort is killed along with his assistant.

Despite the setback of Rochefort's death, the recovery mission continues and the meteorite is removed from the tunnels. At the same time, Vallenar sends his son Timmer, an officer on his ship, to investigate the actions of the American miners. Timmer finds the meteorite and touches it, causing the meteorite to emit a huge amount of energy that causes Timmer to be blown apart and all the electrical equipment on the island to malfunction. When Glinn realizes who Timmer was, he goes to Vallenar's ship and pretends that he is alive and well, locked up in the brig of the Rolvaag, a lie that is designed to keep Vallenar from attacking the Rolvaag until they are prepared to leave.

The meteorite is carefully placed in the cargo hold of the Rolvaag and the ship begins its journey back to New Jersey. Vallenar takes their move as confirmation that his son is dead. Vallenar gives chase. However, Glinn foresaw this action and had his men set explosive charges on Vallenar's boat's propellers. The propellers explode and leave the Almirante Ramirez dead in the water. Glinn did not foresee, however, that Vallenar had a spare propeller on board and is able to repair the ship, although at great cost to several of his men.

The Rolvaag makes it across the line marking international waters and believes itself to be free of interference from Vallenar. However, in a rage over his son's death, Vallenar follows the Rolvaag even though it will mean the end of his career. When one of his officers protests, Vallenar kills him. When Glinn realizes that Vallenar is following them, he makes the connection and realizes Timmer was Vallenar's son, but this information does little to help him.

As Glinn and Captain Britton try to figure out how to deal with Vallenar, Garza takes a group of men into the cargo hold to weld the meteorite in place. As they are finishing up, the ship takes a large wave and suddenly the meteorite discharges an electrical pulse. All the men except Garza are killed. McFarlane and Amira try to figure out what it is that keeps setting the meteorite off. Eventually they realize that the meteorite discharges electricity whenever it is in contact with salt. They take precautions against water reaching the meteorite before they can reach dry ground. However, there is little than can do about the damage caused to the cradle holding the meteorite.

Glinn instructs Captain Britton to take the Rolvaag to the Ice Limit, the area where the Pacific Ocean meets the Antarctic Ocean, known to have large masses of ice. Once they arrive, Vallenar catches up with them. Vallenar hits the Rolvaag with several missiles, causing catastrophic damage to the engine. The Rolvaag manages to hide behind an ice island. The Almirante Ramirez follows and prepares to fire on the Rolvaag. However, Glinn's men set off an explosion that causes a large piece of ice to fall near the Almirante Ramirez, sinking it.

The Rolvaag is now dead in the water and at the mercy of a terrible storm in the Ice Limit. A call for help offers little support because the rescue vehicles cannot fly or sail until the storm abates. Captain Britton becomes aware that the motion of the meteorite, which has become lose in its cradle, is causing the ship to pull apart each time it is hit by a wave. Britton demands that Glinn trigger the dead man switch and is supported by both Lloyd and McFarlane. However, Glinn refuses. While the other people on the ship flee to the lifeboats, Glinn goes to the hold and tries to steady the meteorite. Britton follows in hopes of talking him into abandoning ship. Unfortunately, before Britton can break through to Glinn, the meteorite breaks through the side of the ship and it sinks.

McFarlane, Amira, and the other survivors take refuge on an ice island and begin to suffer hypothermia. McFarlane tries to keep Amira awake, but she passes away from the extreme cold. Rescue arrives and takes the few survivors from the island, including Lloyd, McFarlane, and the chief officer, Howell. A few days later, McFarlane visits Lloyd and tells him the meteorite was not a meteorite after all, but a seed of some kind that is beginning to sprout in its ocean grave.

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