The Cave (The Wind Cave book 1)
written by Michela Montgomery
published by Post Hill Press, 2015
About the book – from Goodreads: Most students wouldn’t want to spend part of their summer break in a claustrophobic cave deep below the earth’s surface, but for six Stanford students spelunking in one of the longest and deepest caves in North America, may just save their lives. Michela Montgomery’s first book in a trilogy, The Cave (Post Hill Press, April 2015) takes readers on an exhilarating ride of adventure and suspense.
Kate Moore, orphaned at sixteen, has experienced her fair share of loss and loneliness. She left her small town, and the sad memories, behind for bigger and better things when she got early acceptance into Stanford. Now armed with her best friend Ano and her mentor (and crush) Percy, she feels a million miles away from the life she left behind. When summer break comes Kate plans a four-day excursion into The Wind Cave so Percy can do research for his senior thesis.
When the climbers are deep within the cave, a nuclear war rains down outside and the climbers become trapped. The geography of the cave starts to shift and the only way out is to navigate the dark tunnels of the cave to survive. When their leader is injured and things start to get bleak, each member of the group reveals the real reason why they made their descent into the Cave. What started out as a four-day excursion turns into a life-and-death battle for survival.
With the popularity of apocalyptic fiction like Emily St. john Mandel’s Station Eleven, Chang-Rae Lee’s On Such a Full Sea and Lauren van den Berg’s Find Me, The Cave is a gripping and heart-pounding thrill ride of novel.
A sharp black point on the sheer face of the cavern pierced my shoulder. I felt the first drop of dark blood squeeze out and drip down my arm. I bit my lip against the pain and concentrated on clinging to the handholds above my head. After another half hour, my arms became numb from the strain and cold. I began to tremble.
I swallowed hard, trying to force my voice into something strong enough for someone to hear. Anyone. I tipped my face upward, the weight of my wet pack pulling me back toward the blackness. My heart skipped several beats. I adjusted my fingers on the handholds and gripped as tightly as I could.
“Ano! Percy! Anyone!”
Mist turned to droplets of water. I wiped my hand across my forehead and succeeded only in covering my hand with more blood from the cut on my head. I could smell the blood trickling down the sides of my face. Heavy droplets dripped down my legs, soaking my calves and shoes, resting on slick moss that covered the foot-wide ledge. I looked around, suffocated by opaque blackness. Reality sank in, and I allowed fear to take over. I pressed my cheek to the rough cavern wall, tears squeezing from between my eyelids. I leaned against the cold face of the cavern. Carefully, I slipped one hand from the handhold above me.
Cradling my numb arm against my body, I shook my hand to allow blood to flow back through it. I dropped it to my side, hoping that gravity would work to pull the blood back through my hand and fingers. Pain seared through my fingers when I tried to make a fist.
My other arm throbbed, heavy from the burden of clinging to the ledge. I leaned in closer to the rough face of the wall. Resignation filled me. My left arm had given out. Releasing my grip from above, my arm slid down the wall to rest against my hip. Without my hands to anchor me, my feet slid closer to the edge. Shooting pain from my shoulder to my wrist forced the first sob from my chest.
“Ano!” I screamed, even though my head was no longer tipped up, and the only sound that returned was the echo of my own desperation. “Help me,” I whispered, “please don’t let me die this way.”
About the author: Michela Montgomery graduated with her B.A. in Creative Writing from California State University, Long Beach. She lives in Northern California with her two children, a feisty Yorkie and a teacup Chihuahua named Killer. The Cave is her first novel and is the first book in a planned trilogy.