Thursday, 18 October 2012

L.A. Larkin quenches our thirst for knowledge about THIRST

I read L A Larkin's new novel, THIRST, whilst on holiday in the snow, which was the perfect place to read a novel set in Antarctica. But if you're buying this for that lazy summer read by the pool, just throw a few more ice cubes into your drink!

L A Larkin came into Abbey's looking resplendent in a smart red jacket and whilst she worked her way through signing a pile of her book, I asked her a few questions about it.

Can you tell me how you'd describe the story of THIRST?

Well, it's a fast-paced thriller set in Antarctica, with a maverick glaciologist hunted by killers who must survive long enough to stop a global catastrophe.

How did you settle on Antarctica as the place where your thriller would play out?

Antarctica is a great location for a thriller because it is so isolated. It’s easy to ramp up the pressure on the hero. Because the climate is so severe, simply staying alive is a challenge. Antarctica also has positive associations with heroism and courage. But most important of all, the disaster that Luke Searle - the hero - must prevent could only happen in Antarctica.

Yes and you're dealing with some pretty big environmental and political themes here and it's obvious that there has been a large amount of research underlying the story. How did you go about that?

I went to Antarctica on a former Russian oceanographic research vessel to be awoken every morning by the Russian captain barking instructions to his crew through the PA system. It was like waking to find myself in a James Bond story: turbulent seas, glaciers the size of small countries, and abandoned stations eerily left as if the inhabitants would return at any moment. Spending time in Antarctica helped me understand the isolation, the extreme cold and the dangers, such as hidden crevasses and blizzards, and enabled me to describe with authenticity the beautiful and terrifying world that Luke inhabits. I interviewed many people at the Australian Antarctic Division and learned about crevasse rescue, polar survival and polar medicine and also flew to the UK to interview scientists at the British Antarctic Survey who have been to the real Pine Island Glacier.

Your work actually sounds like fantastic fun, although very challenging too. Now, were your characters inspired by anyone in particular?

I wanted my characters to be well-rounded and complex. The hero is far from perfect and I hope that by the end of THIRST the reader at least understands why the adversary does such terrible things. Luke Searle is a reluctant hero who ultimately becomes Antarctica’s champion and his passion for Antarctica was inspired by an Australian I met in Antarctica. To create the Maddie Wildman character, I interviewed one of Australia’s first female station leaders.

I found the villain quite repugnant, all the same. Will there be another Antarctic thriller by L.A. Larkin?

Oh yes. I am working on a second Antarctic thriller and have planned the third.

And how do you feel about THIRST being described by James Phelan as ‘The best Antarctic thriller since Ice Station’?


Thanks for coming in to Abbey's to sign some of the first copies and tell us about THIRST.

My pleasure.

(smiles and group hugs)

Craig Kirchner


Abbey's Bookseller Review

THIRST is the perfect book for those wet days when you don't want to go outside; or for when you don't want to talk to the stranger beside you on your long distance flight; or just any occasion when you want to immerse yourself in something slightly implausible but nonetheless guiltily enjoyable!

Luke Searle is a glaciologist overwintering again on the Australian Antarctic base at Hope Station. Two team members die in what seems a tragic accident, until the base is deliberately sabotaged and Luke and his station leader, Maddie Wildman, are the only survivors. Meanwhile, a corrupt Chinese general and his son are about to blow up one of the glaciers in order to transport ice to China, where fresh water is in desperately short supply. 

And a Chinese tailor is murdered in Sydney: how does this all tie in? Alternating points of view give the narrative a great deal of pace, as the clock ticks down to the crucial time, and the goodies race the baddies to the end - as does the reader! Does have a bit of an environmental message, but that takes a distant second place to the entertainment factor, so give THIRST to any reader who just wants to lose themselves in an exciting but undemanding read!

Lindy Jones

You can find THIRST by L A Larkin at or at 131 York Street Sydney.