The Trench (novel)
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|Media type||Print (paperback and hardback) and Audiobook|
|Pages||432 pp (paperback)|
|Preceded by||Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror|
|Followed by||Meg: Primal Waters|
The Trench (known digitally as The Trench: Meg 2) is a 1999 science fiction horror novel by author Steve Alten, the sequel to Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror and the second book in the MEG series. The book continues the adventure of Jonas Taylor, a paleobiologist studying the megalodon, who now discovers another prehistoric monster, the Kronosaurus, also thought to have been extinct. A sequel titled Meg: Primal Waters was released in 2004.
Jonas Taylor, a paleontologist and former diver, knows what horrors lie deep within the Mariana Trench. He continues to have nightmares about his encounter with the megalodon, an ancient shark that was thought to be extinct and murdered his ex-wife, as well as several others close to him. Now four years later, Taylor works for his good friend, Masao Tanaka, at his institute, along with his current wife, Terry Tanaka-Taylor, the daughter of Masao Tanaka. Together, they have continued to study the offspring of the megalodon they killed, a female named Angel who has grown to be much larger than her mother.
Things are not going well for the institute after it comes under new ownership by a man named Benedict Singer. Singer hopes to profit off of Angel and opens the aquarium to the public against Tanaka and Taylor's wishes. They know that Angel is unpredictable and tourist activity could set her off on a rampage.
Late one night, three young boys sneak into the institute with the hopes of catching a glimpse of the prehistoric shark. While in the underwater observation deck, the teens torment and aggravate Angel, who bursts through the viewing glass. The teens struggle to swim for their lives, but Angel attacks and kills one while the other two drown after becoming cornered in the underwater area.
The commotion from the attack alerts Taylor that something is wrong. He radios his good friend, Mac, who also works on the institute's grounds and together they go to investigate. When they find the carnage, Taylor and Mac jump into the tank in order to survey the damage. While submerged, they are attacked by a flurry of male great white sharks, who have become attracted to Angel because she is ready to mate. Mac notices too late that Angel's tank is badly damaged. The shark rams the gates to her tank and breaks free.
Mac quickly grabs a nearby tagging gun and is able to shoot a tag into Angel before she disappears. Realizing Taylor is badly injured, Mac pulls him from the tank and rushes him to the hospital with Terry. In the days following Angel's escape, Tanaka grows increasingly weary. Afraid for another massacre in the future, Tanaka realizes they must recapture Angel as soon as possible. Taylor knows she will head back to the trench by instinct, but now that she has tasted human blood, she will also seek that out as a food source.
Over the next week, Angel sightings crop up as she destroys a ship, kills surfers, and kills a whale named Tootie that was released by Sea World back into the wild. As the body count continues to climb, Taylor teams up with a scientist named Michael Maren, whose ego is bigger than his career. Unknown to Taylor, Maren is working with Singer's assistant, Celeste, who is determined to find the Mariana Trench before them. Celeste tries to coerce Taylor into revealing the location of the Trench, but Taylor refuses, knowing that if Angel were to get into the hands of Singer, it would be a disaster. Taylor, Maren and Tanaka attempt to capture Angel, but fail due to her size and speed. After tracking her path and predicted trajectory, Taylor concludes she is heading at full speed to the trench.
Back on the mainland, Singer pursues Terry and manipulates her onto his deep sea research station to format and study sonar records to determine what happened to one of the station's research vessels. While there, Terry realizes the station has uncovered a new marine predator thought to be extinct, known as the Kronosaur. While it was said this species was a solitary hunter, Kronosaurs had evolved to hunt in packs due to being trapped in the trench. Terry realizes the operation is dangerous and is almost killed by the station's crew, but is able to escape in a lifeboat submarine while the crew is torn apart by the raging Kronosaurs.
Meanwhile, still in his pursuit of Angel, Taylor receives word of Terry being caught up in the secret operation at the deep sea research station. Determined to save her and end his obsession with megalodons once and for all, Taylor heads to the research station to confront Singer and Celeste, who fled days prior after discovering the trench's location. After boarding the station, Taylor is shocked at the Kronosaur discovery, realizing that there could be many more extinct marine life living in the trench.
Confronting Singer, it comes to light that he had discovered a gas within the rocks of the trench that could be used in fusion to make him more money than ever. Their digging uncovered the Kronosaurs that were living deep in the trenches. The station is attacked by the Kronosaurs as Angel arrives in the trench. Singer is killed by one of the Kronosaurs while Celeste escapes in a submersible. Angel destroys the sub and devours Celeste.
Taylor reunites with Terry, who returned to the station after her escape, and together they head to the surface. On their way, they are attacked by another Kronosaur, but Angel attacks the beast, allowing Taylor and Terry to escape. As they reach the surface, Terry and Jonas watch in awe and horror as Angel gives birth to two babies. The new family disappears deep into the trenches.
Jonas knows the future looks grim with more megalodons are introduced in the ecosystem, as they could be a real environmental disaster. Terry assures him this is a new dawn for science, but Taylor expresses his hope to have a normal life away from the horrors of the deep.