Author: Steve Alten

Title: Meg

Genre: Adrenaline, Thriller

Publication Date: 1997

Number of Pages: 278

Geographical Setting: Pacific Ocean (Guam, Mariana Trench, Hawaii, Coastal California)

Time Period: Present

Series: Shark series 1

Plot Summary: One-time ace submersible pilot and current crackpot paleontologist, Jonas Taylor is an authority on Carcharodon megalodon.  Jonas’ unpopular theory that the Megalodon (or “Meg”)  never followed its prehistoric ilk into extinction was born from a face-to-face encounter with the beast while on a top secret mission for the Navy– a mission that went horribly awry, killing everyone but Jonas.  Racked with guilt, haunted by memories, betrayed by an adulterous wife, Jonas finds himself back in the pilot’s seat, diving for an old friend.  This favor brings twisted validation to the battered Jonas Taylor:  a live Megalodon.  Released from the Mariana Trench during a salvage mission, Meg ravages the Pacific Ocean.  Professionally redeemed, Jonas must now assume the charge of protecting the ecosystem from this perfect predator.

Subject Headings: Paleontologists, sharks, prehistoric animals, Carcharocles megalodon, Carcharodon megalodon, sea monsters, deep diving, suspense stories—American

Appeal: graphic, cinematic, action oriented, unrelenting, tense, fast paced, pop science

Three terms that best describe the book: rip-roaring, pulpy, outrageous

Similar authors and works:


Equal parts gorgeous coffee-table book and academic text, Discovering Fossil Fishes by John G. Maisey will certainly satisfy curiosities concerning how “Meg” fits in the world of fishes.  Caveat:  although Carcharodon megalodon is mentioned in this work, it is not the focus.

Fans of Meg will recognize the Farallon Island setting of The Devil’s Teeth:  A True Story of Obsession and Survival Among America’s Great White Sharks by Susan Casey, a suspenseful account of pioneering biologists studying shark behavior off the coast of San Francisco.

Descent:  The Heroic Discovery of the Abyss by Bradford Matsen handles the birth of deep-sea exploration in this accessible account of revolutionary adventurers (and depression-era celebrities) Otis Barton and William Beebe.


Surprise!  A prehistoric monster eats your head!  Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park provides another raucous fling that bends the rules of science for thrills.

“Demonrays” rule the sea and the sky in Natural Selection by Dave Freedman.  This terrifying tale of giant rays that have learned to fly bridges the gap between Meg and Jurassic Park.

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne is an essential underwater adventure.


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