The Last Gasp - Trevor Hoyle - 1983 BCE Crown Publishers Hardback - Michael Booth Cover

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Cover art: Michael Booth

Blurb: “When British marine biologist Gavin Chase stepped out into the windswept wastes at the Halley Bay antarctic research station one morning, the last thing he expected to see was a sled team coming out of nowhere carrying a half-mad, half-frozen Russian scientist babbling an incomprehensible warning. But that warning would threaten the future of the human race and force Chase to make some of the hardest decisions of his life.

Months later, at a Geneva environmental conference, Chase meets Cheryl Detrick, the daughter of Theo Detrick, the grand old man of diatom research. Chase, the Detricks, and Soviet scientist Boris Stanovnik theorize that the oxygen-producing microscopic plants of the world's oceans are dying and the level of atmospheric pollutants has finally exceeded the ability of the planet's ecology to recycle them. There is also good reason to believe that the superpowers are planning to wage a new type of environmental warfare. Sooner or later there will be nothing left to breathe.

So begins a race against the future. Chase and Cheryl, now lovers, struggle to avert ecological catastrophe as agents of the military-industrial complex hunt them down...and as a growing belt of unbreathable gases spreads outward from the equator, uprooting millions. Their enemies are Lloyd Madden,  

an insane military mastermind planning to seed the earth with poison and then repopulate it with a race of mutants, and Joseph Earl Gelstrom, a wealthy chemical manufacturer who has Cheryl's father killed to hide his involvement. But Gelstrom himself falls victim to pollution sickness, and he repents. To raise money to finance a research team, Chase must make an unholy alliance with the dying Gelstrom, but this is too much for Cheryl. who leaves him.

As more and more of the world becomes uninhabitable, as industries and governments collapse and chaos reigns, as the oceans fill up with dioxin, as the climate changes and mutant life-forms encroach upon the last refuges of humankind, Chase leads a last desperate mission to find and rescue Cheryl and to lead his team of scientists to safety.

A thrilling doomsday novel of love and de-struction, The Last Gasp carries a powerful warning within its chilling plot.

TREVOR HoYLe is the author of a number of novels, including This Sentient Earth and. pseudonymously. The Man Who Travelled on Motonvays. He has worked as an actor and has written screenplays for television. Mr. Hoyle lives in Lancashire, England.“