A Continent Adrift is based on the intriguing idea that the fate of the world rests in the hands of the Devil. The lost continent of Atlantis still exists in waters near Antarctica, and its position has thrown the Earth off its orbit, leaving the planet vulnerable to an upcoming meteor shower. The Devil is the only one who can save humanity because, as Myron First, he led the people of Atlantis after they escaped from Mars. In his latest incarnation as a researcher named Donald, he launches an archeological expedition to Antarctica, intending to use his crew and ship to destroy Atlantis.
Chernozemsky’s characterization of the Devil adds depth to the common knowledge of Satan. Some “demonic” skills, like mind-reading, actually come from his Martian background. The author also emphasizes Satan’s humanity. On a literal level, he must inhabit a mortal body and has lived throughout the years by jumping from body to body. He even looks upon a newborn son as a potential “host” should something go wrong while searching for Atlantis. However, as the Devil gathers an impromptu family around him throughout the book, he struggles with feeling love for others and the ultimate costs of this very human emotion. First-person narration helps the reader get to know this multi-faceted Devil.
One of the most jarring aspects of the book is the inclusion of real-life political figures as the Devil drums up support for his expedition and reports his findings on Atlantis. The author was most likely trying for realism, but referring more vaguely to the President and his cabinet or other world leaders would have made for a more timeless story. A meeting between Sadaam Hussein and Satan seems particularly dated.
Ultimately, A Continent Adrift meanders from episode to episode with varying degrees of success. Chernozemsky seems unsure exactly what type of novel he is writing. The elements of politics, intrigue, romance, and even family drama never mesh well with the basic fantasy underpinnings of the story. Some interesting ideas, like Satan’s integral role in humanity, are lost in the midst of countless episodes of male bravado and shifting loyalties between the members of the Devil’s “family". The author’s writing style causes the novel to drag at points, while at other times a sudden jump in logic in a conversation or an abrupt change of scene makes the reader wish that he would slow down. The final few pages provide an unsatisfying end to the story with the largest issues wrapped up too quickly and some plot points simply left hanging. A Continent Adrift shows potential but lacks the focus that could have made it a truly thought-provoking and entertaining novel.