Archive for secret

THE DRAGON FACTORY By Jonathan Maberry – Reviewed

Posted in Reviews, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 14, 2012 by stanleyriiks

When a colleague asked me what I was reading I had to describe this book as an action-thriller with SF overtones. But that’s like describing the Boeing A380 as a big plane. It barely scratches the surface of this taut sci-fi action thriller.

The DMS (Department of Military Sciences) is the secretist secret government agency there is, and the Vice-President of the United States is tricked into trying to close it down in the belief that the head of the DMS is blackmailing the President (who is currently enduring heart-bypass surgery, leaving the VP in charge). Homeland Security are raiding DMS headquarters across the country and picking up agents.

Joe Ledger, former cop, and DMS agent, is at the grave of his former girlfriend when the agents turn up to collect him. But Joe doesn’t plan on going quietly.

The Jakoby twins are rich and powerful geneticists, turning nature on its head to create their rich customers unique pets, ultimate soldiers and legendary creatures (unicorn, dragons, etc) to hunt.

Cyrus Jakoby, the twins’ father, is also working on a large-scale project. A secretive scheme behind the twins’ backs, adapting existing diseases and blights for use in his Extinction Wave that will wipe out seven eighths of the world’s population. Everything is in place, the one hundred hour clock begins its countdown. Is it too late for anyone to stop it?

This book is just so much fun! Ledger is a broken hero, insightfully fragmented in his reality, in love with his colleague and running hell for leather from crisis to crisis in his attempts to find out what’s going on and stop the murder of several billion people.

The action is intense, half way through the book the climax begins to build with wave after wave of attacks against larger and nastier opponents.

The science is used incredibly well. Maberry makes you believe this could happen.

His first book Patient Zero was a rip-roaring zombie-fest with a brilliant science-based twist that made you believe, and was massively readable, edge of the seat stuff, that I thought would be difficult to follow-up. But Maberry has done us proud, creating another SF-twisted reality that’s equally (and scarily) plausible.

Brilliant devised, intelligently written. A book that you sweeps you up in its evil and twisted reality.

THE SKINNER By Neal Asher – Reviewed

Posted in Reviews, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 18, 2011 by stanleyriiks

Three strangers meet on the way to the planet’s surface. That planet, which has little serviceable surface, is Spatterjay, a mostly water-filled world. And the seas of Spatterjay are filled with all manner of creatures all ready and willing to eat you and anything else that invades their watery home: including the strange leeches, whose bite, if not fatal, will change your body chemistry until you are immortal, or near as damnit.

One of the party of three is Sable Keech, several hundreds of years old, and finally returning to Spatterjay to complete his mission: to find the remaining survivors of Jay Hoop’s crew and execute them. They were an ancient gang who sold cored-human slaves to the alien Prador’s during the war. Despite the war now being over a Prador adult and adolescent have arrived on the planet in secret with one of Hoop’s old crew, intent on causing problems.

Another of the three is Janer, part of a hive mind that may have secret plans to colonize the planet.

Throw into this mix semi-immortal pirates; a monster that skins people alive; the various fauna that occupies most of the planet and is intent on eating everything else; an AI overseer that acts as the planet’s police and army; and a War Drone; and you get a massive amount of story, huge back-stories, and a huge amount of information that fortunately doesn’t slow down the plot too much.

It takes a little while to get into the book because of the sheer volume of stuff you need to know, but it’s so full of great ideas that you can’t help but keep reading. The book builds nicely, we have enough action and enough ideas to not only keep you entertained but make you want to discover more. Fortunately Asher’s produced not only more Spatterjay novels, but also Polity novels (based on the more organised part of the universe that only make a brief appearance here). Asher’s universe is massively detailed and cleverly put together, and the novel is the same. What it lacks in pace to begin with is swiftly made up for in the later stages, and you can forgive this because of the amount of detail expounded.

Full of great ideas, with a good solid story and plenty of twists and turns, this first book of Spatterjay is the ideal entry into this virgin territory, and I have high hopes for the other books in the series, which I will most definitely be seeking out.