Category Archives: Action/ Adventure Thrillers

Action / Adventure Thrillers reviews

Marcus Sakey: Afterlife (Review)

Marcus Sakey

Author Site

Marcus Sakey is the author of The Blade Itself, a thriller Publishers Weekly called “brilliant…a must read.” To prepare for the novel he shadowed homicide detectives, learned to pick a deadbolt in sixty seconds, and drank plenty of Jameson. Born in Flint, Michigan, he now lives in Chicago with his wife.

Afterlife  (2017)

An instant Wall Street Journal bestseller. Soon to be a major motion picture from Imagine Entertainment and producers Ron Howard and Brian Grazer.

Between life and death lies an epic war, a relentless manhunt through two worlds… and an unforgettable love story.

The last thing FBI agent Will Brody remembers is the explosion – a thousand shards of glass surfing a lethal shock wave.

He wakes without a scratch.

The building is in ruins. His team is gone. Outside, Chicago is dark. Cars lie abandoned. No planes cross the sky. He’s relieved to spot other people – until he sees they’re carrying machetes.

Welcome to the afterlife.

Claire McCoy stands over the body of Will Brody. As head of an FBI task force, she hasn’t had a decent night’s sleep in weeks. A terrorist has claimed eighteen lives and thrown the nation into panic.

Against this horror, something reckless and beautiful happened. She fell in love… with Will Brody.

But the line between life and death is narrower than any of us suspect – and all that matters to Will and Claire is getting back to each other.

Review:

Ex Marine Will Brody , now Special Agent Brody is at the latest murder scene of a Spree-killing Sniper, his Boss and lover is Claire McCoy head of the FBI task force.

The author spends time building these two characters, making them and their relationship real and well formed, putting them in place to truly drive the plot forward. The more you believe in these two and their dialogue the more you can believe the plot, allowing the author then take the story into more and more normally implausible and strange places, to bend the plot across genres a touch of romance here, a dollop of supernatural, a spoonful of sci-fi and a whole load of thriller. The story abounds with tension, and suspense that will hook you in and pull you all the way to the end in a very short space of time. (prepare for a book that gets you thinking…. this is a mind bender of a book)

Its no wonder this is set to be a major Ron Howard motion picture.

(Parm)

 

 

Series
Brilliance Trilogy
1. Brilliance (2013)
2. A Better World (2014)
3. Written in Fire (2016)
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Novels
The Blade Itself (2007)
At the City’s Edge (2008)
aka Accelerant
Good People (2008)
aka Too Good To Be True
The Amateurs (2009)
aka No Turning Back
The Two Deaths of Daniel Hayes (2011)
No Rest for the Dead (2011) (with Jeff Abbott, Lori Armstrong, David Baldacci, Sandra Brown, Thomas H Cook, Jeffery Deaver, Diana Gabaldon, Tess Gerritsen, Andrew F Gulli, Lamia Gulli, Peter James, J A Jance, Faye Kellerman, Raymond Khoury, John Lescroart, Jeff Lindsay, Gayle Lynds, Alexander McCall Smith, Phillip Margolin, Michael Palmer, T Jefferson Parker, Matthew Pearl, Kathy Reichs, Jonathan Santlofer, Lisa Scottoline, R L Stine and Marcia Talley)
Afterlife (2017)
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Collections
Scar Tissue (2010)
Thriller 2.2 (2016) (with Phillip Margolin and Carla Neggers)
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Novellas
As Breathing (2010)
The Days When You Were Anything Else (2010)
The Desert Here and the Desert Far Away (2010)
Gravity and Need (2010)
No One (2010)
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Dominic Selwood: Apocalypse Fire (Blog Tour) Guest Blog

apoc-fire

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  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1287 KB
  • Print Length: 408 pages
  • Publisher: Canelo (31 Oct. 2016)

Dr Ava Curzon returns in the breathtaking sequel to bestselling thriller, The Sword of Moses

When the Turin Shroud is stolen in a violent assault, archaeologist and former spy Ava Curzon is plunged into a desperate struggle against an apocalyptic Russian cult. Recruited by the UK’s clandestine MI13 intelligence agency – and aided by the Vatican’s security division and her former colleague Ferguson – Ava is sucked into a world of dark extremism and Biblical secrets.

As the chase catapults her around Europe, she must unravel the mysteries of an ancient icon belonging to the shadowy Order of Malta.

With time running out, and war in the Middle East the price of failure, the world stands on the brink…

Guest post….writing and the research… (Dominic Selwood).

You occasionally get a story told by a narrator who never moves. A great example is The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (1997), in which the author is imprisoned in a hospital bed, only able to move his eyelids. With superhuman patience, he narrates the entire book about his experience of being “locked-in”. A companion reads the alphabet to him thousands of times, and he blinks every time she gets to the next letter he wants.

However, the vast majority of books require multiple changes of scene to keep them interesting. In an action thriller, this movement from place to place is critical to the pace and evolving drama. It also casts a wide backdrop, allowing the reader to be catapulted to wildly different landscapes and cultures, which heightens the sense of adventure.

In my Ava Curzon books, the stories are located all over the world. They unfold in Washington, London, Paris, Rome, Dubai, Scotland, Ethiopia, Turin, Germany, Moscow, Donetsk, you name it.

For me, half the fun of writing these stories lies in researching the locations. The plots are driven by codes, clues, puzzles, ciphers, and all sorts of other baffling mysteries, and the locations play a leading role in the stories and solutions. Answers are often closely tied to places – embedded into buildings, buried under landmarks, hidden in artefacts.

My stories also involve a good dollop of history, which often means the locations are important to the plot, and their historical significance is regularly part of a puzzle’s solution. The books carry the strapline, ‘Where fiction and truth collide’, so the research element is a vital part of putting the story together.

For instance, in The Sword of Moses, a key event takes place in a temple of Mithras buried deep under a church in Rome. Another unfolds at the former home of the occultist Aleister Crowley on the shores of Loch Ness. In my latest book, The Apocalypse Fire, significant scenes are set in the Kremlin, the Vatican, a crusader castle in northern Cyprus, and the old town of Jerusalem.

Researching these places is some of the most fun I have when writing. It’s amazing how often you start with wanting to use a particular place because of its feel, but then when researching it, you find so much more. For example, when I first started thinking about the Kremlin, I had in mind rooms and corridors with a sense of power. However, when I started exploring the place, I found it has four cathedrals, and a medieval room in the oldest part of the complex that is painted gold and smothered with frescoes and gilded carvings of saints. Suddenly, the scene did not have to be in a vast grand state room, but could be in this intimate medieval chamber, where I could bring together the two big themes important to the main character in the scene: authority and religion.

Another location in The Apocalypse Fire I really enjoyed researching was the castle of Montségur in south-west France. As I read more and more about the castle’s real story, it almost seemed sacrilegious to set my own story there.

In the 1240s, Montségur was home to some of the last remaining Cathars, who were a group of heretics the Church had waged a crusade against throughout southern France. The Cathars made their last stand at Montségur, which was, in effect, an entire village in the clouds, clinging to the top of a virtually unclimbable mountain. In the end, Basque mercenaries were brought in from the Pyrenees, and they scaled the sheerest cliff face at night, and the Cathars eventually surrendered. Almost all refused to renounce their heresy, so 225 of them prayerfully and willingly entered a pen built specially on the hillside, climbed onto funeral pyres, and were burned alive.

The more I read about it, the more I realized that the story of the heretics of Montségur is so dramatic and shocking – and so historically important – that I did not want it merely to sit in the background of my story. It is better than anything I could have invented, and I have been captivated by the tragedy of the Cathars for over 25 years. So I took the opportunity to weave their story – and especially the horror of Montségur – into the plot of The Apocalypse Fire.

I first got a love of locations from Thomas Hardy, whose landscapes are so important to his stories that they are, in effect, characters in their own right. I don’t write the same kind of soulful, brooding, tragic stories as him. But I do feel the same excitement when I start researching a new setting as I do when I become absorbed in one of his hyper-atmospheric settings.

Many thanks to the author for taking the time to provide this insight.

(Parm)

 

Series
Ava Curzon Trilogy
1. The Sword of Moses (2013)
2. The Apocalypse Fire (2016)
 
Novellas
Suffer the Children (2015)
The Voivod (2015)
Non fiction
Knights of the Cloister (1996)
Spies, Sadists and Sorcerers (2015)

 

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James Rollins: The Seventh Plague (Review)

James Rollins's picture

James Rollins
(James Czajkowski)
USA (1961 – )

aka James Clemens

James Rollins was born in Chicago, Illinois, is 1961. With his three brothers and three sisters, he was raised in the Midwest and rural Canada. He graduated with a doctorate in veterinary medicine from the University of Missouri and went on to establish his own veterinary practice in Sacramento, California. An amateur spelunker and a PADI-certified scuba enthusiast, he’ll often be found either underground or underwater.

The Seventh Plague: A Sigma Force Novel (Sigma Force Novels)

Buy UK

Buy USA

Two years after vanishing into the Sudanese desert, the leader of a British archeological expedition, Professor Harold McCabe, comes stumbling out of the sands, frantic and delirious, but he dies before he can tell his story. The mystery deepens when an autopsy uncovers a bizarre corruption: someone had begun to mummify the professor s body while he was still alive.

His strange remains are returned to London for further study, when alarming news arrives from Egypt. The medical team who had performed the man s autopsy has fallen ill with an unknown disease, one that is quickly spreading throughout Cairo. Fearing the worst, a colleague of the professor reaches out to a longtime friend: Painter Crowe, the director of Sigma Force. The call is urgent, for Professor McCabe had vanished into the desert while searching for proof of the ten plagues of Moses. As the pandemic grows, a disturbing question arises.

Are those plagues starting again?

Before Director Crowe can investigate, a mysterious group of assassins leaves behind a fiery wake of destruction and death, erasing all evidence. With the professor s body incinerated, his home firebombed, Sigma Force must turn to the archaeologist s only daughter, Jane McCabe, for help. While sifting through what s left of her father s work, she discovers a puzzling connection tying the current threat to a shocking historical mystery, one involving the travels of Mark Twain, the genius of Nikola Tesla, and the adventures of famous explorer Henry Morgan Stanley.

To unravel a secret going back millennia, Director Crowe and Commander Grayson Pierce will be thrust to opposite sides of the globe. One will search for the truth, traveling from the plague-ridden streets of Cairo to a vast ancient tomb buried under the burning sands of the Sudan; the other will struggle to stop a mad genius locked within a remote Arctic engineering complex, risking the lives of all those he holds dear.

As the global crisis grows ever larger, Sigma Force will confront a threat born of the ancient past and made real by the latest science a danger that will unleash a cascading series of plagues, culminating in a scourge that could kill all of the world s children . . . decimating humankind forever.

Review

I always think any thriller writer stepping into the biblical sphere is taking a big risk, not just because of those who follow religion and that they might jump all over the book, but just the whole sphere of what is actually plausible.

Fortunately Rollins is one of the few writers that can pull it off, and not “just”… he pulls it off with style. The scope of most Rollins novels is broad, but one that includes: Stanley, Livingstone, Tesla and the biblical plagues of Egypt, well you know the story is going to be something special, the fact that he can make you believe the entire plot, and that he may have found the reason behind those plagues… well, its a testament to his writing style, skill and imagination (and no little research).

You can tell that the research that’s gone into this book is exhaustive, Rollins has got to know his characters, Sigma he has a deep knowledge of, but adding in Tesla, Livingston and Stanley, which he has done effortlessly, and this only comes from making them real, and knowing them (research, research research), the same with the plagues and the location. The depth and breadth of his work is what draws me to his novels, he never dials it in. His books are the benchmark of action thrillers.

Highly recommended

(Parm)

Series
Sigma Force
1. Sandstorm (2004)
2. Map of Bones (2005)
3. Black Order (2006)
4. The Judas Strain (2007)
5. The Last Oracle (2008)
6. The Doomsday Key (2009)
6.5. The Skeleton Key (2011)
7. The Devil Colony (2011)
7.5. Tracker (2012)
8. Bloodline (2012)
9. The Eye of God (2013)
10. The Sixth Extinction (2014)
10.5. The Midnight Watch (2015)
11. The Bone Labyrinth (2015)
12. The Seventh Plague (2016)
The Doomsday Key / The Last Oracle (omnibus) (2013)
Sigma Force Novels 1 (omnibus) (2014)
Crash and Burn (2016)




Jake Ransom
1. Jake Ransom and the Skull King’s Shadow (2009)
2. Jake Ransom and the Howling Sphinx (2010)
Jake Ransom Complete Collection (omnibus) (2014)
Order of the Sanguines (with Rebecca Cantrell)
0.5. City of Screams (2012)
1. The Blood Gospel (2013)
1.5. Blood Brothers (2013)
2. Innocent Blood (2013)
3. Blood Infernal (2015)

Tucker Wayne (with Grant Blackwood)
1. The Kill Switch (2014)
2. War Hawk (2016)
Novels
Subterranean (1999)
Excavation (2000)
Deep Fathom (2001)
Amazonia (2002)
Ice Hunt (2003)
Altar of Eden (2009)

Novellas
The Devil’s Bones (2014) (with Steve Berry)
Series contributed to
Indiana Jones (Films)
4. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull(2008)

 

 

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David Gibbins: Testament (Review)

David Gibbins

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Canada (1962 – )

David Gibbins has worked in underwater archaeology all his professional life. After taking a PhD from Cambridge University he taught archaeology in Britain and abroad, and is a world authority on ancient shipwrecks and sunken cities. He has led numerous expeditions to investigate underwater sites in the Mediterranean and around the world. He currently divides his time between fieldwork, England and Canada.

Author Website

Testament  (2016)
(The ninth book in the Jack Howard series)

Released 29 Dec 2016

Testament (Jack Howard 9) by [Gibbins, David]

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664 BC: An adventurer named Hanno returns, near death, to his home city of Carthage on the Mediterranean with an incredible story to tell. With him he brings the flayed skin of a terrifying creature he calls a gorilla, and on it he has written an account of his adventure. The skin is nailed to a pillar in Carthage for all to read, but Hanno’s greatest secret he tells only his brother Hamilcar. When Hamilcar disappears during a doomed voyage to the Tin Islands, and Hanno dies having resolved to tell nobody else, the secret is apparently lost for all time.

Present day: Jack Howard and his international team are excavating one of the greatest prizes of Jack’s career – a Phoenician shipwreck off the coast of Cornwall and evidence for the earliest Mediterranean contact with Britain. What Jack finds is incredible – an amphora shard with an inscription in the Punic language of Carthage, apparently written hastily by someone who knew shipwreck was imminent. When the inscription is translated its message beggars belief. Jack realises it could lead to one of the greatest lost treasure of antiquity, and set him on one of his greatest adventures ever…

Review

David Gibbins is one of those authors who lives his books, in many ways he is Jack Howard, and because of this the books brim with passion and experience for the subject.

Jack Howard’s world has moved on from the catastrophic events  in Pharaoh and Pyramid, No longer able to access Egypt he and his people continue to search for the next great discovery, mapping their discoveries and searching for the truth behind them and the great people of the past involved, where the ghosts of the past meet the present. One of the greatest successes of this series for me is how the author creates links between ancient nations and the modern world, showing how none of them existed in isolation, how they traded, lived and expended their borders, how they interacted and lived and worshiped and how those echos live on today.

By this book (9) in the series Jack Howard has created a support team to cover all possible needs, be they translations of manuscripts, to engineering to diving and weapons expertise. All of this the author manages to portray in a totally believable scenario, however fantastic the discovery may seem, the level of detail coupled with the keen eye for reality and research make for a book unlike others of its type and genre, it feels real.

Blending 4 time periods and time slipping to each gives a sense of immediacy and intimacy to each period and really makes the reader part of each moment of the tale and its importance in the over all story arc. The part of the tale from ancient Carthage lends the story an epic and yet  melancholy quality, but the determined approach from Jack Howard gives the reader the edge of the seat desire to see their achievements reach the light of day.

While its not my favorite book in the series (That’s still gods of Atlantis) its still a brilliantly written thriller that remains in the believable and yet rides the edge of the fantastical, the boundaries of exploration and breathless pace and expectation. I remain a huge fan of this series.

(Parm)

Series

 

Jack Howard
1. Atlantis (2005)
2. Crusader Gold (2006)
3. The Last Gospel (2008)
aka The Lost Tomb
4. The Tiger Warrior (2009)
5. The Mask of Troy (2010)
6. The Gods of Atlantis (2011)
aka Atlantis God
7. Pharaoh (2013)
8. Pyramid (2014)
9. Testament (2016)
The Atlantis Collection (omnibus) (2014)


 

Total War Rome
1. Destroy Carthage (2013)
2. The Sword of Attila(2015)

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Bear Grylls: Burning Angels (Review)

Bear Grylls

Bear Grylls's picture
(Edward Michael Bear Grylls)
UK (1974)

Bear Grylls, real name Edward Michael Grylls, is a British adventurer, television presenter and writer currently best known for his television series Born Survivor (Man vs. Wild in the U.S.). He has been called the “Most Extreme Human” to have ever lived

Burning Angels  (2016)
(The second book in the Ghost Flight series)

book cover of Burning Angels

A prehistoric corpse entombed within an Arctic glacier, crying tears of blood. A jungle island overrun by rabid primates – escapees from a research laboratory’s hot zone.

A massive seaplane hidden beneath a mountain, packed with a Nazi cargo of mind-blowing evil. A penniless orphan kidnapped from an African slum, holding the key to the world’s survival.

Four terrifying journeys. One impossible path. Only one man to attempt it. Will Jaeger. The Hunter.

Review

 

Last year saw the release of book one in this series Ghost Flight (2015) , as you will see by reading my review it was by and large an excellent book, fast compelling, action packed and with great characters.

BUT

Yes it had issues with the ending and a penchant forgoing overboard with the survival stuff (to be expected you may thing, but … well it still messes up the flow of a thriller). … So was there any improvement for Burning Angels?

Yes….and …No

The survival stuff takes much more of a back seat, instead the author has worked harder on character development, plot pace and action. The tension as a result gets cranked up, the depth of plot really pays off, and i’m a huge sucker for a WW2 link.

But unfortunately the author once again falls foul of the crash landing, the ending like the first book arrived like a reaper flying into a brick wall. I was really brought up short and can only think that the author was tied to a word count and wasn’t allowed beyond it for publication. Its the only reason i can think for the anticlimactic end to what had up until then been quite carefully delivered and built tension….. it was very much… ah you defeated me… ok, ending summary… bye.

I’m not sure if that spells the end for Will Jaeger? i do hope not, i think the author has the right skills to produce a high level thriller and all the way to the end, given the word count, and this is a great character and group to do it with.

This again 3/5… but closer to 4.

(Parm)

Series

Mission: Survival
1. Gold of the Gods (2008)
2. Way of the Wolf (2009)
3. Sands of the Scorpion (2009)
4. Tracks of the Tiger (2010)
5. Claws of the Crocodile (2013)
6. Strike of the Shark (2013)
7. Rage of the Rhino (2014)
8. Lair of the Leopard (2015)


 

Ghost Flight
1. Ghost Flight(2015)
2. Burning Angels (2016)

 

Beck Granger Adventure
Mission Typhoon (2016)

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James Douglas : The Samurai Inheritance (Review)

James Douglas

James Douglas's picture

A pseudonym used by Douglas Jackson
James Douglas is the pen name of an author of successful historical fiction novels.
Douglas Jackson was born in Jedburgh in the Scottish Borders in the summer of 1956. Educated at Parkside Primary School and Jedburgh Grammar School, he left three weeks before his 16th birthday with six O levels and no idea what he was going to do with the rest of his life.
Doug now lives in Bridge of Allan, a lovely village on the doorstep of the Trossachs and is married to wife Alison. They have three children who never fail to make him terribly proud.
He enjoys watching rugby, and finds life at its most relaxing by the river with a fly fishing rod in my hand, although he seldom disturbs many fish.

Author web site

book cover of The Samurai Inheritance

April 1943 – A Mitsubishi transport plane plunges from the sky over the island of Bougainville. On board is Admiral Isoruku Yamamoto, architect of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. In a document case chained to his wrist is the greatest secret of the Second World War – a revelation with the potential to change the world if it is ever revealed.

December 2011 – Art recovery expert Jamie Saintclair celebrates the return of a Vermeer painting to its rightful owner, and the day turns even better when he’s offered a lucrative commission. Not much can surprise Jamie, but he blinks when mining tycoon Keith Devlin reveals the object he wants him to find. How did the preserved head of a Solomon Island warrior end up in a German museum? And how is he supposed to discover what happened to it in 1945?

The search takes Jamie from Berlin to Tokyo and with every turn the significance of the Bougainville skull becomes ever greater. Soon he realizes he’s become involved in something much more important than finding a lost piece of history. Three thousand miles away, the answer lies in airless jungles that have already swallowed up one terrible conflict and are now being torn by a war the world isn’t meant to know about . . .

Review

I have to admit that i have held on to this book for a couple of years. As soon as i discovered it would be the last Jamie Saintclaire i decided to save it for a rainy day thriller, when i needed something special.

I wasn’t disappointed, James Douglas just got better and better with this series, a series that had so much more scope. This time our hero is dragged into danger unwittingly, a small job that turns out to be not everything he was told. Jamie is a little older a little wiser and less wet behind the ears, the extra calmness plays well in the plot of this book.

As always there is the time hope element to the plot which pulls you back and forth in time, and drives the plot forward at a furious pace as you the reader try to race to the next element of the story in each timeline.

Ultimately the pace and the brilliant characterisation means that the book is over before you know it or want it, and with a satisfying dramatic conclusion, and yet not once does the plot or action lean to the impossible or unbelievable as many action books can.

I shake my head in despair that this series stopped…. truly a massive shame and loss. But for those that have not read any, this is a set of 4 books to not miss.

(Parm)

 

Series

Jamie Saintclaire
1. The Doomsday Testament (2011)
2. The Isis Covenant (2012)
3. The Excalibur Codex (2013)
4. The Samurai Inheritance (2014)

As Douglas Jackson
Series
Rufus
1. Caligula (2008)
2. Claudius (2009)
Gaius Valerius Verrens
1. Hero of Rome (2010)
2. Defender of Rome (2011)
3. Avenger of Rome (2012)
4. Sword of Rome (2013)
5. Enemy of Rome (2014)
6. Scourge of Rome (2015)
7. Saviour of Rome (2016)

Glen Savage mystery
War Games (2014)

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The Hatching * Ezekiel Boone * 5 July 2016 *

Gollancz acquire new high-octane thriller by remarkable new talent,
Ezekiel Boone

Best compared to Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park and Max Brooks’s World War Z, Ezekiel Boone’s The Hatching is a brilliantly addictive novel following a cast of diverse characters from around the globe who are pulled together into a desperate fight against an ancient species.

Ezekiel Boone said: “I’m thrilled to join Gollancz. I’m a fan of so many of their writers, and I think The Hatching is going to delight both hard-core Gollancz readers and a wider audience. It’s fun as hell and just scary enough to make you afraid to put it down.”

Gollancz will be publishing The Hatching in hardback, eBook and audio book on the 5th July 2016.

Pre-Order

 Book Description

hatching

A local guide is leading wealthy tourists through a forest in Peru when a strange, black, skittering mass engulfs him and most of the party. FBI Agent Mike Rich is on a routine stake-out in Minneapolis when he’s suddenly called by the Director himself to investigate a mysterious plane crash. A scientist studying earthquakes in India registers an unprecedented pattern in local seismic readings. The Chinese government “accidentally” drops a nuclear bomb in an isolated region of its own country. And all of these events are connected.

 As panic begins to sweep the globe, a mysterious package from South America arrives at Melanie Guyer’s Washington laboratory. The unusual egg inside begins to crack…An ancient species, long dormant, is now very much awake. But this is only the beginning of our end…

 

This is certainly one i will be adding to my “must read in 2016” list.

(Parm)

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