Russell Brooks, a fellow Canadian, will be stopping by my blog on November 8th, 2010 and will be here to answer questions about his book and more. There will also be a contest to win a copy of Russell's book - come back November 8th to visit with Russell and find out how to win your very own copy!
ebook direct from author for honest review
CIA operative, Ridley Fox, never stopped hunting his fiancée’s killers—a weapons consortium called The Arms of Ares. When an informant leads him to an old bunker outside of Groznyy, Chechnya, Fox is captured, beaten, and left for dead. When the informant rescues him, Fox learns that his capture was no coincidence: someone had set him up—possibly another government agent. Fox barely escapes after learning that Ares has acquired a hyperdeadly microbe—called Pandora—that is believed to have wiped out ancient civilizations. The trail leads Fox to Tokyo where he discovers that people within the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Japanese Intelligence want Pandora for themselves. The only person Fox can trust is a woman from his past who he nearly got killed.
My first thoughts as I was reading this action packed book were that it reminded me of The Bourne Series, in that it had an agent trying to take down a huge organization pretty much all on his own. It has that same keep you on the edge of your seat ability.
I thought the storyline had a really well written plot. I loved that it was bio-terrorism at it's worst. The whole idea of the Pandora virus and that it feeds off of protein matter such as human and animal matter is completely terrifying and intriguing at the same time. The exciting part to me was how many different agencies were involved at some point as well as the different terrorist groups fighting each other for control of this virus. I felt the story taking place mostly in Japan was a great idea as it fit with the idea that there are companies over there with such amazing technology that would be able to work on such a highly effective virus without anyone knowing about it.
I usually am pretty good at picking up on a plot twist well ahead of them actually happening, but this book caught me off guard. I loved it. Now, with all that said, the villains of the book were great and since I don't want to give away spoilers I won't comment on the names of the villains. Just know that they are crafty and not what you expected. But as a quick note there are ninjas, KGB members, a group called the Arms of Ares, and a few surprising villains as well – a great mix.
I loved the main character, Ridley Fox, because he is complex. You get little snippets of his past in flashbacks to show that he is human and can falter in the face of emotional turmoil; and you also have major action scenes where he just falls into being the agent in control of the situation. And it doesn't hurt that I think his character sounds extremely attractive.
Also, Dr. Nita Parris is a great female presence in this novel. She is the epitome of a feisty female agent. Parris goes from being a shy, quiet character in the labs, as an undercover scientist, to a kick ass agent when she pairs up with Fox. I loved how her character worked so well with Fox, they had this chemistry that they both are awkward about at first, since they have a bit of past history. I truly hope that Russell will be writing a sequel to this book as I would love to see how the relationship works between the two in future.
Looking forward to reading more by Russell Brooks as this was a great debut novel.