A deadly outbreak in Kenya. A conspiracy beyond imagination. And a race to save humanity in its darkest hour.
From A. G. Riddle, the worldwide best-selling author of The Atlantis Gene and Departure, comes a novel that will change everything you think you know about pandemics.
A hundred miles north of Alaska, an American Coast Guard vessel discovers a sunken submarine at the bottom of the Arctic Ocean. It has no national identification and doesn’t match the records of any known vessel. Deep within, researchers find evidence of a scientific experiment that will alter our very understanding of the human race.
In Atlanta, Dr. Peyton Shaw is awakened by the phone call she has dreaded for years. As the CDC’s leading epidemiologist, she’s among the first responders to outbreaks around the world. It’s a lonely and dangerous job, but it’s her life – and she’s good at it. This time she may have met her match. In Kenya, an Ebola-like pathogen has infected two Americans. One lies at death’s door. With the clock ticking, Peyton assembles her team and joins personnel from the Kenyan Ministry of Health and the WHO. What they find in the remote village is beyond their worst fears. As she traces the origin of the pathogen, Peyton begins to believe that there is more to this outbreak – that it may be merely the opening act in a conspiracy with far-reaching consequences.
In Berlin, Desmond Hughes awakens in a hotel room with no memory of how he got there or who he is. On the floor he finds a dead security guard from an international pharmaceutical company. His only clue leads him to Peyton Shaw – a woman who seems to know him but refuses to tell him how. With the police searching the city for him, Desmond desperately tries to piece together what happened to him. To his shock and horror, he learns that he may be involved in causing the outbreak – and could hold the only key to stopping it.
As the pathogen spreads around the world, Peyton and Desmond race to unravel the conspiracy behind the pandemic – and uncover secrets some want to keep buried.
Author: A. G. Riddle
Narrator: Edoardo Ballerni
Series: The Extinction Files #1
Running Time: 18 hrs 53 mins
Publisher: Audible Studios
Audio Release Date: 20/06/2017
My Rating of ‘Pandemic’: 4 out of 5
What better audio book to listen to when in the midst of a global pandemic?
There was a part of me that was kind of expecting it to be a bit too depressing given the current climate, but it was surprisingly good despite the subject matter. The pandemic in this book is a vastly different, and more deadly, than what we face so it was fairly easy to feel a sense of detachment from it.
Riddle’s writing hooked me from quite early on, the chapters being quite short and punchy helped keep me keenly interested. The character work was also strong for the most part and the whole plot arc of Desmond having to re-discover his lost memories was an instant hit for me.
The pacing wasn’t always perfect, but it can’t be easy to keep it so when you have such a long novel on your hands. The slower parts didn’t feel too much of a chore and, as the book went on, even they felt like they gained something due to their slower beginnings.
Many of the phrases and practices used throughout the novel will be familiar to anyone who has been keeping an eye on the news or social media. It makes what could be a bit more of a difficult one to follow, feel so easy to keep up with due to having that unfortunate first-hand experience that we do.
My main negative about ‘Pandemic’ is that a lot of things seem far too coincidental or forced. At one point, even the characters question why everything seems to be connected through a series of coincidences. I feel the author did that as, if it was left unaddressed, it would have felt like too much of a hard sell. Even so, some of the links and coincidences did feel a bit shoe-horned in but, as far as the overall story, and that feeling of wanting to see what happens next goes, I feel Pandemic was a success. Not perfect by any means, but a solid success.
The narrator, as is usual with Ballerini, was wonderful throughout. Slightly less so when he attempted a British accent (at one point it kind of felt like he gave up and just used his own voice). But, as far as narrators go, he’s certainly one of my favourite and has been since the Matthew Corbett series.