Army epidemiologist Frank Slater is facing a court-martial, but after his punishment is mysteriously lifted, he is offered a job no one else wants - to travel to a small island off the coast of Alaska and investigate a potentially lethal phenomenon. The permafrost has begun to melt, exposing bodies from a colony that was wiped out by the dreaded Spanish flu of 1918. Frank must determine if the thawed remains still carry the deadly virus in their frozen flesh and, if so, ensure that it doesn't come back to life.
Frank and his handpicked team arrive by helicopter, prepared to exhume history. The colony, it transpires, was once settled by a sect devoted to the mad Russian monk Rasputin, but there is even more hiding in the past than Frank's team is aware of. Any hope of success hinges on their willingness to accept the fact that even their cutting-edge science has its limits and that the ancient wisdom of the Inuit people who once inhabited this eerie land is as essential as any serum. Frank soon finds himself in a brutal race against time. With a young, strong-willed Inuit woman by his side, he must put a deadly genie back in the bottle before all of humanity pays the price.
©2013 Robert Masello (P)2016 Tantor
"Tense, taut and impossible to put down." (Kirkus Reviews)
The plot is intriguing and interesting and how I wish It had been better handled by the publisher!
The basic plot idea is excellent. Expert epidemiologist is recruited to go to Alaska to see what is happening to the graves on a remote island where everyone died from the Spanish Flu in 1918. The Romanovs of Russia are involved and the Inuit Indians. And the US Military. And lots of mystical, magical events. And why all this good stuff was necessary is an intriguing part of the story so - no spoilers. The principal characters start out with engaging and/or interesting and/or compelling stories.
Then it derails, ever so slowly. Various side plots were potentially SO interesting and engaging and they could have added SO much to the narrative. But they were all unfortunately read by a bad narrator and buried in detail and more detail and still more detail … until I began to wonder if the author had been paid by the word. So, while this is a “pro”, it’s also a “con.”
1. The narration is mostly overdone … and, while not always terrible, it was just mostly terrible. For starters, Paul Boehmer is a scenery chewer. Everything that happens is delivered in florid tones so that no one ever speaks like normal humans speak. I can’t convey it with the written word, but try to imagine if you were ordering a burger and fries in the same tone and with the same “passion” you would use if you were defending yourself against a charge of murder. Nobody in this story just “talks.” They all gush and declaim and ooze passion. I blame this on the narrator AND on the director.
1.a. Also about the narration – he has about 3 voices - all male - and 2 accents (American and Russian). And that’s pretty much it.
2. Too, too, too, too, too, too, too, too much detail. Way too much detail. An ocean of irrelevant unnecessary detail. Details that s . l . o . w . the pace of the story… to… an … absolute … crawl… in… some… places … or... more… precisely… in… many… places.
It’s a pretty OK book that could have been a really good book with the help of a good editor. There were also some plot devises that strain credulity quite a bit (if you’ve read “The DaVinci Code” you’ll understand what I mean.)
It might, however, be better if you actually read it. The narrator is bad enough to affect the experience negatively.
I don't think that Mr. Masello did any research for this book. Having been in the Army for 8 years and deployed to Afghanistan, the book started wrong for me. Mr. Masello had no idea how a real medivac happens. Also, I was confused as to whether Dr. Slater was supposed to be in Army or Marines. I hoped the book would get better. It didn't. The history of the Romanov was interesting except for the fact that it was copied almost word for word from The Romanovs: The Final Chapter by Robert K. Massie. Over all, I found the story cliched and rather boring.
Very disappointed in this book. The plot was not ill conceived but very poorly executed. The author tried to tie Romanov mystery, indigenous American plight, with medical thriller, with paranormal activity and not surprisingly failed to pull it off. The depth of his writing is just not at a level to pull off such a grandiose plot. I was extremely disappointed at the medical mistakes made at such a fundamental level. How you collect samples, what epidemiologists actually do, fundamental breaches of basic protocol, even how you use a syringe! This is high school level stuff! Bottom line..... A waste of time and credits!
I don't add a lot of reviews . But when I do ..... you know its good enough for me to take time to say wow .
this author surprised me . mixing history and fiction in one and coming out with a great story
I really enjoyed this book. I didn't realize when I got it how long it was but this was one of those books I couldn't stop listening to. There were so many side plots and scenes that the book went fast. I found the parts about Alaska and the history very interesting. The narrator was perfect for this story and I enjoyed listening to him.
The way the book switched back and forth in time to tell the story made it very interesting.
Yes I thought he was a good narrator.
I liked the name as it is.
Interesting story line but author uses too many bad analogies... "Like a yellow rubber duckie". Narration was very bad ... I nearly bailed out a couple of times, but it does improve towards the end of the book.
I liked the story, but the narration made it painful to listen to. It was better near the end, but it started our very badly.
It would give away the story.
Yes. It was a very good story. I had listened to another book by this author and enjoyed it very much.
I survived this book simply because I wanted to get to the end. I really like this author, so I knew the issue was not the plot or the characters.
Anyone. A nice voice does not a narrator make. His terrible timing almost made me curse.
The plot had SO MUCH potential. I feel like the author read some Preston & Child novels, took a writing class and sat down to write this idea he had. Everything is described with two descriptors, even insignificant details, so childish. It's full of technical issues too, for example in a critical scene the hero identifies a villain as having a Glock 19 pistol because he hears "the saftey click off". Glocks don't have a saftey and if they did, they'd all sound the same. Filled with childish writing, I couldn't finish it. returned it for replacement credit....
I love epidemiology and thrillers pertaining to this subject but this was not thrilling. I liked how they intertwined the historical fiction with the current day issue at hand of the resurgence of the Spanish Flu though.
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