Ex-Baltimore cop turned special-ops shooter Joe Ledger is back in action.
In The Dragon Factory, Ledger and his team from the Department of Military Sciences square off against two separate groups of corrupt scientists. The beautiful but twisted Jakoby Twins are creating transgenic monsters and genetically enhanced mercenaries for sale to the highest bidder. Their father, who takes evil to an entirely new level, is using cutting-edge science to complete the Nazi master-race program.
Joe must elude the NSA who are gunning for him, fight his way past rogue Spetsnaz teams, and stop these madmen before the Extinction Clock runs out. And when the bloodbath claims one of his own, Joe Ledger declares total war on those people who would burn down the world in order to reshape it in their own dark image.
Take another thrill ride with Joe Ledger.
©2010 Jonathan Maberry (P)2011 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
“In Stoker-winner Maberry’s wild second Joe Ledger novel, Joe and his comrades from the Department of Military Science take on enough villains and their world-threatening plots to fill half a dozen ordinary thrillers.” (Publishers Weekly)
I like Jack Reacher style characters regardless of setting. Put them in outer space, in modern America, in a military setting, on an alien planet... no worries. Book has non moralistic vigilante-justice? Sign me up! (oh, I read urban fantasy, soft and hard sci-fi, trashy vampire and zombie novels too)
It starts off as a straight up butt-kicking action novel, with a tiny hint of political back-story to give it some suspense. This continues nicely for about half the novel, then there is an 'intermission' where we get a very long lecture on how horrible eugunenics are. First one character, then the next, then the next, weigh in on the misery behind eugenics or genetic cleansing, or nazism...
Don't get me wrong, these are all bad things, but i don't want a 20 minute lecture in the middle of an action novel about the horrible-ness of it all. If I wanted to read a treatise on ethnic cleansing, I'd go pick up a book on that subject, not one that I thought was a quick and easy butt-kicking action novel.
Even the romantic component is lame...actually, it's so pathetic, I'm not going to bother talking about it. Fortunately, it can be safely overlooked as it's just a quick plug in (heheh, no pun intended) here and there in the story. I suppose it was there to give more depth, but... anyway...
If one could overlook the moralizing and lecturing (which I don't think you can because there is a LOT of it from midway onward), it would be more like 3.5 star. I just can't get all the blah-blah-blah out of my head, and the whole premise is a little too fantastical for my tastes... either it's a thriller, or it's a fantasy. But don't go putting dragons in my butt-kickings. And, no, I don't have a problem with superhero-like butt-kickers, I just don't want the story overstepping its own reality.
Actor/director/teacher. Split my time between Beijing and Seattle now. Listen to Audible on the subway and while driving or riding my bike.
When I began listening to The Dragon Factory, I was put off by what seemed to be very run of the mill super agent fare. The operative who survives and lays waste the opposition because of his superhuman skills and unfailing luck makes for tiresome reading fairly quickly. Then, to my surprise, the plot thickened into an interesting political/techno stew which, along with the absolutely superb narration by Ray Porter (a 14 carat asset for any book he reads), recaptured my attention and provided several hours of pleasurable listening.
Unfortunately, the mandatory final onslaught devolved into a completely ridiculous and absurdly extended series of combat set pieces between the indomitable Ledger and a seemingly endless queue of grotesque genetic monstrosities all of which are dispatched in remarkably unimaginative ways. In the end, the landscape is decorated with vast numbers of the vanquished. Meanwhile the sins of the evil geniuses at the center of the threat multiply with the body count until Maberry has managed to compile a truly ridiculous laundry list of twisted eugenic permutations, genetic transmogrification and historical monstrosity. It is hard to pay attention to the mayhem while you are guffawing.
Less would definitely have been more in this case, Mr. Maberry.
I have to disagree with most of the reviewers here. This was a fun novel, and I'm glad I bought it. But it was disappointing compared to the first novel. The "bad guy" characters were all rather trite. There were also a number of elements in the plot (and plot connections) that were blatantly obvious, yet the supposedly brilliant people and the supercomputer at the Department of Military Sciences had a hard time figuring out. If it's that obvious to a reader, it kills the suspension of disbelief when it's presented as a startling revelation to the characters.
I am brutally honest. Popular, love everything they read, reviewers are scared to go neg. and risk their ranking. It's your money!!!
They Lose All Sense.
Another Five Star Novel, with a Five Star Performance by Ray Porter.
I will be the first to admit that this not as good as Patient Zero the first book in this series and even though you could read this book without reading that book, I believe you would be happier to read PZ first. PZ introduces you to Joe Ledger and to the Department of Military Sciences (X-Files on steroids). Some have given this less the five stars, the trap they have fallen into is that they are comparing Maberry to Maberry. That's like giving your second favorite book in the world three or four stars, cause it ain't as good as your favorite. Meaning only one book you have ever read could earn five stars. This book is still better then most of what is out there.
This is a Mad Scientist Novel (Mevil), no Zombies, but lots of genetic monsters.
Pro: Like a Koontz novel this filled with all kinds of creatures and bad guys. Here is a sample of what you will come across; Centaurs, Scorpion Dogs, Elves, The Chamber of Myths, Quetzalcoatl, Chinese Dragons, European Dragons, Sea Serpents, Gargoyles, The Hive, anti-aging gene, White Angel, mudpeople, transgenic soldiers, albino twins, life unworthy of life, extinction clock, Tigerhounds, clones, Neanderthals, New Men, unicorns, faith gene, and The Island of Dr. Moreau. The bad guys are cliche, Nazi's, Albinos and Russians, but in a book like this sometimes cliche is good. I lived for almost a year as a kid in Germany and went on vacation there almost two years ago and I love the German people, but you have to admit they make great bad guys. You may say that is politically incorrect, but you know you agree.
Con: I got sick and tired of the Extinction Clock. Every one of the 133 chapters starts with the Extinction Clock Countdown. It seemed to me that they kind of Wussied Ledger a little. He falls in love in this, he gets touchy feelie in parts, he less of a smart a@@ and he thinks before acting, something he didn't do in book 1. There are a couple of points where the book gets real patriotic in a patronizing way. There are a couple of duller then usual parts and the book seems a little unnecessarily stretched out. The epilogue is kind of stupid. Keep in mind we are comparing Ledger to Ledger, which sets the bar pretty high.
Ray Porter is great. I did notice in this book that Ray sounds an awful lot like Tom Hanks. I like Tom Hanks, so that is not a problem with me, it just seemed weird.
I rate as follows: 5 Stars = Loved it. 4 Stars = Really liked it. 3 Stars = Liked it. 2 Stars = Didn't like it. 1 Star = Hated it.
The second book in what is (at the time of this writing) a three book series was a strong follow-up to it's predecessor, Patient Zero. Joe Ledger, now a bit more settled in with his new job, finds new battles to fight and new threats to the continuation of the human race.
This whole series is worth listening to just to hear Ray Porter's performance, possibly the best I've ever heard. I'll be on the lookout for any new books he does and would have no hesitation basing a selection solely on the merits that Ray Porter had narrated.
My only problem with The Dragon Factory was the "flavor" of villain. Jonathan Maberry has brought Nazi's into present day, and as you can imagine, the dialogue of these villains is ugly, offensive, and off-putting. While I fully recognize the fact that if these characters had been less hateful they wouldn't have been the level of villain the story was working towards, I can't pretend that there weren't times that I wished we could fast forward through some of the hate speech. I could have done without it, and feel I still would have been able to understand that these were the "bad guys". I'm sure there's an argument to be made in the other direction, but it's not one I choose to make at this time.
Overall, I definitely recommend this book for a good thriller, performed by a really top rate narrator.
Books, the best travel accessory - EVER!
...I was finally able to finish the book. It's any interesting story, but it did not catch and hold my attention. The performance is outstanding. Team shake ups are almost overshadowed by the other story revelations. This is an early hiccup. I'm not giving up on Maberry or Joe Ledger, there is too much promise in the series.
Love a good book. I am usually reading one and listening to one in my car (not at the same time, of course). I like just about any fiction.
Let me start by saying that Ray Porter is great. I think he kept me interested more than the storyline. The concept was solid but there did not seem to be a lot of depth. There were a couple of points in the story where the author was rambling and it did not have any useful information. There were other points in the story where he had a chance to do more character developement and did not. I did not find the twins to be all that interesting and were very shallow. If you enjoyed the first book in the series ( Patient Zero ) you will be a bit dissappointed with this one. The action was run of the mill type of stuff, you don't really get to know Joe Ledger or any of his team any better than in the first book. I enjoy books that are part of a series because you get to see the characters grow throughout the books. This book left me wanting more twists and turns, more action, and more character developement. Not sure if I will continue with the series.
Not really but I don't think I will buy anymore in this series. The first book was great and this one just kept losing my interest.
I may or may not try the next book in the Ledger series. If nothing else the first book was great and I may leave it as 1 win-1 loss.
The Dragon Factory picks up shortly after the events of Patient Zero as the Department of Military Sciences is faced with a new, completely different threat. This time around there is no zombie plague but rather a planned extinction wave targeted to wipe out a specific large portion of the human population. With the concepts of eugenics, genetic manipulation, and disease weaponization all taken to mad scientist levels the DMS must beat the clock to figure out who is behind the threat and neutralize it before the Extinction Clock counts down to zero. The story is a bit more complex than the first book and therefore starts slower but it eventually comes together and builds to a satisfying crescendo.
Many of the major characters from Patient Zero return including Joe Ledger and the rest of Echo team, Mr. Church, Dr. Hu, Bug, Dr. Rudy Sanchez, and Major Grace Courtland. As the relationship between Joe Ledger and Major Courtland continues to grow they both need to work to prevent it from negatively impacting their ability to do their jobs. Grace and Joe both have their characters developed as more is revealed about the past events that shaped them into what they are today. The warrior, the modern man, and the detective make up the three personas that war within the mind of Joe Ledger and each struggles for dominance. The stress of life as a DMS agent while being in a relationship that tugs on the scars of his past is a constant threat to Ledger's self control and his ability to keep it all together.
With a whole new cast of bad guys the story takes quite a bit of time at the beginning to build up a tangled web of interconnected threads into a coherent plot. We learn quickly that the Jackoby twins are using genetic manipulation to create fantastical creatures straight out of mythology, including unicorns and dragons. Oddly enough this is what gets the attention of the DMS and leads them to unravel a much more threatening bigger picture with disturbing ties to the past. It is hard to get into too many details without giving away key plot points but the story goes from mythical creatures to a planned human extinction wave that ties back to the efforts of the Third Reich.
It all eventually comes down to a tense race against the clock for the DMS, with both Joe Ledger and Grace Courtland leading their teams into the field to try to save the day. While I felt that the story was not quite as good as the first book, it was still very enjoyable and the character building was well done. Ray Porter delivers another excellent narration and I found myself eager to move forward in the series when this one was all said and done.
The second book in the phenomenal Joe Ledger series is possibly even better than the first. I've purchased some of Jonathan Maberry's earlier works now to read on my Kindle, but Ray Porter is THE MOST WONDERFUL NARRATOR IN AUDIBLE HISTORY and handles Maberry's deft prose with compassion and style. I was so thrilled to find out there are 3 more books in the series as well as two scheduled for publication. I have left all other fandom behind. If you're a fan of fantasy fiction, scifi, military novels, martial arts, police procedurals, dystopian thrillers or plain old superb writing, start with PATIENT ZERO and carry on from there.
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