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)
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 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.
Nothing like a great book when on the move.
...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.
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 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.
The story was good but Ray Porter made it great. He has several characters and his inflexions are on the mark.
The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.
I delved into this volume and was pleasantly surprised. It's essentially a "what would happen if Nazis had survived" as two evil geniuses prepare to wipe out non-white races using genetically-modified viruses to create a new Aryan race. Joe Ledger remains amazingly competent - he can apparently take out zombies, monsters, and anything you throw at him.
There are plenty of fast pace, twists and variety of plots and subplots, as well as their resolutions. This all happens while kicking ass and taking names, then checking the list of names and kicking everyone's ass again just to make sure. One group's literally making monsters; the other's winding up what they call the Extinction Clock for a multi-racial genocide that makes the "Final Solution" look puny.
It's hard not to fall in love with Jonathan Maberry's intricate globally expansive conspiracy plot and his quirky, real and believable characters. Admittedly some of the science went way over my head but I never actually felt lost, I just took everything in context and muddled my way through the few places where I got semi-lost.
Ray Porter enhances the story as with everything he narrates.
I've jumped around on the Joe Ledger series and haven't read any of them in order, but I'm not lost at all. Seems that no matter which book you start with, Maberry gives the reader a chance to catch up and jump right in.
I'm looking forward to my next Maberry/Ledger adventure.
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.
I will listen to NO boring book. Old Fav's,Card, King , Hobb. New Fav's, Hill, Scalzi, Sawyer, Interested in Lansdale, Crouch, Konrath
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.
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