A missing canister of a deadly virus. A lab technician bleeding from the eyes. Toni Gallo, the security director of a Scottish medical research firm, knows she has problems, but she has no idea of the nightmare to come.
As a Christmas Eve blizzard whips out of the north, several people converge on a remote family house. Stanley Oxenford, the research company's director, has everything riding on the drug he is developing to fight the virus, but he isn't the only one: his grown children, who have come to spend Christmas, have their eyes on the money it will bring; Toni Gallo, forced to resign from the police department in disgrace, is betting her career on keeping the drug safe; a local television reporter, determined to move up, has sniffed the story, even if he has to bend the facts to tell it; and a violent trio of thugs is on its way to steal it for a client already waiting, though what the client really has in mind is something that will shock them all.
As the storm worsens, the emotional sparks, jealousies, distrust, sexual attraction, and rivalries, crackle; desperate secrets are revealed; hidden traitors and unexpected heroes emerge. Filled with startling twists at every turn, Whiteout rockets Follett to a class by himself.
Don't miss Ken Follet discussing the history of the thriller and its role in literature at the 92nd Street Y.
©2004 Ken Follett; (P)2004 Penguin Audio
"[The] nail-biter ending drags readers to the very edge of their seats and holds them captive until the last villain is satisfactorily dispatched." (Publishers Weekly)
I loved this book, but it was a bit slow until the second half. All I can say is don't stop listening. The first half lays the groundwork and introduces all of the characters. The second half is very exciting and thrilling with one thing after another happening. The author doesn't leave us hanging, either. He wraps it up very nicely at the end by letting us know what happens to all of the characters. I found it to be very enjoyable.
What a dreadful disappointment - after five hours into the book, still NOTHING has happened other than that we have been introduced to half a dozen idle rich women and their dysfunctional male counterparts. The description of the self absorbed lives of these people is what most guys fear from romance novels - and to juxtapose these trivial problems to the potential of a virus on the loose on the British Isles that has a 100 percent mortality rate simply doesn't work.
The reader does justice to the whiny voices of the cast of unsympathetic characters. She would not work for a thriller, which I incorrectly assumed Whiteout to be, but for the bickering dialog of entitled women and spineless men, she is doing a good job.
Don't spend your money on this dud!
I had all but given up on this genre and bought "Whiteout" only because I always preferred Ken Follett over all the rest. The difference between my thoughts and the previous review just serve to demonstrate all the outside factors we bring into whatever it is that we are reading. I find none of the annoying entitled women's perspective - yes, those women are present but they seem more like background texture than nerve-grating whiners. Instead, to me, it's a lean, well-constructed, logically presented techno-thriller with fully developed details, precise timing, sudden scene changes, and incisive character introspection to keep the reader off-guard. All this is paired with a few clever, lighter touches that keep the reader entertained. Plus, Follett gives a very real sense of place to the whole scenario. All in all, a great read!
I am an avid listener. I listen between 75-100 hours per month on my iPhone: 60% fiction to 40% non-fiction.
Yes. Whiteout is a combination who-dunnit, love story and thriller wrapped nicely into a Scottish backdrop. It's very good.
The techical aspects are actually a backdrop to the interpersonal conflicts. I like it when the authors don't overdose on technology.
Follett is the author of two of my favorite audio books of all time, "Pillars of the Earth" (not in audible library) and "Hornet Flight" (in audible library - a must listen).
I found this book to be written in a COMPLETELY different style! The only way I can describe it is that it seems like an old pompous British woman wrote the book. Likewise, the reader read the book in exactly that manner, and she has a blue blood British accent.
Nonetheless, like all the Follet audiobooks I just can't turn it off. It's a good story and a fun listen, and you will find yourself anxiously anticipating getting back to it!!
I have read all of Ken Follett's book and looked forward to this one. Unfortunately it takes a long time to get interesting. It was okay but not great.
I have to disagree a little with the opinions of some of the other listeners. I think that this story was pretty exciting. Some of the characters annoyed me a little, but people get annoyed by other people all the time. It didn't cause me not to like the plot.
The only thing I really didn't like was that the reader is very no-nonsense and her voice is very monotone. She has an accent and I had to pay close attention to some words. She would have bored me if the story had not been so interesting. I got hooked right away. I have little patience, and could not get through Jonathon Strange and Mr. Norell, and I got through this and liked it. It isn't my favorite audio book (like Time Traveler's Wife) but, it wasn't too bad.
I enjoyed this book, but it does not even come close to being as good as Pillars of the Earth and World Without End. I just didn't get sucked into it as I have Follett's other novels. I'm sure one reason is because it was not nearly as intricate a plot and the characters were not as well developed. I'm not giving up on his books, but I think I'll stick to the historical fiction. I think that is where his true gift lies.
On Wings of Eagles
Couldn't wait to get to the end. It was a real exciting book to listen to and enjoyed it tremendously.
I have loved every book we have listened to by Ken Follet.
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