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5.0 out of 5 starsKiller first installment
Reviewed in the United States on June 5, 2013
As a previous reviewer noted, had this been a full-length novel instead of the first installment of a three-part series, I would have devoured it in one sitting. As with his previous Arcadian novels, Beck has written here a dynamite mixture of action and speculative science, with poor Matt Kearns tossed right into the middle of it all. Even without the ominous presence of Alex Hunter there to guide him, Kearns proves a capable protagonist as he seeks to unearth the cure for a bizarre parasitic infection sweeping the States. The search for said cure takes Kearns to the unexplored jungles of South America, and a mysterious lost tribe that may hold the key to defeating the pandemic. As always, Beck has a deft eye for action scenes and cryptozoological wonders. Part 2 can't get here soon enough.
4.0 out of 5 starsNew Greig Beck serial novella as good as the rest
Reviewed in the United States on June 21, 2013
"First Bird" is the first of a three part serial with publication dates of June, July and August 2013 in the US. No Arcadian Alex Hunter here, but that's OK. Instead we get Professor Matt Kearns from the first two Alex Hunter novels. Same fast-paced writing style, same (so far) biology-based SF, same great fun. This time Matt and others, including a CDC official are on trek through uncharted South American jungle. The CDC doc wants to find the origin and cure for a new plague brought back from the rain forest by a now deceased explorer who found an unknown tribe of primitives who delivered to him a living archaeopteryx. The sponsor of the trek is a big shot movie producer who wants to find this land of the lost. Matt and his girlfriend are along for their archeological and linguistic abilities.
This is a novella that at 139 pages, flies by in a couple of hours. Naturally it ends abruptly in a cliffhanger, but what else do you expect from a serial? I'm not exactly sure why it was published this way - probably a combination of a marketing ploy plus a gimmick to extract more money from us, and both are unnecessary. Beick hasn't released a stinker yet, and all of his previous novels have been well received critically and (I imagine) commercially. As this one will be.
Anyway, it's only $3 for the Kindle and worth the price. But now I have to wait another month, and then one more month to see how it all wraps up. And I'll definitely be waiting.
4.0 out of 5 starsChristine's Horror Fiction Reviews
Reviewed in the United States on May 19, 2014
It said Episode One right there on the cover, so I have nobody to blame but myself for my agonized groan when I reached the end of the book to find it was nowhere near the end of the story!
My first piece of advice, therefore, is that you might as well go ahead and spring for the entire trilogy or omnibus versions right out of the gate. Assuming that you like lost worlds, remote tribes, paleontology, eco/bio thrillers, extinct species turning out to be not so extinct after all, and … what am I saying? Who DOESN’T?
The First Bird belongs right up there on the shelf with Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park and Congo, Preston and Child’s Relic, the better of Clive Cussler’s stuff, and any number of adventure flicks from the scientifically plausible to the entertainingly goofy.
An explorer, an expedition, an exotic specimen smuggled out of its native habitat. Not just any exotic specimen, either, but what appears to be a genuine archaeopteryx, the first bird, a living fossil and link to the time of the dinosaurs.
Never mind the legends and taboos, or the locals trying to stop him. Never mind quarantine. It’s the find of the century, the career-making discovery of a lifetime! What could possibly go wrong?
Well, for starters, he might collapse in the middle of his revolutionary presentation. His mysterious sickness might trigger an outbreak, and an investigation by the CDC. They might try to trace the contagion back to its source, which means finding out where he picked up the specimen.
And for that, they’ll need a team of experts! Enter linguistics professor Matt Kearns, recruited whether he likes it or not for a trip into the uncharted jungles. His assignment will be to communicate with the natives. Provided he, or any of them, can get there alive.
It doesn’t help that not every member of the team is on the same page. The movie mogul, for example, is more interested in the cinematic, licensing and merchandising potential of the archaeopteryx and whatever else might survive down there.
Now that I’ve got the rest of the series, I can’t wait to find out!
I love apocalyptic and viral type infection fiction..this is a novel idea..not a life killing end of the world new virus that has escaped yet again from a laboratory but a parasite...one that seems to have been here longer than us and may have been the cause of the dinosaurs demise..so it is a good one then,we don't have a lot of chance against this horrific minute bug,it doesn't reemerge once under the skin until it has removed the skin..oooh gross out shivers at the descriptions of baggy skin!!!!..and nice oozey descriptions..caution may not want to eat whilst reading!!! Absolutely brilliant ideas and plot layout,packed full of action,picked this up as a freebie,delighted I did and have bought parts two and three straight away!!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 15, 2015
This is about an expedition into a South American jungle but some scientists who are looking for a particular creature which had unleashed a deadly disease onto people of the U.S. when an explorer brought it home with him. Of course this trip doesn't go smoothly and they encounter a lot more than they expected ! This reminded me of Jurassic Park and I found it very exciting.
I bought this book because I have all the authors previous books. I also bought all three parts at once to save myself the frustration of having to wait for each installments. This character has been in previous books, although you wouldn't need to have read them: it was nice to see a secondary character come to the fore, especially one who was a very reluctant participant. If you love stories set in the present that use clues from the past, combined with a heft chunk of science and a dash of the apocalyptic, then this is the book for you )
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 6, 2014
A good story that keeps your attention; you don't want to put it down. Could have been a script for an indianna Jones movie and would have worked too. If i had a gripe then it would be that the author does seemed to get his prehistoric eras a little confused with creatures from at least four different periods in the same place.... (won't tell you more it'll spoil the story) worth the money worth the read.... give it a try.
Not my usual reading but very creative primordial thriller writing. This particular book is quite short and perhaps I prefered it because not too many deaths in this one as beck can get carried away with the number of killings in his books. Nevertheless I think his books are well written and good credible science fiction thrillers.