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Publisher's Summary

From the co-author of the two-million copy mega-best seller The Rule of Four, comes a riveting thriller with a brilliant premise based on the 2012 apocalypse phenomenon - perfect for readers of Steve Berry, Preston and Child, and Dan Brown.

For decades, December 21, 2012, has been a touchstone for doomsayers worldwide. It is the date, they claim, when the ancient Maya calendar predicts the world will end.

In Los Angeles, two weeks before, all is calm. Dr. Gabriel Stanton takes his usual morning bike ride, drops off the dog with his ex-wife, and heads to the lab where he studies incurable prion diseases for the CDC. His first phone call is from a hospital resident who has an urgent case she thinks he needs to see. Meanwhile, Chel Manu, a Guatemalan American researcher at the Getty Museum, is interrupted by a desperate, unwelcome visitor from the black market antiquities trade who thrusts a duffel bag into her hands.

By the end of the day, Stanton, the foremost expert on some of the rarest infections in the world, is grappling with a patient whose every symptom confounds and terrifies him. And Chel, the brightest young star in the field of Maya studies, has possession of an illegal artifact that has miraculously survived the centuries intact: a priceless codex from a lost city of her ancestors. This extraordinary record, written in secret by a royal scribe, seems to hold the answer to her life's work and to one of history's great riddles: why the Maya kingdoms vanished overnight. Suddenly it seems that our own civilization might suffer this same fate.

With only days remaining until December 21, 2012, Stanton and Chel must join forces before time runs out.

©2012 Dustin Thomason (P)2012 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Thomason displays an impressive depth of knowledge of both science and the ancient Mayan way of life. Along the way, he skillfully ramps up the action, one notch at a time. A winning book." (Kirkus Reviews)
"The most exciting novel of its kind since the days of Michael Crichton, 12.21 takes us from the frontiers of modern neuroscience to the riddles of ancient Maya texts, with nothing less than the future of our civilization at stake." (Vince Flynn)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.6 out of 5.0
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Story

  • 3.6 out of 5.0
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  • cristina
  • Somerville, MA, United States
  • 08-21-12

Three stars, but enjoyable

The premise was clever -- making both the scientific and the religious explanation for an apocalypse seem 'plausible.' (If events happen to come together too smoothly....is it a preposterous coincidence, or fate?) The writing was pretty solid. The narration, for the most part, was good (except for Noel Rodriguez -- I assume he is the reader for the "scribe" and sounds like a caricature of a drunk who is exaggerating his Spanish accent...those parts were excruciating and I found myself listening at double-speed through some sections). I was totally entertained -- and yet, the character development was a little weak and some fail to come alive as people. They are simply figures in the plot. Still, like I said, I did enjoy it.

36 of 36 people found this review helpful

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Not Awful But...

The science and medicine is sort of interesting but the story is not well written. I love sci-fi and I am pretty good about suspending logic for the sake of a good story but there are parts of this books that are just dumb. A doctor hears about a car crash in Los Angeles and suspects it might have been caused by someone afflicted with a condition so rare fewer than 50 people in the world have been diagnosed with it? He runs to investigate and finds out he was right? Are inattentive driving accidents that rare in Los Angeles? Also, I am not in the health profession but it seems to me genetic testing is not something that gets done on demand, in a few hours in what is described as a rundown inner city public hospital. There were other similar incidents of illogic and just bad story telling.

Overall it is not awful but there are cringe-worthy moments. And there are three narrators and no one can do a British accent?

15 of 15 people found this review helpful

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  • Cris
  • Lake Waccamaw, NC, United States
  • 08-25-12

Not close to Crichton or even Brown at their Best

I enjoyed learning more about the Mayan culture, but the story was just ok. I agree with Kim about some of the medical aspects of the book and I do have a medical background. Most of the characters were not well developed--for example, the ex wife seemed to be introduced mainly to tell the main character (and the readers) about his attraction to the heroine--little chemistry there. The plot was way too grand for the story that was ultimately told. This novel seemed to be abridged which is a real shame.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Way Overrated!

Any additional comments?

I should have learned by now to take endorsements from otherwise credible sources with a grain of salt. The best I can say about this overrated/overhyped book is that the story line was interesting and character development good, however it quickly became disjointed and, frankly, boring. The primary narrator was pretty good---in fact he should have done the entire recording, because the second narrator, assuming the role of the scribe, was just awful----to the extent that I couldn't stand to listen to it. Thankfully, it was a short book but I was still unable to stick with it to the end.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Paul
  • Bangkok, Thailand
  • 09-10-12

Predictably Apocalyptic

The premise for this work, global apocalypse with paranormal overtones, is well tilled soil in the world of fiction; particularly so as we approach December 2012 and the end-of-the-Mayan-calendar crazies "spin like propellers", to borrow a phrase from Yitzhak Rabin. The plot of this work, then, was disappointingly predictable as the book lurched forward. Characters were unidimensional, dialogue was cliche-ish.

On the upside, the narration was good, but, overall, I would give this a pass.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Lulu W.
  • Los Angeles, CA, United States
  • 09-01-12

What a snooze!

Still amazed the author managed to combine so many great themes ~ Prions! Mayan prophecy! Plague! ~ into such dull matter. Unfortunately the narrators didn't or couldn't elevate clumsy writing. Snore.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • k.
  • eugene, OR, United States
  • 08-26-12

cannibalism and mad cow epidemic...be forewarned

Well written, depressing as hell, quite gruesome, informative in a depressing way, if this sounds like escapism to you, bon voyage!...however, terrific narrator...

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Beau
  • New Orleans, LA, United States
  • 09-24-12

Meh - A Solid Concept, but not well Executed

Given my title, let me first say that this was not an awful book by any means. It had some solid elements to it including the premise and descriptions and insights into ancient Mayan culture. The first couple of chapters were strong and laid a nice foundation that gave me high hopes. But the characters ended up flat and uninspired, and the story didn't really feel compelling in the way the early Michael Crichton or James Patterson novels might. The peril and pacing you would expect in an end of the world book seemed to be missing and it tended to focus on deciphering and interpreting a codex instead of pushing the story in other ways. Ultimately I felt a bit let down by these decisions and this book ends up as a middling effort; not terrible, but certainly not as good as it could have been.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A bit disappointed

Is there anything you would change about this book?

The jumping back and forth between past and present wasnt very smooth...Lost interest

Has 12.21 turned you off from other books in this genre?

No.....this was just disappointing..maybe my expectations were too high

Could you see 12.21 being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

No doubt it will and I doubt very seriously it will follow the book very closely

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Enjoyed the book

Where does 12.21 rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

12.21 may not be the best book I've ever read, but the plot line was engaging and it held my attention through to the end. An enjoyable read.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful