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The King of Plagues

The Joe Ledger Novels, Book 3
Narrated by: Ray Porter
Series: Joe Ledger, Book 3
Length: 16 hrs and 7 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (5,934 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Saturday, 0911 hours — A blast rocks a London hospital and thousands are dead or injured.

1009 hours — Joe Ledger arrives on scene to investigate. The horror is unlike anything he has ever seen.

Compelled by grief and rage, Ledger rejoins the Department of Military Sciences, and within hours he's attacked by a hit team of assassins and sent on a suicide mission into a viral hot zone during an Ebola outbreak.

Soon Ledger and the DMS begin tearing down the veils of deception to uncover a vast and powerful secret society using weaponized versions of the Ten Plagues of Egypt to destabilize world economies and profit from the resulting chaos. Millions will die unless Ledger meets this powerful new enemy on its own terms as he fights terror with terror. 

Take another thrill ride with Joe Ledger.
©2011 Jonathan Maberry (P)2011 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

“A fast-paced, brilliantly written novel.” (Brad Thor)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

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Story

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Very Entertaining

Joe Ledger is a terrific character for this genre. He has strength and compassion as well as good solid hatred of the bad guys.
This is a well-rounded storyline with lots of action, weird bad guys and gals (love all the twisted weirdos wanting to fulfill their own twisted weirdo agendas) and cool behind-the-scenes military/government stuff.
And I totally disagree with some other reviewers who criticized the author for the political comments. I appreciated the intention as the comments were woven into the story as not only from the main character's point-of-view, but to add reality to the story.
And who doesn't love that dog? I adored Ghost and all his human-like qualities! I want that dog!
Ray Porter is an absolutely outstanding narrator.
On the next installment.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Joe Ledger ROCKS!

I cannot choose which is my favorite Joe Ledger book, I have tried by listening to them each several times. Jonathan Maberry is one of the most talented writers I have ever had the pleasure of reading. His books are smart, creepy, and will pull you into the world in which his characters dwell. The King of Plagues is the third part of the Joe Ledger trilogy, My advice is start the book when you have plenty of time to listen, because once you start you will not be able to stop.

36 of 42 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Better Than The Second Joe Ledger

I was disappointed by the second Joe Ledger book Dragon Factory and almost didn't read this one. But, I was such a fan of Dust and Decay and Rot and Ruin (absolutely fantastic btw) that I decided to give this one a shot.
I don't think it was as good as Patient Zero but it is damn close.

15 of 18 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Ray Porter - Still worth the price of admission.

In the third full-length installment of the Joe Ledger series, we again find ourselves blessed with one of the best narrators available; Mr. Ray Porter. His performance alone is more than reason enough to spend time on this book.

This was my least favorite of the series so far, a casualty of overtly political sentiments that felt clumsy and heavy-handed, and a couple of overly obvious plot set-ups that left little to be surprised by in the end.

That said, there are still things to recommend this book, and overall I do recommend it; both for the reading, and for the (by now) familiar characters that I continued to enjoy. Mr. Church/Deacon/Pope (the main character's mysterious boss) continues to be one of the more interesting characters I've enjoyed in the thriller genre in some time, and I will happily pick up the next installment of the series when it comes out.

Final Verdict: Not as good as the first two, but worth the credit if you've enjoyed the series thus far.

16 of 21 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

THIS ISN'T A SODDEN COMIC BOOK

IF YOU GO TO AMBUSH SOMEONE DON'T MAKE A SPEECH FIRST.
Keep in mind that as I criticize this book that I have already given it four stars for story and overall. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME SOMEONE FALLING IN LOVE LISTENED TO REASON. This is book number three and it is not as good as book number two, which was no where near as good as book number one "Patient Zero". Though this is not a comic book it does come dangerously close. The bad guys are Chaos (the same bad guys in Get Smart). At over 16 hours I thought the book was too long. The same thing that happens to most popular authors, seems to be happening to Maberry. His writing is getting longer as he says less. Editors keep their mouths shut, so as not to get fired. This would have been a little better at ten or twelve hours. There are places that go extremely flat and even Ray Porter sounds bored.

UGLY WINDS BLEW ACROSS THE DARKNESS OF MY INNER LANDSCAPE.
Keep in mind the above sentence was said in total seriousness. Joe Ledger is becoming a real softy. He is even more touchie feelie and introspective in this book then number 2. Diane Rowland's Zombie character Angel has a bigger set of balls then Joe now. Don't get me started on how Maberry is trying to turn this into a super politically correct novel. The speeches on how there are lots of good Moslems etc... are endless. The series has been optioned for a TV series, so Joe has to clean up his act. The mileage they get out of Joe's girlfriend's death in book two is unbelievable, even while they set up his next girlfriend.

WHAT IS EVIL?
IT IS WHAT THE LOSERS CALL THE WINNERS.
Having said all I have said this book is worth your credit. It is still better then most books out there. It has some good action and plenty of great macho lines. I enjoyed it and will be getting the next book in the series.

Ray Porter, may be the best narrator on the planet.

34 of 48 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

JOE IS MOURNING

Joe was hit hard by everything, he was ready to leave his old life and DMS behind, but does it ready to let him go.

We will have old and new enemies, we will see human and animal sides of some characters, we will see love, loss and betrayal.

And we will see the breaking point of the modern world.

10 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Jonathan Maberry, Ray Porter & Joe Ledger!!!!!

Ray Porter brings to life the members of Echo Team and the DMS team. I can't imagine another person reading these books, it would feel wrong, like when they do a remake of your favorite movies, the new actors/actresses will never measure up! I really liked this book, it kept you on your toes, had so much going on at the same time, but you never got lost or overwhelmed, you still connected with each player. You HATED "The Spaniard", you FEARED Nickademous, you CRIED for the dead and CHEERED (rather loudly I might add) when the good guys finally got something right!! This is actually the 3rd Time I've listened to this book. I've listened to all of Jonathan Maberry's books and when I need to get my "Joe Ledger" FIX and am waiting for the next book, I will go back and listen to the series all over again. Keep up the AMAZING work!!!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

PLAGUES Confirms I am STILL Not Sick of Joe Ledger

Having listened to the first three installments of the Joe Ledger series, The King of Plagues included, it's safe to say that I'll be a devout follower of Jonathan Maberry's hero for the foreseeable future (particularly since I've already downloaded the rest of these books and have book #10 on pre-order for its late-October release). But having also done a minor bit of binge listening and working through these first three books in fairly quick succession (for me, anyway), I'm not entirely sure what else I have to add beyond what I have already said in my reviews for Patient Zero and The Dragon Factory.

Maberry is a reliable author to turn toward, and the bulk of his work that I've read has left me satisfied. His Rot & Ruin series is a superb run of Young Adult post-apocalyptic zombie novels (a few which also feature Joe Ledger, naturally), and his latest, Glimpse, was an early favorite of my 2018 reads. His Ledger books follow a formulaic structure, as series books typically do, but they've proven to be immediately engaging. I like Ledger and his tough, smart-ass, but self-aware attitude, and Maberry has surrounded him with a great cast of supporting players and ultra-villainous baddies who you just cannot wait to see their asses kicked and/or killed.

The King of Plagues introduces us to a secret society of ultra-wealthy global elites, the 1% of the 1%, who control literally every single thing. They are the Seven Kings, and through their network of assassins, drug cartels, legitimate industries, terror cells, street gangs, government agencies, etc., they covertly run the world, destabilizing economies and nations for their own gain and pleasures. For the Goddess they serve, this is not enough, and so Sebastian Gault (a returning villain responsible for the zombie outbreak in Patient Zero) is recruited as their King of Plagues, with the goal of unleashing the ten Biblical plagues upon mankind in an act of global Armageddon. Joe Ledger, on sabbatical from the DMS, is called back into action to face what is easily the greatest threat he's faced thus far.

One thing that surprised me is the somewhat slower, more methodical pace of The King of Plagues in comparison to the prior two entries. Given this book's focus on germ warfare and biological terrorism, Maberry is forced to be a bit more restrained in the gunplay. While there are still plenty of great big giant action scenes, there are also quieter, more dramatic plays on turmoil. It is, after all, a little too reckless to get into a gunfight while wearing a hazmat suit and locked in a room surrounded by vials of ebola and contaminated air.

Restraining the violence is a good thing sometimes, and such moments allow Maberry to fully capitalize on the emotional horrors and physical trauma of murder by way of viral attacks, and the sense of powerlessness in the face of invisible microbial terrors. Other aspects of The King of Plagues are equally restrained, giving the book a bit more a grounded in reality feel. The Seven Kings aspect feels slightly comic-bookish and grandiose, but it's also hard to discount them given real world machinations and the influence of the ultra-wealthy on systems of governance and law. What cannot be discounted, though, is the severely human antagonists at the heart of Plagues. In fact, there's nary a zombie or genetically engineered beserker to be found. The horrors here are entirely human and natural, even if already highly deadly diseases have been given an extra bit of fictional oomph. For a series that has been populated with scientifically plausible-enough monsters, it's notable that Maberry bypasses that particular facet in favor of viruses and plagues, exhibiting the elasticity of this series and allowing the author and his characters to stretch their legs into some deeper and more diabolical arenas.

My only real complaint comes with a dangling loose end that came at the finale of the prior entry, The Dragon Factory. At that book's close, we saw Ledger on the hunt for an assassin that had previously escaped his crosshairs. It's an element that is all but abandoned here, as Maberry picks up the story sometime following Ledger's pursuit and his acquisition of an awesome white German Shepherd named Ghost. Apparently Ledger's hunt and Ghost's introduction are told in a short story, available separately naturally, which frankly irks me a bit. It's a bit jarring to have Ledger all of a sudden in the company of a killer attack dog, and denied the pay-off of The Dragon Factory's most pressing story thread.

This small issue aside, The King of Plagues is certainly a heck of a lot of fun. Ray Porter continues to impress, taking his rightful place as The King of Narrators as he exhibits a knack for various accents as Ledger's search for the Seven Kings takes him overseas to England and Scotland. It was fun listening to Porter adopt a Scotsman's brogue for some pertinent scenes, and his portrayal of the inmate Nicodemus allowed him to exhibit even further range in one particularly creepy scene.

Now that I've worked my way through the opening trio of this long-running series, I will be taking a small break from Joe Ledger's adventures before I get burned out. But you can be damned sure I'll be back for more soon!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Not without flaws

Any additional comments?

Overall enjoyable, but not without flaws.

1. Joe Ledger continues on the path of being the ultimate Mary Sue. A former normal police officer who had an unremarkable military career... who can be plugged immediately into the top special forces team in the world, has an analytical mind second only to Church, is one of the best martial artists in the world, and speaks multiple languages fluidly? Erm, okay. Don't forget that his dog is trained as a bomb dog. And a corpse dog. And an attack dog. It's ridiculous. Putting that aside...

2. The politics are indeed a little over the top in this one.

3. Fun fact: this book has a character that we only hear called by a nickname, and his true identity is supposed to be a big shocking reveal. Unfortunately, in the first prints of the book, they gave away his real identity on accident. In the audiobook, that is corrected... but the narrator uses the same voice. So it still gives it away. It's like a mystery that refuses to stay buried.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Love the books so far, but.....

I hope that Rudy dies a slow, painful death in one of the upcoming books. If I hear "dios mio" one more time I may throw my phone at someone.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful