Pandemic: The Extinction Files, Book 1 Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
A deadly outbreak in Kenya. A conspiracy beyond imagination. And a race to save humanity in its darkest hour.
From A. G. Riddle, the worldwide best-selling author of The Atlantis Gene and Departure, comes a novel that will change everything you think you know about pandemics.
A hundred miles north of Alaska, an American Coast Guard vessel discovers a sunken submarine at the bottom of the Arctic Ocean. It has no national identification and doesn't match the records of any known vessel. Deep within, researchers find evidence of a scientific experiment that will alter our very understanding of the human race.
In Atlanta, Dr. Peyton Shaw is awakened by the phone call she has dreaded for years. As the CDC's leading epidemiologist, she's among the first responders to outbreaks around the world. It's a lonely and dangerous job, but it's her life - and she's good at it. This time she may have met her match. In Kenya, an Ebola-like pathogen has infected two Americans. One lies at death's door. With the clock ticking, Peyton assembles her team and joins personnel from the Kenyan Ministry of Health and the WHO. What they find in the remote village is beyond their worst fears. As she traces the origin of the pathogen, Peyton begins to believe that there is more to this outbreak - that it may be merely the opening act in a conspiracy with far-reaching consequences.
In Berlin, Desmond Hughes awakens in a hotel room with no memory of how he got there or who he is. On the floor he finds a dead security guard from an international pharmaceutical company. His only clue leads him to Peyton Shaw - a woman who seems to know him but refuses to tell him how. With the police searching the city for him, Desmond desperately tries to piece together what happened to him. To his shock and horror, he learns that he may be involved in causing the outbreak - and could hold the only key to stopping it.
As the pathogen spreads around the world, Peyton and Desmond race to unravel the conspiracy behind the pandemic - and uncover secrets some want to keep buried.
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|Listening Length||18 hours and 53 minutes|
|Author||A. G. Riddle|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com.au Release Date||20 June 2017|
|Best Sellers Rank|| 25,439 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
73 in Medical Fiction (Audible Books & Originals)
122 in Technothrillers (Audible Books & Originals)
189 in Medical Thrillers
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I won't be reading the next one in the series. Peyton is a waif.
Mr Riddle's recent books have been good and ever improving. With "Departure" he moved for me from very good author to gifted status. With "Pandemic" however, he joins the ranks of the truly great and leaves such luminaries as Dan Brown, Clive Cussler and Matthew Reilly floundering in his wake.
I have not been paid for this review nor was I supplied a reader's copy by the Publisher. I paid my own good money out of the limited funds my Disability Pension provides me and regret not one cent spent. It was a real pleasure to see Riddle breathe such new and exciting brilliance to a trope which has been oft visited , usually in a far less polished manner it must be said, and I have no hesitation in speaking of his novel in the same glowing terms I would normally reserve for Michael Crichton's "The Andromeda Strain"; one of my all time favourites of the trope.
Full credit should be given as well to the narrator of the Audible version; he brings both story and characters to life perfectly, managing to even create acceptable Australian accents - a very touchy point for we Aussies who usually don't know whether to laugh or cry at the way our speech is mangled.
Although my eyesight is so poor I cannot read it, I have already purchased the second volume of the Extinction Files, "Genome" in the hope that it's Audible version will soon be available ...... and with prayers that the same narrator is available.
Bravo Mr Riddle, and thank you from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia!
But about half-way through the book it all changed. A massive info-dump in the form of a manifesto-of-sorts and the story seemed to work VERY hard to link all of the major characters together. I don’t even understand why, it really didn’t do anything for the book. After that the last half of the second act and the third were anti-climactic as it felt too contrived to be believable as civilians were miraculously able to enter combat situations and work towards a predictable solution. All the while certain elements which needed a bit more explaining were simply left hanging.
So if you want an interesting read on a concept of a man-made pandemic read the first-half of the book and throw the second away.
And, as you can see, I bought the Kindle version and spent a lazy day devouring it. Great plot, fast paced with some interesting twists and turns, plus a fascinating cast of characters that I can’t wait to catch up with in the next book.
My one criticism is that the plot became a little hysterical towards the end, moving into the realm of cliche and improbability...but given the length of the novel, I think Riddle did well to maintain as much control as he did. I'll certainly read the next in the series and hope that it continues the well-paced credibility and detail of the majority of this first book.
I found the characters on the whole likeable and mainly understandable, although not sure about one complete turn around near the end was believable.
I am looking forward to and have preordered book 2.
Top reviews from other countries
A note on the research. Many of the reviews so far praise the research that went into writing the book. I can't quibble with the idea that it was researched. That said, there are two types of bad research in a novel. The first is where the research isn't done or the facts are wrong. The other, which the author is guilty of in spades in this book, is showing the reader how proud he is of all his research by shoe-horning every single fact he could find out about every single subject into the text. So in Pandemic, when a character walks into a park, we're told that at 520 acres it's Berlin's oldest park and one of the biggest urban parks in Germany. This has no bearing on anything in the story or any of the characters. When a character approaches the Brandenburg Gate we get told "The gate had been constructed in the 1780s by Frederick William II, the king of Prussia..." And then we get a couple of pages of the sort of dry history that you'd read in a second rate guidebook. When a bio-weapons lab crops up in the story things get even lazier and the author just lifts information from the lab's Wikipedia page. Which makes the book read just like a Wikipedia page. Research should be transparent. The research in Pandemic just distracts you from the story.
The dialog is at times so wooden you could get splinters from it. After watching an emotive video of his dead son, one character says "Yes, it was indeed bittersweet to watch. Thank you for showing us the video." It reminded my of the old Billy the Fish comic strip where the football team's plane explodes in mid-air and as the team manager is plummeting to the earth, he says "Well that certainly puts the cat amongst the pigeons as far as this week's team selection is concerned."
I have a rule that I don't award a book 1 star if I managed to finish it. I finished Pandemic, so it gets 2 stars. It would have got 3 if an editor had been employed to cut 200 pages out of it and it avoided all the pointless digressions.
I read anything and everything, especially history and scientific.
This book falls into the scientific but to some degree much of the pandemics spread can be explained in history.
The book takes a lot of reading / plodding along before it starts to take an interesting slant.
If you have ever read a book with Ebola and similar, it will cover most of this book.
The guy being set up as hero, fall guy. The good looking female doctor torn between dedication and loins or family. The hint of bad guys and conspiracy theorists will sit up.
The victims dying slow and hard unless lucky.
It’s all in here but nothing that stands out as a page turner.
Slow steady dialogue which does little to stretch an imagination. I have plodded through and am more or less committed to the next book but unless it improves substantially I shall write off a series as a lost cause.
First, the good stuff. Well, the depth and level of research absolutely shines through and, in a book as centered on science as this is, that's important. The scenes of dealing with a horrendous global pandemic ring with authenticity and make for gripping reading. The literary device of having a main character with no memory is intriguing at first but gets a bit wearing later on. The pace of the story is fast enough to carry the reader along and make "just one more page" an easy decision.
So what went wrong? Well, by the middle of the book, the reader is keeping track of a growing crowd of main and secondary characters, all of whom are connected in one way or another. But as the book reaches its last 20%, the connections between these characters and their part in this global story begins to not only become apparent but also gets more and more unlikely, requiring a real suspension of belief. There's also a not unusual Americanisation that creeps in, by which I mean that there is a sense that everything in the world is either done by Americans or is because of America. So every single individual involved in this global plot, spanning decades, is, in some way American.
There is one glitch that really made me smile. When the Kevin Costner film 'Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves' hit the screen, to less than entire praise from critics, one grumble was that Robin / Kevin arrives at the white cliffs of Dover, sets off walking and, a couple of hours later, reaches Nottingham. Obviously, the screen writers had little concept of the distance between the south coast and Nottingham. Similarly, in Pandemic, the group of heroes is is the Shetland Isles, just a long spit from the Arctic Circle but they get into their propeller-driven aircraft and, half a page later, are landing in southern Australia. So that's, literally, half way around the world in a trice and all without stopping or refueling.
The main character is left incarcerated at the end of the book, setting up the next book neatly.Despite my grumbles, I'll almost certainly buy the second book, just to see how it all ends.
Drama and excitement aplenty, some pretty dire situations and all managed with no bad language - a thing beyond MANY authors
I have read some of the other reviews and yes, the ending is a bit fanciful, some of the strings have got tied up in knots but HEY!!!! it's not a textbook, and there is a follow on.