Pandemic, the first book in The Extinction Files by A.G. Riddle is, to borrow from Dr Who, a timey wimey, twisty, wisty (OK, made that last part up), humdinger of a tale about the outbreak of a global haemorrhagic disease and, not only it’s catastrophic consequences, but its terrible origins.
When an old submarine containing evidence of suspicious experiments is found deep beneath the ocean, its discovery unleashes a shocking chain of events that drag epidemiologist, Peyton Shaw, and her crew to Africa and the outbreak of the deadliest virus known the man.
In Berlin, Desmond Hughes awakes to find himself bloodied and bruised, a dead man in his motel room and the police at his door. Only problem is, he has no memory of who he is, who the corpse might be and why not only the authorities are after him, but why he has a message to warn Peyton Shaw.
Thus begins a deadly race against time and a mysterious group whose plans spell both doom and salvation for the entire world…
Fast-paced, well-written with a good mix of back story (some reviewers have found this took from the tale. On the contrary, I really enjoyed various characters histories and getting a bigger context for their motivation), history and plot twists to keep a reader engrossed. There’s been criticism of the use of coincidence, particularly in the latter part of the novel. I didn’t mind this as it’s clearly indicative of a larger plot that has been in the making – in terms of the narrative arc and world of the story – for decades, if not centuries. I am hoping it will all be explained in the next books, which I look forward to reading.
A good action, adventure, eschatological novel with a hefty dose of suspense.