My Throwback Thursday choice this week is the first of a fantastic seven part series that was first released in 2011. Narrated by MacLeod Andrews, who always gives a great performance and brings characters to life with individuality.
Matt Hamilton’s last words have led Daniel Ash and his team to the snow-covered town of Everton, Vermont. On a field just outside city limits sits an unassuming hut. But this is no innocent building. Inside is the entrance to the secret Project Eden base known as Dream Sky, the key to the project’s success. Or its defeat, as Ash hopes. To give the team the best chance to succeed, resistance groups have moved into position outside project installations around the globe. The purpose: to create diversions that will draw project attention away from Dream Sky. These groups have been waiting for the signal to attack. The wait is over.
The world population is down to just over seven hundred million in the months since Project Eden’s implementation day and the release of the Sage Flu virus from specific points across the world. Daniel Ash and Chloe White have learned what Matt Hamilton’s last words meant; Dream Sky is Project Eden’s top secret base and the one they need to neutralise in order to stop the Project once and for all.
Working in conjunction with each other, individual groups from the Resistance are targeting Project Eden facilities with the purpose of giving Ash, Chloe and their team the chance to take Dream Sky. Robert and Estella from Isabella Island are part of the team in Everton, Vermont at Dream Sky. Sanjay, Kusum and Darshana in Jaipur, India, working in direct contact with the Resistance headquarters in the US, play their very important part in the drama. In Cairo, Miami, Berlin, Shanghai, Madrid, Tokyo and Guangzhou in China the teams rescue survivors and destroy installations. Pax, Gabriel and Nyla are in Los Angeles after liberating the survivors centre there.
But what the Ash and the team find at Dream Sky defies belief… and Chloe begins to remember…
Earlier that night, when she’d first seen the hut entrance to Dream Sky, she had a strong feeling she had been there before. A possibility that was not entirely out of the question, given that, with the exception of the last few years, she could remember nothing about her previous life. When she looked at the steeple though, the feeling wasn’t that she might have seen it before. She knew she had. Knew she’d been inside the building. Flashes in her mind – laughter, a handshake, a forced smile.
I really enjoy the way the narrative spends time with each group, building up the tension and moving the story along while giving an overview of everything that’s happening. The storylines are all brought together wonderfully in this final episode with no loose ends. The characters are authentic and engaging, as they have been throughout, the books so well written and with a succession of really good action sequences.
This is an extremely tense and exciting series that kept the suspense going throughout, and is one that I’ll definitely revisit. It’s a realistic, if utterly chilling and very sad, sequence of events which lead to an enormous question. How do you restart humanity?
If you’re a fan of the genre it comes highly recommended, MacLeod Andrews does an amazing job with the pacing, voices, accents and expressing the mood of the narrative.
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Brett Battles is the author of over twenty novels and several short stories. His novel THE DECEIVED (part of his Jonathan Quinn series) won a Barry Award for Best Thriller. He is one of the founding members of Killer Year, and is a member of Mystery Writers of America and International Thriller Writers. He lives and writes in Los Angeles. More info available at www.brettbattles.com, Facebook and Twitter
Captain Daniel Ash is woken by his daughter’s cry. As he stumbles into her bedroom he is catapulted into the beginning of the worst nightmare imaginable. His life is going to be turned upside down and inside out. But at that moment Ash can’t comprehend what has happened and is happening to his wife and daughter. Only his son seems ok for now, just confused. And no wonder.
There’s something terrible going on and after over a week incarcerated in a cell, not knowing why and believing his children are dead, Ash is rescued in the nick of time and taken by stages to a safe place. What happened wasn’t an accident and there’s worse, much worse, to come. Ash has a hard time believing the devastating truth.
Sick starts out with a terrific, although moving and tragic, scene which pulled me in immediately and didn’t let go from then on. It’s intense, scary, heartbreaking, action packed and exciting.
The fundamental threat that is the basis of the story is mind-boggling, especially when it’s introduced by a dark and shady organisation run by calculating activists. The confusion, rage and determination Ash feels fairly jumps off the page, or in my case out of my ear buds ^_^
There’s so much going on (in a good way) including the sad descriptions of the people succumbing to the virus, the cold deliberation of the ‘soldiers’ in helicopters firing on civilians. The news anchor whose brother falls foul of the killers and a nail-biting, daring rescue. These villains are the worst possible with no regard for human life and so no remorse for their actions. This story sets up the series brilliantly.
Ash and his children have new identities and are living quietly in Iowa. That is, until members of the Resistance show up at their house and ask for his help…The Resistance, including Matt, Rachel and Pax, who orchestrated Ash’s rescue in Sick are doing their utmost to stop Project Eden and their plan to eradicate 99% of the world’s population. They have only one mole left undercover with Project Eden, who manages to get information to the Resistance indicating a possible location for Bluebird, Project Eden’s secret base somewhere in the Arctic Circle.
When it becomes obvious the teams already sent out haven’t succeeded in their mission Ash is recruited and joins up with Chloe and several others in a last-ditch attempt to find and neutralise Bluebird. They only have a few weeks to try and stop the horror from being unleashed on the world.
“Even after what Ash has seen, what he’d been through with his children and living through the outbreak that killed his wife, he never thought it would get to this or even could get to this”
Project Eden’s plans are well under way and they have set up sites globally in different regions for the release of the Sage Flu on what they are calling Implementation day
This is another fast and furious ride, intense and exciting. The good guys are compelling and likeable, easy to relate to and care about. The supporting characters, who are portrayed really well, are working as they believe, for corporations that promise better things for themselves and their community, but are in fact being manipulated. This part of the storyline goes a long way in racking up the tension.
The narrative hops from country to country and cleverly shows the scope of the planned operation. The disturbing and nightmarish scenario created in Sick develops into something even more horrific. And oh my! the ending!
The opening of Pale Horse piggybacks on the cliffhanger ending of Exit 9. Ash, Chloe and their team are at BlueBird, Project Eden HQ, trying to stop implementation of the virus but Olivia Silva has her own agenda. All it will take to change the world irrevocably is a click of the computer key.
All over the world something strange is happening with the shipping containers. Matt gives Bobby and Tamara the go ahead to upload their ‘worst case’ video in the hope of saving some lives.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, all is not going well. Their location has been discovered and they are under attack. Taking refuge in the Bunker Matt decides on drastic action to safeguard their position while Sims, and his men, part of the special operations and commanding one of the projects tactical strike teams, are searching the area.
After what has already happened to them all Ash was determined his son would have some basic knowledge of how to take care of himself and had been coaching Brandon before he was recalled to the Resistance. And when Brandon finds himself alone in the woods after the attack on the compound he remembers his father’s lessons.
Pale Horse continues the suspenseful story of the attempt by Project Eden to restart humanity. as before there are several story lines running simultaneously which definitely keeps the tension at a high level. There are various supporting characters, all of which are strong and add to the story albeit tragically in most cases.
My favourite, though, is Sanjay in Mumbai. He discovered what Pishon Chem are really up to after he found his cousin was so sick with the flu. He now knows the anti malaria spray is no such thing and they all have been duped. He will do whatever it takes now to save Kusum and her family.
The devastating significance of what has happened is written with vivid representation which drew me in completely…again! The suspense and tension continue.
Ashes begins after the release of the virus by Project Eden. Ash is badly hurt while trying to find Brandon and Chloe races against time to get him the medical help he desperately needs. The doctor Chloe kidnaps is a good surgeon but it’s touch and go for a while.
Brandon Ash is on his own in the wilderness until he’s picked up b the army and taken to a facility for children left on their own. He doesn’t know when or if he is ever going to be reunited with his dad and sister. Chloe, Miller and Josie are on his trail but will they reach him before the Project Eden people.
Martina Gable and her family thought they would be safe in a cabin in the mountains. Dominic Ray runs a luxury holiday complex on a private island and hopes he can keep everyone safe by not letting anyone come onshore and keeping all boats away. He misses one. Sanjay and Kusum, whose little group has grown considerably. And Ellie, the little girl found with her dead parents.
All the survivors in their groups dotted about the globe thinking they may have a chance. Then Project Eden launch phase two of their deadly plan.
This continues to be an enthralling series. The supporting characters are all wonderfully developed and show the utter horror and sadness in the aftermath of the release of the virus. Their stories are told with a poignancy that can really be felt.
It’s New Years Eve and a message is being transmitted across the world, supposedly by the United Nations, urging any survivors of the Sage Flu pandemic to go to designated checkpoints for immunisation against the flu.
Belinda Ramsey has been shut away in her dorm room at the college throughout the holidays keeping a journal of her thoughts, feelings and day-to-day life. When she heard the message she was so relieved to think her self-imposed exile would be over soon.
Sanjay and Kusum, however, are not fooled and attempt a daring rescue at the Mumbai ‘immunisation’ facility.
Pax and his team have been marooned on Amund Ringness Island by a storm since they arrived to search for Bluebird. They’d had no contact with the outside world for a week. Pax had no idea if Ash had succeeded in the attempt to stop Implementation Day.
The tension and suspense remain sky-high in the fifth story of this amazing series. The skipping from place to place and group to group helps to maintain the level of anticipation and foreboding. The character development is wonderful and the isolated groups of survivors and their stories all combine to make this an edge of the seat ride.
It was interesting to get to know how and why the Resistance was formed, I couldn’t help but feel for Matt. But will his dangerous plan succeed.
What will happen to Martina and will she find Ben. Has Belinda made the right decision. Will Sanjay and Kusum and their ever-growing group continue to survive. Are the people on Isabella Island safe at last.
What an ending…again! Who saw that one coming. This has to be one of the best series ever.
After the shock ending in Eden rising the Resistance needs to pause and regroup although not for long as the human slaughter by Project Eden is not over. Rachel is having a hard time coming to terms with Matt’s loss and has taken a back seat.
Ash, who has become the leader of the Resistance, and Chloe are doing their best to work out what Matt meant by ‘Augustine Dream Sky’
Pax is having problems getting the survivors off Isabella Island before a fly over by Project Eden members checking for anyone left alive after they saturated the island with the Sage Flu virus. Pax manages to get the ferry out into the open sea just in time but Robert doesn’t make it to the ferry in time. There is a speed boat in the harbour but he can hear the drone of the plane’s engines in the distance.
Martina and Ben are still searching for each other and Ben’s search leads him to a survival station. It doesn’t take long before Ben suspects all is not as it seems. Belinda also makes it to a survival station but she too is suspicious and wishes she’d stayed at the dorm.
In Mumbai Sanjay, Kusum and their friends find an abandoned station which proves invaluable to the Resistance.
Top marks to Mr Battles for racking up the suspense and tension even more, if that’s possible, while keeping up to date with the groups of survivors. It’s impossible not to be drawn in, it’s like being there, part of each group and willing them to succeed.
There’s so much evil running through the Project Eden people and it’s intensified in this story in comparison to the good work the Resistance is doing trying to save as many people as they can at great risk to their own safety. The parallel stories and characters are so well written and the final section of the story is amazingly nerve-wracking with the world-wide co-ordinated attacks on the survival stations.
Ash and Chloe finally understand what Dream Sky is and means and Ash is ready to give the go ahead for their part in the operation. Watch this space! I’m emotionally drained 😉 but I so want the next instalment!
MacLeod Andrews always delivers the perfect narration, breathing life into each character and actually taking on the personalities, with all the emotions expressed wonderfully. No mean feat. There are countless characters and accents and all are performed seamlessly.