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Metal-head undead take New York,
This review is from: Terminus (Paperback)
Adam Baker's alien parasite continues its' reign of terror in the brilliant `Terminus.'
In the first book of the series, Outpost, we first learn of the alien infection that falls to Earth from a Russian Space station. The caretaker crew of a dormant oil rig learn that this infection has decimated civilisation, and is headed their way. In a neat twist to the current hordes of undead revenants storming the bookshelves, this infection spreads metallic tendrils and spines through the flesh and nervous systems of its' hosts, eventually killing their soul and leaving a homicidal, frenzied, hungry walking husk. We also learn that there is a guiding alien intelligence, almost like a hive mind.
The next of the series, `Juggernaut,' is a prequel that details how a precursor to the infection that destroys our world lands in the desert, where it decimates a team of mercenaries on a sham mission controlled by CIA rogues, eager to develop a new bio-weapon.
These books are brilliant fast paced reads with a kinetic, staccato prose, deeply flawed protagonists, and examples of human evil that prove every bit as deadly as the alien infection itself. All of which can be found in the latest installment.
In `Terminus,' New York is nuked (along with other major cities) by Presidential order in an attempt to slow the infection. But a neuroscientist and his team may have found crucial information about the infection, and a transmission is received from them deep in the city's trashed underground system. A team comprising of military, fire and rescue, and a prisoner who was a potential lab rat of the Doctor's, and may have a clue to his whereabouts, are dispatched to the underground to rescue the Doctor and retrieve his research.
This is the grimmest, bleakest installment of this series yet. The setting is claustrophobic in the extreme, an irradiated underground system of a devastated city. The revenant creatures are truly horrific and disturbing, with their bulging metal tumours and spines and unstoppable blood-lust. There are some wildly disturbing deaths by the infected, and some hybrid monstrosities that pay a respectful debt to `The Thing.' There is betrayal, counter betrayal, and as stated above human evil and manipulation every bit as destructive as the infected creatures. It seems a world without hope. And yet. Some of Baker's heroes are violent prison lifers, but they show courage, resolve and a concern for their fellows missing from the fascistic military who supposedly wear the badge of the good guys. The Fire and Rescue are also courageous and resourceful. The story shows that in such an extreme situation, background and past do not matter so much as the resolve to make a difference and protect those by your side in the present. The character of `Lupe,' the lifer and gang criminal, makes for a heroine you will cheer for. So, pockets of human goodness and decency survive.
The book does leave loose ends. There is still story to be told, and I hope Adam Baker continues to tell it.