3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
The Ants Were The Best Part,
This review is from: The Devil's Garden (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The main setting for the Devil's Garden is a scientific station in the Amazonian rain forest where the work is to investigate Devil's Gardens. There is no mystery as to the origin of these as is rather misleadingly suggested in Amazon's description of this book. They are areas inhabited by a particular species of ant and the bushes in which they live. Other vegetation in these areas has disappeared and the natives call them Devil's Gardens. All this is stated in the first few pages.
A colonel and a judge arrive at the station, apparently there to register the local Indians to vote. However, when one of the local Indians is tortured and there are various allusions to ethnic cleansing it appears there may be more to this than meets the eye..........
All this sounds like a promising scenario. However, for the first half of the book the plot progresses at an extremely pedestrian pace and the main interest is in the detailed description of the surroundings. Things pick up a bit in the second half but the story is still not developed significantly. The pace can never be called frenetic except at one stage, when the Chief Scientist, Forle, is kidnapped. For a few short pages the book becomes a page turner. Unhappily this does not last, though it does go to show that Docx can write in an attention grabbing manner if he has a mind to. The climax is rather violent, somewhat unlikely and not particularly satisfactory.
Every so often there is an italicised page or so of scientific notes on a particular aspect of the rain forest. Although a neat idea this does not really add much except that it is often more interesting than the surrounding narrative. I did, however, learn quite a lot about ants! The book is written in the first person, which initially comes across as rather disjointed, though you do get used to it.
So to summarise, a good idea and clearly a lot of research has gone into this book. Unfortunately the execution was not great and would have benefited from a lot more thought on plot development. Rather short, but sadly, in the context of this book that could probably be regarded as a positive.