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Maberry's second techno-thriller is no advance on the first,
This review is from: The Dragon Factory (Paperback)
"The Dragon Factory" takes up where "Patient Zero" left off. The super-secret DMS organisation continues its struggle to protect the world against rogue super-science. Rather than the Islamofascist enemies of the first book, Joe Ledger and his cohorts now square off against the real thing.
The result is once again a competent but underachieving and rather cartoon-like thriller that mixes conspiracy elements with out-and-out heroic action. The faults of the first book are still present and correct. Maberry still can't do believable human beings; his female SAS major is if anything even less credible here than in "Patient Zero", and other minor characters, particularly his American servicemen, never rise above stereotype. On the other hand, the author can construct a plot that pulls the reader along: he does his research and knows a good premise when he sees one.
Frustratingly, there are glimpses of a shorter, better book inside "The Dragon Factory". The promises and dangers of biotechnology offer real potential for intelligent popular fiction. The sub-plot in which the DMS faces political enemies more dangerous than its external foes adds a degree of complication that drags the novel briefly closer to the real world. But after a promising opening "The Dragon Factory" loses its way. Maberry's moral world is absolutely black and white, and he is far too inclined to sideline his more interesting material to allow Joe Ledger the inevitable staged displays of superhuman combat skills, which by the end have become repetitive and even boring.
Recommended for readers who enjoyed "Patient Zero", and still a clear step up from the likes of Matthew Reilly. Otherwise, this is another disposable read for a long journey: good enough, but no better.