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4.3 out of 5 stars
17
The Human Race
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on 21 May 2014
This book is an OK read and well written however I felt that in some sections of the story to much detail was provided which was totally unrelated to the story. This turned me off a little.
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on 31 December 2011
I was interested in reviewing this book and was put in touch by Mr O. C. Heaton with Rookwood Publishing who sent me a copy. 'The Human Race' is Part One of a gripping thrillogy and if you read it and like it, I feel sure you will want to go straight onto the second book. This is not a book I would have actually chosen to buy and to be honest I wasn't too sure of it at first but the more I read, the more I liked it. I like giving books a chance and I always find it satisfying when I've read a whole book cover to cover. So I'm really glad I stuck with this one.

The story starts off in Iceland. Uma Jakobsdóttir has a secret, a very big one in fact which her father a famous Icelandic environmentalist had been working on but didn't want to release. If this secret was to fall into the wrong hands it could totally obliterate mankind. However, two men have already discovered the secret.

Ethan Rae who is Britain's richest man, is counting on Uma's secret to finally seal his position as the greatest deal maker of all time. Once Uma lets him into her secret and what she hopes to achieve by using it, he sees the potential. They are brought together by it and face extreme danger, which includes murder.

Across the Atlantic, Samuel Reynolds III, the playboy CEO of Reynolds Air, is battling to keep the airline his granddaddy built alive. Once the largest company in America, it is now facing bankruptcy mainly because of 911 which has crippled the airline industry. He desperately needs this secret in order to ensure its survival.

This book was really fast paced. I found it hard to put down at times as I so wanted to know then and there what was going to happen next. It was really thrilling! There are lots of twists and turns. As I read further on I found that the pieces of the jigsaw started fitting together.

The end of this book finishes with a bit of a cliffhanger. What will happen next I wonder? There are some unanswered questions.

Whatever you do, don't let the cover put you off! I urge you to make this one of your reads of 2012.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 15 November 2009
The Human Race story is about a teleporter developed in Iceland, which has the ability to transport an individual from one country to another. Scientist Uma Jakobsdóttir, the daughter of a famous geothermal engineer, is the product champion. She approaches Ethan Rae, a billionaire venture capitalist from England, to help bring it to market. (I had a wry chuckle at the Ethan plus Uma teaming - was the author a Gattaca fan perhaps?). At the same time, the owner of an airline in America gets wind of the invention and tries to steal it, perceiving correctly that this invention could severely impact on the airline industry. There is also a strong environmental message running through the story.

Don't be put off by the cover: The Human Race has the bones of a very good thriller. Its got an intriguing and original storyline with some great characters. The first half of the book is particularly good - Joseph Finder fans should enjoy. Unfortunately it's over-written and gets bogged down with too much detail. It gets hard to follow the main story because there are so many strings and sub-plots and ultimately I think it would have benefited from a more ruthless edit. It's not a bad book by any stretch, but it had the potential to be even better.

Be warned that this is the first in a planned series and it ends very abruptly: just stopping in the middle of the story, blatantly setting the reader up for the next installment.

This review is based on a copy provided for reviewing purposes, but the opinions above are genuine and based on having read the book.
3 people found this helpful
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 16 November 2009
If you are looking for a well-plotted and well-written thriller to while away the hours of a long flight, this offering might suit you very well. It is a very promising debut novel, and it is to be the first of a `thrillogy', which must mean that we can look forward to two sequels. However the really intriguing thing about the book is that the action centres on the invention of instantaneous transportation, something that will of course make long flights a thing of the past.

This author likes detail. That is fine by me because so do I, but there is just a risk that you might find the heroine's earnest speechifying a little lengthy in the first half of the story. She explains the gee-whizz `science' of the new technology with great particularity, and she points out the enormous downside consequences that flow from it if we stop to think about it even for a moment or two. The rest of the first half introduces the two chief male actors to us, and I found the characterisation quite convincing all the way through, including some important new entrants later on. I was not so keen on the reach-me-down device of having identical twins to help out the plot near the end, because this is just a bit too facile and predictable. However the narrative line is extremely clear throughout, except of course where the author wants to keep us guessing for a while, which in general he does very well.

The story starts vividly, and a major bonus for me was setting much of the action in Iceland, because I have actually been there, although only to Rejkjavik and Keflavik (plus a hair-raising flight past the then new volcano Surtsey) and not to the interior. The pace slackens for a while, but when the action really starts half way along it hardly lets up until the end. This writer knows what he is doing, and I enjoyed the ride he was taking me on. How many more years of long flights I have in me I have no idea, but given a following wind I know where to look for an interesting and agreeable travelling companion on my way to two future destinations.
2 people found this helpful
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on 5 June 2010
Well,I didn't think I was a fast reader... until I read this! Action from page one, one's initial natural instinct to doubt the credibility of the science is soon suspended as the story unfolds at an alarming pace and drags the reader along with it. Not only is the plot deliciously gripping, but the writing is rich and engaging. I've never been to Iceland but now I feel I have..and I want to go again! This is really an astonishing debut novel, the calibre of which leaves me in no doubt that we will be hearing and seeing much more of O.C. Heaton in the future. I'm very much looking forward to the sequel. If you haven't read The Human Race yet, you're missing a treat!!
2 people found this helpful
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on 19 July 2009
Where do I start.. I can`t begin to tell you how much I enjoyed reading The Human Race.. A real page turner from the very first page. It`s everything you would want from a thriller and more, it`s exciting, action packed and funny, It takes you to different parts of the world. It does make you believe that the `secret` could actually happen. I really began to like 2 of the main characters Uma and Ethan and cared about what happened to them, and as for Reynolds..I won`t give it away.. but I laughed my head off when I found out what happened to him.. couldn`t have happened to a nicer man!! I just hope O C Heaton is cracking on with the 2nd book of the thrillogy as I have been left hungry for more.
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on 9 June 2009
The Human Race is part science fiction, part adventure thriller, and a wholly enjoyable read.
Once upon a time, a man named Michael Crichton told us that we could recreate the world of dinosaurs from DNA extracted from amber. The success of Jurassic Park tells us that we believed it, too, or wanted to believe it. O. C. Heaton through his heroine, Uma Jakobsdóttir, tells us that we now have access to another holy grail of science fiction. I won't tell you what it is, as it might spoil the surprise, but he then proceeds, in a very readable fashion, to make it sound much more like currently available science than fiction. And after that, the action just does not stop.
None of the main characters is one you might admire or wish to be like. They are all motivated by greed, some more altruistically so than others, but all are nonetheless driven by self-interest: the businessman desperate to keep his family's empire alive; the entrepreneur who seems unable not to make money; the scientist driven by her green agenda. However, they all get your attention if not your admiration.
I know that it is a cliché, but this is an exciting, fast-paced read. The Human Race is a book that is very easy to forget to put down. Bring on `Part Two'. I very much look forward to seeing what O. C. Heaton has in store for Ethan and Uma - and for us.
4 people found this helpful
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on 2 November 2009
The Human Race is a fantastic thriller. At first I could not get away from drawing comparisons to Dan Brown and 'that' style of writing - a plot heavily laden with interesting scientific facts and intriguing geography and fast moving through different landscapes and subplots. As I delved further into the book I was actually annoyed at myself for my initial pigeon-holing of Heaton's writing with the likes of The Da Vinci Code. Obviously, Dan Brown is successful for a reason, but The Human Race, in my opinion, is more intellectually challenging and also carries a clear moral message regarding climate change and our obligation to this frail planet.

The characters in The Human Race are completely believable, and not being a scientist I was soon convinced that teleporting could be a viable means of international travel. Apparently it probably isn't possible though. Never mind.

In reading The Human Race, Heaton has convinced me of two things. The first is that I really should try and get to Iceland for a holiday sometime soon as he describes it so wonderfully. The second is that he has drawn me into his world now and I need to know what happens next in this thrillogy.
2 people found this helpful
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on 23 June 2009
Recommended by a friend, I recently read this author's debut thriller on holiday, and can report that I'm now officially in the O.C.Heaton fan club, and consequently more open minded about reading first time author's work. (Holidays previously being too precious to risk valuable time reading anything other than established, best-seller-writing stalwarts of the literary world.)

"The Human Race" has pretty much everything I expect from a thriller: a good story, told from the multiple points of view of interesting characters, at great pace. Each chapter and scene reveals something new to the plot. The strong narrative thrust, using active verbs rather than the passive voice, helps get the reader inside the heads of the three main protagonists, adds depth and builds dramatic tension. The "big secret" is convincingly revealed, and credibly explained, so that you fully believe (or want to believe) that the technology necessary is current, and not science fiction. The depth of research is impressive, not just behind the locations etc, but particularly behind the new technology and it's environmental and ethical consequences.

Congratulations, then, to O.C.Heaton on a fine debut, for opening my mind to first-timers, and for inventing the fantastic new word "Thrillogy" which is now firmly implanted in my vocabulary! I look forward to the next instalment.
3 people found this helpful
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 9 November 2009
I definitely found this book to be one of three parts i.e. a good start, a dull middle and a better if slightly incredible finish.

It centres on Ethan Rae, a Richard Branson type (though without the beard and personality) successful English businessman/philanthropist who was propostioned at a convention by Uma Jakobsdóttir, Icelandic scientist and environmentalist. Tricked into "testing" her matter transporter that sent him from Iceland to Manhattan in seconds, his life was never to be the same again. He immediately realised the unlimited commercial potential of such a device but greener than grass Uma wanted to give it away to be put to use for the greater good and prevent (further) climate change. An unlikely alliance was formed with the hardheaded entrepreneur and the Icelandic idealist.

Of course, despite every precaution being taken, word of the transporter (somehow) got out and enter Samuel Reynolds III, bad boy of the Reynolds Air dynasty. Reynolds was desperate to make a name for himself just like his grandpa who had worked with the Wright Bothers at Kittyhawk before setting up the family business. Once the largest company in the US it was now facing bankruptcy following 9/11, union battles and competition from cheap airlines. With such an invention and massive riches up for grabs, the stakes were high and Ethan and Uma soon found themselves the targets of some very unwanted attention.

After a good start, this book foundered for me in the middle. The author is obviously a fervent believer in and opponent of climate change, but it was pretty much rammed down our throats us at every opportunity, ditto how great Iceland is and how clever they are in exploiting the geothermal springs for hot water. This is definitely a book of it's time but it was as if parts of it were co-written by Al Gore and the Icelandic tourist bureau. As most of the book was set on the island, this did get a bit tiresome and the transporter could definitely have been put to more use and taken them back to NY or just about anywhere else for a much needed change of scenery.

Heaton has a pretty long and wordy style that can take the excitement out of a given scene at times but I did appreciate the time and place header at the start of each chapter - other authors please take note. Uma was a pretty logical and humourless individual that was difficult to warm to, the same with Ethan who was a pretty colourless man despite his wealth and success. We only got to know of his murky past in the final chapters which was a pity as it put some flesh on the bones of his personality too late on for us to really empathise with him. The best "character" was the tequila drinking skirt-chasing Reynolds who was mostly absent after the first few chapters but enjoyed a fitting end.

This is part one of a "thrillogy". I'm in two minds about part two and three as I'm not sure how much more time I could spend with the Ice Maiden Miss Jakobsdóttir but never say never. (7/10)
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