Thank you NetGalley and Momentum (Pan MacMillan) for providing an e-Arc in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: February 1st, 2016
Synopsis: The Fifth Column: the world’s most powerful and secretive organization. They run our militaries. They run our governments. They run our terrorist cells.
Recruited as a child, Sophia is a deniable operative for the Fifth Column. Like all operatives, Sophia’s DNA has been altered to augment her senses and her mind is splintered into programmed subsets.
On a routine mission in Iran something for catastrophically wrong. Bugs are beginning to appear in Sophia’s programming and the mission spins out of control.
High-speed chases, gun fights, helicopter battles, immortal psychopaths, super soldiers and mutant abilities are all in the mix in this edge-of-your-seat, action-packed techno-thriller.
Holy Guacamole! Have you ever read a book that leaves you completely exhausted when you’ve finished? Or have you ever been on a ride like Aerosmith’s Rock ‘n Roller Coaster at Walt Disney World which goes from 0-57 miles per hour in just over two seconds? That’s The Chimera Vector in a nutshell.
The book’s biggest problem are its characters. Except for Sophia, and her two besties Jay and Damien, everyone else, especially the villains are so one-dimensional that they’re unintentionally laughable at times. While it took me awhile to warm up to Sophia, as the story progressed I liked her more and more. She’s a “take no prisoners” kind of woman, yet underneath all that toughness is an equal amount of vulnerability. I kept picturing her as Scarlett Johansson aka The Black Widow, throughout the entire story. She shoulders the responsibility for not only her actions, but for other’s as well. I think all this guilt she carries is her greatest weakness. Jay and Damian are likable even when you’re not sure which side they’re on. The witty repartee between them provides for some of the story’s lighter moments.
The action starts on the very first page and NEVER lets up. While this made it an exciting read, it was also dizzying and confusing at times. In addition to all the chases, gun fights, etc. there’s a lot of characters to try to keep track of and because of the non-stop action sequences that’s not always easy to do. Making things more complicated is that there aren’t just double agents. No, there’s triple and quadruple agents! It makes it difficult at times to remember which team certain characters are on. There’s a lot of twists and turns and just when I thought I had figured things out, another bombshell was dropped leaving me careening off in another direction. Having served in the Australian Army, Nathan Ferrugia clearly knows his stuff when it comes to the military, which gives a sense of authenticity to a story that’s filled with futuristic weapons, immortal bad guys, secret organizations, and out-of-this-world conspiracies.
While The Chimera Vector suffers a little from “everything but the kitchen sink” syndrome, it’s still a fun read that I think fans of Matthew Reilly and James Rollins will enjoy. There are two more books: The Seraphim Sequence and The Phoenix Varient that complete this trilogy. I don’t read much in the way of techno-thrillers, but I’ll definitely be checking these out after I’ve recovered from reading this first one.