Monday, April 2, 2012

"The Dragon Factory" (Joe Ledger #2) by Jonathan Maberry

486 pages

In "Patient Zero," Joe Ledger and the Department of Military Sciences (DMS) saved the world from a plot to unleash a zombie virus upon the United States. Now Ledger and his colleagues are back, and this time they're up against two competing groups of genetic scientists. The first group is mixing genetic material to make dangerous mercenary armies. The second has an even more evil purpose: to use modern technology to fulfill the Nazi mission of wiping all non-white groups from the face of the earth. The clock is ticking, and the stakes have never been higher.

Maberry delivers another exciting thriller with this one. It took me a little longer to get into it than "Patient Zero," but I'm not sure if that's because of the story itself or because I've been particularly ADHD lately (Oh, is that something shiny over there?!? No? Okay, where was I?). Nevertheless, once I got about a third of the way through I couldn't put it down. Joe Ledger is a really interesting character. There's almost a Wild-West feel to his personal moral code. He has strong convictions and he'll fight to the death for them. This particular story is not only thrilling but also quite thought-provoking. The Nazi psycho-scientists demonstrate how dangerous a few extremists can be when they come into some power and money, and they show how racism and prejudice are hazardous for everyone. It's like the Martin Luther King Jr quote "None of us is free until all of us are free" but in reverse: None of us are safe when there are crazies who want to eliminate certain groups of people. Not to mention the fact that these plans are just plain evil. This story also got me thinking about the idea that history repeats itself. The value of understanding what's happened in the past is that it helps us learn from our ancestors' mistakes and prevent atrocities from happening again, if possible. It's not fun to think about, but it's good to be aware of the bad things that people have done to each other in order to stop them from reoccurring. And if you can be entertained at the same time, as with this novel, then all the better.

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