139. Mount Dragon (Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child)

Monday, June 11, 2012
From the official website
Before there was the Ebola scare, before there was the recent hand-wringing over the vast stockpiles of biological weapons, Mount Dragon posed the question: what about genetic engineering gone wrong?  If rogue viruses can cause devastation and widespread panic, what about viruses engineered--deliberately or accidentally--to be much worse than anything in nature? Imagine: something as deadly as cancer, but as contagious as the flu. Mount Dragon imagines this--and more.  Mount Dragon: an enigmatic research complex hidden in the vast desert of New Mexico. Guy Carson and Susana Cabeza de Vaca have come to Mount Dragon to work shoulder to shoulder with some of the greatest scientific minds on the planet. Led by visionary genius Brent Scopes, their secret goal is a medical breakthrough that promises to bring incalculable benefits to the human race. But while Scopes believes he is leading the way to a new world order, he may in fact be opening the door to mass human extinction. And when Guy and Susana attempt to stop him they find themselves locked in a frightening battle with Scopes, his henchmen, and the apocalyptic nightmare that science has unleashed...

I've been a fan of Preston and Child's books for years and Mount Dragon was no exception.  It was interesting to read it now rather than what it must have been like when it was first released in 1996.  Technological and medical advances that we take somewhat for granted now would have been fascinating and futuristic almost 20 years ago.  Like most of their books (co-written and solo novels), Mount Dragon is a roller coaster of an adventure, flipping back and forth between scenes of corporate espionage and the depths of cyberspace, genetic engineering, and a race for buried treasure in the New Mexican desert.  All in all, I enjoyed this more than many of their novels.  My only complaint was the female lead, Susana Cabeza de Vaca.  Despite having her rail against ethnic stereotypes early on in the novel in an argument with the main character, Preston and Child turn her into exactly that.  de Vaca becomes a bad caricature of every stereotypical Latina character seen on film and TV.  Disappointing but if you can ignore some of the things they make her say, Mount Dragon is a fun escape.

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