The United States government is researching and attempting to enhance the bodies of test subjects on an unsanctioned oil rig just off the coast of Alaska. These fifteen men not the first but they were chosen for a reason – they’re all on death-row. Not only to the researchers succeed in their endeavor but they get more than they bargain for in the process. The subjects are led to escape by the mysterious and exceedingly intelligent death-row inmate with no apparent background and other than the fact he’s on that rig he doesn’t exist.
Tom Reese and Karl Lyons are the two of the select few people that fully understand what the test subjects are capable of but even they are blindsided. Forced to cross portions of the United States that have been ripped apart, isolated and in the dark they will come face to face with the horror of the government’s hubris.
I love reading author’s descriptions of abandoned cities, a lot of times they seem more realistic and easier to imagine than descriptions of highly populated cities. You could almost split this book into two genres via the internal split of Book I and Book II – the atmosphere of each section is quite varied. The couple of chapters of the story shortly before Book II starts seems rushed after such a long escalation. I’m honestly also wondering how the good doctor kept up at sea as much as she is. The ending of the novel was also fairly anticlimactic in my opinion and suffers the same fate as the last chapters of Book I mentioned previously. The book overall is fairly fast paced with a lot of action, bits of horror, gore, murder, murder and more murder. The murder and gore in the book can get a little repetitive after a while and seems to be there more for a shock factor than anything else. I would also like to note that this book is the second in a series, the first book being The Prometheus Man. It isn’t essential that you read The Prometheus Man first because I believe this book functions well on its own but I believe that the backstory would be beneficial to fully grasp the certain interactions and background information in The Dark Continent.
There are portions of this book that remind me of Resident Evil – mainly the God gene the prisoners are enhanced with (without the monster and zombie aspect of Resident Evil) and the location. I could definitely see a Resident Evil game taking place somewhere similar to the Alaskan oil rig the test subjects are kept on or the abandoned Chinese city of Kangbashi. If I were to play this book as a game I would expect it to be a similar play style to the Resident Evil series. There are also certain elements of it that remind me of Fallout. Instead of irradiated Yao Guai or Deathclaws the suspects are similar to a human appearing version of a Super Mutant. The factions that blossom in Book II are also reminiscent of Fallout but more of the bloodthirsty carnage variety than The Minutemen and The Brotherhood of Steel. I’m sure that this book will remind any reader of movies, books or video games that they’ve experienced as some portions of the book are similar to works in these areas.
There really is A LOT of gore and indiscriminate murder in this book. I really do mean indiscriminate – men, women, young, old, children etc. If you are sensitive to books about mass murder, in depth descriptions of murder and gore I would avoid it. I would suggest this novel to those who love books that feature conspiracies, action, war, thrillers, horror, societal collapse, and apocalyptic type events. I would like to thank NetGalley and Aspen Press for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.