King of Plagues Overview: Saturday 09:11 Hours: A blast rocks a London hospital and thousands are dead or injured… 10:09 Hours: Joe Ledger arrives on scene to investigate. The horror is unlike anything he has ever seen. Compelled by grief and rage, Joe rejoins the DMS and within hours is attacked by a hit-team of assassins and sent on a suicide mission into a viral hot zone during an Ebola outbreak.
Soon Joe Ledger and the Department of Military Sciences begin tearing down the veils of deception to uncover a vast and powerful secret society using weaponized versions of the Ten Plagues of Egypt to destabilize world economies and profit from the resulting chaos. Millions will die unless Joe Ledger meets the this powerful new enemy on their own terms as he fights terror with terror.-Goodreads
The King of Plagues Review
At the time of this review, I’ve read four of the Joe Ledger novels. The King of Plagues is, without a doubt, my least favorite. That’s not to say it’s not a good read, because it totally is. It hooked me right away, as all of the books have, and I happily saw it to its completion. It just never really excited me, and I had a couple minor issues with it. Namely: Ghost and the celebrities.
Let’s talk about Ghost. Ghost is a white German Shepherd that is completely stinking adorable and awesome. However, Ghost came out of nowhere. It was like Maberry thought ‘Y’know what this story needs? A dog.’ So, boom, he gave Joe a dog with just a couple of lines backstory. I mean, c’mon, cater to our need for warm’n’fuzzies and give us at least some Joe meeting Ghost or early training recaps, dagnabbit! But then, he took a bit of a wrong turn. He must have thought ‘Not only does Joe need a dog, but he needs The Ultimate Soldier Sidekick Dog. He Who Can Do Everything.’ Seriously, Ghost is trained to sniff out cadavers, explosives, to be an attack dog, and to be a watch dog. This dog can apparently do every single thing you can train a dog for. It’s a bit, uhm, much. Maybe if you told me Ghost had been enhanced somehow, I’d buy it a bit easier. But, nope, he’s just a natural-born super-dog.
Now about the celebrities. I don’t like the sheer amount of celebrity name-dropping in this book. It actually pulled me out of the story a bit. I read to escape. I don’t mind having ‘figures’ thrown in, like President, Crown Prince, etc.. Part of our world system and all that. However, Avril Lavigne? Chelsea Clinton? BONO? No. Just no. Maberry named names when he didn’t have to, and he kept doing it. That annoyed me.
However, those two issues aside, it was an exciting read, and a sobering one at the same time. There is a serious terrorist attack committed, and Maberry’s comments, through Joe, about the news-mongering was on point. His talk about the Patriot Act was a bit over-the-top at times, but he also had some very solid points there to. I’m not one to kiss my government’s arse and assume that everything they do is perfect. So, yes, the Patriot Act does have some issues, and I don’t mind them being pointed out. Occasionally. It doesn’t need to resurface more than that, though. The King of Plagues also sees two characters from the first book, Patient Zero (my review), come into the limelight again. Wasn’t expecting it, and it kind of threw me off, but I think it was a good move. I like how Maberry is forming this web of bad guys. It’s not unbelievable, and adds a touch of familiarity to the proceedings. Because, yes, it makes sense that such and such particular toerag is involved.
I completely wasn’t expecting the King of Fear twist. So out of left field, even though I should have caught the foreshadowing earlier on. The Circe thing was a bit heavy handed, but you gotta wonder what it was like growing up as her! (Seriously….eugh!) As usual, I loved the interactions between the characters. Joe meeting Circe had me cackling. It was so perfect. Joe is such a great character. Yes, he’s full of himself and basically a super soldier, and a smart-ass, but… he’s also human. He doesn’t just shrug off the grief from what happened in The Dragon Factory (my review). He truly gets affected by things that happen. He also gets outsmarted and gets his butt kicked on a semi-regular basis, but he remains a good, down-to-earth guy. Can’t help but love him.
Overall, while it might not be one of my favorites, it’s a good entry into the series. I forgot to mention it earlier, but as with the others, I listened to this as an audio book narrated by Ray Porter, and as usual he nailed it. Even though he’s done a ton of books, he keeps his voices consistent in these books and never falters. So, definitely give this series a chance. King of Plagues is available on Amazon.