MOUNT DRAGON by Douglas Preston


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 Following fast on the heels of 1995's Relic--the scariest thriller ever set in the American Museum of Natural History-- dynamic duo Douglas and Child once again demonstrate their mastery of the genre, this time hopping the killer-virus bandwagon to evoke plenty of healthy bioparanoia. Meet Guy Carson, an Ivy-trained cowboy biologist (he's kin to Kit) who's been relocated from New Mexico to New Jersey, there to drudge through species-altering genetic research for GeneDyne, a vast biomedical conglomerate presided over by Brent Scopes, the authors' version of geek-tycoon Bill Gates. Scopes has sequestered a band of modern-day Trinity Project scientists at Mount Dragon, in the middle of the New Mexico desert, in an attempt to concoct a cure for the flu. When one of Scopes's team goes off the deep end, he plucks Carson from his employee pool, and the melancholy genius-wrangler leaps at the opportunity to return to his ancestral lands. Meanwhile, an uppity Harvard geneticist and former pal of Scopes's, Charles Levine, has dedicated his considerable chutzpa to proving that GeneDyne is out to alter irrevocably the evolutionary path of humankind. Carson dives into his new assignment, but it isn't long before his optimism falters: Solving the influenza-immunity problem won't be a cinch, as it turns out, and then a team member is accidentally infected with the deadly superflu, leading to an exquisite exploding-brain scene. Something's rotten at Mount Dragon, and Carson's suspicions are only compounded by the appearance of a nebbishy government investigator, a paranoid chief of security, and a Mexican-American lab assistant who winds up abetting Carson's eventual flight from a potential Andromeda Strain scenario. For additional nerdy pyrotechnics, don't skip Levine's cyberspace showdown with Scopes. Didactic at times, but, still, the thrillfest runs full-force to (almost) the very last page. (Author tour)

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-312-86042-0
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Forge
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 1995

Kirkus Interview
Douglas Preston
January 2, 2017

Since the days of conquistador Hernán Cortés, rumors have circulated about a lost city of immense wealth hidden somewhere in the Honduran interior, called the White City or the Lost City of the Monkey God. Indigenous tribes speak of ancestors who fled there to escape the Spanish invaders, and they warn that anyone who enters this sacred city will fall ill and die. In 1940, swashbuckling journalist Theodore Morde returned from the rainforest with hundreds of artifacts and an electrifying story of having found the Lost City of the Monkey God—but then committed suicide without revealing its location. Three quarters of a century later, bestseller Doug Preston joined a team of scientists on a groundbreaking new quest. In 2012 he climbed aboard a rickety, single-engine plane carrying the machine that would change everything: lidar, a highly advanced, classified technology that could map the terrain under the densest rainforest canopy. In an unexplored valley ringed by steep mountains, that flight revealed the unmistakable image of a sprawling metropolis, tantalizing evidence of not just an undiscovered city but an enigmatic, lost civilization. The Lost City of the Monkey God: A True Story is his account of the expedition. “A story that moves from thrilling to sobering, fascinating to downright scary—trademark Preston, in other words, and another winner,” our reviewer writes in a starred review. View video >


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