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MOUNT DRAGON by Douglas Preston


by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-312-86042-0
Publisher: Forge

 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)