Ancient societies had anthropomorphic gods: a huge pantheon expanding into centuries of dynastic drama; fathers and sons, martyred heroes, star-crossed lovers, the deaths of kings – stories that taught us of the danger of hubris and the primacy of humility. – Tom Hiddleston

‘Cause suicide is painless
it brings on many changes
and I can take or leave it if I please.
…and you can do the same thing if you choose.
MAS*H – Johnny Mandel Lyrics

Hubris and science are incompatible. – Douglas Preston

By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail. – Benjamin Franklin

 

Let’s face it. Matthew Reilly is the reigning King of the high-octane, over-the-top action/adventure novel. From Ice Station, my first Reilly novel, to Scarecrow and his other novels, he is the master of the “literary 400 mph bullet train” story. And here, he does it again.

The Great Zoo of China appears at first to be simply Jurassic Park on steroids. Human hubris, taken to extremes, as humans endeavor to create a monstrous (literally) exhibit to shock and awe the world. And, like so many other human endeavors, this bit of human hubris is destined to destroy the world – unless a small group can stop the insanity.

Meddle Not In The Affairs Of Dragons For You Are Crunchy
And Taste Good With Ketchup

There are many things to love about The Great Zoo of China. Reilly has, as usual, done his homework on the background and politics of the story. Utilizing the political, economic and sociological quirks and horrors of Chinese growth and development, Reilly has layered complex ideas and issues with the aforementioned political intrigue and a heavy dose of scientific development to create a story that is actually much more interesting than Jurassic Park. Todays ‘new’ China, is all about the Money, as the country utilizes near slave-wage conditions to create massive new cities, dams, basically anything they need – no matter the cost. And here, they do it again, reaching for the spectacular ‘money-is-no-object’ outcome they are reaching for . . . but Reilly makes a pinpoint observation. The Chinese have the cold, hard cash. But what they don’t have, after generations of communist control, is the ability to think and create. They can build, but their inability to create means that they also cannot think ahead, cannot foresee all possible outcomes. And what they cannot foresee is the intelligence of the creatures they consider ‘less’ – and again, that hubris, that condescension, makes the story even more fascinating than a normal Reilly tale. Yes, it is fast and furious – but it is also thoughtful, and a smart statement of today’s worldwide political and economic climate.

Besides. It has a female lead – CJ Cameron is one smart lady, one of my favorite heroines of the books I have read in the last couple of years.

Highly recommended! I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a realistic review. I really enjoyed it, and hope you do as well. Publication date January 27, 2015.

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