Warning: Ghost country is among a handful of the most addictive, page-turning thrillers I've ever encountered. If you have any plans for the next day or so, you should seriously reconsider whether you want to lift the cover of this thing.
Patrick Lee hooks you from the get-go with a gut-wrenching action sequence in which a motorcade exiting Washington, D.C. is ambushed with deadly force for the purpose of seizing a mysterious artifact that had just been demonstrated to the U.S President. For those of you who (unlike me) have read Patrick Lee's first novel, The Breach, you will soon be re-introduced to the artifact's guardian, Paige Campbell, and realize that it's one of many mind-blowingly high-tech objects called entities that a highly-classified organization known as Tangent has recovered from the Breach -- a mysterious portal to another time or world. But even if you are coming into Ghost Country cold, you'll quickly get the gist of the dilemma Paige faces as her assailants close in on her and the entity: How, in a one minute phone message, can she leave instructions to someone whom she can trust to locate a companion copy of the entity, figure out how to use it, and save Paige and the world from the doomsday scenario that the sitting U.S. President and other high ranking officials are trying to perpetrate?
Enter Travis Chase, Paige's former lover who has renounced his affiliation with Tangent and Paige for a life of quiet obscurity. After locating the companion copy of the entity and figuring out that it has the power to punch open a window 73 years into the future, Travis sets off to rescue Paige and thwart the Government's frightening plot to create a future of unimaginable horror.
As I flew through this novel, I felt the same rush I get from a well-made blockbuster movie. Scenes leap off the page, cat-and-mouse action sequences propel the plot forward with urgency, and the stakes for Travis and Paige become every bit as dire as those for our civilization at large. And somehow, Lee manages all this without resorting to cardboard characters, unrealistic plot turns, or implausibility not otherwise explained by the high technology and time travel at work. Even the villains are portrayed as complex individuals who believe they are acting in humankind's best interests, all the while plotting the destruction of civilization as we know it.
After finally catching my breath from the final sequence, I was curious what sort of author could have pulled together the best elements of sci-fi classics like the Terminator and the X-Files, with the insider knowledge of Washington, D.C. you expect to see in a David Baldacci novel. According to Patrick Lee's Website, he began his writing career as a Hollywood screenwriter. If making action movies is still his dream, Ghost Country may be his ticket.
-Kevin Joseph, author of The Champion Maker
Back in the 1970s, during the activation of the Very Large Ion Collider at Wind Creek, Wyoming, an accident resulted in the creation of a wormhole, officially named "The Breach." Periodically, assorted items of alien technology -- known as "entities" --would appear. An autonomous organization known as Tangent was created to research, catalog, and control the entities that come through. Paige Campbell, one of Tangent's leading scientists, is shown a very near-future in which mankind appears to have been annihilated by an entity. Understandably alarmed, Paige rushed off to take this information to the President of the United States. She is no sooner done when an unidentified paramilitary force attacks the motorcade in which she's traveling, kills her companions, and abducts her. A former member of Tangent, Travis Chase, and Paige's assistant, Bethany, are enlisted to rescue Paige. They manage to track her to a secret installation in Washington, DC, and manage to free her. However, the mysterious and decidedly hostile group now relentlessly pursues them, even as they attempt to unravel the hellish fate waiting for them and the rest of the world.
Ghost Country is Patrick Lee's follow-up to his first novel, The Breach, and utilizes characters and concepts he introduced and developed in his earlier book. Regardless, Ghost Country stands alone well enough. Like The Breach, Ghost Country is more a hard-boiled thriller than a science-fiction or horror story, although the alien technology from the other side of the Breach certainly plays a major part in the unfolding of events. Indeed, during my reading of the novel, I found it moving in a very different direction from what I expected, based on the description of the novel and its first few chapters. Not that this is a bad thing, necessarily -- the story moves at a clip, and the characters are mostly engaging, particularly Travis Chase, the hardened and occasionally not-quite-so moral protagonist. On the other hand, the back story of the Breach itself, and the entities it unleashes, must be taken on faith, as -- by all indications -- Lee's first novel offers no more insight into the actual phenomenon than this one does. I confess to some disappointment at the downplaying of such a potentially fascinating aspect of the overall concept. Regardless, at the heart of the story is the dire need for Travis, Paige, and Bethany to discover the truth, in a hurry, and set things right, if humanly possible. That much the author manufactures with great aplomb.
In the end, having become acclimated to the direction the novel ends up taking, the revelations about the organization against which the protagonists are pitted, as well as the final unfolding of events, come as no great surprise. However, the novel is a fast, solid, and entertaining read.
on August 14, 2013
And I thought Ghost Country was the first - No matter I also have The Breach (Which is #1 of this trilogy) and Deep Sky.
"WOW! Double Wow! Starkly original, Ghost Country by Patrick Lee will make Asimov and Heinlein cheer with the angels. The techno-thriller meets Sci-Fi, and the result is mind-blowing. Makes Tom Clancy look like the slowest child in the class." (Stephen Coonts, New York Times bestselling author)
Does not even begin to describe how great of a read this is. A real page turner. You have a espionage, post apocalypse switching back to present time travel, government cover up, secret conspiracy thriller concerning voice to skull technology and the ability of the government to herd people based on frequency wave technology which is already a partial reality, it's all here wrapped up in a ingenious, intense, edge of your seat, what the heck is happening.
Mr. Lee has only written three books that I'm aware of. Hope he writes more.
Scary, thrilling, and as stated in another review, if you've got plans or a lot to do with no time to spare, don't start this one until you can read through and savor it because this is a page turner that when a phone or door bell rings, the dogs got to go out, the kids come home and need help with homework, you're going to really wish you didn't have to set this gem down.
If you begin it at night, in bed - you may be up all night.
This book is intense and shows you probably how our American government really works behind closed doors.
Glad I bought all three.
Now, I thought Ghost Country was the first of this three book series - so for you newbies out there:
I started with Ghost Country but will read The Breach when I'm done with Ghost Country (amply named)today.
Plot development is excellent and draws you in quickly with twists and turns every step of the way.
Characters are real and make you care about them.
Writing is excellent - Lee has a good command of language without having to resort to lewd vulgarness like so many writers do.
on February 24, 2012
Not as good as The Breach. Ghost Country just stretched logic a bit too far.
Ghost County follows the adventures of Travis Chase as he confronts a disillusioned human rights activist named Isaac Finn who, along with his wife, plots to destroy mankind and start over with a small group of select people in South America.
Problem - how they get from point A to point B makes no sense. Finn's wife, Arica, apparently works for an aerospace company where she designs a bunch of satellites to circle the Earth and, when commanded to do so, bombard the plant with some sort of "Ray" or "wave" or something that makes everyone feel miserable.
Ok... so where exactly does she get the resources to do this? No one else at the company is aware of what she is doing? The engineers don't wonder what the extra machinery is for? What - does she design, build, and launch these all herself? Do you really think the company would spend a bunch of extra cash on satellites that include technology that has no apparent purpose? The idea lacks credibility.
Regardless of how the system gets set up, Finn has also gotten the President of the United States to back him on his crazy plot to destroy the world... along with most of the administration. Why is the PResident backing the plot? Who knows. You see, when Paige and Travis use a portal type device (breach technology) to open a door to 80 years in the future in order to President Currey a destroyed world, heturns around and tries to have them (Travis and Paige) eliminated. Uhhhhh... ok. You know... because the President is also in on the plot...
Then we have the "eureka" moment when Travis figures out Finn's plot. He goes on at length about it, but there is really no good reason why he pieces it together. It's like a light bulb goes off and he suddenly figures out the whole thing from start to finish. Frankly, this part came across as more of a pathetic attempt by the author to explain what the heck was going on - and he did it through the voice of Travis Chase. Otherwise, when were the plot details going to be sewn together?
Jumping toward the end, Travis and the ex-President, Garner, (yes... Travis is riding shotgun with the ex-president now) jump some fighter jets to South America to stop Finn. To make a long story short, Finn uses his device to open a portal to the future and Travis has to follow him. Travis is nearly killed by Finn when his gun malfunctions, but he is saved when Finn is shot dead. Who shoots Finn? Well future Paige of course. Future Paige didn't know Travis would be there, she just happened to be in the area with a long range rifle. What? Are you kidding me? 80 years in the future she is in just the right place in just the right time in order to save Travis from getting killed? But Moondonkey, you ask... wouldn't Paige be an old lady? Nope - thanks to a convenient little Breach device she is wearing that slows the aging process... which of course was conveniently thrown into the book at an earlier point for the sole purpose of explaining away how Paige could be in this future location.
Back in the present, after Travis landed in South America, the jets that brought him took off again. Why? Of course, this becomes relevant because the device used to open the breach is going to self destruct and Travis must return to New York before it does so - because he needs to use it to open another portal to rescue Paige. Yes - I realize this is jumping all over the place, but it would take to long to lay out all the details. Anyway - the point is that time is ticking - which wouldn't have been a problem if the jets had just stayed. As it is, they have to fly another one down from Florida to pick Travis up. What? - they couldn't have just refueled and waited to give the guys a ride home?
By the time Travis arrives in New York, he has about 2-3 minutes to find current Paige (who is trapped in the future) and rescue her. Uhhh... except she has been trapped in the future for about 12 hours or so and who knows where she is. Well, apparently Travis does because he jumps on a chopper and lands just a few minutes from her location (in the present), opens the portal (to the future), and *bam* happy ending. Dude... it can take longer than 2-3 minutes just to find my dog in the yard or my kids in the house. But Travis finds Paige in the future apocalypse of New York in just a few minutes. Yeah right.
That's just dumb. Seriously... just dumb.
The book was a fun and quick read. Like The Breach, it really feels like you are reading a movie. Unfortunately, you get the same huge leaps in logic. You also get those "... come on..." moments.
All in all, I still sort of liked the book. I give it two stars because it was not as good as The Breach. I also found that the overall plot just went a bit too far past the believability threshold.
BTW - does Tangent actually have any employees that are worth a darn? Apparently Travis Chase does everything for them.
I'm probably dropping the series at this point.
Once I started reading the first book in this series, The Breach, I was so impressed with it that I immediately ordered this second novel. Evidently that package from Amazon made every connection in miraculous fashion because it was in my hands the next day. What could I possibly do except sit down and read it? Really, it was almost mandatory.
I like the way Patrick Lee used a Presidential Executive Order to outline the most basic and important facts from the first book and immediately bring new readers up to speed with what this novel was going to be about. Yes, there were some things not covered, but at least someone not knowing what the first book was about could catch up quickly. It seems that an entity had come through the Breach many years ago, but until recently the scientists had been unable to understand what it was. Then one day someone just happened to make exactly the correct motion and the entity opened to reveal two objects. Testing proved them to be identical objects which opened a portal to show what that location would look like seventy years into the future. What the agents of Tangent saw was enough to send them straight to the President of the United States to report directly to him. Travis Chase didn't know any of this was happening until someone he had never seen showed up on his doorstep with the information that his help was needed again to help rescue Paige Campbell.
This highly imaginative idea was simply loaded with imagery that caused me to stop and think about how easily this type of catastrophe could be brought about in our ever evolving technology centered world. The political settings are entirely possible. The good or bad intentions of the involved parties are certainly possible. The way the author has the past, present, and future continually swirl around each other is amazing for me. I never feel that this series of stories is over until I close the book on the final page. And even then I'm already wondering what can possibly happen next. Stay tuned for the third exciting adventure, Deep Sky (Travis Chase), to be released soon.
on March 27, 2014
This (and "The Breach") is like the top 5% best books Koontz ever wrote.
I don't know how else to describe it. It's not exceptionally "literary" or anything, but it's like a *really great* sci-fi/action movie, with a solid cast, Ron Howard on production, etc. And it lasts hours and hours, but at your leisure, because it's a book!
It's just incredibly entertaining. Patrick Lee really is a great writer in his own way.
My mom hasn't read a book in over 40 years, and she recently found herself unable to afford TV and was complaining about being bored. I thought "You need to read a book!" She was skeptical. (I guess she thought reading books is totally unlike riding a bike? I dunno...) Out of all the books I own, this (well, actually part one, "The Breach"... but I get the sense that they were written more or less together as part of one story) is one of two I sent her home with to try. I like it THAT much, and think it has THAT much universal appeal. Reading it really is like watching a fantastic movie.
This is the first book written by Patrick Lee that I've read, and it will not be the last. Lee has a very cool sci-fi, techno thriller type of book here. The book kept reminding me of a Fringe episode (longer though). It has everything in it from time travel, to mysterious items being sent through the "breach." And when they cross over the other future world is a "dead world." Yes, I'm being cryptic here as to not give much away.
And this is the first "pocket book" I've seen in many years! Remember those paperback books, that were cut smaller, usually sold on a rack at your local drugstore. The kind you could stuff in your pocket. Well this is one of those!
And look at the price! As I write this, the book is listed at $7.99. That's for a new first time selling book, that's well written and I could easily see this being made into a movie or extended Television movie. This book could easily be sold at double the selling price!
If you've the previous book by Lee, you're ahead as the characters have a background that is just touched upon here, but it's apparent that there's much more to it than is written in this book.
Nonetheless, Ghost Country is a great read!
on January 20, 2014
I am not going to write a detailed synopsis of the plot. I won't bore you with the details of the book as there are already many other reviews of this book. I am a huge fan of Patrick Lee and think he is one of the best science fiction writers of our time. I say that as someone who has read much science fiction. This book is no disappointment. Very rarely do I come across a book that I have to finish in one day as I did here. If you have not heard of Patrick Lee, read his books, they are the hotness. With his knowledge of physics and being named Patrick Lee, I thought he was Asian. He's not. I don't know why I threw that in there but, read his books they are excellent. Most science fiction and gasp, Young Adult books, treat the laws of physics much like politicians treat the constitution. You can figure that out. His books are scientifically accurate.
"Ghost Country" is the second novel of Patrick Lee's trilogy that began with The Breach, dealing with the consequences of the mysterious "entities", coming through a reality rift. In "Ghost Country", Travis Chase has cut ties with Tangent because of what happens at the end of the first volume, and covert operative Paige Campbell is returning from a meeting with the President of the USA when all hell breaks loose. This propels Travis back into the action with a new Tangent operative. While the first novel dealt with many items, this one is more focused, setting up one wild ride of mystery, adventure, with science fiction influences, including some very gruesome scenes in two cases. Author Lee has a knack for writing amazing descriptions of scenic wonders and pulse-pounding action sequences, and this novel is no exception. It is also loaded with new enemies, malevolent plots, and many twists. There are minor plot holes and situations that stretch reality somewhat (some entities from volume 1, "The Breach", would have been handy in this story) but it is worth the read to see the storyline advance, visualize Lee's truly fantastic scenes of gigantic proportions and implications, and to see the problems that Travis Chase must solve. Enjoyment and understanding of this novel should be heightened if one reads volume 1. Highly Recommended. Four and a half AMAZING stars. (384 pages. Reviewed in text-to-speech and text modes. The final volume in The Breach trilogy is Deep Sky which I immediately purchased upon finishing this novel.)
on September 8, 2013
With some suspension of reality, Mr. Lee presents us with a story that is plausible in some aspects. For me thisstory was a pretty quick read because I couldnt put it down. Throughout the day, I kept thinking about the story and what was going to happen next.
The "Breach" is something that I have thought of many times, long after I had finished Mr. Lee's first book (by the same name). I've always been curious as to what some of the "entities" were and have many times pondered "what if?"
Ghost Country has once again left me with the same sense of feeling as I had with The Breach. Mr. Lee has my loyalty not only as a fellow reader & writer; but also as a fellow lover of a good action, suspense & science fiction story.
Thanks Mr. Lee for another enjoyable read. Look foward to future works.