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The Flock Paperback – Bargain Price, November 9, 2010


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Stealth, cunning and killer instinct have ensured the survival of the flock of this gonzo eco-thriller's title, a population of prehistoric, predatory, highly intelligent giant proto-birds who've roamed for thousands of years in the trackless savanna of what's now a government military reservation in central Florida. Smith's entertaining debut kicks into high gear when the birds get caught between conflicting environmental and business interests. Vance Holcomb, a billionaire rogue environmentalist, is trying to protect the lurking creatures, while the Berg Brothers, a Disney-style entertainment conglomerate, crave the land as residential real estate. When a right-wing militia is hired to destroy the flock, a naïve young Fish and Wildlife officer and his girlfriend find themselves caught in the resulting melee. Smith maps out a complex living environment that makes the flock's continued existence almost believable and depicts human characters who match the killer birds in adaptability. If the book's conclusion feels a bit cynically anticlimactic, it still shows that humans are the deadliest predators of all. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

An evil Disneyesque media empire takes on giant dinosaur birds in this eco-thriller first novel. The Berg Brothers Studios has embarked on an ambitious plan to turn a remote swamp in south Florida into “the perfect American township.” This does not sit too well with the original inhabitants of the land: 10-foot-tall, half-ton, prehistoric birds that escaped the extinction of their dinosaur brethren and have been living secretly in Florida ever since. In an attempt to eradicate the birds before their discovery by the authorities puts an end to their “perfect township,” the studio hires a crazed survivalist with his own private army as exterminators. Opposing the bloodthirsty aspirations of the developers and their hired mercenaries is a billionaire environmental activist who is willing to protect the birds at any cost. Swept up into this dangerous high-stakes altercation is a dedicated but hapless Fish and Wildlife warden who survives numerous close calls only through the audacious actions of his trusty gal pal, a resourceful alligator trapper. Recommended for those who like to read about “animals running amok.” --Michael Gannon
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Forge Books; First Edition edition (November 9, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765328011
  • ASIN: B005DIAS10
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,697,054 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

My most recent stories have appeared in HORROR FOR THE HOLIDAY, THE DEVIL'S COATTAILS, THE BLEEDING EDGE, WHITLEY STRIEBER'S ALIENS, SINGERS OF STRANGE SONGS, RETURN TO LOVECRAFT COUNTRY, and the anthology CHILDREN OF CTHULHU (Del Rey). I scripted KLYDE & MERIEM, a spin-off of the popular Basement Comics CAVEWOMAN series. I also created and co-edited EVERMORE, a collection of stories by various authors using Edgar Allan Poe as a character which was published by Arkham House Books.


My first novel, THE FLOCK, was published in August 2006 by Five Star. The movie rights subsequently sold to producers Don Murphy and John Wells. The Tor-Forge version appeared in November of 2010 with the sequel (THE CLAN) to follow. My latest novels have been published by Severed Press. These include HISSMELINA, THE LIVING END, WITHERING, THE COALITION (series), and THE NEW ECOLOGY OF DEATH.

My favorite authors include Charles Bukowski, Robert Graves, Joe Lansdale, Barry Gifford, and Jack Kerouac.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mark Rainey on September 23, 2006
Format: Hardcover
James Robert (Bob) Smith's novel, The Flock, is a worthy first effort, beautifully produced in hardback by Gale/Five Star Books. The flock of the title is a group of prehistoric birds, known as Phorusrachids, which have survived in one of Florida's last remaining wilderness areas. They are impressive, predatory creatures whose survival is largely due to their near-human intelligence; however, their existence is now threatened by both developers and by an eccentric militiaman who owns a portion of the wilderness. A group of environmentalists, who wish to see the land preserved, pit themselves against the exploiters, and in the process discover the existence of the creatures. A complex game of intrigue ensues as the various parties square off, each with its own single-minded agenda.

Smith is a capable writer and has created a remarkably believable backstory for these dinosaur-like creatures. His human characters are mostly colorful -- sometimes a little too colorful -- but the drama never fails to be engaging. The birds themselves, though, are the stars of the story, and their unique characters enliven the book far more than if they were merely one-dimensional, predatory monsters.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By L. Roy Aiken on January 15, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Like all good thrillers James Robert Smith's The Flock begins with a murder--in this case, several murders by several killers.

The killers are the titular Flock, a community of prehistoric birds which have survived into modern times for the same reason many animals, including man, have prevailed throughout the ages: by being smarter than the creatures which would hunt them. Author James Robert Smith creates a plausible scenario in which a species of large, flightless carnivores have survived the deadliest predator of all (that's us) by limiting its range to a broad, unpopulated area and covering its tracks so as to avoid detection. One member of the Flock specializes in this track-covering, and its interaction with the other members of its group, as well as that of a rogue bird called the Scarlet, comprises one of the many conflicts which must be resolved before the book's end.

The central conflict concerns man's eventual encroachment upon the Flock's habitat in the form of a town owned and operated by a large entertainment conglomerate which is not above murder when it comes to protecting its interests. Also involved are a wealthy environmentalist who suspects the existence of the Flock, a right-wing survivalist group and a park ranger who is caught between their competing interests--and the Flock. Even the Flock has its own internal problem with the reckless Scarlet, a creature which begins to demonstrate a dangerous disregard for the cautionary ways of his peers and intends to start its own Flock by drawing off females attracted to its alpha-male aggressiveness. Smith deftly juggles these multiple points of view, bringing the action to a steady boil which culminates in not one, but two deadly chases.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Lisa McCoy on January 2, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This really wasn't a bad book, but it wasn't as well written as Jurassic Park. Unfortunately, it's just too hard to avoid comparing the two -- at least, I thought so. The storylines are so similar! I also found the chapters that were told from the Flock's point of view to be a bit much at times, and just didn't buy the nearly superhuman qualities that were ascribed to them. I would recommend this book to others, although it certainly wouldn't be in my top ten list of books to recommend. And I would actually recommend getting it from the library instead of buying it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kenneysills on January 20, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
as a paleo-scientist and sci-fi author as well= this is THE BEST WORK of paleofiction I have read! I learned so much from this author
aloha from kauaii
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Yours truly, on November 8, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Pretty good book! Kept my interest. I would buy another book by this author. The deranged military leader was maybe just slightly hokey or over the top, but the main character - the forest service guy - was fantastically done. The point of view of the dino-birds could have easily failed but actually worked great. I did know who the corporate spy inserted into the rich-guy-preservationist's group was from almost the very beginning, but that didn't detract from the story. I'll have to watch this author.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bookhound on January 31, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and it's not my usual type of book. I've seen many others compare this to Jurassic Park, but I've never read that book. However, if you enjoy sci-fi thrillers (not alien sci-fi but environmental sci-fi), you'll enjoy this book. There are characters that you will love to hate, and there are others you want to root for but are flawed. I couldn't put this book down once I reached the second half, as the pace of the story greatly accelerated at that point. I can't wait to read more about these terror birds.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Joseph Eric Pyatt on September 30, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Highly entertaining.  IF your a fan of the improbable, such a breed of giant fierce dinosaur birds encroaching on man's territory, then this is the book for you. Truly a fantastic read!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Man of La Book on December 11, 2010
Format: Paperback
"The Flock" by James Robert Smith (website | Facebook) is a fiction fantasy thriller set in a Florida. The title of the novel comes from a group of prehistoric giant carnivorous birds known as Phorusrhacids. The flock has survived in the Florida wilderness and is now fighting against being discovered by men.

Salutations, FL is a model, ideal and beautiful town owned by the movie studio / conglomerate Berg Bros. The movie studio wants to grow the town, however its neighbors, Marine Colonel Winston Grisham and billionaire Vance Holocomb wants to stop Berg Bros. for their own separate reasons.

Enter Ron Riggs, a Fish & Wildlife employee who is called to Salutations to find out why the residents' cats and dogs go missing. Thinking a big snake is the abductor Ron hires his ex-girlfriend Mary to help him out. However, soon they will find themselves in the middle of a power struggle between three titans who will stop at nothing to further their agenda. In the midst of the power struggle they discover The Flock, a group of intelligent, pre-historic birds who have hidden from humans for centuries.

"The Flock" by James Robert Smith is a fast paced thriller with wonderful pulp elements peppered in the novel.

The characters are fun, even though they are stereotypical with each representing an umbrella group (militants, big business, conservationists), but their interaction is what takes this book to another level. I liked the way Mr. Smith played with his characters' names. The militant is named after the U.S's rightwing / patriotic authors etc. These characters create the engaging drama in the novel, but the giant birds are the true stars.

Mr.
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