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12.21: A Novel Hardcover – August 7, 2012

3.8 out of 5 stars 170 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Advance praise for 12.21

“Dustin Thomason, M.D., will invariably be compared to Michael Crichton, M.D., and 12.21 will be favorably compared to The Andromeda Strain. Both authors have written first-rate medical thrillers, the kind of fact-based fiction that is very scary but also very entertaining. Thomason knows his stuff, and it shows on every page. I truly could not put this book down.”—Nelson DeMille

“The most exciting novel of its kind since the days of Michael Crichton, 12.21 takes us from the frontiers of modern neuroscience to the riddles of ancient Maya texts, with nothing less than the future of our civilization at stake.”—Vince Flynn

12.21 is a brilliantly complex, outstanding, high-level thriller that mixes cutting-edge science with ancient prophecy to deliver a novel that will keep you turning the pages all night long.”—Douglas Preston, #1 bestselling author of The Monster of Florence
“A fast-moving tale . . . Thomason displays an impressive depth of knowledge of both science and the ancient Mayan way of life. Along the way, he skillfully ramps up the action, one notch at a time. A winning book.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Fascinating, terrifying for its potential realism. I loved how tightly everything fit together. I had to keep reading.”—Taylor Stevens, New York Times bestselling author of The Informationist
“Fast, suspenseful . . . Michael Crichton fans will find a lot to like.”—Publishers Weekly

Praise for The Rule of Four
“Ingenious . . . The real treat here is the process of discovery.”—The New York Times
“Compulsively readable.”—People (4 stars)
“If Scott Fitzgerald, Umberto Eco, and Dan Brown teamed up to write a novel, the result would be The Rule of Four.”—Nelson DeMille
“The ultimate puzzle-book.”—The New York Times Book Review

About the Author

Dustin Thomason graduated from Harvard College and received his M.D. from Columbia University. He is the co-author of the international bestseller The Rule of Four, and has written and produced several television series, including Lie to Me. He lives in Venice Beach, California.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: The Dial Press; First Edition edition (August 7, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385341407
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385341400
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (170 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #412,415 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Miss Barbara TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 5, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
If you're a fan of the medical thriller, especially the Michael Crichton exotic pandemic variety, 12.21 is the book for you.

Here's the book in a nutshell: Beautiful Guatemalan researcher of Mayan studies receives a codex smuggled into the US. Doctor who studies rare prions related to Mad Cow Disease is alerted that a case may have been diagnosed in Los Angeles. We are 10 days away from 12-21-12, the apocalyptic end of world prophesied by the Mayan Calendar.

Now, toss in a translated narrative from a scribe who lived about 935 A.D., an end day's cult, the Getty Museum and a dwarf. Mix well with a lot of good writing and you have 12.21 by Dustin Thomason. I shy away from the overused phrase "page turner" but found one here.

Except - the ending. Oh, such a disappointing ending. It's as if the dog ate the ending and a new one was quickly written on the bus ride to the publisher. Stop reading before you get there and you'll like the book. I almost did.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It's 2015 when I read this - so I wondered if it would be a waste to read something that was more geared towards right before Dec 2012. I decided to risk it and read it anyway. Even though we know nothing happened (that we are aware of) on that date. Many people did think something might happen though. They thought maybe the Mayan's knew what they were talking about. Even if we didn't admit that we were concerned about the prophecy openly, we still held a fear that it could be true. Just like when it turned to 2000 and people were freaking out about that.

Well this story is about a fictional event that does take place and it starts a little before Dec 21st 2012. The author has a great concept and the characters are quite believable and convincing. You have doctors and scientists as the main people in the story. They are trying to stop something that's happening - but they aren't even considering it has to do with the upcoming Mayan prediction. Not until way later into the book.

One of the scientist happens to be of Mayan descent. She was from Guatemala originally and knew a lot about the history of her people.

Even though we lived through that date - this is still a neat book to read. It is full of mystery and intrigue. It's fast paced - doesn't slow down with any boring parts at all.

If you enjoy fiction that is about a topic from our past - something that could have happened, then you probably would like this book. If you like reading about plagues and viral attacks on humans then this is for you. If you like to read about finding lost cities in the jungle then this could be for you as well.

I just didn't expect to enjoy it as much as I did. I was quite surprised because I really wasn't sure in the beginning if I wanted to read this. If I could go back and tell my past self to go ahead and read it - I would.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As I got to the 50% point of this book, I debated whether or not to continue to the end. I rarely give up on a book, and so, much to my regret I finished it. I found it very dull, not at all thrilling. Even the researched material was dull. I was expecting an updated version of Indiana Jones or "The Da Vinci Code", preferably something far better, but 12.21 comes nowhere close. I thought the prose was OK but the author did not seem able to weave individual scenes of the book together well, nor did he fill in the space between major parts of the story with background, so the story jumped all over at times. His descriptions of what was going on with the general population caught in a sudden pandemic were blah. There were opportunities to create tremendous tension with scenes of pandemonium, as you would expect in the middle of a cataclysmic event, but nothing. The characters were dull, very cardboard. very cliche. What blows me away is the ratings given by Amazon USA readers, 4.0 with 117 reporting at this point. I don't get it - I can only conclude that there is a market out there for end of the world, pandemic "thrillers", and people are sucked in by the approaching date, also the title of this book. I usually rely heavily on reader reviews but I think this is one time when people considering a book should check newspaper critics like the NYT to get an unbiased view before committing time and money.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
There is a lot of talk these days that the Mayan Calendar predicted an end to civilization in the year 2012 at the Winter Solstace. The book has a prologue describing events that led to the fall of a Mayan civilization and one of the Mayan writing a secret diary (called a "codex") of events leading to the fall.

The book then moves forward to December 2012 and we are introduced to Gabe Stanton, a researcher for infectious diseases. He is called to a Los Angeles hospital to look at a patient who may have been infected with mad cow disease. This was a disease for which there is no known cure as it uses "prions" to affect the DNA rather than use germs. The disease prevents the victim from being able to sleep so the victim will first go mad and then die from sleep deprivation.

This involves the CDC and a search to find the source. Later it will be found that the disease probably originated from the same site as the secret codex was written because the victim had the codex in his possession.

The codex itself ends up in the possession of Chel Manu, a Guatamalan of Mayan descent. She begins the work of trying to decipher the codex but pretty soon the man who gave it to her falls victim to the same disease that killed the first man. Chel realizes that it has something to do with the codex and goes to see Gabe Stanton.

It is not long before more victims are turning up since the disease can be passed through physical contact and the prions themselves cannot be destroyed so once something comes in contact with the prions, they cannot be cleaned away. It will not be long before the disease will be spread everywhere if it cannot be contained.

Chel and Gabe realize that the only hope lies in possible clues from the codex.
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