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The King of Plagues: A Joe Ledger Novel Paperback – March 29, 2011
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From Publishers Weekly
In Maberry's audacious third novel featuring Department of Military Science agent Joe Ledger (after The Dragon Factory), Joe must stop a cult bent on overthrowing the world order. Though Ledger is unofficially retired, a terrorist attack that levels the Royal London Hospital killing thousands compels him to return to action. The London tragedy proves to be just the opening move in a meticulously planned plot. When a viral research facility in Scotland is compromised, the Bombay Stock Exchange is bombed, and Ledger himself is almost killed by assassins, he and his DMS cohorts quickly realize that they're up against a terrorist group with virtually unlimited resources—about which they know little except its name, the Seven Kings. Powered by a cast of over-the-top characters, breakneck pacing, nonstop action, and a subtle sense of humor, this is an utterly readable blend of adventure fiction, suspense thriller, and horror. (Mar.)
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Following The Dragon Factory (2010), Maberry cranks up the intensity level once again with his new Joe Ledger thriller. A London hospital explodes, killing thousands. This act of terrorism is only the beginning as the group behind the explosion turns to bioweapons in an effort to unleash a modern version of the biblical Ten Plagues of Egypt. Ledger, beaten and distraught over a heartbreaking loss, has quit the antiterrorism business but reluctantly must jump back into the game, charged with nothing less than saving the world. As events unfold, allies prove to be traitors, and traitors become allies. To throw off the authorities, the terrorist group begins utilizing civilians to handle the dirty work. The publisher bills the novel as horror, but the story, horrifying as it is, definitely belongs in the thriller camp. It�s also Maberry�s best book to date. The ending guarantees a sequel that will be anxiously awaited by series fans. --Jeff Ayers
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Top customer reviews
THE KING OF PLAGUES is the third outing in the Joe Ledger series (after PATIENT ZERO and THE DRAGON FACTORY). It opens with the D.M.S.'s enigmatic leader, Mr. Church, abruptly terminating Joe Ledger's walkabout or bereavement leave or pity party or whatever you want to call it. Ledger is tapped to investigate the shocking obliteration of a venerable London hospital, and the death toll mounting in the thousands. And this is only the opening salvo. Joe and the D.M.S. suspect that this is only the first leg in a series of nightmarish assaults. Having mostly existed in rumor and urban legend, having fomented fear and paranoia thru insidious management of the social media (not to mention the application of vile threats and abductions), the Seven Kings have finally stepped out of the shadows and are about to launch their most ambitious act of aggression: the bringing about of the biblical Ten Plagues of Egypt. Things are about to get all Old Testament-y. And as Joe and his colleagues find, the reach of the Seven Kings is all-encompassing. Their influence extends even into the heart of the D.M.S. itself. Mr. Church, learning this, is really grinding down on his vanilla wafers now. And because author Jonathan Maberry likes to top himself, he throws in a second secret society (although the Bonesmen's impact is pretty negligible).
This is another stay-up-late-lie-to-your-boss-call-in-sick-the-next-morning sort of read; and I liked it almost as much as PATIENT ZERO. THE KING OF PLAGUES is edgy and feverishly paced and finds our heroes really up against it. The Seven Kings are devilish villains, and they seem to be always a few steps ahead of our guys. Since the death of a core character in THE DRAGON FACTORY (which, by the way, has made Ledger a more melancholy cat), I've gotten pretty concerned about the survival of my favorite characters. THE KING OF PLAGUES also features the return of two twisty old foes, Sebastian Gault and Toys, and they are predictably up to no good. Factor in two strikingly disturbing cats in the shapes of a sadistic Spaniard and this freaky inmate named Nicodemus, and the Sinister-o-Meter just darted to the red.
Lots of Joe Ledger frantically scrambling from one emergency to the next, and maybe my favorite sequence is Echo Team's savage firefight at a Starbucks. And, as per norm with this series, Maberry writes chapters presenting the big bads' perspectives, giving us a well-rounded, fleshed out narrative. The Echo Team is back in action, and it's nice to see familiar faces like Top and Bunny, and the new team members seem really promising, even though the laconic sniper guy smacks of the cliché.
Things get a wee bit surreal in the final act as Joe and the D.M.S. converge on a cruise ship hosting a world benefit concert and therefore deemed a prime target for an all-out terrorist attack from the Seven Kings. Maberry works in famous performers such as Pink, Taylor Swift, Avril Lavigne, and a host of others. One of the closing passages features Bono chatting Joe Ledger up. Weird, but really cool. And, of course, the cruise ship is attacked, becomes the stage for the climactic big fighty fight. At the end of the day, chalk up another apocalypse averted, Echo Team taking names and kicking beaucoup booty, one disclosure regarding Mr. Church, and that freaky inmate Nicodemus raising the hair on the back of your neck and possibly paving the way for the fourth Joe Ledger thriller (ASSASSIN'S CODE, due out in 2012 and supposed to feature genetically-engineered vampire assassins).
How awesome is Joe's faithful dog, Ghost? (Answer: pretty damn awesome).
But back to The King of Plagues. It might not feature as much as action as the first two, but it gets into the character and world of Joe Ledger a little more. I give it a solid 4 stars. Can't wait for the next one. I am picking up the Joe Ledger short stories where ever I can: Material Witness: A Joe Ledger Bonus Story and Countdown: A Joe Ledger Short Prequel Short Story to Patient Zero so far.
Joe Ledger gives me my Jack Bauer fix now that "24" is off the air. While I have all 3 Joe Ledger books in paperback, The King of Plagues is my first in the Kindle format (and I do not double dip alot).
You can't help but like the whole echo team and the DMS. The characters are so alive and so believable. The plot and twists are amazing. I could read the Joe ledger series many times over and never tire of what I was reading. I love the action and excitement that Maberry packs into this installment.
In this one Maberry focused on the 10 plagues of Egypt that can be read about in Exodus. Very interesting plot to the story. And playing the roles of our villains are is a would be Goddess and 7 would be kings, one of them being the King of plagues. Joe and the DMS must stop these new terrorists from wreaking havoc all over the world. A lot of action and excitement in this one and I loved every minute of it.
The characters are at their best I think in this installment. I love them all and it is hard to pick favorites along with Joe, because he will always be my favorite. A lot of new villains to love to hate, along with a couple that we are already familiar with, Gault and Toys.
If you love Jonathan Maberry, then this series is a must read for any fan of his work. I look forward to the next installment, Assassin's Code
Like some of the reviewers before me, I have to say that I loved this book. By far the best in the series.
The plot was interesting enough to keep me reading to the end and it was one of those books I didn't want to put down!
Now, this is one in a series and, while I think you'll have a different level of enjoyment if you've read the previous books, it can stand alone. I've recommended it to friends/family who have not read the previous books and I'm confident that they'll enjoy it.
Looking forward to the next one!
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