I was contacted by the author on Good Reads requesting a review in exchange for a free copy of this book. I’d read a few Matt Reilly’s and this was touted as being a comparable novel. To be fair, I haven’t read a Matt Reilly in a while and my tastes run towards 19th Century fiction these days, but I read the novel in its entirety and what follows in my honest review.
The Chimera Vector is a science fiction action novel which proposes that the economy and politics of the world are run by psychopaths (possibly a correct assumption) and a group of re-programmed Fifth Column operatives aim to break this stranglehold on humanity.
So far so good, but the story is much more complicated than this. The theme is inspired by current events (being the ‘War on Terror’). The premise is that the war on terror is a façade manipulated by the secretive agency ‘The Fifth Column’. I started writing down key points as they came up, but I must confess that the book lost me in the end. Encryptions and viruses, counter encryptions and viruses, double agents, triple agents, quadruple agents …… an Axolotl vector which enables the carrier to heal like a Salamander and a bad guy who has found the fountain of youth……. I can only suspend my disbelief so far. That is not to say that this book isn’t well written, it is, but I felt it tried to be too clever by half.
It wasn’t as fast paced as a Reilly, and it wasn’t as much fun. I didn’t care about the characters and ‘Damien’ and ‘Jay’ didn’t work for me as major character names. It’s not until three quarters of the way through the novel that the pace actually picks up but I had trouble visualising the scenes and locations as there’s not much in the way of descriptive writing.
This is Book #1 of the Fifth Column series and will, however, probably gain a following from the target audience (which I believe would be young adult males who are into a bit of techno action) - it just wasn’t for me.