The Apocalypse Strain by Jason Parent

Published by Flame Tree Press

A multi-national research team, led by a medical genomics expert suffering from MS, study an ancient pandoravirus at a remote Siberian research facility. Called “Molli” by the research team, the organic substance reveals some unique but troublesome characteristics, qualities that, in the wrong hands, could lead to human extinction. The researchers soon learn that even in the right hands, Molli is a force too dangerous to escape their compound. But the virus has a mind of its own, and it wants out.

FLAME TREE PRESS is the new fiction imprint of Flame Tree Publishing. Launched in 2018 the list brings together brilliant new authors and the more established; the award winners, and exciting, original voices.

Expected publication date: 11th August 2020

This book is like The Thing and Resident Evil got together, had an illicit love child, and then presented it in an enjoyable and action packed novel for my personal enjoyment.

Set in a Serbian research facility, a group of scientists and a security firm are holed up to investigate a new virus which has been discovered below the ice under creepy circumstances. Of course, this isn’t your boring ol’ coronavirus, this is an ancient turn-you-into-mutated-pudding virus. The best kind.

The perspectives switch between characters but my favourite was Clara, a geneticist with MS who is hopeful that her work will help people with genetic disorders in the future. Her grumpy attitude towards other people especially endeared her to me, she’s not a fan of people in general but has a weakness for good people. She doesn’t suffer fools gladly and her keen observations about the people around her make her an excellent narrator.

For a sci-fi novel, it was running a little light on the sci. Though the story is set in a scientific research facility, the details of the pandoravirus and its origins are incredibly vague – I’m a big fan of hardcore detail when it comes to things like this, even if it only has the slightest foundation on scientific fact and the rest is totally made up. Instead, this story takes more of a leap towards the gross, gory and gloopy which has its own appeal.

The writing itself is compelling though the pacing was a bit irregular, speeding by in some places and hesitating in others. The gore was second to none though, with some amazingly graphic nastiness!

The ending of this book is primed for a sequel, which I would happily pick up to see what the author has in store for the surviving characters.

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