Pulse by Jeremy Robinson
St. Martin's Press, 2009
Hardcover, 336 pages
Chess Team Series #1
very highly recommended
Imagine a world where soldiers regenerate and continue fighting without pause, and where suicide bombers live to strike again. This is the dream of Richard Ridley, founder of Manifold Genetics, and he has discovered the key to eternal life: an ancient artifact buried beneath a Greek inscribed stone in the Peruvian desert.
When Manifold steals the artifact and abducts archaeologist Dr. George Pierce, the United States Special Forces Delta operative, Jack Sigler, call sign King, and his “Chess Team”—Queen, Knight, Rook, Bishop and their handler, Deep Blue—give chase. They must save Pierce and stop Manifold before they change the face of genetics—and human history—forever.
Pulse by Jeremy Robinson is a combination thriller/action/adventure/science fiction novel and the first novel of Robinson's Chess Team series. The Chess Team is an elite Delta Force unit, led by handler Deep Blue, whose members each use a chess piece as their call sign - King, Queen, Bishop, Knight, Rook. This was pure action-packed entertainment.
In this debut outing, the Chess Team are called in to try to save Dr. George Pierce, who was taken hostage in Peru by forces for Richard Ridley, the head of Manifold, a genetics company. Ridley was after the legendary head of the Hydra. He plans to use Hydra DNA to create a serum that will make people immortal. Previous attempts at this have created "regens," people who can re-grow damaged body parts but who are also insane killers (like zombies, only healthy and fast).
Robinson's writing style is easy to follow and the plot guarantees it will be a page-turner. The chapters switch between the activities of various Chess Team members. In Pulse expect lots of adrenalin-packed action, including fighting. Although some things weren't quite fully explained, this is the kind of novel most readers will expect to suspend disbelief and take a few leaps of faith while reading.
Robinson had some pretty funny similes too, which I quite enjoyed. A few examples include:
"like a special ops whack-a-mole" (pg. 270)
"like a twisted game of hungry, hungry hippos" (pg. 294)
"like Axel Rose squealing on a scratched Guns N' Roses CD" (pg. 296)
Previously, I really enjoyed Robinson's Antarktos Rising, so I was looking forward to reading another one of his novels. Pulse did not disappoint me. It's great escapism. It's good to know that there are currently two more books in the series, Instinct and Threshold.
very highly recommended - for action junkies and fans of James Rollins
Hundreds of feet pounded the dry soil, filling the air with the ominous sound of soldiers on the march. But these were not soldiers. They were followers, worshippers of the man whose strange ship had landed on the lush Peruvian shore only a week before, the man who now led them on a trek away from heir fertile homeland and across the arid, lifeless Nazca plains. opening
Doubt filled his mind as he neared the doors. Was this worth it? Could he stand all this heat and humidity? The pay would no doubt be amazing and the company, Manifold, was renowned in the world of genetics. But the job description, well, there hadn’t been one. Simply a five- year contract and ten thousand dollars for an interview, take it or leave it. He hoped to learn more during this one and only interview, but if the work they wanted him for was anything less than groundbreaking, he’d be on the next flight back to sunny, dry Los Angeles. His job there with CreGen paid well and made headlines occasionally, but the chance to work for Manifold was too good to not, at least, consider. Of course, when he agreed to an interview he had no idea it would take place in the Peruvian rain forest. pg. 7-8
Using my father’s resources I turned to a final resource that is both hard to come by and often quite expensive— the ancient past. I purchased ancient maps from dealers around the world, legal and black market. Trade routes were revealed. Secret passages. Tunnels dug and forgotten. Each map revealed more. In this way I came to learn that the ancient past is one of the best ways to uncover secrets in the modern world. It is a belief I hold to this day and a lesson you will soon learn . . . if you’re interested." pg. 13
The big man smiled without a hint of malice for the first time. "The fountain of youth isn’t some waterfall out here in the jungle, Maddox," he said, then pointed at his chest. "I want to live forever, and the key to that treasure is locked away inside our DNA. In our genetics. And in our past." pg. 15
"The description of the creature in this purely historical text is nearly identical to the mythological description. Perhaps the feats of Hercules have been exaggerated through time and legend, but the details of the beast were so fantastic to begin with that no one in the past twenty- five hundred years felt the need to exaggerate its appearance or abilities. Because of this I am compelled to believe that many of the other aspects of the story are also real. Based on the details of the myth, finding the creature’s burial place may be possible. If the creature has been well preserved, recovering its DNA would change everything we know about physical regeneration. Mr. Maddox, we must find the Beast of Lerna’s final resting place and extract its DNA. The prize is eternal life."
"Lerna . . ." Maddox leaned forward, his eyes wide with realization. "My God. You’re talking about the Hydra." pg. 17