01/03/2012. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts
pub: Hodder & Stoughton. 401 page enlarged paperback. Price: GBP 12.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-4447-0907-0).
check out website: www.hodder.co.uk
In many respects, ‘Juggernaut’ by Adam Baker is basically a cyber-zombie thriller combined with military intrusion. There are two plot-lines. A small team of ex-military-cum-mercenaries going into the Iraqi desert looking for a lost treasure trove of gold. The other is a segment of a Russian Spektr satellite which carries a deadly contagion that once you’re infected turns you into a deadly zombie from metal tendrils spreading through the body. Baker is very precise with his military knowledge but less precise how this process grows in a body without sufficient metal material around. I’m still puzzled why he makes two women as mercenaries let alone head the team considering that women aren’t used in combat on the battlefield, let alone in the Middle East. In many respects, their sex is mostly immaterial and suspect Baker chose to do them rather than make it an all male operation. The characters are interchangeable and even Iraqi Jabril, whom you would suspect would have a different vocabulary, sounds like all the characters.
It’s hard to say too much about the plot because there are a lot of surprises with various characters having different agendas and changing loyalties which is spoiler zone. There are maps littered throughout the book to fill you in where everything is. I do think Baker’s knowledge comes too much from reading research than actual experience. I know when I had a needle pulled out from my hand when in hospital that you end up having a fountain of blood coming out if you don’t give it a chance to clot properly. Equally, the amount of explosive used would have created one hell of a shockwave and would have extended way beyond the area used. Then again, having a bunker that size in the middle of the Iraqi desert that few know about seems a bit impractical.
The book is categorised as horror but you’re so divorced from the danger that I didn’t really feel intimidated by it. This doesn’t mean this isn’t a page-turner and you will want to know what happens but it shouldn’t be analysed too heavily and probably more worthy of the younger than older generation to read.
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