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Juggernaut Paperback – 14 August 2012
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It had me on the edge of my seat from page one. ― Stephen Leather
An original and pacy debut ― Daily Mail
What many people, including me, are raving about right now is Adam Baker's OUTPOST. . . a stunning debut novel . . . you will want to be one of the first people to experience it. ― Books Monthly
While ramping up the tension and confusion, Adam Baker also ramps up the action and despite the limited canvas of the Arctic landscape, manages to devise an impressive variety of situations for the characters ― British Fantasy Society
'It's the relentless pace, merging SF and horror elements, that makes Outpost such a compelling end-of-the-world story' ― Sunday Canberra Times
Outpost manages to satisfy with its mix of well drawn characters and action to deliver an interesting take on an overused genre ― British Fantasy Society Journal
There's no denying the strength of Baker's prose. It's violent and blokey, but also intelligent. The first 100 pages, especially, are rich with harrowing detail about the last days of Saddam's regime... Juggernaut is a rewarding read ― SFX Magazine
- Publisher : Hodder Paperbacks; 1st edition (14 August 2012)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 416 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1444709089
- ISBN-13 : 978-1444709087
- Dimensions : 11.51 x 2.21 x 17.7 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 497,181 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top review from Australia
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Imagine a cross between, let's say, Three Kings and Resident Evil with, perhaps, a bit of Jarhead and 28 Days Later thrown in (not to mention a goodly helping of Tomb Raider - the game not the film) and you'll have a reasonable idea of the plot. This is what I believe is known as "survivalist fiction", action/adventure with a dash of techno-thriller military porn thrown in. Billed as it is, i.e. the prequel to Baker's Outpost , I suppose that it will be fairly clear where the story is going. I however had never heard of Baker and this is really not the sort of genre that I would ever have considered picking up before now. Indeed, until reading this book, the zombie survival genre had pretty much passed me by and I had little idea just how big the market actually is. However, I was pleasantly surprised! Juggernaut actually turns out to be a well written, fast-moving, engaging and enjoyable read.
Outpost was knocked somewhat for Baker's excessive use of terse, truncated sentences. Things ain't changed. Sentences are still short. He hasn't learnt. Still damn annoying. Damn. Actually, this style has its place and it can be used to inject pace into fast-moving scenes and/or give a clipped "military" feel to things, but used excessively it IS irritating. The style sort of fits the story in this case and it certainly doesn't kill the story but it is overdone. Overdone to the extent that not only is the prose written this way*, but also the dialogue. Apart from that, the writing is clear, accomplished and evocative with plenty of pacy, well-choreographed action scenes.
The characterisation is good, if a little superficial and patchy. It's nice that the story is led by a female protagonist: Lucy, the leader of the merc team, is an interesting character, enigmatic, cool (in both senses of the word) and a little bit sexy but by no means stereotypical and much the same could be said for most of the rest cast. I would have liked to have learnt a bit more about her past and I have to admit that I was hoping for some sexytimes to spice up the interplay between the characters. I know, I know! That makes me a bad person, a shallow MCP and no better than a slavering animal. I must admit, though that I got the distinct feeling that Baker almost felt like adding a bit of naughtiness but decided that it would be crass. Score: Baker one, Crookedmouth nil.
One danger with military porn is that, unless the author is a recent member of the armed forces, there will be techno-howlers to negotiate. While Juggernaut is by no means perfect in this respect, it is actually quite convincing. In fact, Baker's description of the Baghdad suburbs and of the Iraqi desert was also persuasive, redolent even (I will point out that I have not been there so I'm taking him on trust!)
In the end, I had a lot of fun with this book and, overlooking its occasional shortcomings was sufficiently taken by it that I have added Outpost to my "To Read" list.
I'm hovering between a 3 star rating ("It's OK") which seems most appropriate but doessn't quite do it justice and a 4 star ("I like it") so I've given it the benefit of the doubt and plumped for four. In either case... reccomended.
* "Bare rooms. No plumbing. No electricity. A couple of beds. Some cushions and rugs. A back room. Scattered shoes. Broken tea glasses. An old black bloodstain on the carpet. Cushions stuffed in the windows." Imagine reading a whole book written in this style!
Top reviews from other countries
I like bakers writing style, keeps me reading non stop, I think he's got an Alex Scarrow, vince Flynn, James Patterson type of style.
I'd read outpost a few years ago and bought this to read on the plane, but I got stuck into 'the book smugglers of timbuctoo' and this got relegated after 'the aquariums of Pyongyang' and another book about Victor Bout. What a mistake. Couldn't put it down, despite my chauvinist machoism about the lead protagonist once again being a female.
In outpost it worked really well, the lead character being a female chaplain offset the male dominated oil rig scenario and I enjoyed it. This time around I just couldn't get my head around the female lead of a rag tag team of mercenaries and her female love interest, both being the only survivors of the alien pandemic.
However, that didn't stop me from reading it non stop for about 5/6hrs in fact I only put it down when the kids wanted some attention and to eat and drink. Nor will it stop me from ordering the last book, just to see if it is another strong female lead.
This is a totally brilliant book - I think that the short, staccato sentence structure in a novel like this works really well - it serves to convey the urgency, the immediacy of the action. I noticed that in some sections of the book, for instance when Jabril is talking about the earlier lead-up to the current action, his sentences are longer, more structured. This shows the deliberate nature of the shorter sentence structures in the immediate action scenes.
And there is plenty of action! The story seems straight-forward enough - hearing of potential gold secreted in the desert ahead of the Allied force incursion into Iraq, a group of mercenaries head out there to see if they can hold of the treasure. But what they find there is beyond their wildest imaginings. And the horror is only just beginning ...
This leads well into the earlier book Outpost (which is, of course, set after Juggernaut). In fact, I found that Juggernaut was a more sophisticated, more intelligent book than Outpost, much as I had enjoyed the earlier book. I sincerely hope that there is a sequel coming along which takes the story beyond the end of Outpost - are you listening, Mr Baker?
This book can be read as a stand alone novel so don't feel as if you need to read Outpost first, you don't and could happily read them in any order you want without affecting your enjoyment or otherwise.
My main issue with this book was the characters in it, I struggled to warm to any of them and didn't really care who lived or died, we didn't get to know much about the people we were reading about so I found it hard to like them. Several times it mentioned the relationship between two of the main characters but it was all a bit pointless and had no relevance to the story so why mention it. If your doing guns and action stick to that but don't add romance if theirs no need (Mr Baker would struggle with Mills and Boon I think).
My other issue with the story was around the plot, I read the book expecting this to be how the virus goes global, it seemed like a natural conclusion to the story, with a follow up about the global slide into anarchy. (Spoiler coming up) But no, are hero's escape the desert and then we skip forward to pieces of spaceship crashing on earth to spread the virus, I couldn't help but feel a bit cheated at that.
This world and concept does have more legs in it and I would buy the next book about it (if its written)but hope its a better story that wraps everything up and has characters I can like.
On the positive side this is an easy read and not overly taxing on the mind so if you want a book to read whilst going in the pool on holiday this is probably it.
I like the crisp, snappy scene bites, and yes we do need to be able to imagine seeing this on screen, this is the art of bringing the story to life in a way readers can instanly understand whats going on. This is future writing.
Looking forward to reading 'Outpost'