Review: Pandora’s Succession by Russell Brooks


Title: Pandora’s Succession

Author: Russell Brooks

Sypnosis: CIA operative, Ridley Fox, never stopped hunting his fiancé’s killers — a weapons consortium called The Arms of Ares. When an informant leads him to an old bunker outside of Groznyy, Chechnya, Fox is captured and left for dead. When the informant rescues him, Fox learns that his capture was no coincidence: someone had set him up—possibly another government agent. Fox barely escapes after learning that Ares has acquired a hyperdeadly microbe—called Pandora—that is believed to have wiped out ancient civilizations. The trail leads Fox to Tokyo where he discovers that other forces —including agents within Japanese Intelligence—want Pandora for themselves. The only ally Fox turns to is a woman from his past who he nearly got killed

Tomorrow, Russell Brooks visits on his ‘Stop the Succession’ Blog Tour. He will be answering your questions, offering every commenter a signed cover and is running a contest to give away copies of Pandora’s Succession.

My Thoughts:

Pandora’s Succession throws you straight into the action from the opening scene. This thriller follows Operative Ridley Fox as he chases the group who have developed Pandora, a deadly bio-weapon. It’s also a personal mission for Ridley, the extremist group murdered his fiance and he wants revenge on those who ordered her killed. Yet things are not all they seem, another shadowy group emerges with a deadly Promise, and Ridley doesn’t know who to trust.
The first chapter of Pandora’s Succession really drew me into the book, it’s fast-paced with an intriguing hook and it gives you a good sense of who Ridley is and what the story is all about. It’s a traditional espionage tale involving secret miltary agencies and extreme factions who plan to take over the world. The familiarity of the storyline gives it credibility, Pandora and Clarity are both terrifying bio weapons, and it’s easy to imagine that they exist. The plot works well, the pace is fast and escalates to a climatic finale. The tangents and misdirections that are part of the story pull together neatly by the conclusion and I think Russell has room to move if he decides to create a sequel with Ridley and Parris.
Fox could be an action hero cliche, however Brooks has built upon the stereotype to develop an appealing character. Though tough and determined, we are shown his vulnerabilities as well. I liked his wise ass attitude, and felt his voice was distinct.
I’m not sure Parris is as well developed, despite the background we have for her, I felt her part in the story could have been stronger and more deftly weaved into the storyline.
The villians are interesting, there are several groups and individuals that serve as suspects and Brooks maintains the suspicion and tension well. Dr Marx is particularly chilling and her motivations were well thought out.
It’s evident that Russell carefully considered and researched the specifics for his book, as a consequence the details are believable. As a thriller there is neccessarily plenty of action as Ridley confronts his enemies. Brooks skillfully details the physical confrontations and in some parts I appreciated being able to ‘see’ the action, in others I think the accuracy stifled the flow of the scene. Though a minor irritant, some of the more ordinary actions of his characters were stepped through and there are quite a few secondary characters for example, that pass through quite quickly. While some of them had their uses, the elaborate characterisation (ie details of their appearance etc) felt like interuptions. It’s a difficult balance to get right in a thriller because so often it’s the subtle details that count in helping the reader determine the significant events and characters from those that are not, and it can be distracting when there are too many to sort through.
I enjoyed Pandora’s Succession overall, it’s a fast paced thriller with a strong, credible storyline. Brook’s is to be congratulated on an impressive debut.


Stop the Succession Tour

Visit Russell Brooks Blog / Visit Russell Brooks Website

Purchase Pandora’s Succession at Amazon


9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Tweets that mention Pandora’s Succession by Russell Brooks « book'd out --
  2. Nikki-ann
    Nov 04, 2010 @ 06:53:28

    I think I’ve seen this book on GoodReads – Sounds good 🙂



  3. Russell Brooks
    Nov 04, 2010 @ 09:21:23

    I’ll be around tomorrow, Nikki-ann, and I’m having a facebook party this Saturday at 2:00PM EST on my fan page. Feel free to swing by. Oh yeah, don’t forget to leave your email if you want to participate in the contest. 😉



  4. Trackback: ‘Stop The Succession’ Blog Tour « book'd out
  5. Kelly
    Nov 05, 2010 @ 08:25:09

    Oh sounds like a great espionage-ish thriller!!
    Like James Bond on crack! *g*
    Thanks so much for the review/rec!!




  6. Trackback: Blog Hop and Follow Friday Nov 5th « book'd out
  7. Trackback: Guest Post: “Go ahead and tell me that I’m wrong. I’m armed!” by Russell Brooks « book'd out

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