Review: Mount Dragon

Mount Dragon
Mount Dragon by Douglas Preston
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have read all of Preston/Childs works, but this one I don’t recall. That could be my very faulty memory, or, since it was one of he earlier books they wrote, I simply never read it. So it was a new book for me. Frabjous day! The book starts out with the usual opening – a crazy man is placed in a psych ward, and while he seems sane now, he quickly reverts. Turns out he was a famous scientist, working at the secretive and remote Mount Dragon facility of GeneDyne, located inside the White Sands Missile Testing Grounds. Next up is our hero, Carson, who is hired by GeneDyne to be a scientist in their Boston facility, but is quickly recruited to work on a secret project that could benefit mankind at the New Mexico location. He arrives at the complex, and is given the tour. Hee will be working in a Level-5 zone, a highly controlled environment where they have to wear a type of haz mat suit at all times, since the most lethal pathogens in the world are worked on here. But the bulk of the work is on the new product – a gene therapy that could eradicate the flu by creating a change to the gene that creates an antibody, making it able to carry on to successive generations. But there are currently lethal side effects. Tested on monkeys, they always die shortly after symptons appear which can be up to 21 days. It is a horrible death. Carson was brought on to figure out what is wrong with the viral transport they are using. But slowly he begins to see that things are not quite what they seem, and after a co-worker is exposed and dies a horrific death in front of him, suddenly he and his assistant are locked in a battle for their lives, and that of the world. Exciting, scientific, and well-paced, my only complain is the lack of much in-depth characterization of Carson. But that is sort of the P/C signature -action and thrills, and even horror over characterization. A fun book. It only took me so long to read because I was going through a rough patch with my CFS, and kept falling asleep shortly after my reading hour began for several days (I read from 11:pm to about 2:30am or so).

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