The Atlantis Gene is an action-adventure novel written by A. G. Riddle. Intelligence agent David Vale and geneticist Kate Warner find a shared enemy, the Immari, a secret evil organisation which believes that wiping out 99% percent of the population is what is best for all of mankind. The stakes are high for these two, to say the least.
Here is my spoiler-free book review on The Atlantis Gene.
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I read this book recently, not sure what to expect. From the beginning I had it pegged as a political thriller, or just a fun action-adventure. It followed David Vale, a member of a secret anti-terrorist organisation called Clocktower.
Right away Clocktower falls to isolate David Vale, throwing him into the world without the backup of his fellow agents. He is aware of the enemy, the Immari and sets out on his own to bring them down. His first step is to rescue Kate Warner, a geneticist they kidnapped for some unknown reason.
Kate Warner is motivated to stop the Immari as well, as they kidnapped two of the kids she was looking after. It isn’t too far fetched and the story has plenty of mystery for the two protagonists to uncover along the way. I settled in for what could turn out to be a Tom Clancy-ish read. One filled with political conflicts, suspenseful moments and thrilling gunfights.
Without spoiling the story, the first part of the book is just that, albeit not as descriptive or tense as a Tom Clancy. After the first part, the book slows down and slowly sinks into science-fiction, and barely-believable science-fiction. I was surprised how quickly the story turned from something akin to a James Bond film into something so strange and convoluted.
All I can tell you is don’t expect a plot that is filled with serious, believable moments. It steps off the path of logical reality onto one that is meant to be more fun and fascinating. In the end, this became a bad thing. The strangeness of the story at the end left me with more than raised eyebrows. The Atlantis Gene is the first in a trilogy that I wonder if I should continue.
David Vale, one of the leading protagonists, certainly gave me that goofy James Bond feeling. He is clearly a skilled agent, but there are many moments where he is carried forward by sheer luck, particularly in the beginning. As time goes on, he has his falls, but they are nothing to him. The only time he doesn’t play the bullet-proof hero is when he isn’t conscious enough to continue the action.
He isn’t a very compelling character. Despite his tendency to wing most of his role in extraordinary ways, he insists on being the down-to-earth character, unfazed by most of what happens, even when the plot becomes bizarre.
Personally, while it doesn’t make him an endearing character, it makes him the perfect character for this kind of story. He is the steady pillar that everything rests upon when it comes to the action.
When it comes to science and the plot, it rests on Kate Warner. Her role is very much the exposition/love-interest. When she isn’t playing the role of the scientist who makes sense of the story, she is the fish-out-of-water love-interest who tags along, in case she gets kidnapped again. Once more, not a truly compelling character, but another pillar for the plot to rest on.
Finally, we have the bond-villain, Dorian Sloane. A heck of a name.
Dorian is a cold-hearted, murderous, mad-man. When he isn’t orchestrating the end of the world, he is shooting everyone in his way. Driven by revenge and an almost cult belief in the Immari’s cause, Dorian is a superficial antagonist at best. In the beginning, he certainly establishes himself as the main villain, but as the story progresses, he really falls into the role of the anti-David Vale.
I don’t know what the future books hold for the story, but I’m guessing Dorian becomes more important again.
Of course, the writing style.
Riddle tries to balance out fast-paced action with slow-paced exposition. While the first part of the book hit me with full-blown action, the second part threw backstory at me that went on into the third and final part. Only in the second-half of the third part did action return, perched on the foundation of carefully laid exposition.
It wasn’t a story that flowed. There wasn’t much consistency, but maybe the next two books will balance that out.
As I said earlier, this book left me with a question. Whether I should read the next two books or not and in all honesty, I might.
I was so blown away with how Riddle tried to cram as much story elements into the plot as he could. I found myself laughing with my wife as I struggled to explain what happened each reading session. In such a short space of time Riddle took it from simple fun into ridiculous fun. Had it not been for the half of the book that was just a rambling attempt to make sense of the story, I might have found myself really enjoying the book.
If the next two books carry on without such dull chapters, I can see it being a light-hearted read. However, I certainly won’t be reading these books any time soon. If I come across them on a bookshelf or I am in dire need of something to read, I will look for them, but the first book has only given me a small interest.
I wouldn't say Atlantis Gene is a bad read. I would say it is silly without meaning to be silly, which when you are in the right frame of mind at the right time, can make for an enjoyable read.
I hope you enjoyed this review,
Good day, goodnight and happy reading!