Saturday 29 January 2011

Guest Review: Pandora's Succession - Russell Brooks

Genre: Thriller, suspense action
Pages: 299, e-book
Published: 2010
Review by Anna The BookWorm

Where would you hide if you learned the CDC and a major pharmaceutical company unleashed a hyperdeadly microbe on the human race?

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.


Pandora’s Succession, by Russell Brooks, is the story of an extremely dangerous virus called Pandora. The virus has existed for hundreds of years, but only in recent years an organization called The Arms of Ares has modified the virus in order to sell it to terrorists and other groups, to be used as a biological weapon.

Ridley Fox, who works for CIA, must stop Ares from releasing the virus onto the black market. Fox finds himself in a lot of dangerous situations as he has more than one enemy who want to see him dead. Luckily Fox is an excellent agent, and he is not afraid to use various firearms and different tricks to get out of the situations alive.

In Tokyo the CEO of a medical company, Hexagon Pharmaceuticals, Hideaki Hashimoto, is also the leader of a cult called The Promise. It is the Promise’s intention to release the Pandora virus and kill all the people of the planet. Only the cult members will be saved as they shall live in a bunker while Pandora takes care of the rest of the population. After the Pandora has done its job, the cult members will live a wonderful life together on the “new” planet.

As Ridley Fox finds out, it is not easy to know who is a friend and who is an enemy. Who can he trust? Or can he trust anyone at all? Personally I found it a little difficult to follow all the double agents and moles in the story. People you thought were on Fox’s side turned out to be bad people and vice versa.

Another thing that was difficult for me with the book was the many different names of weapons and helicopters. For example, one of the bad people had a “Px4 Storm Type F Sub-compact Beretta”. That doesn’t tell me anything, except that I know a Beretta is a type of gun. Neither do I know what an AK-74 or an M-11 is.

But what it does tell me is that the author has great knowledge about firearms and weapons. The author also has a BS in Biology and it does show in the book. It all seems so realistic.

I think Pandora’s Succession is a very good book. Well written and with a high speed and a lot of action. I never got bored reading the book. It was difficult to stop reading once you started. All you wanted to do was to read a few more pages and then a few more pages after that to find out whether Fox would survive the dangerous situation or not.

I highly recommend the book for readers who love thrillers and as me, novels about biological weapons, diseases and similar. But at last I need to put in a word of caution: The book contains some very graphic description of what happens to the human body when it is attacked by the virus and how the body looks afterwards. So sensitive readers might want to be prepared for that.

Thank you Anna!

She also added that she would give this book a 4 :)

This book is only out in e-book format now but hopefully this spring in paper too.

And Russell mentioned in the comments that if you want to then ask him questions since he is checking them.


  1. AH...Awesome review...I'd like to read this book. I'll have my open for this one when I go to the book store for sure!


  2. Oh I haven't read a good thriller for some time now so this one might be a good suggestion - thanks Anna! Bloddeued thanks for featuring this review!

  3. One of my biggest fears. A deadly virus spreading. To real for me I think. Glad you enjoyed it though.

  4. Thanks for the review, Anna.

    @Hawk Right now it's available as an ebook. You can purchase it from Amazon (US and UK) or If you don't have an eReader or don't like reading ebooks off your computer, iPAD, iPHONE, Blackeberry, or Android, don't worry. The paperback version will be available soon from Amazon. The best way to keep up to date is to visit my website, and sign up to the mailinglist or join my facebook fan page.

    Russell Brooks
    Author of Pandora's Succession

  5. Sounds different and exciting :)

  6. Nice review Anna! I can definitely see how this one would be difficult to follow in places, I'm clueless about weaponry, so those parts may as well be written in Latin:) Biological weapon are a scary but fascinating subject matter, so I might give this one a try!

  7. This sounds amazing; I've been looking for some more thrillers to read and this would fit the bill!

  8. Thanks for the warning - I CANNOT read books like that...

  9. This sounds exciting and sounds like something that could come true! Great review!

  10. I dont rread too many thrillers but this one sounds exciting to me.

  11. Feel free to ask me any questions. I'll be stopping by every hour or so.

    Russell Brooks
    Author of Pandora's Succession

  12. Oh that is one of those that could really creep me out! I'll have to keep it in mind when I want something like that! Thanks for the great review Anna!

  13. Its been ages since I read a good thriller, because I have been trapped in my comfort zone but I do like the premise. Thanks for putting this on my radar. Excellent review!

  14. Hawk
    Thanks for stopping by :) I hope you give it a go.

    Well since there is one genre I do not read I thought that one needs some spotlight too, and in comes my friend Anna :) She loves it.

    I know, so scary, I do not even wanna think about it


    Can't say I am an expert either..though I do watch a lot of action movies ;)

    Nice :D I am glad to have helped

    Oh and there is no m/m loving of course ;)

    That's true and something I sure hope doesn't happen

    Like me then..ok I don't read any, bad me

    She even wrote it in English this time *yay Anna* Last time I translated for her.

    I thought you would like it

    I know about those, right no my comfort is romance..but I am feeling a historical vibe coming on

  15. Thank you for stopping by the comments Russell :D

    I tried to get the author of the review here, but we will see :)

  16. I must say that I'm overwhelmed by the amount of participation in this blog, Blodeuedd. I'm so happy that you and Anna gave me this opportunity.

    You're right. There's some fact to the believability of this situation. Do you remember the Anthrax letter scare a few years ago, perpetrated by US Military Scientist, Bruce Ivins?
    Look Here

    Russell Brooks
    Author of Pandora's Succession

  17. This one sounds excellent and horribly scary!!

  18. Ok Anna said she posted but nothing showed up so here is her comment:


    Hi, I wrote the review. Thanks for thanking me! ;) As Blodeuedd wrote, I love these kinds of books. I hope I find more books of this king. Pandora was one of the best books I've read in some years. :)

  19. Russel
    I got some nice followers for sure :) I am happy to have helped to spread the word.

    Hiya, it sure does :D

  20. @Anna You might be interested in knowing that I have another novel (mystery/adventure) that will hopefully be out later this year. In the meantime I'm researching subject matter in order to write the sequel to Pandora's Succession. I'm shooting for a Summer 2012 release.

    Russell Brooks
    Author of Pandora's Succession

  21. Sounds like a good thriller, though the different names of weapons and helicopters might confuse me, I'd have to google

  22. Carrie

    Lol, google is awesome, you always find the answers there

  23. I understand that there is a lot of concern over the knowledge of weaponry and whether or not readers will be lost or confused. That's perfectly normal. Before I wrote this novel, I realized the importance of being as accurate as possible because given the type of novel that it is, there's potentially a wide audience. But among those readers, some will most likely be weapons enthusiasts, and/or even those that have served in the military, the police, etc. And in order to attract and also keep that fanbase, requires authenticity.

    For example, it's easy to say that my protagonist used a gun. To the casual person that doesn't know about guns, that could pass. But to a reader that knows about guns, they may dismiss it as poor and lazy writing, and I'd end up losing a fan. This is due to the fact that different kinds of weapons are used in different situations. In an earlier draft of Pandora's Succession, I had my protagonist, Ridley Fox, carry a Ruger as his weapon of choice in the first chapter. A friend of mine read it and warned me that the Ruger was way too heavy and bulky a gun for Fox to be using and would not have been the kind of sidearm that Fox could easily conceal in the seat of his pants, as described. He suggested the Hecklor and Koch because it is much lighter, smaller, and was more realistic a weapon for anyone to be using in that given situation. He even showed me pictures, comparing both of them. I was happy that he pointed that out because it could've been very embarassing for someone to write in the comments section on that I'm not an authentic author because I didn't properly research it. Errors of that nature could cost an author their reputation and also would result in them losing a lot of fans that would've otherwise enjoyed reading their novel.

    On the other hand, it was important to not bog down a reader with too much information about guns and other technical information about the scientific subject matter or else it will weaken the effect of the pacing of the story being told. I've read that Tom Clancy was often criticized for being too detailed about weaponry. But he's still an international bestselling author, something I'd like to be one day.

    A proper balance must be maintained between both the informational and also the entertainment aspect of a novel.

    Russell Brooks
    Author of Pandora's Succession

  24. Great comment Russell.

    I do think some can go a bit overboard with writing about weapons, so there is that line. I do not mind it. Some things I do not know, some things I do. But that's the case with many other things too :)



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