The Extinction Cycle series, written by Nicholas Sansbury Smith chronicles the tale of when man tinkers a little too much with the nature of the beast and pays an ugly price for it. That price being a predatory plague set upon the world that threatens all of humanity.
The story starts in book one, Extinction Horizon, where we are shown an early experiment with trying to make a super soldier. Instead of a super soldier, they get something much worse and completely uncontrollable. But this took place in the 70s. The experiment went wrong, but no harm, no foul, right?
Jump to the modern day and the key people who were involved in this horrendous experiment are still at it, trying to understand it and still make this experiment work. It is for all the right reasons but sadly something goes horribly wrong on this isolated island lab where they were working with this chemical as they tried to improve its performance by combining it with Ebola. Instead they created a highly contagious version of this super soldier serum that becomes the plague we read about. And sadly, mere minutes before realizing something went wrong, one staff member gets on a plane and heads off to the mainland.
The island lab is destroyed from within, and even though our lab staffer shows symptoms of the infection, the plane lands and people are allowed to disembark.
It takes mere weeks for the Eastern seaboard of the United States to fall and not much longer, the rest of the U.S., and then the world.
At this point, it’s up to a team of a few people to try and figure out what’s up and try to stop the plague and the creatures this plague creates. We have one Dr. Kate Lovato and Delta Force Team Ghost, led by Master Sargent Reed Beckham.
It’s these two primary characters and their teams that we follow through the various stages of this book series.
Extinction Horizon shows us just how bad one stupid move can get as a weaponized version of Ebola gets out of the lab and within weeks, starts to plague the Earth.
Lovato and Beckham battle this disease from different ends of the spectrum, hers from the lab and his from the front lines against these highly evolving kind of super-predator zombie creatures.
Extinction Edge is the second in the series, we see how an attempt to kill the Variant enemy has gone, and the ramifications from that attempt. In a nutshell, it ain’t good as billions of humans have died and what’s left of the Variant enemy is more shrewd, more vicious than before.
Humanity is isolated as civilization falls, including the world’s military centers.
But what is left of the military is looking to take back our cities with a big move designed to wipe out the remainder of the Variants. The military is pretty sure they know the numbers and raids on several major cities are plotted and planned.
But Dr. Lovato has estimated that the military is wrong. But it’s a man’s world that’s left and the military “knows” they’re right.
Book three is titled Extinction Age, and this is the aftermath of the big attacks on the major cities, and humanity is losing the war badly. These damn Variants aren’t only mad dangerous, they’re starting to evolve faster than imagined.
The story continues as the battle to survive evolves, and that evolution is tilted towards the ever evolving Variants as military bases start to fall.
Book four of the Extinction Cycle series, titled Extinction Evolution, is when it really hits the fan. The primary military command centers have fallen, the Variants are evolving beyond anything anyone expected, as if they werent dangerous enough.
Beckham and what’s left of his team are doing their best, but sometimes you worry this is the end of the road for his team.
Beckham and Lovato no longer trust their leadership, but have to play along with the roles they’ve fulfilled so far.
No longer are the Variants the only enemy, as old-school mentality started kicking in, putting the U.S. at the forefront of surviving, rather than all of the world.
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I am now waiting for book five, the final title of the series.
All in all, I’ve truly enjoyed reading through the adventures led by Beckham while Lovato struggles to find a way to save humanity, but one thing leads to another. One setback leads to another at the perfectly wrong time.
Achievements are small while the setbacks are huge.
The only thing I think I could constructively say is that too many people all died the same way, screaming. Sure, I expect death to be met in a horrified fashion at the claws of the Variants, but sometimes I expected more from some of the passing characters that were military or police.
Otherwise, Beckham is a man that is easy to root for and worry about, while Lovato is a character you cheer on, hoping she hits on that special potion to end the evil.
Meanwhile, characters come and go, some stay and become reader favorites, others don’t last that long, despite liking them.
I can’t wait for the fifth and final chapter of this series.
If you’re interested, you can check out the first volume – Extinction Horizon (The Extinction Cycle) (Volume 1).