‘Area 7’ is the second book in Matthew Reilly’s Shane Schofield series. Even though the majority of this book was set underground, I was glad that it wasn’t under ice like the previous book – ‘Ice Station’. After the mutant seals of ‘Ice Station’ and the talking dragons of ‘The Great Zoo of China’ I wondered if Matthew Reilly could maintain the same incredible pace. It appears that he does (with the exception of ‘The Tournament’).
Area 7 is a top secret Air Force base hidden underground in the desert in Utah. Among the highly sensitive work carried out here is the development of a vaccine for SinoVirus (a virus developed by the Chinese that kills anyone that is not at least part Asian). The vaccine has been developed in a genetically modified human – a boy called Kevin.
Today the president is visiting Area 7 and Shane Schofield (the Scarecrow) is part of his protection team. Also part of the team are the two other survivors of Ice Station – Mother (now with a titanium prosthesis leg) and the delectable Libby Gant, as well as Book II (son of Book who died in Ice Station).
But what the visitors don’t know is that Area 7 is being run by a rogue Air Force unit whose goal is to see the president dead and publicly disgraced.
As the action ratchets up with the president’s protectors trying to save him, we discover a rogue team within the rogue team who want to steal Kevin and give him to the Chinese. In addition to that, there is a group of death row prisoners (the worst of the worst) who have volunteered as test subjects, a family of very angry Kodiak bears and a group of man-eating giant komodo dragons.
A device attached to the president’s heart means that he must be kept alive to stop complete carnage in the rest of America, and secret codes must be regularly entered into Area 7’s security system to stop it being obliterated by a thermo-nuclear device.
The body count is just as high and just as gory as in ‘Ice Station’. This book is definitely not for the faint of heart.
After a short break to allow my heart rate to return to normal, I’ll be continuing the series with – ‘Scarecrow’.
Book Published 2001