4 out of 4 stars
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Dr. Grant Taylor is going to Saint Petersburg to settle his uncle’s state that he has left behind. Over a year ago, his uncle, Randall Taylor, has gone to the Zona region of Siberia for a recovery expedition and gone missing. The Russian government’s official version is Randall presumed dead or disappeared without knowledge. While Grant is in Saint Petersburg, a series of unexpected events take place that put a doubt in his mind about Randall’s demise. This doubt further heightened by a revelation of a man supposed to be working for the Russian government’s secret service. As there is no one to believe or turn in for help, Grant starts his investigation to find out the truth behind the disappearance of his uncle.
Does the government’s account of his uncle’s disappearance correct? Is there anything significant other than what everybody is talking about? Will Grant too will be a victim of some unknown force, or will he be able to find the secret behind the forbidden land of Zona?
Zona: The Forbidden Land is a very well-crafted action-adventure fiction by Fred G. Baker. This is a part investigative and part adventure fiction that will keep the reader glued to the end of the story. The book consists of thirty-six chapters with two parts. The setting for part one is Saint Petersburg whilst the setting for part two is the Siberian landscape. The story was told from the first-person narration.
What I like about the story is the author was able to keep the suspense level very high from an early part of the novel. Readers, used to read about Russia and her political landscape have a natural tendency to have some suspicion about everything happens in that country. This is especially the case when it revolved around a missing US citizen. I too had the same curiosity while the story was unfolding. The author was able to keep that curiosity level until towards the end part of the story, as several twists kept changing my initial assumption about the ending of the story.
Another positive aspect of the book is the author’s clear and concise writing style. There were not many passages with extensive technical details which would keep the average reader disinterested. Even when the characters were discussing the arctic shield, field studies and Siberian ecosystems, the readers were able to comprehend very easily. This is because the author has explained these in simple language. Further to that, there was a map about a camp area in which one of the main actions taken place in the story. This has helped me to fully understand the movements of the characters while the author was explaining the action scenes. If not for that map, I would have had a hard time imagining what the author was explaining.
There were several sex scenes which I believe bit of over the top considering the plot and the setting. This is the only negative aspect I have observed in the book. I do believe there is no requirement of excessive erotic encounters require for a story of this quality. However, these small things have not hampered the quality of the story. The suspense level and the quality of the story is reminiscent of great adventures such as The Lost World, Jurassic Park, Congo, and the adventures of Indiana Jones to name a few.
Considering all of the aforementioned factors, I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. I did not notice any errors. I can recommend this book to anyone interested in adventures such as the ones I have mentioned above.
Zona: The Forbidden Land
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