4 out of 4 stars
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Zona: The Forbidden Land by Fred G. Baker is about a fictional adventure that will make you want to keep reading to find out more. Grant Taylor, a university professor from Elmhurst near Chicago, goes to Saint Petersburg, Russia, as he is an heir to his Uncle Randall’s home. Uncle Randall is missing from the last expedition into an unknown and forbidden zone near Siberia and declared dead. Grant finds his uncle’s journals and treasures hidden in his uncle’s house. There is an air of mystery and intrigue of this land called Zona. Events lead to another expedition that Grant goes on to hopefully find his uncle. The expedition team consists of Grant, Irina, a botanist, a zoologist, scientists, and security guards, all led by Colonel Volkov. Volkov was the only person to escape from the last expedition alive.
The book began by introducing some background and characters in Russia, laying a foundation for the rest of the book. Even though it was very interesting, I found myself wanting to get to the part of the expedition more quickly. Danger, suspense, romance, and mystery were all presented and played out at the beginning of the story. I liked how some names of Russian food, a few famous places, and a few Russian words were naturally included while Grant was in Saint Petersburg.
Most of the story was about the expedition to Zona. The convoy included eight big tractors pulling sleds, equipped with heavy machine guns and artillery. The team encountered a lot of problems along the way and struggled to survive. Many people died from wild animal attacks and complications. Some of the animals were extremely large and vicious.
I liked the descriptions of the land and animals of Zona. I really enjoyed reading the book, not only because of the content but also because it was so well-written. It was like going on the expedition safely with the team and not actually being in any danger. I enjoyed reading how the expedition team had to work together and how they set up camp. I especially liked the part towards the end about Grant’s special ability with the wolves and how the survivors started thriving on the land. I really wanted to know if Grant would find his uncle dead or alive. You will have to read the book to find out the answer!
I did not like how the team members drank a lot of alcohol, which caused other problems for the expedition. The team’s problems made me not want to actually be on the expedition, besides battling the cold weather and the extraordinary ferocious animals. I least liked that Grant was in a sexual relationship with Irina, who he was not sure he could even trust, and he also slept with several women.
The book was edited very well, as I did not notice any errors. The expedition to Zona made me feel like I was there with the scientists observing the plant and animal life. At times, I even felt afraid and uncomfortable about the weather and the animal attacks. The book leaves the reader wanting to know more and hoping for a sequel. I rate Zona: The Forbidden Land 4 out of 4 stars. If you like to read about scientific expeditions into unknown lands, this book is for you. Due to sexual activity and many deaths, this book is not intended for children to read.
Zona: The Forbidden Land
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