Monday, November 1, 2010

Contest & Review: Pandora's Succession by Russell Brooks

Welcome to one of the stops on Russell Brooks' blog tour!  For the tour, I was graciously given an e-copy of Russell's novel to read and review, which is now availabe in e-format on Amazon or any other e-book retailers.


Lieutenant Captain Ridley Fox is a CIA operative on a mission to stop potential terrorists from releasing Pandora, a microbe that can spread world-wide to eliminate human life as we know it.  During his mission, as he travels from Chechnya to West Darfur to Tokyo, he experiences betrayal from those he thought he was able to trust.  Nothing and nobody are what they appear to be ... Is this mission one that Fox has to finish on his own or will he be able to find those he can actually trust to help him?

My Review:

When I first began the book, I thought it was going to be one of those that only guys would enjoy due to the military and weapons references.  Once I got past the technicality of it all and actually paid attention to the story line, I was hooked.

The detail Russell gives to the descriptions of weapons and modes of military transportation will help detail the story in the mind of a person who is familiar with such things.  But, for people like me who have no idea what a UH-60 Blackhawk or a D-W73 Cold War era Russian Air Force Officer's Dagger look like, the details tend to be a little much.  However, the fight scenes were extremely realistic and that is due, in part, to the details given about the weapons.

As far as the plot is concerned, it was thrilling and intriguing.  It kept you in a state of suspension from beginning to end.  One thing I do, while reading a story, is to picture the book as a movie in my mind.  At the end of each chapter, I pretend that is where the movie would pause for a commercial.  Some stories fail to end with a cliff hanger at the end of each chapter, but not this one.  I can say that at the end of each and every chapter, if a commercial were to come on at that time or if you stopped reading for the night at that spot, you couldn't wait to get back to it and see what happens next.  I think this skill is one that not every author can accomplish.  Russell Brooks has definitely mastered this skill.

One thing I did wish for was that it took a little longer revealing the mastermind behind it all.  I would've enjoyed a little more suspense in that area of the story.  Other than that, I really liked this novel.  And, I'd like to say 'Thank You' to Russell for putting the Epilogue at the end.  It helped to tie up some loose ends.  Without it, a reader would be left wondering if a sequel was in the making.

Author Info:

Russell Brooks is a former Canadian Track and Field Team member who currently resides in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  You can visit his blog, The Big Picture, by clicking here.

If you have any questions you'd like to ask Russell, please leave a comment below and he will reply back.  How often do you get to chat with an author one-on-one?!

Can't think of any questions to ask?  Perhaps after you read the first five teaser chapters on Russell's site (here), you'll have some questions about the book.  So, go check them out and come back to ask your questions.

Contest Rules:

Everyone that leaves a comment with their email address (in the body of your message) will win an autographed book cover of Pandora's Succession.  After the blog tour (ends November 14th), ten commentors, from all of the blogs hosting the tour, will be drawn to win free autographed ebook copies of Pandora's Succession.


  1. Thanks for the review, Mandy. I'll be around here for most of the day. But I'll pop back every once in a while during the tour.

  2. Any time!

    To get things started, I would like to ask you:

    What inspired you and gave you the idea for Pandora's Succession?

  3. Biology was my favorite subject in high school and I eventually got my degree in that field. So I felt it suitable to write a story with scientific subject matter. One afternoon when I rode the metro (subway) one winter while in high school, I spotted the words: Nuclear Winter, flash across the electronic display. It was part of a news blurb. I can’t remember what the news item was about, but I suddenly started thinking about radioactive snow. I was in the process of writing the first draft of the novel, but couldn’t think of a big enough threat that would create an exciting story. I spoke to a chemistry teacher and asked her about the possibility of a hostile nation spreading radioactive isotopes in the upper atmosphere to produce radioactive precipitation. She told me that it wouldn’t be feasable. But the idea still stuck in my mind. I later read about the sarin gas attacks that occured in the Tokyo subway in 1995 that were perpetrated by the Aum Shinrikyo cult. I was amazed at how can someone as their leader, Shoko Asahara, be so charismatic to lure students and professionals to his group. It’s from that point that the story began to come together.

  4. Sounds interesting. Pandora brings lots of things to mind. Looks like you've taken it in some intriguing and timely directions.

    sdeeth at msn dot com

  5. It was tough, Sheila. Especially since I've incorporated current events into the plot. The challenge was that when there was a change in a current event, I had to rewrite certain scenes in order to keep the story up to date.


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