The Genius Plague

By David Walton
Read by Nick Thurston

14.57 Hours 10/03/2017 unabridged
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The contagion is in your mind. In this science fiction thriller, brothers are pitted against each other as a pandemic threatens to destabilize world governments by exerting a subtle mind control over survivors. Neil Johns has just started his dream job as a code breaker for the NSA when his brother Paul, a mycologist, goes missing on a trip to collect samples in the Amazon jungle. Paul returns with a gap in his memory and a fungal infection that almost kills him. But once he recuperates, he has enhanced communication, memory, and pattern recognition. Meanwhile, something is happening in South America; others, like Paul, have also fallen ill and recovered with abilities they didn’t have before. But that’s not the only pattern—the survivors, from entire remote Brazilian tribes to American tourists, all seem to be working toward a common, deadly goal. Neil soon uncovers a secret, unexplained alliances form between governments that have traditionally been enemies, and Paul becomes increasingly secretive and erratic. Paul sees the fungus as the next stage of human evolution, while Neil is convinced that it is driving its human hosts to destruction. Brother must oppose brother on an increasingly fraught international stage, with the free will of every human on earth at stake. Can humanity use this force for good, or are we becoming the pawns of an utterly alien intelligence?

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Summary

Summary

Amazon Editor’s Top Pick

The contagion is in your mind.

In this science fiction thriller, brothers are pitted against each other as a pandemic threatens to destabilize world governments by exerting a subtle mind control over survivors.

Neil Johns has just started his dream job as a code breaker for the NSA when his brother Paul, a mycologist, goes missing on a trip to collect samples in the Amazon jungle. Paul returns with a gap in his memory and a fungal infection that almost kills him. But once he recuperates, he has enhanced communication, memory, and pattern recognition. Meanwhile, something is happening in South America; others, like Paul, have also fallen ill and recovered with abilities they didn’t have before.

But that’s not the only pattern—the survivors, from entire remote Brazilian tribes to American tourists, all seem to be working toward a common, deadly goal. Neil soon uncovers a secret, unexplained alliances form between governments that have traditionally been enemies, and Paul becomes increasingly secretive and erratic.

Paul sees the fungus as the next stage of human evolution, while Neil is convinced that it is driving its human hosts to destruction. Brother must oppose brother on an increasingly fraught international stage, with the free will of every human on earth at stake. Can humanity use this force for good, or are we becoming the pawns of an utterly alien intelligence?

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“Riveting. David Walton gives us a wild ride through new territory.” Jack McDevitt, Nebula Award–winning author
“Walton infuses his latest novel with adventure, spycraft, humor, and shudders…The Genius Plague freshens up the nature-versus-man archetype with an unusual ‘critter’ and contemporary global politics, resulting in a page-turning read that is also thought-provoking. We may never look at mushrooms the same way again.” ForeWord Reviews
“[A] mind-bending ecothriller.” Publishers Weekly
“Once a reader picks up Walton’s latest whirlwind sf thriller, she will not be able to put it down.” Booklist
“Paired with relentless pacing, an action-packed narrative, and a cast of interesting characters, Walton’s fluid writing style and tightly constructed plot produce a virtually un-put-downable read…This is a page-turner of the highest order.” Kirkus Reviews

Reviews

Reviews

by Brian (Brian's Book Blog) 1/6/2018
Overall Performance
Narration
Story

Kept Me Guessing Til The Bitter End

I had a long paragraph about what I thought this book was going to be going into it, but that really doesn’t matter. The Genius Plague was an excellent book telling a great story told by an excellent storyteller. I’ve never read anything by Walton before, but man, if he writes all his stories like this I’m in for a treat.

Without ruining the book and it’s many surprises. The Genius Plague is about a lot of things. Family acceptance, dementia and Alzheimers, the NSA and more. It’s a globe-hopping story that takes many twists and turns along the way. What if you could take something that made you smarter, but to be that smart you had to give away a little piece of you?

First and foremost, I loved this book. I can’t find many faults. His depiction and description of living with someone with dementia and Alzheimers is spot on considering I lived with my Grandpa who had it for years. The emotion around it on good and bad days (and especially good days for a while) is just perfect. So much so, I wonder if Walton has had a family member have this terrible disease.

I thought that the biological parts of this story were really well done. As someone who really enjoys his way around a bio-thriller (sometimes called Medical Thrillers), I thought that the research put into the topic at hand was excellent. I didn’t have any issues with this.

The character building was also great. I found myself really falling for these characters and hoping that they would make it out alive. When I had about an hour left in the book I was super worried about what was coming. I honestly didn’t know how it was going to end.

Sometimes I can predict a book early on while others it gets obvious the deeper you read. With The Genius Plague, I couldn’t figure out what was going to be on the next page let alone the next chapter or the end of the book. I thought that Walton did an excellent job keeping me as the reader in the dark with what was going to happen next. There wasn’t a lot of foreshadowing or hints as to what is to come next. It was a pure surprise from beginning to end.

I have to be honest, I was worried. I read another book about fungus (and enjoyed it) last year and I was worried that this would follow the same path. It did not at all. I was also worried that I was going to pick up yet another book with plague in the title and have it be little-to-nothing about a biological agent at all. I was wrong there, too. Sure, there’s a lot of action in between but believe me, the build-up is worth it.

Overall, The Genius Plague is definitely the best book I’ve read so far this year (sure only 5 days into the year), but I’m sad I didn’t finish it in 2017. It would have definitely made my Best Of list.

Hearing Nick Thurston perform the language that they were deciphering and trying to crack was easily one of the coolest parts of this audiobook. I’m not sure how closely Thurston and Walton worked together to get that part done, but it was well worth listening to the audio alone. His narration really made this and I’m glad that I listened to it instead of reading it.

Author

Author Bio: David Walton

David Walton is the author of many science fiction novels and was a recipient of the Philip K. Dick Award for his first novel Terminal Mind. He lives a double life as a top-secret engineer working with the US intelligence community by day.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download, Digital Rental, CD, MP3 CD
Category: Fiction/Science Fiction
Runtime: 14.57
Audience: Adult
Language: English