4 out of 4 stars
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A missing uncle, a mysterious set of journals, and a dangerous expedition to a dangerous land. Zona: The Forbidden Land by Fred G. Baker is a fictional adventure story that will keep you reading long into the night.
Dr. Grant Taylor, a university professor and geologist from Chicago, receives notice that his Uncle Randall Taylor is missing from his latest adventure and is presumed dead. Upon hearing the sad news, Grant heads to his uncle's home in St. Petersburg, Russia to handle his estate. Some mysterious items including a set of journals detailing his last expedition are unearthed while organizing his uncle's things. Grant is introduced to his Uncle Randall's attorney and friend, Boris Ustinov, and the green-eyed beauty, Irina, his legal aid and botanist niece. Together, they introduce Grant to Colonel Volkov who was the only member of the expedition team to survive and return to Russia. Volkov tells him all about his Uncle Randall's expedition to a mysterious land known as Zona, which is near Siberia. He tells Grant of large violent animals, unusual plants, and mysterious landmasses that are present there. Volkov then shocks him by explaining that he believes Grant's Uncle Randall might still be alive in Zona. He asks Grant's permission to create another team to go on a second expedition to Zona. Secret journals in hand, Grant travels with Colonel Volkov, Irina, a team of scientists, a zoologist, a doctor and a group of highly trained security guards to Zona. Will he find his uncle and unearth the secrets of this forbidden land or return empty handed?
I found this book fascinating, and I enjoyed reading every page. One of the biggest things I liked about this book is the description Baker painted of Zona. For instance, I could picture myself in this mysterious land surrounded by strange and beautiful plants and intelligent animals. Second, the author did a fabulous job creating the many characters present in this story. I felt like I knew each of them inside and out, and they became like friends as I read more about their journeys during the expedition.
The only element in the story that I didn't care for was the violence that took place between the animals and the expedition team. For example, I was disturbed during the scene where members of the team were violently attacked when their camp was breached. I don't enjoy scenes of cruelty towards animals or humans. However, I now realize that it was necessary for the premise of the story.
I gladly give this fast-paced and intense adventure a 4 out of 4 stars. This book is extremely well-edited and captivates the reader as soon as they turn to the first page. If you enjoy an intriguing adventure with a mixture of science-fiction, romance and mystery, this book delivers it all. I would recommend this book to mature or adult readers due to some profanity and sexual nature present in some of the chapters.
Zona: The Forbidden Land
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