Cover Image: Colony

Colony

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Member Reviews

Ah, now this one I was super looking forward to.

Colony is about the discovery of something ancient and deadly on a remote island in the Arctic.  The writer is an archaeologist.  I was expecting a cross between The Mummy and The Thing.  I got neither.

What I did get was more of an action type thriller rather than horror.  Horror was what I had hoped for, but that’s not to say I was disappointed.

To be fair, the book is tagged as an action thriller, but the blurb would suggest otherwise. ‘Potaytoes, potartoes,’ you might say, and maybe you’re right, but part of me still wishes there had been more of a The Thing vibe about the place.

However, on with the review …

The book is well written, easy to read, and the story interesting enough to make it one of my faster reads (I don’t do speed reading at all), and the cover suggests there will be more books to come featuring the lovely Dr Callum Ross.  I won’t give away what was ancient and deadly (though other reviewers may have already done so), but I will say that this was the only (and only slightly) disappointing part of the book for me.  I had trouble visualising the creature that was laying waste to those who dared to step foot on the island of Harmsworth, and what I did manage to piece together in my tiny brain, came out just plain weird and not that terrifying – though I’ll admit, I wouldn’t want to bump into one whilst out for a late-night stroll (or anytime for that matter).  But that’s just me, and as I noted earlier, I had hoped for more horror than thriller.

The book is reasonably fast paced, a little too much jargon (aka shit I don’t know about) for my taste, but not enough to send me off to sleep (as has happened too many times to mention – is Simply Red singing Money’s Too Tight to Mention in your head now?).

All-in-all Colony is a book I would recommend, and I for one will definitely be looking out for more Dr Callum Ross stories.
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This had s bit of a Matthew Reilly feel to it and I was loving it. I will definitely be following this author and checking out more books from him
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This is a brilliant read.
Wonderful well written plot and story line that had me engaged from the start.
Love the well fleshed out characters and found them believable.
Great suspense and found myself second guessing every thought I had continuously.
Can't wait to read what the author brings out next.
Recommend reading.

I was provided an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher.  This is my own honest voluntary review.
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Ebook/Sci-fi Thriller:  This is a faux thriller because there was nothing spectacular about it.  Besides the characters being cookie cutters, the continuity and setting descriptions lacked. 
I love reading books that take place in remote places like Antarctica or the Upper P.  Except for the description of the nights being daylight, there was nothing to keep my mind in the setting. Four of the characters are wounded and have to travel across rough terrain to get to safety. It's glossed over until they get to the 90-degree drop. Okay, that is a nightmare I have, usually in a car, so to me, this scene should have been a nail biter. No, it is glossed over with two characters being left behind because one physiologically can't do it. But she does do it somehow, but it's never explained. 
The cold should have been better described. Even though it's summer, there is still permafrost and any sence of cold, snow, melted snow, mud was never brought up, or maybe a coat wasn't necessary.
The lifeforms living on the island didn't make sense. From what I gathered, there were at least three different subspecies, which would make sense. But they don't eat each other. They somehow live in harmony with each other. No, that makes no sense. There is a reason alpha animals pack in small group or are alone. There are 100s of these creatures with little food source.  The whole colony could wipe out a ecosystem, again makes no sense.  The description of the creatures was never really explained well. I guess they were humanoid, warm blooded, mixed with reptile aka dinosaurs? 
I barely finished the book only to have the ending dumb. I guess a creature took a thumb drive to the library and borrowed a computer and loaded the virus.
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I received an advance reader copy of this book to read in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley and the publishers.

There is something about a horror set in the frozen landscape of the Arctic that draws me in, and The Colony does not disappoint! Fans of The Thing will love this one.

Callum Ross is an archeologist who is convinced by a dying archaeologist colleague to take his place on an expedition to the Arctic circle to do some research. This in itself would be interesting, but add some sabotage, murder, native legends, and prehistoric lizard birds to the mix and you get a fast-paced adventure that is really hard to put down.

The story starts with a soldier being killed by an as yet unidentified creature and never really lets up from there, while the back and forth style of telling the story from the point of view of different characters in different locations on the same timeline, and ultimately bringing these different storylines together at the end, worked really well for me.

I did find the book a little hard to follow in the early stages, I believe due to the number of different characters involved with Russian-sounding surnames, so that I sometimes had to stop to try to remember who a certain character was and what their part in the story up to that point had been. A small complaint though.

Overall I really enjoyed this book, which is especially impressive when you learn that this is Benjamin Cross’s first novel, so I will definitely be keeping an eye out for future works by this author.
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Colony begins in the distant past as we follow the journey of a Neolithic hunter as he makes his way across the frozen expanse of the Arctic, searching for something. After falling into a deep ice cave he soon finds himself at the mercy of some unseen creature, one that makes short work of the brave warrior. With this one small scene writer Benjamin Cross sets the tone for a book that is steeped in atmosphere and fraught with danger.

Jumping forward several thousand years, we join archaeologist Callum Ross as he's pulled away from his holiday with his son by a colleague of his who needs Callum to take his place on an expedition to the remote Russian Arctic, where a team of scientists are exploring Harmsworth island as part of an investigation that could have a big impact for the Russian companies that want to begin drilling for oil on the remote wilderness.

Callum is just one of several scientists, from all kinds of fields, and expects to find little archaeological evidence on the island, but when he discovers the frozen remains of an ancient hunter it sparks a mystery as to what could have killed this man all those centuries ago. Unfortunately for Callum, he will get his answers when corporate sabotage and eco-terrorism leads to him and several others being stranded on the island when their ship is destroyed. Not only do they have to find a way to survive in the extreme conditions of the Arctic, but they're also being hunted.

Over the course of the book we begin to discover what these creatures are, though there's a pretty big clue early on that makes it an obvious leap of logic as to what these things used to be, though it's one that the actual characters seem to take a little longer to get to. It makes it somewhat amusing to see them trying to puzzle out what's really on the island using scientific processes, when if they took a step back a moment and took a less precise examination they'd get to the answer a lot quicker. But then a lot of the fun of these kinds of stories is being a step or two ahead of the characters and seeing them trying to play catch up with the reader.

In a lot of ways the book reminded me of the Meg series by Steve Alten. It deals with a group of scientists having to fight for their lives against vicious killer creatures that are the stuff from history and legend; and like some of the later books in that series and it's sister series The Loch, it takes place in a remote, frozen location. It definitely made Colony more enjoyable for me, reminding me of a series that I love, and much like those books it doesn't just rely in killer creatures to keep things interesting, throwing in corporate espionage and shady dealings too so that there's a much more recognisable and human enemy in the mix.

The characters make for an interesting mix of people too, and none of them are perfect. It would have been easy to have Callum end up being a big hero, for example, when things started to go wrong, but he's not. He's imperfect. He struggles in survival situations, having to grab for nearby weapons and hoping they'll work; he's not an expert gunman mowing down hordes of creatures whilst he protects his new girlfriend. He's also very human in his personal life thanks to the relationship he has with his son, and the struggles he goes through to try and be a good father whilst juggling his work. It makes him feel like an every-man, the kind of person you yourself might know and be friends with, and it helps to ground the more fantastical elements of the book.

The supporting characters are equally well made, and most of them get small moments to shine along the way. We get a good sense of what drives them, and quickly begin to learn how they're going to react in certain situations; who will step up to the challenge and who will falter under pressure. Even those characters who end up being revealed to have ulterior motives, who end up bordering on villainous, manage to make you feel something, and you end up rooting for them to do the right thing because you just don't want to hate them. There was one particular character in the book whose death actually made me cry a little, but I'm not going to tell you which one.

Colony is a fun book, one that takes a fantastical premise and takes it seriously throughout. It doesn't enter hammy or silly territory, and works so much better because of that. This is the kind of story that under other writers could easily be seen as ridiculous or over-the-top, but Benjamin Cross manages to make it engaging, tense, and emotional throughout.
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This is a story about exploration & the dangers of what might be found.

This was such a fun, scary read.  I love a good creature feature!   The less you know going in be better, but I would recommend this for horror fans, as well as action/adventure readers.

Thank you Netgalley & Matador Books for this e-Arc!
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I love a creature feature, and this one does not disappoint.. I really enjoyed it. A tagline I saw for this book was The Relic meets Jurassic Park. I love both of those books and authors. This definitely has a James Rollins/Matthew Reilly vibe to it. 
There is quite a bit of blood and gore and the characters aren't very well developed, but I don't think you need that for stories like this. The writing is a little stilted, but you can tell the author has authority on the subjects. It was a little slow to get in to for me, but once I did it's a fast pace read with tons of action, drama, suspense, interesting history, and screams.
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I don’t read a lot of thrillers, but I loved the idea of a mystery in the Arctic and the words “prehistoric ice mummy” really stood out to me in the book blurb, so I was eager to get my hands on this. Unfortunately, it read like a super forgettable action movie with a poor Rotten Tomatoes score. I had to push myself to finish. 

My favorite parts included the incorporation of real history, archaeology and paleontology - I believe the author himself has a background in archaeology.  The setting was fun and the general arc of the plot entertaining, but there were issues with the execution. It was all very convenient how it wrapped up, the pacing went from slowwww to go-go-go, and I hated the silly romances that added nothing to the general story. I also struggled at times figuring out <i>what</i> was happening in certain action scenes, and frequently had to reread sections in order to determine the correct sequence of events. 

While <i>Colony</i> is a different type of book compared to what I normally read, I don’t think it’s warmed me to the thriller genre. 

I voluntarily obtained an eBook version of this book free from Netgalley and The Book Guild in exchange for an honest review!
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This was a brilliant book. It was dramatic and thrilling, with lots of emotions. The setting of the book was gripping and made the story sound more plausible. The characters were great
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Dr Callum Ross is an archaeologist who has been recruited for a job in the Russian Arctic. There is a natural gas company who are hoping to tap into the underground gas reserves and build a large processing plant in the wilderness. In order to follow strict regulations they must undertake thorough examinations of the landscape and environment to show they will do all in their power to preserve the existing habitat. So Dr Ross is flown out and joined by other environmentalists, paleontologists etc.
During one of his explorations Dr Ross makes the remarkable discovery of an ice mummy. All evidence points to him possibly being a legendary figure. He sustained some horrific injuries when he died. What could have possibly caused them?
When other members of the expedition start to disappear it is clear that they are not alone on this frozen island. What is hiding in these caves? What could have caused such catastrophic injuries?

I couldn't put this book down. It had my heart racing, my palms sweaty and chills down my spine. There were lots of reveals and twists. It was so exciting to read, I absolutely loved it.
I don't want to talk to much about it incase I give anything away, but the constant feeling of hopelessness, then switching to never giving up, then back to hopelessness.... My poor heart!

I would recommend to someone who loves suspense, horror, monsters, action, blood and gore, explosions and battles. It's a real bum-clencher!
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Quite an action-packed ride. Dr. Ross had to overcome so many obstacles in this intense page-turner.  Part espionage,  part archeological, it reads like Indiana Jones meets Jason Bourne.
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An unashamed B-movie in book form. Set in the remote arctic environment of Franz Jozef Land, a group of scientists are tasked with conducting an environmental impact assessment in preparation for a new gas pipeline. But they’re not alone on the island...

As a fan of character-rich fiction, I found that the characters here were only developed as far as the plot required. The two female characters, in particular, felt underdeveloped to me, spending much of the action either unconscious or in shock (not that I think I’d cope any differently, but still). This did not sit overly well with my feminist side.

That said, the pace of the plot worked for me, gearing up nicely towards the second half of the book. There is plenty of action, suspense and drama here.

A solid debut novel, recommended to fans of Michael Crichton and Clive Cussler.

I received an ARC from NetGalley and Matador in exchange for an honest review.
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I received an advance reader copy of this book to read in exchange for an honest review via netgalley and the publishers.

Colony is an amazing, edge of your seat horror about Dr Callum Ross and a group of other scientists who are hired to go to Harmsworth Island in Franz Joseph Land far north of the Arctic circle. They are hired by a Russian company who hope to tap into the rich natural gas resources there and as such require an assessment to enable them to do so. 
The main characters are Dr Callum Ross - archaeologist, Dr Darya Lebedev - ecologist, Dan Peterson and Dr Ava Lee - vertebrae palaeontologist.
Something is stalking the visitors to the island and picking them off one by one. This scary creature is just as intelligent as the humans and after sabotage occurs on the trip, the scientists and the Russian soldiers (who were hired to guard the ship and its habitants from harm) are left stranded on the island with nowhere to hide. 
This book was a fantastic roller coaster of a ride and I couldn't put it down. There's many small twists at the end of the book and as I read it I could envision the scenery, the scenes and the action played out like a movie! The suspense was heart racing and the fast pace was fantastic and didn't let the story grow stale.
Benjamin Cross is definitely an author to look out for!
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this was not what i expected but in the best way. a thriller set in a remote area. it had me on the edge of my seat waiting to see what happened next. will definitely be reading more by this author
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For starters, I will not say that it’s an amazing book from a first time Author, cause even some experienced writers don’t have Mr. Cross storytelling skills. It’s a Techno-Thriller/adventure novel in the purest sense. Think Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park or Preston & Child’s The Ice Limit mixed with a bit of James Rollins and a dash of Matthew Reilly. It is the perfect companion piece with any of these. It works perfectly as a stand-alone but could easily span a trilogy. A five star action-packed, sparkled with humour and twists. I will recommend the heck out of this one and await eagerly the next novel by Benjamin Cross.
I received this copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Colony is a horror story.  It is also a story built around adventures in a land that has hardly been explored.  It is a love story and a story about natural selection run amuck producing a species that is too prepared to be allowed to flourish.  Finally, and most important it is a well researched and well written story that is a prime example of an all nighter and a book that will keep the reader glued to the pages panting to learn just what is going on.
     Callum Ross is a man that has been estranged from his wife and maintaining contact with his son mainly via telephone or by Zoom as he is able.  His ex-wife makes it obvious that she does not consider Callum a good father and would love to completely cancel the relationship.  Callum holds on and intends to take a break from work in order to spend more time with the boy.  Due to an expertise that he has he is invited to spend a few days working with a group of Russian business men who have found a 4000 year old nummy at a remote location on a Russsian island in the arctic. The opportunity to examine the mummy is fascinating and the fact that it is only for a few days makes a good reason for Callum to take on the assignment.
     Of course, the few days stretches out as the find leads to the reason that the mummy was killed 4000 year ago. Callum cannot leave the area as rapidly as he would like to.  He finds a new love among his coworkers and he is terrorized by what has evolved in the area over millennium, and also terrorized by a plot to thwart the efforts of the group set up to survey the find who it seems has someone or something very interested in not allowing the exploration at that point.
     Mr. Cross presents a good reason for another novel utilizing the people and the circumstances to go on, and that would be a welcome situation for the interest created by this book. Let us certainly hope it does become the case and another showcase for a new literary talent emerging.
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Jurassic Park on Ice.  Now that I have your attention I need to admit that I think I have a problem, regular readers may notice that my favourite books of late seem to feature remote islands, snow, ice or a collection of all three.  This one does tick those boxes but it also brings to the table, mummified remains and something carnivorous lurking in the dark.

Callum Ross is a professor specialising in archaeology, he is asked to join a team going to survey the remote Harmsworth Island, the island has been earmarked for it’s potential bounty of natural resources.  Its location is the Arctic circle, Franz Josef Land.  Uninhabited except for its recent residents, a troop of soldiers charged with getting the base ready.

The journey to the island for Callum is uneventful, the ship is luxurious, his fellow passengers are a mix of obnoxious and alluring, he just wants to get there and get the job done so he can go home to his son.  Of course that isn’t going to happen.  On arrival to Harmsworth he discovers a mummified corpse, an ice age man, one who didn’t just drop down and die, this mummy had a little help from something with teeth.

Whilst he is exploring the island unbeknownst to Callum there is a saboteur in his midst, someone who doesn’t want this natural haven drilled to within an inch of his life.  Once they set their plan in action, Callum and his team members find themselves stranded, they also find themselves discovering a new species, one that is is not on any pages of current books.  A creature that has walked straight from the pages of history and its hungry.

I really enjoyed this book, you do have to suspend disbelief, some books can do it well, other books not so much.  This one did it well, if was fun if you overlook the bloodiness that pops up.  It was a great setting, with a good mix of characters and a foe that proves very hard to beat.

If you like your monsters with great big teeth and your islands frozen and remote then you’ll enjoy this book!
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Steven king meets Jurassic park - the perfect horror, sci-fi and crime thriller. Insights a fantastic mix of Wayward Pines fear and morbid curiosity. There are parts of this book that I read and thought “why am I doing this to myself?” Similar to when you watch vague Netflix horror movies alone and spend half of them hidden behind a cushion. Some of the gore in this book was a bit much for me - makes me worry about what is going on inside the authors head! But if you love horror movies in general then it’d be perfect as it’s a very ‘visual’ book - easy to imagine a scene playing out in your head. It’s basically written to become a TV series ! 

I loved it.

There are basically two major plots in this book - the first, a group of eco warriors trying to preserve an uninhabited island in the Arctic; the second, a group of scientists excited to explore an island above Russia that has been the subject of local myths about an ancient monster. The team are fully equipped to explore the fauna, species and geography of the new island - but need to watch their backs a bit more carefully! 

I loved all of the different characters and you can tell that the author has been a scientist / archaeologist as their experiences have made the main character very believable and likeable. The location is eery (mist that reduces visibility) cold and exposed.  It was a long book to read but I read it in a few days and couldn’t put it down! Although I found it very easy to return to and get sucked into the Arctic again when I did absolutely had to take a break. 

All in all, one of the best books I’ve read so far this year! 

Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC in return for an honest review.
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"Colony" by Benjamin Cross is a debut novel - and a fantastically creepy one at that! This book was full of action and suspense and I relished every minute of it. If you are looking for a fun, creepy, thrilling book, look no further! I look forward to reading anything from this author in the future in the same genre. I recommend this to anyone who likes a good horror or thriller or just a good book in general! Don't hesitate - grab this one up - you won't regret it.
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