In August, 1999, scientist Richard Draven heads into the Congo Basin of Africa in search of an elusive species of monkey that reportedly has special regenerative powers. Draven gets the chance to see the healing properties first hand when he witnesses members of a tribe healing before his eyes. He, with the help of a guide, capture a monkey and Draven takes it back to the U.S. to perform his experiments. He wants to be the first to develop a regenerative serum for humans.
Fast forward six years and Draven’s research has been adapted by the government and human trials have begun on U.S. soldiers. The intent was to create better, faster and stronger soldiers, but things go horribly wrong. The soldiers who have undergone the serum injections are becoming more and more aggressive and as time passes, the modified soldiers begin banding together. Small armies of enhanced soldiers take up positions all over the world. Led by their leader, Joshua, the first solder to undergo the injections, the group begins trying to rid itself of humanity that Joshua says is greedy and dishonest. His perfect world is one filled with enhanced humans and he knows if anyone can make that dream a reality, it’s him and his soldiers. There seems to be no stopping the Project Apex soldiers. Their plan of world extermination quickly takes shape and the world starts falling apart.
This story takes place in several locations all over the world including Washington D.C. and Iraq. I can’t begin to imagine the amount of research that went into each setting of this story because although I’ve never been to any of them, Bray does a fantastic job of detailing each location, making you feel like you’re right there with the characters. Never does this story get confusing or too complicated. He pulls it off brilliantly.
In Project Apex, Joshua is fed up with “lesser humans” and the corrupt road humanity travels every day. Although the way he goes about starting a new world are horrifically wrong, Bray examines the world through Joshua’s eyes and Joshua makes some very valid points. That said, this book doesn’t get preachy and unlike some end of the world stories I’ve read in the past, the author never tries to force his views and beliefs down your throat. In one section, two soldiers, one American and one Iraqi, travel through the Iraqi desert talking about the misguided notion that all people of one particular race are terrorists. Again, Bray handles these types of situations in a very professional way by presenting both viewpoints without judgement.
There are a lot of characters in Project Apex and given that it takes place all over the world, that shouldn’t be surprising. I liked the fact that each character has a very unique personality, making it easy to keep everyone straight. Joshua is a unique, complex character that you can’t help but love and hate at the same time. I hope, that when you read this book, you fall in love with Akhtar and Youness like I did. If Bray kills them, I will fly to England and smack him. (*Disclaimer* I wouldn’t really do that.)
The action in Project Apex moves along at just the right pace. As soon as you’ve finished catching your breath from one particularly nasty scene, Bray throws you right into another. Project Apex is more than just a horror novel. It combines elements of horror with some great thriller moments and military fiction into one hell of a fun ride that you won’t want to put down.
Now, the editor in me has to point out that this book has quite a few typos and formatting issues. They weren’t bad enough to distract me from the story, but they are noticeable.
Overall, this is a phenomenal story and I want – no, I need part 2 as soon as possible. Look for Project Apex to come out on December 22 and you can pre-order your copy right here
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