Each time I enter the worlds that are created by author Jon Land I often travel back in time to many different periods. The story this time takes place in the 20th century in 1990 where it is told through the eyes of different characters presenting three separate plots and events before they’re all tied together. At the inception of the book we encounter Ben Younger and his partner Dale Denton drilling oil on the impact center of the Big Bang. But little do they know that it is cursed or does this happen to be the way Mexican’s do their transactions? Ben goes down deep beneath the surface and hopes to find what everyone seems to be fighting something that will help them control power and lose the need to have oil as a source of fuel. Max Younger is Ben’s son and was in Yemen fighting for his life. Never been one to follow orders and when told to eject the Ambassador from being help captive by terrorists he disobeys the orders when told to abort the mission. Denton on the other hand will stop at nothing to get what he wants and as usual power, greed and money are his aphrodisiacs.
While Ben’s life is lost and Denton and a professor are left to determine the power of a rock that was found and brought up by Ben. Placed safely away and not able to be extracted or touched by anyone until major tests are completed we meet a virologist named Vicky who worked for the CDC and WHO and is in Jordan at present. While Al-Qadir in Iraq shows his ruthlessness and heartless side as we witness the deaths of many first born as he insists that parents slit the throats of the children or endure his wrath. No one dares to go against this lunatic.
Reenter Max Younger who is a Navy Seal and when enlisted to extricate the Ambassador his rogue rescue mission takes him back in time to a period he would rather forget. Returning to New York the lies, betrayals and truths of the death of his father will resurface as he gets caught up in what Vicky is trying to determine is the worst pandemic ever. Victoria Lewin just lost her fiancé in an accident and the reunion with this infectious disease expert will set off a series of events that will threaten all humans, the planet and date back to the origins of our universe. As pestilence plagues the land and death comes from the Middle East, Max Young /AKA/ called the Pope seems invincible. Trapped by this sick and sinister plot and hoping to learn about his father’s death and the cause, we find Max hoping to uncover the power of the rock, stop the plague and virus from spreading as he reunites with the now Vicky Tanoury together with her team in infectious disease working for the World Health Organization to stop what someone has started.
Vicky and Neal her partner enter the clinic where there are 14 patients. What the author reveals is startling and shocking as she exams bodies that are alive but appear half dead. Checking the first man’s ears, eyes, nose and mouth she finds pockets of blood pouring out and teeth that are loose but rebuilding themselves as if he has baby teeth that come out and new ones coming in. His skin is so hard that when blood is supposed to be drawn the needle breaks without being able to puncture the skin to get the blood. Things take on a darker perspective as Vicky takes on the task of using a larger needle to try and get blood from the first patient. But, the end result will terrify readers as the needle cannot pierce his skin, the body grabs Neal’s arm forcing it to break off and leave him with a stump as we learn that whatever this is, is more dangerous and deadly than anyone can imagine.
The author backtracks as we learn when and how both Max and Vicky were born the fate of their mothers and the death of Ben Younger as he found the meteorite or rock that is now at the base of this novel causing more deaths, destruction as the main premise was for Ben and Denton’s company to strike it rich with oil fields but the end result is going to be catastrophic as Denton in the present along with a man named Beekman sees first hand what this “rock” can do to everyone that it comes in contact with. Ben Younger and his son, Max Borgia both have the same distinguishing mark on the palm of one of their hands. This mark tends to bleed, hurt or change color at times. Dale Denton and his daughter Victoria Tanoury will meet as the plot flashes back from the past to the present and the story centers around this mysterious glowing rock. The rock as the authors relate was founded in 1990 in the Yucatan, where both Ben and Dale hoped to strike it rich in the oil fields drilling for oil. But the end result is catastrophic as Ben winds up down deep within the depths of where he was digging only to find himself not too far form where he started having no idea about the in between. The settings and time periods fluctuate from Brazil, to Yemen and Iraq. But, Papal investigator Pascal Jimenez is enlisted without his consent you might say to uncover what this rock is doing and has to deal with Mohammed al-Qadir a well known terrorist. Coming back to Victoria she realizes that there is an unknown virus or pathogen that is killing and mutilating the bodies of its victims. But, can she determine how and why and what does this glowing rock have to do with it?
Events flashback and forth and we learn that the rock that Ben Younger touched changed the composition of this DNA and body chemistry causing him to react differently to many environmental stimulus but in the present as we move forward Max searches for the same answers that would explain why the birthmark on his hand hurts, oozes blood and why are times he envisions scenes that might actually relate to what happened to those in the clinic that were killed, his father’s cause of death and the death of Dr. Franklin Kirsch and his daughter Laura. Max questions Kirsch after learning where he is hiding and not before questioning his daughter so why are they now dead? Denton and Professor Beekman unearthed important evidence about the power of the rock and its ability to be able to light an entire state even more powerful than a 60-watt bulb. The frightening thing is that Denton is evil, wants to profit from whatever this rock caused and the pathogen that is killing people which is at the heart of this novel just might destroy our entire world. But, remember the terrorist whose a player within this complex plot and has a stake in hoping this pathogen will take out our world but will all of these evil doers succeed?
Younger remembered his encounter with the rock hidden deep underground and leaving a mark on the palm of his hand. The company that grew into Western Energy Technologies or WET has been searching for this rock sparing no expense. The speculation is that the rock can give off so much heat or energy without any indicators or evidence as to how. We then move to Father Pascal and Nigeria. He is a planetary scientist who has been enlisted to get involved with this rock or what they think was a meteor strike.
Denton and Ben have a frank discussion stating that they both know that it is not a rock that he found and that this rock would set off something so horrific, a pathogen that if in the wrong hands and spreads could wipe out a nation and much more. Not able to remember anything, Dale tries to convince him that there is something in the rock that caused what happened to both of their children and their wives.
Father Josef Martenko’s Catholic mission was flanked with native guides provided by the government of Nigeria. Telling everyone to call him Cambridge there is something about him that Jimenez finds unsettling and the swollen path on this man’s hand is definitely a sign. Pascal Jimenez completed his report based on the strike itself but something strikes him off and hoping to learn more from the samples of the meteor itself. The meteor struck the Earth, created a crater, so where did it go?
Fast forward to Cairo, Egypt and Vicky and Neal Van Royce having to enter a village not knowing that what they would see would not only be horrific but would be unexplainable.
When all of the enemies are together and the final scenes are played out what author Jon Land creates is so well crafted, so descriptive that you will hold your breath, find your heart beating faster and wonder what the outcome for both Max and Victoria will be. When the terrorists capture Victoria and a soldier they are holding captive infects her, the end result will be horrific for both. But, is there a cure for her and what happens when they learn her blood type and that only one person can save her at the risk of losing the donor too. Heart stopping, terrifying, mind boggling and definitely an ending you won’t expect as one simple rock controls the fate of the world, the fate of humanity and can create enough energy that can kill the entire human race.
Dale Denton and Orson Beekman think that they have it all figured out. Dale does not seem to take into account what happened or might have happened to his own daughter. Added in he takes on the one person that he thinks can make it possible for him to control the world’s energy and not even listening to the ramifications of what he expects this man to do but he has not choice but to obey him. Wait until you visualize the end result. When Max and Denton meet again the final outcome will clarify what really happened to Ben but will Max survive the encounter? Lives are lost. Deaths are common as this pathogen spreads but will it ever or can it ever be stopped? The ending is striking and startling as once again author Jon Land leaves us wondering the answer to this question: IS IT OVER YET? WHERE IS THE ROCK? TO BE CONTINUED WE HOPE!
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ magazine