12.21 [NOOK Book]

Overview

From the co-author of the two-million copy mega-bestseller The Rule of Four comes a riveting thriller with a brilliant premise based on the 2012 apocalypse phenomenon—perfect for readers of Steve Berry, Preston and Child, and Dan Brown.
 
For decades, December 21, 2012, has been a touchstone for doomsayers worldwide. It is the date, they claim, when the ancient Maya ...
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12.21

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Overview

From the co-author of the two-million copy mega-bestseller The Rule of Four comes a riveting thriller with a brilliant premise based on the 2012 apocalypse phenomenon—perfect for readers of Steve Berry, Preston and Child, and Dan Brown.
 
For decades, December 21, 2012, has been a touchstone for doomsayers worldwide. It is the date, they claim, when the ancient Maya calendar predicts the world will end.
 
In Los Angeles, two weeks before, all is calm. Dr. Gabriel Stanton takes his usual morning bike ride, drops off the dog with his ex-wife, and heads to the lab where he studies incurable prion diseases for the CDC. His first phone call is from a hospital resident who has an urgent case she thinks he needs to see. Meanwhile, Chel Manu, a Guatemalan American researcher at the Getty Museum, is interrupted by a desperate, unwelcome visitor from the black market antiquities trade who thrusts a duffel bag into her hands.
 
By the end of the day, Stanton, the foremost expert on some of the rarest infections in the world, is grappling with a patient whose every symptom confounds and terrifies him. And Chel, the brightest young star in the field of Maya studies, has possession of an illegal artifact that has miraculously survived the centuries intact: a priceless codex from a lost city of her ancestors. This extraordinary record, written in secret by a royal scribe, seems to hold the answer to her life’s work and to one of history’s great riddles: why the Maya kingdoms vanished overnight. Suddenly it seems that our own civilization might suffer this same fate.
 
With only days remaining until December 21, 2012, Stanton and Chel must join forces before time runs out.
 
Advance praise for 12.21
 
“Dustin Thomason, M.D., will invariably be compared to Michael Crichton, M.D., and 12.21 will be favorably compared to The Andromeda Strain. Both authors have written first-rate medical thrillers, the kind of fact-based fiction that is very scary but also very entertaining. Thomason knows his stuff, and it shows on every page. I truly could not put this book down.”—Nelson DeMille

“The most exciting novel of its kind since the days of Michael Crichton, 12.21 takes us from the frontiers of modern neuroscience to the riddles of ancient Maya texts, with nothing less than the future of our civilization at stake.”—Vince Flynn

“A fast-moving tale . . . Thomason displays an impressive depth of knowledge of both science and the ancient Mayan way of life. Along the way, he skillfully ramps up the action, one notch at a time. A winning book.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Fascinating, terrifying for its potential realism. I loved how tightly everything fit together. I had to keep reading.”—Taylor Stevens, New York Times bestselling author of The Informationist

“Fast, suspenseful . . . Michael Crichton fans will find a lot to like.”—Publishers Weekly

From the Hardcover edition.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The coming apocalypse, predicted by an ancient Mayan calendar to occur on December 21, 2012, provides the backdrop for Thomason’s fast, suspenseful second novel, another science-based puzzle thriller like his 2005 debut, The Rule of Four (with Ian Caldwell). Early one morning, Dr. Gabriel Stanton, the director of the Centers for Disease Control’s Prion Center in Los Angeles, receives a call from a third-year resident at East L.A.’s Presbyterian Hospital about a patient with symptoms of prion disease. The skeptical Stanton hears the resident out, then rushes to Presbyterian to see the patient for himself. Meanwhile at the Getty Museum, Chel Manu, an epigraphy scholar of Mayan descent, is deciphering an incredibly rare, previously unknown Mayan codex. Soon an epidemic of prion disease has struck thousands of people. As a citywide quarantine shuts down L.A., Stanton and Manu race to the Guatemalan jungle to find a cure. Michael Crichton fans will find a lot to like. Author tour. Agent, Jennifer Joel, ICM. (Aug.)
From the Publisher
Advance praise for 12.21

“Dustin Thomason, M.D., will invariably be compared to Michael Crichton, M.D., and 12.21 will be favorably compared to The Andromeda Strain. Both authors have written first-rate medical thrillers, the kind of fact-based fiction that is very scary but also very entertaining. Thomason knows his stuff, and it shows on every page. I truly could not put this book down.”—Nelson DeMille

“The most exciting novel of its kind since the days of Michael Crichton, 12.21 takes us from the frontiers of modern neuroscience to the riddles of ancient Maya texts, with nothing less than the future of our civilization at stake.”—Vince Flynn

12.21 is a brilliantly complex, outstanding, high-level thriller that mixes cutting-edge science with ancient prophecy to deliver a novel that will keep you turning the pages all night long.”—Douglas Preston, #1 bestselling author of The Monster of Florence
 
“A fast-moving tale . . . Thomason displays an impressive depth of knowledge of both science and the ancient Mayan way of life. Along the way, he skillfully ramps up the action, one notch at a time. A winning book.”—Kirkus Reviews
 
“Fascinating, terrifying for its potential realism. I loved how tightly everything fit together. I had to keep reading.”—Taylor Stevens, New York Times bestselling author of The Informationist
 
“Fast, suspenseful . . . Michael Crichton fans will find a lot to like.”—Publishers Weekly

Praise for The Rule of Four
 
“Ingenious . . . The real treat here is the process of discovery.”—The New York Times
 
“Compulsively readable.”—People (4 stars)
 
“If Scott Fitzgerald, Umberto Eco, and Dan Brown teamed up to write a novel, the result would be The Rule of Four.”—Nelson DeMille
 
“The ultimate puzzle-book.”—The New York Times Book Review

Library Journal
Attending an anonymous patient afflicted with a rare disease, Dr. Gabriel Stanton discovers that the man possesses a centuries-old codex explaining why the Maya civilization collapsed. Soon he and a young Guatemalan American scholar find themselves in a race against time to keep the whole world from hitting the skids—on 12/21/12, as the Maya predicted. With Ian Caldwell, Thomason wrote the mega-best-selling thriller The Rule of Four, which will boost demand.
Kirkus Reviews
Thomason (The Rule of Four, 2004) delivers a fast-moving tale that weaves ancient Mayan predictions of the end of the world with modern science. Gabe Stanton lost his wife, Nina, to his obsession with his job. As a physician specializing in prion research, Gabe often finds himself in a lab with few outside contacts except for his co-workers and the occasional exchanges with higher-ups from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But when a man who exhibits the symptoms of prion-based mad cow disease shows up in a Los Angeles hospital, Gabe believes that his biggest fear of a devastating outbreak might be on the horizon and rushes to find the source of the outbreak. Meanwhile, Chel Manu, a Guatemalan-born expert on Mayan culture and epigraphy, or the study of inscriptions, is party to a newly discovered codex. The codex, an ancient manuscript, is believed to have been stolen from the tomb of a Mayan king, and if Chel's suspicions are correct, it's the oldest ever located. The find both exults and terrifies her since it's a stolen antiquity and possessing it could cost her the profession she loves. When Chel is asked to assist Gabe in translating the incoherent dying ramblings of the man thought to have a prion-based disease, she discovers that the road to finding the key to saving millions of lives could lead her back to the place and time of her ancestors. Thomason displays an impressive depth of knowledge of both science and the ancient Mayan way of life. Along the way, he skillfully ramps up the action, one notch at a time. A winning book.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679644286
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 8/7/2012
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 128,960
  • File size: 4 MB

Meet the Author

Dustin Thomason
Dustin Thomason graduated from Harvard College and received his M.D. from Columbia University. He is the co-author of the international bestseller The Rule of Four, and has written and produced several television series, including Lie to Me. He lives in Venice Beach, California.
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Read an Excerpt

ONE

Dr. gabriel stanton’s condo sat at the end of the boardwalk, before the Venice Beach footpath morphed into lush lawns where the tai chi lovers gathered. The modest duplex wasn’t entirely to Stanton’s taste. He would have preferred something with more history. But on this odd stretch of the California coastline, the only options to choose between were run‑down shacks and contemporary stone and glass. Stanton left his home just after seven a.m. on his old Gary Fisher bike and headed south with Dogma, his yellow Labrador, running beside him. Groundwork, the best coffee in L.A., was only six blocks away, and there Jillian would have a triple shot of Black Gold ready for him the minute he walked in.

Dogma loved the mornings as much as his owner did. But the dog wasn’t allowed into Groundwork, so after Stanton tied him up, he made his way inside alone, waved at Jillian, collected his cup, and checked out the scene. A lot of the early clientele were surfers, their wetsuits still dripping. Stanton was usually up by six, but these guys had been up for hours.

Sitting at his usual table was one of the boardwalk’s best‑known and strangest‑looking residents. His entire face and shaved head were covered with intricate designs, as well as rings, studs, and small chains protruding from his earlobes, nose, and lips. Stanton often wondered where a man like Monster came from. What had happened to him in early life that led to the decision to cover his body entirely with art? For some reason, whenever Stanton imagined Monster’s origins, he saw a split‑level home near a military base—­exactly the type of houses in which he himself had spent his childhood.

“How’s the world out there doing?” Stanton asked.

Monster looked up from his computer. He was an obsessive news junkie, and when he wasn’t working at his tattoo shop or entertaining tourists as part of the Venice Beach Freak Show, he was here posting comments on political blogs.

“Other than there being only two weeks before the galactic alignment makes the magnetic poles reverse and we all die?” he asked.

“Other than that.”

“Hell of a nice day out there.”

“How’s your lady?”

“Electrifying, thanks.”

Stanton headed for the door. “If we’re still here, I’ll see you tomorrow, Monster.”

After Stanton downed his Black Gold outside, he and Dogma continued south. A century ago, miles of canals snaked through the streets of Venice, tobacco magnate Abbot Kinney’s re-creation of the famed Italian city. Now virtually all of the waterways where gondoliers once ferried residents were paved over and covered with steroid‑fueled gyms, greasy‑food stands, and novelty T‑shirt shops.

Stanton had ruefully watched a rash of “Mayan apocalypse” graffiti and trinkets pop up all over Venice in recent weeks, vendors taking advantage of all the hype. He’d been raised Catholic but hadn’t been in a church in years. If people wanted to seek their destiny or believe in some ancient clock, they could go right ahead; he’d stick to testable hypotheses and the scientific method.

Fortunately, it seemed not everyone in Venice believed December 21 would bring the end of the world; red and green lights also decorated the boardwalk too, just in case the crackpots had it wrong. Yuletide was a strange time in L.A. Few transplants understood how to celebrate the holidays at seventy degrees, but Stanton loved the contrast—­Santa hats on rollerbladers, suntan lotion in stockings, surfboards festooned with antlers. A ride along the beach on Christmas was as spiritual as he got these days.

Ten minutes later, he and the dog reached the northern tip of Marina del Rey. They made their way past the old lighthouse and the sailboats and souped‑up fishing vessels bobbing quietly in the harbor. Stanton let Dogma off his leash, and the dog bounded ahead while Stanton trotted behind, listening for music. The woman they were here to see surrounded herself with jazz at all times, and when you heard Bill Evans’s piano or Miles’s trumpet over the other noises of the waterfront, she wasn’t far. For most of the last decade, Nina Countner had been the woman in Stanton’s life. While there had been a few others in the three years since they’d split, none had been more than a substitute for her.

Stanton trailed Dogma onto the dock of the marina and caught the mournful sound of a saxophone in the distance. The dog had arrived at the tip of the south jetty above Nina’s massive dual‑engine McGray, twenty‑two pristine feet of metal and wood, squeezed into the last slip at the end of the dock.

Nina crouched beside Dogma, already rubbing his belly. “You guys found me.”

“In an actual marina for a change,” said Stanton.

He kissed her on the cheek and breathed her in. Despite spending most of her time at sea, Nina always managed to smell like rose­water. Stanton stepped back to look at her. She had a dimpled chin and striking green eyes, but her nose was a little crooked, and her mouth was small. To Stanton, it was all just right.

“You ever going to let me get you a real slip?” he asked.

Nina gave him a look. He’d offered to rent her a permanent boat slip so many times, hoping it would lure her back to shore more often, but she’d never accepted, and he knew she probably never would. Her freelance magazine assignments hardly provided a steady income, so she’d mastered the art of finding open slips, out‑of‑sight beaches, and off‑the‑radar docks that few others knew about.

“How’s the experiment coming?” Nina asked as Stanton followed her onto the boat. Plan A’s deck was simply appointed, just two folding seats, a collection of loose CDs strewn around the skipper’s chair, and bowls for Dogma’s water and food.

“More results this morning,” he told her. “Should be interesting.”

She took the captain’s seat. “You look tired.”

He wondered if it was the encroaching tide of age she was seeing on his face, crow’s-feet beneath his rimless glasses. But Stanton had slept a full seven hours last night. Rare for him. “I feel fine.”

“The lawsuit’s all over? For good?”

“It’s been over for weeks. Let’s celebrate. Got some champagne in my fridge.”

“Skipper and I are headed to Catalina,” Nina said. She flipped the gauges and switches that Stanton had never bothered to really master, firing up the boat’s GPS and electrical system.

The faint outline of Catalina Island was just visible through the marine layer. “What if I came with you?” he asked.

“While you waited patiently for results from the center? Please, Gabe.”

“Don’t patronize me.”

Nina walked up, cupped his chin in her hand. “I’m not your ex‑wife for nothing.”

The decision had been hers, but Stanton blamed himself, and part of him had never given up on a future for them together. During the three years they were married, his work took him out of the country for months at a time, while she escaped to the ocean, where her heart had always been. He’d let her drift away, and it seemed like she was happiest that way—­sailing solo.

A container ship sounded its horn in the distance, sending Dogma into a frenzy. He barked repeatedly at the noise before proceeding to chase his own tail.

“I’ll bring him back tomorrow night,” Nina said.

“Stay for dinner,” Stanton told her. “I’ll cook whatever you want.”

Nina eyed him. “How will your girlfriend feel about us having dinner?”

“I don’t have a girlfriend.”

“What happened to what’s‑her‑name? The mathematician.”

“We went on four dates.”

“And?”

“I had to go see a man about a horse.”

“Come on.”

“Seriously. I had to check out a horse in England they thought might have scrapie, and she told me I wasn’t fully committed to her.”

“Was she right?”

“We went on four dates. So, are we on for dinner tomorrow?”

Nina fired up Plan A’s engine as Stanton hopped onto the dock to collect his bike. “Get a decent bottle of wine,” she called back as she unmoored, leaving him once again in her wake. “Then we’ll see. . . .”

the centers for disease control’s Prion Center in Boyle Heights had been Stanton’s professional home for nearly ten years. When he moved west to become its first director, the center had occupied only one small lab in a mobile trailer at Los Angeles County & USC Medical Center. Now it spanned the entire sixth floor of the LAC & USC main hospital building, the same building that for more than three decades had served as the exterior for the soap opera General Hospital.

Stanton headed through the double doors into what his postdocs often referred to as his “lair.” One of them had strung Christmas lights around the main area, and Stanton flipped them on along with the halogens, casting green and red across the microscope benches stretching across the lab. After dropping his bag in his office, Stanton threw on a mask and gloves and headed for the back. This was the first morning they’d be able to collect results in an experiment his team had been working on for weeks, and he was very eager for them.

The center’s “Animal Room” was nearly the length of a basketball court and contained computerized inventory stalls, touch‑screen data‑ recording centers, and electronic vivisection and autopsy stations. Stanton made his way toward the first of twelve cages shelved on the south wall and peered inside. The cage contained two animals: a two‑foot‑long black‑and‑orange coral snake and a small gray mouse. At first glance it looked like the most natural thing in the world: a snake waiting for the right moment to feed on its prey. But in reality something unnatural was happening inside this cage.

The mouse was nonchalantly poking the snake’s head with its nose. Even when the snake hissed, the mouse continued to nudge it carelessly—­it didn’t run to the corner of the cage or try to escape. The mouse was as unafraid of the snake as it would have been of another mouse. The first time Stanton saw this behavior, he and his team at the Prion Center erupted in cheers. Using genetic engineering, they’d removed a set of tiny proteins called “prions” from the surface membrane of the mouse’s brain cells. They’d succeded in their strange experiment, disrupting the natural order in the mouse’s brain and eradicating its innate fear of the snake. It was a crucial step toward understanding the deadly proteins that had been Stanton’s life’s work.

Prions occur in all normal animal brains, including those of humans, yet after decades of research, neither he nor anyone else understood why they existed. Some of Stanton’s colleagues believed prion proteins were involved in memory or were important in the formation of bone marrow. No one knew for sure.

Most of the time, these prions sat benignly on neuron cells in the brain. But in rare cases, these proteins could become “sick” and multiply. Like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, prion diseases destroyed healthy tissue and replaced it with useless plaques, squeezing out the normal function of the brain. But there was one key, terrifying difference: While Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s were strictly genetic diseases, certain prion diseases could be passed through contaminated meat. In the mid‑1980s, mutated prions from sick cows in England got into the local food supply through tainted beef, and the entire world became familiar with a prion infection. Mad cow disease killed two hundred thousand cattle in Europe and then spread to humans. First patients had difficulty walking and shook uncontrollably, then they lost their memories and the ability to identify friends and family. Brain death soon followed.

Early in his career, Stanton had become one of the world’s experts on mad cow, and when the CDC founded the National Prion Center, he was the natural choice to head it. Back then it had seemed like the opportunity of a lifetime, and he was thrilled to make the move to California; never before had there been a dedicated research center for the study of prions and prion diseases in the United States. With Stanton’s leadership, the center was created to diagnose, study, and eventually fight the most mysterious infectious agents on earth.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 53 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(18)

4 Star

(17)

3 Star

(12)

2 Star

(3)

1 Star

(3)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 53 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 30, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    It's A Date

    From the disease ravaged streets of a quarantined Los Angeles, to the sweltering heat and nearly impenetrable jungles of Guatemala, this book is full of nonstop suspense and action. It is a real page turner. The threat of a civilization ending disease is coupled with the ancient Mayan doomsday calender ticking down to 12/21/12. Many believe it is a date upon which the world as we know it will cease to exist. Dr. Gabriel Stanton and his staff try to find a cure for a mysterious brain disease that is rapidly spreading throughout Los Angeles. Dr Chel Manu, an expert on Mayan language and customs, risks her career by receiving and attempting to translate a rare Mayan codex smuggled into the U. S., which incidentally, might reveal clues for a cure for the deadly disease. As the source of both the disease and the codex converge in Guatemala, Stanton and Manu must decide together if there is any chance of finding a cure in the remote Mayan jungle. This book was provided for review by the well read folks of the Random House Publishing Group.

    10 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 9, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    There are only few books with a great storyline. This was one of

    There are only few books with a great storyline. This was one of them. A great summer read.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 7, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Prions, the CDC, a stolen Mayan codex, a race to stop an epidem


    Prions, the CDC, a stolen Mayan codex, a race to stop an epidemic and the approaching
    date of 12/21/12 make for a heart-pounding novel and a fun summertime read. A cross between a Robin Cook/Michael Crichton medical/biological thriller and a Clive Cussler/James Rollins action/adventure novel, it combines the best of both in an intelligently written book that takes the reader on a journey from the lab to the museum to the jungle.

    From the land of the ancient Maya to present day Los Angeles there is little chance for boredom and a great chance that the reader will spend time worrying about the truth behind this original story.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2013

    Great book

    A great book kept my interest the whole time a great read

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 20, 2012

    Rediculous

    This book was good in details

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2013

    Excellent Read

    Good storyline which is believable, good character development, and some intrigue and mystery. The slow reveal of the answer to their puzzle was good; it kept me wondering how it was going to be solved. It was much in the same style as "The Rule of Four" which I found to be a great book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2013

    Wwwwwwwww

    Ggdgvffgggg

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2012

    We waited eight years for this???

    The Rule of Four was a beautifully written thriller, so I was eager to read the first new book by one of these young authors. Well, we now know which one is the gifted writer. Not only is the writing in 12.21 pedestrian, the plot is completely silly. The nuanced characters of the first novel are nowhere to be found here. Finally, the discussion of prion disorders is completely inaccurate. Literary license is one thing, but the lack of accuracy here is unacceptable, particularly from a writer who is also a physician. Dr. Thomason, you should have consulted with a neurologist! Anyone know when we can expect a book from Ian Caldwell?

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 14, 2012

    Awesome!

    Great book!! - if you are a fan of James Rollin's books, then you'll love this.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 7, 2012

    Excellent thriller

    Nice, fast paced read. Very interesting details about Mayan culture. Interesting take on Mayan end of year calendar predictions

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2012

    Do not recommend

    So disappointed by this book. Got 30 pages from the end and could not even force myself to finish the book. The characters are flat and the plot is tedious. Wish I could get a refund!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 7, 2012

    A good read

    I did enjoy reading this book. There were some loose points - some of the background could have been more developed, and some of the scenarios (especially at the end) were not even realistic, but it still kept my interest.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2012

    historically interesting

    interesting from a cultural perspective

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2012

    Loved it

    I had trouble putting this book down. Very intertaining read. I have been recommending this book to all of my friends

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2012

    Engaging

    Thomason's not trying to write great literature. He's writing apocalyptic fiction and doing a very nice job of it. This will make a great movie, and it's an entertaining weekend read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2012

    Won't lose any sleep over 12 21.

    This was an "okay" book. I didn't stay up all night reading it. I found the information about the Mayan culture interesting, but for that I could have read a history book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2012

    recommended

    not a bad read,

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  • Posted September 5, 2012

    Good read ! Reccmmend it !

    Exciting and full of action and adventure ! Hope it never comes to this for sure !

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 2, 2012

    Slow starter but stick with it through the first few chapters.

    Slow starter but stick with it through the first few chapters. It only gets better. It's the kind of book that once you get started you become fully engrossed. I will read his other books.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 27, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    3.5/5 Okay, you've probably heard about it - the latest date for

    3.5/5 Okay, you've probably heard about it - the latest date for the end
    of the world. December 21, 2012 will be the final curtain according to
    some interpretations of the Mayan long calendar. Dustin Thomason sets
    his latest novel - 12-21 - (a solo effort after his successful
    co-authoring of The Rule of Four in 2004) a few weeks before that date.
    Dr. Gabriel Stanton is a world renowned expert in the field of prions -
    those tiny agents responsible for what we commonly call mad cow disease.
    When he receives a call from a local doctor insisting she has a case he
    needs to look at, he reluctantly attends. But when he arrives, what he
    discovers is unthinkable - a prion disease with no known cause or
    cure....and no way of knowing how it's being spread. Dr. Chel Manu is
    an expert in her field as well - Mayan documents and dialects. When a
    known looter leaves an artifact with her, she too is stunned. It's a
    rare codex describing a time period in Mayan culture that has never been
    documented - until now. Gabriel's patient? From Guatemala. Manu? From
    Guatemala. And now Gabriel and Chel are thrown together in a race
    against time to discover answers, antidotes and more....before it's too
    late. Thomason has crafted an excellent tale, drawing us in in many
    ways. The mystery of past civilizations has always fascinated me. There
    are examples of Mayan glyphs throughout the book. At first I thought
    they looked quite cartoonish and of course had to go online to check
    them out. Turns out, that's what they really look like. There were other
    bits of story line that I followed up as well. Tomason has done his
    research. The whole prion disease thing is scary - and the disease
    Chel and Gabriel encounter? It's real. Lots of food for thought - except
    maybe meat. All of this provides a good solid foundation for the main
    two characters. They're well fleshed out and I liked them both - Chel a
    little more. Some of the supporting characters seemed to be a bit
    cliched. And I question the purpose of the 'Monster' character. He
    didn't seem to add anything to the story. I did enjoy the insertions of
    passages from the codex, written by Paktul, a Mayan scribe. There's
    lot of action and run up to the final chapters that kept me eagerly
    turning pages. I was a bit disappointed by some of the end scenes -
    although exciting, they were slightly unbelievable, which was
    disappointing given the research and care put into the rest of the book.
    But, all in all, 12-21 was a good, entertaining read. ( And I can see it
    being made into a movie) Fans of Michael Crichton and Dan Brown will
    enjoy this blending of science and history. Thomason could not have
    picked a more perfect time to release this book. Dec 21 should be an
    interesting day.....

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