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Deep in the heart of the darkest region of the Congo, an eight-person field dies mysteriously and brutally in a matter of minutes....

Ten thousand miles away, at the Houston-based Earth Resources Technology Services, Inc., supervisor Karenn Ross watches a gruesome video transmission of that ill-fated team: a camp destroyed, tents crushed and torn, equipment scattered in the mud alongside bodies and ? the grainy, moving image of a dark, blurred ...

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Deep in the heart of the darkest region of the Congo, an eight-person field dies mysteriously and brutally in a matter of minutes....

Ten thousand miles away, at the Houston-based Earth Resources Technology Services, Inc., supervisor Karenn Ross watches a gruesome video transmission of that ill-fated team: a camp destroyed, tents crushed and torn, equipment scattered in the mud alongside bodies and — the grainy, moving image of a dark, blurred shape ....

In San Francisco, primatologist Peter Elliot works with Amy, a gorilla with a 620 "sign" vocabulary and a fondness for finger painting. Her recent drawing matches, with stunning accuracy, the frayed, brittle pages of a Portuguese print dating back to 1642 — a drawing of an ancient lost city. Immediately, a new expedition is sent into the Congo, descending into a secret world. where the only way out may be through the grisliest death.

Judith Ivey's film credits include Alice, Brighton Beach. Memoirs, and In Country. She starred on the television show "Designing Women."

Disclosure, Rising Sun, and Jurassic Park, by Michael Crichton, are available from Random House AudioBooks. Sphere and The Andromeda Strain are available as Random House Price-Less Audios.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345418937
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 6/23/1997
  • Edition description: 1 BALLANTI
  • Pages: 316
  • Product dimensions: 5.57 (w) x 8.29 (h) x 0.93 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Crichton

Michael Crichton has sold over 200 million books, which have been translated into thirty-eight languages; thirteen of his books have been made into films. Also known as a filmmaker and the creator of ER, he remains the only writer to have had the number one book, movie, and TV show simultaneously. At the time of his death in 2008, Crichton was well into the writing of Micro; Richard Preston was selected to complete the novel.

Richard Preston is the internationally bestselling author of eight books, including The Hot Zone and The Wild Trees. He is a regular contributor to The New Yorker. He lives with his wife and three children near Princeton, New Jersey.

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    1. Also Known As:
      John Michael Crichton (full name), Jeffery Hudson, John Lange
    2. Hometown:
      Los Angeles, California
    1. Date of Birth:
      October 23, 1942
    2. Place of Birth:
      Chicago, Illinois
    1. Date of Death:
      November 4, 2008
    2. Place of Death:
      Los Angeles, California

First Chapter


Chapter One

ERTS Houston

Ten thousand miles away, in the cold windowless main data room of Earth Resources Technology Services, Inc., of Houston, Karen Ross sat hunched over a mug of coffee in front of a computer terminal, reviewing the latest Landsat images from Africa. Ross was the ERTS Congo Project Supervisor, and as she manipulated the satellite images in artificial contrast colors, blue and purple and green, she glanced at her watch impatiently. She was waiting for the next field transmission from Africa.

It was now 10:15 P.M. Houston time, but there was no indication of time or place in the room. Day or night, the main data facility of ERTS remained the same. Beneath banks of special kalon fluorescent lights, programming crews in sweaters worked at long rows of quietly clicking computer terminals, providing real-time inputs to the field parties that ERTS maintained around the world. This timeless quality was understood to be necessary for the computers, which required a constant temperature of 60 degrees, dedicated electrical lines, special color-corrected lights that did not interfere with circuitry. It was an environment made for machines; the needs of people were secondary.

But there was another rationale for the main facility design. ERTS wanted programmers in Houston to identify with the field parties, and if possible to live on their schedules. Inputting baseball games and other local events was discouraged; there was no clock which showed Houston time, although on the far wall eight large digital clocks recorded local time for the various field parties.

The clock marked CONGO FIELD PARTY read 06:15 A.M. when the overhead intercom said, "Dr. Ross, CCR bounce."

She left the console after punching in the digital password blocking codes. Every ERTS terminal had a password control, like a combination lock. It was part of an elaborate system to prevent outside sources tapping into their enormous data bank. ERTS dealt in information, and as R. B. Travis, the head of ERTS, was fond of saying, the easiest way to obtain information was to steal it.

She crossed the room with long strides. Karen Ross was nearly six feet tall, an attractive though ungainly girl. Only twenty-four years old, she was younger than most of the programmers, but despite her youth, she had a self-possession that most people found striking -- even a little unsettling. Karen Ross was a genuine mathematical prodigy.

At the age of two, while accompanying her mother to the supermarket, she had worked out in her head whether a ten-ounce can at 19¢ was cheaper than a one-pound-twelve-ounce can at 79¢. At three, she startled her father by observing that, unlike other numbers, zero meant different things in different positions. By eight, she had mastered algebra and geometry; by ten, she had taught herself calculus; she entered M.I.T. at thirteen and proceeded to make a series of brilliant discoveries in abstract mathematics, culminating in a treatise, "Topological Prediction in n-Space," which was useful for decision matrices, critical path analyses, and multidimensional mapping. This interest had brought her to the attention of ERTS, where she was made the youngest field supervisor in the company.

Not everyone liked her. The years of isolation, of being the youngest person in any room, had left her aloof and rather distant. One co-worker described her as "logical to a fault." Her chilly demeanor had earned her the title "Ross Glacier," after the Antarctic formation.

And her youth still held her back -- at least, age was Travis's excuse when he refused to let her lead the Congo expedition into the field, even though she had derived all the Congo database, and by rights should have been the onsite team leader. "I'm sorry," Travis had said, "but this contract's too big, and I just can't let you have it." She had pressed, reminding him of her successes leading teams the year before to Pahang and Zambia. Finally he had said, "Look, Karen, that site's ten thousand miles away, in four-plus terrain. We need more than a console hotdogger out there."

She bridled under the implication that that was all she was -- a console hotdogger, fast at the keyboard, good at playing with Travis's toys. She wanted to prove herself in a four-plus field situation. And the next time she was determined to make Travis let her go.

Ross pressed the button for the third-floor elevator, marked "CX Access Only." She caught an envious glance from one of the programmers while she waited for the elevator to arrive. Within ERTS, status was not measured by salary, title, the size of one's office, or the other usual corporate indicators of power. Status at ERTS was purely a matter of access to information -- and Karen Ross was one of eight people in the company who had access to the third floor at any time.

She stepped onto the third-floor elevator, glancing up at the scanner lens mounted over the door. At ERTS the elevators traveled only one floor, and all were equipped with passive scanners; it was one way that ERTS kept track of the movements of personnel while they were in the building. She said "Karen Ross" for the voice monitors, and turned in a full circle for the scanners. There was a soft electronic bleep, and the door slid open at the third floor.

She emerged into a small square room with a ceiling video monitor, and faced the unmarked outer door of the Communications Control Room. She repeated "Karen Ross," and inserted her electronic identicard in the slot, resting her fingers on the metallic edge of the card so the computer could record galvanic skin potentials. (This was a refinement instituted three months earlier, after Travis learned that Army experiments with vocal cord surgery had altered voice characteristics precisely enough to false-positive Voiceident programs.)

Congo. Copyright © by Michael Crichton. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 134 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 21 – 40 of 134 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 12, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Crichton's second best

    Congo is a great, fun, adventure of a book! Other than Jurassic Park I would say this is Crichton's best. It's original and I think, timeless. I read it in 8 hours because I just couldn't put it down. It's really intense at times, which I think is one of the best parts. It's hard to find books that have the same intensity as Congo. A perfect read for any age. Michael Crichton was a brilliant writer.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2008

    congo is awsome

    In my opinion this is Crichton¿s best book yet. Congo started off with a bang and just kept going. His plot was deep and he used foreshadowing extensively, this kept me trying to guess what was going to happen next. I finished this book over one weekend it was so good. Every suspensefull page kept me hanging on the edge of my bed wanting to find out the next twist or turn in the book. I think it defiantly deserves 5 stars and now its got me hooked on all of Crichton¿s books. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a really good read, or even anyone who needs a book to read. I would have to say that this is one of the best books I¿ve read all year. Thank you Michael Crichton for writing this awesome novel.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2007

    A reviewer

    I thought Congo was a great book. I thought the beginning was a little slow and I was tempted to discontinue my reading. I kept reading and it was a smart decision. When the first team went missing, I couldn¿t put it down. I wanted to know what happened to them. One of the things I liked about the book was that Crichton never really tells you what happened to the first expedition crew. You just have to read carefully and make a decision based on what he does tell you. My favorite character had to be Amy. This is the only book I have ever read where my favorite character was an animal, better yet a signing gorilla. I thought it was genius to form the plot around Amy¿s finger-painting. Her paintings resembled Old Portuguese and a drawing of the Lost City of Zinj. The crew¿s life relied on what Amy said they could do. If she didn¿t want to go any further, than they had to choose to listen to her, or risk their lives. I didn¿t like Elliot that much because I thought he was too whiny. There was one character that I had a love/hate relationship with. It was Karen Ross. Sometimes I would want her to get eaten by one of the angry hippos. At other times I thought to myself, ¿You go Karen.¿ I thought Congo was an amazing book and I recommend it to avid readers and loyal Crichton readers.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2007


    I have read all Crichton's stuff, and I think Congo is probably the best. It held my attention more than all his other books (all of which I love immensely). I read this novel in 2 hours flat, and was not disappointed by the ending at all. Go read it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2005

    high tech mania

    Congo HarperCollins Publishers Michael Chrichton ISBN 0-06-054183-0 The ERTS Congo expedition mysteriously disappears,the company instantaneously sends another expedition into the Congo in search of a natural source of rare blue diamonds. This second expedition uses a scientist and his gorilla as a cover to get across the borders of the Zaire. Once onsite a mysterious lost city, Zinj, the long sought city of King Solomon's mines is found. Upon arrival manlike creatures killing some of the expedition attack them. Now they just want to get out of the jungle alive. Crichton weaves an electrifying tale from start to finish. Continuing his trend of spectacular books dating back to Jurassic Park ,he has 3 books made into major motion pictures, 'Jurassic Park', 'Congo', and 'Eaters of the Dead', which was called the '13th Warrior'. The characters dragged me along with them on this thrill ride. The stubborn perseverance and the relentless terror fill this book up to crazy potential. I began to fear for the lives of the characters Chrichton creates in this novel. When finally they came out alive I had made a schedule to read this book everyday. I don¿t read much so this was a big step for me. This exhilarating story will hook you from start to finish. -Derek

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 5, 2005

    Good Book!

    Congo was a great book but like one of the other reviewer's said, it didn't really have to do with the evil white gorilla's like it did in the movie, or how it seemed like it would in the book. That was the dispointing thing about it. The book wasn't as addicting like most of his other books tend to be, but it was a good book. Other than the white gorillas not being in the book a lot, it was good.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2005

    One of Crichton's best!!

    This book is one of Crichton's best!! I read this while on vacation in the Philippines, and I spent many hours reading it instead of enjoying my vacation! I couldn't put it down, and I doubt you'll be able to either!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2005

    10 year old revewer

    A great book! One of Micheal Crichton`s best. I especially loved the last part.I just loved the whole book!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 13, 2004

    OK by my standerds

    This book is pretty good. But it doesnt really focus on the gorillias. Much of it it bounces back and fourth but it is still entertaining and better then the movie.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2004

    supports the excitment with mystery

    I was intrigued when he held the destination of their expedition in such mystique. It was hidden until the end which is definately what I liked most about the book. I didn't like how he made the Dr. Ross character so career oriented. She was a lot nicer in the movie. People want the girl to be all humorously spiteful but I guess he makes all his protagonists love/hatable. So not bad! His next book should add some colour to the character, methinks.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 12, 2004

    Great fun!

    Earth Resources Technology Services wants something that's hidden deep in the jungles of the Congo, at the Lost City of Zinj. Because it's a resource that can make nuclear power obsolete, others want it just as badly. When their Congo field team's satellite check-in gets interrupted by the deaths of all its members, apparently at the hands of a band of gorillas behaving in totally atypical fashion, ERTS dispatches supervisor Karen Ross to lead the next attempt. As the 24-year-old mathematics prodigy and her new team fight their way toward a goal they may never reach, her drive to succeed may be what keeps them alive. Or it may just as easily be what finally kills them, too. Joining the ERTS team are primatologist Peter Elliot and Amy, an adolescent gorilla trained by Elliot to communicate using American Sign Language. Ross hopes Amy may make a difference if they encounter the first team's killers, while Elliot has his own agenda. Meanwhile, the Congo's chronic unrest boils over into tribal warfare - and the local volcano threatens to just plain boil over. I picked this book up expecting a 'not his best' effort by one of my favorite authors, after finding the movie version rather - well - hokey. But what came across that way on the screen works fine in Crichton's prose. A wild roller coaster ride! Great fun, and a nice tribute to H. Rider Haggard, too.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2003

    R.A. Long Student

    Congo is a supsense driven-thrill ride, if you take the time to get into the story. You never know what is going to happen next. This book starts slower than most, but you can look past that. This book has some odd things like a talking gorrila, like that could ever happen. All in all, this is a good book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2003


    I am a big Crichton fan but was disappointed by the absurdity and corniness of this book. I think he had plenty of potential with the basics of the story but made it to hard to feel that it could actually happen. I realize that this is fiction and most of his work twists modern technology and advances it to fit the story but this book failed to make it plausible. I felt that Amy the talking gorilla was able to talk too well. The story also took too long to develop. In spite of this it was still a good adventure story if you don't mind that it gets corny often. If you are looking for something to read I would suggest reading something else by Crichton so that you aren't put off of his work.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 5, 2003

    congo the review

    Congo The Review Congo by Michael Crichton is a mesmerizing masterpiece. It is the best book since To Kill a Mocking Bird. Crichton¿s writings are full of action and surprise they¿re tales of epic size. Congo is one of the most exciting books I have ever read. Tales of giant apes will keep your eyes glued open and your fingers flipping pages. The book Congo is about a man that brings a giant ape from the far away jungle to civilization in Los Angeles. Well to make a long story short the ape gets loose in the metropolitan area of Los Angeles. And we all know were it goes from there cause if I told you too much information you would know the entire book and that wouldn¿t be good cause I recommend this book because it has exciting surprises around every corner. This books strongest point is all the strong points in it. The strongest point in the book is that it is so exciting and surprising. On every page there is a new surprise and it gets to be a better surprise each time. Now to tell you the truth the weak points in the book were that there was no sequel or a movie made from it. I would like to see Congo on television one day soon or even in the theatre. And I wouldn¿t wait to go see it at the dollar cinema or wait for it to come out to the rental store I would have to go see it the day it sneak previews. Now I need to tell you how important it is to go out today and not only rent this book from the library but to go out and buy it. I have read this book three times and it gets better every time I read it. You begin to notice new things each time you read it. So I am urging you to go out today and get this book. I hope you enjoy this book Congo as much as I did.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 11, 2002

    Very interesting and frightening!

    I'm not sure if I loved it, but if I don't I'm pretty close. It takes awhile for the characters to actually get there, but it's still definetly worth reading. It's not quite as good as Jurassic Park, Lost World, Timeline, or Sphere, but if this sounds negative it's not ment to.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2002

    An adventure that's hard to forget!

    Its a book you that poses the question,'What If?'

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2001

    An awesome adventure!

    I thought that the book ended abruptly, yet it was still incredible. I enjoyed the story and the technology but for the people who don't know much about computers, good luck with this one. Michael Crichton produced a prose worth more like $40.00...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2001

    A great, thrilling, suspencful book.

    I love the way Micheal Chrichton combines fact with fictin to make an outstainding plot. I really recomend the book over the movie.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 30, 2000

    Great book

    The book Congo was really exciting. It is a science-fiction book that really is a page turner. I liked this book because I¿m really into science-fiction books. I also wanted to read the book because I saw the movie and I wanted to compare the two. After reading the book and watching the movie I found out that the book was a lot better than the movie. The book had more detail than the movie and it was just better. This book is about a group of scientists who travel into the deepest region of the Congo in search of some diamonds. The team is soon in trouble and the only way out might be a horrible death. I give the book 4 stars * * * *

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2000

    A great book

    I¿m in the middle of this book. I like the way the book is going so far. An aspect of the book which I like is the way the author develops the characters in the book. A couple of pages into the book he gives the main character, Karen Ross, a physical description and a personality. In this case the identity of the main character proves to be important, because her unique personality enhances the book. The author establishes the setting and the plot of the book in a good way.

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