Pandemonium

( 19 )

Overview

Deep beneath the Ural Mountains, in an underground city carved out by slave labor during the darkest hours of the Cold War, ancient caverns hold exotic and dangerous life-forms that have evolved in isolation for countless millennia. Cut off from the surface world, an entire ecosystem of bizarre subterranean species has survived undetected—until now.

Biologists Nell and Geoffrey Binswanger barely survived their last encounter with terrifying, invasive creatures that ...

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Pandemonium

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Overview

Deep beneath the Ural Mountains, in an underground city carved out by slave labor during the darkest hours of the Cold War, ancient caverns hold exotic and dangerous life-forms that have evolved in isolation for countless millennia. Cut off from the surface world, an entire ecosystem of bizarre subterranean species has survived undetected—until now.

Biologists Nell and Geoffrey Binswanger barely survived their last encounter with terrifying, invasive creatures that threatened to engulf the planet. They think the danger is over until a ruthless Russian tycoon lures them to his underground metropolis, where they find themselves confronted by a vicious menagerie of biological horrors from their past—and by entirely new breeds of voracious predators. Now they’re rising up from the bowels of the Earth to consume the world as we know it.

USA Today praised Warren Fahy's debut novel, Fragment, as “a rollicking tale [that] will enthrall readers of Jurassic Park and The Ruins.” Now Fahy sets off an even more thrilling stampede of action and suspense, bursting forth from the hellish depths of...Pandemonium.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Warren Fahy’s Pandemonium is pure genius, an otherworldly wonder as creative as the best of Jules Verne. Here is riveting scientific speculation paired with bravado storytelling. I want more!”

—James Rollins, New York Times bestselling author of Bloodline

“What do you get when you cross Jurassic Park with an ancient underground city? The answer is Pandemonium, an exciting read from thriller author Warren Fahy.”

—Steve Alten, New York Times bestselling author of Meg and The Loch

“Warren Fahy's new novel Pandemonium is probably the best high-tech thriller I've read since The Mote in God’s Eye. My heart was pounding (literally) from page one. Can't wait for his next tale.

—David Hagberg, New York Times bestselling author of Castro’s Daughter 

“An expertly crafted, heart-stopping tale of darkness and danger that I will not soon forget.”

—Whitley Strieber, New York Times bestselling author of The Grays

 

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780765369468
  • Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
  • Publication date: 1/28/2014
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 448
  • Sales rank: 226,939
  • Product dimensions: 4.10 (w) x 6.70 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

WARREN FAHY has been a bookseller, editor, and a lead writer for Rockstar Games's Red Dead Revolver and WowWee Robotics. He is the author of Fragment (nominated for a BSFA and an International Thriller Award) and other works. He currently resides in San Diego, California.

 

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Read an Excerpt

JANUARY 28

 

12:02 P.M.

Poékhali!” bellowed Taras Demochev, Guard No. 114 of Corrective Labor Camp No. 479. He pushed through the men in the tunnel as he walked beside a mining car carrying a load of blasting powder. “Why aren’t we moving?”

For nine days, prisoners had struggled with faulty pneumatic jackhammers and pickaxes to widen the last fifty yards of the tunnel so that a newly arrived boring machine could gnaw through a stubborn layer of dolomite. Tethered by straining cables a hundred yards up the grade behind Taras, the borer steamed like a locomotive on wide-gauge rails.

Taras barely regarded the half-starved prisoners clogging the tunnel ahead, casting them aside like scarecrows as he bulled forward. The wretched convicts, even the ones in their twenties, were already dokhodyaga, “goners,” buying their last hours of life by digging their own graves. “Move your asses!” Taras yelled. “Out of my way!”

A young subordinate guard rushed to meet him.

“What’s the holdup, Yvgeny?”

“Some zeks fell out of the airshaft.”

As the men parted before him, Taras saw five men sprawled on the ground under a hole in the ceiling twenty yards ahead. He had sent the men up that morning to continue drilling the ventilation shaft. Their heavy pneumatic drills had battered and mangled them on the way down, and the men lay tangled under the heavy equipment and hoses in a pitiful heap. Taras strode forward and fired his revolver into the groaning pile, shocking the younger guard. Many of the prisoners doubled over at the earsplitting gunshot, though most could not hear.

Since they had come under Taras’s command, none of these men officially existed anymore. Once they were sent to Corrective Labor Camp No. 479, their lives were erased. Sixty thousand ghosts labored in this ancient salt mine near the village of Gursk in the Kaziristani highlands. Criminals and lawyers, rapists and poets, murderers and doctors, all were now zeks to the guards. Like ants, they worked until they died and were carried away.

On the mountainside above, the zeks slept in rough wooden barracks slapped together with timber from the foothills of Mount Kazar. Each of their dormitories was the size of a double-wide trailer and housed 120 men by day and 120 by night. Hundreds of the ramshackle dormitories dotted the mountain slopes around the salt mine that, until now, had provided the nearby town’s sustenance for seven centuries. Since their new rulers confiscated the mine four years ago, the villagers of Gursk called the mine that once fed them, “Stalin’s Mouth.”

Over twenty thousand men had been swallowed by the mine. Convicts continuously arrived, but the camp’s population never grew. The townspeople rarely saw salt harvested these days. Instead, an endless stream of mining cars and conveyors disgorged a miniature mountain range of pulverized rock at the foot of the mountain.

More bewildering to the villagers was what they saw going into the mine. Endless shipments arrived by train and were taken by truck and mining car into the mountain—cement and ceiling fans, bricks and marble bathtubs, Persian rugs, alabaster pillars, terra-cotta tiles, bronze streetlamps, bicycles, beds, even baby carriages. Some whispered that they had seen crates of French champagne, beluga caviar, even ZIS-115 limousines straight from Automotive Factory No. 2 in Moscow, all fed into the mine’s mouth.

Taras fired another round at the hesitating prisoners, this time dropping one with a gut shot. “Get going!” he shouted at the rest. He had outlived 61 guards who came before him and 122 guards after. He knew he would be executed along with any convicts who tried to escape on his watch. This had never become a problem for him, since most of Taras’s zeks were dead after only a few weeks. His superiors did not complain about this. In fact, they began deliberately assigning certain prisoners to his detail, which Taras Demochev took as a compliment.

Taras waved away the smoke of his pistol, questioning his eyes: instead of running away from the bullets, this time the zeks were running toward him. A terror rehearsed in his dreams gripped him. He backed away, but as he turned to run, he noticed blue and green sparks gushing out of the unfinished ventilation shaft. An oval of light oozed from the hole and glided like a flashlight beam over the ceiling. Then it peeled from the roof and landed on the back of a screaming convict.

Taras decided to hold his ground. He fired his gun, and two men fell as the rest retreated. But one of the zeks leaped like a gazelle over his comrades’ heads, shrieking and soaring with superhuman force. He landed on all fours at Taras’s feet, his back covered by a glowing mass. The convict jackknifed upright, and as he recognized Taras, an expression of relief came over his face. Taras was horrified, having never provoked that response in a zek before.

The convict reached forward and clutched Taras’s arm. Two white ovals glided down the prisoner’s wrist, over Taras’s gun, and under the guard’s sleeve.

“Shit!” Taras yelled. He felt tongues fringed with needles sliding up his arm. Leeches! he thought. With urgent strength, the zek jerked the barrel of Taras’s pistol to his own forehead with pleading eyes. Taras obliged him, squeezing the trigger and blasting his head apart. Then he pulled himself away as the prisoner dropped like a marionette whose strings had been cut.

Half a dozen glowing ovals were now sliding over the tunnel’s ceiling toward him. Hundreds of glowing red and yellow goblinlike creatures poured from the ventilation shaft onto the men. Taras turned and ran as the tunnel was filled with shrieks. “Let the Grinder go!” he screamed at the men in the tunnel up ahead.

Rising on all fours behind him, the dead zek leaped into the air.

Taras did not look back as he made it to the narrow-gauge rails beside the tunnel borer and shouted, “Cut it loose!”

As the dead zek landed on all fours in front of the hissing machine, Taras reached the far side and the convicts there uncoupled the cables, unleashing the machine’s two hundred tons of mass, which gathered a terrible momentum as it rumbled down the tracks.

Taras scratched at his chest as he charged up the tunnel, past laborers who were plastering and tiling the walls. “Out of my way!” Taras snarled, kicking them aside.

The boring machine accelerated as it mowed over miners and smashed into the mining cart that carried the blasting powder. Driving the cart like a warhead through a forest of flesh and bone, it finally crashed into the dolomite dead end of the tunnel and detonated its payload, rupturing the tunnel like a backfiring cannon.

6:39 P.M.

When the first inspection team arrived, the only human remains visible at the edge of the rubble were Taras Demochev’s hand, disembodied, still clutching his Tokarev pistol.

It was soon determined that it was more practical to cement over this tunnel and memorialize the loss of men with a plaque, and then try drilling in a different direction.

Guard No. 321 took the undamaged gun and pushed some gravel over Guard No. 114’s hand with his boot.

 

Copyright © 2013 by Warren Fahy

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 19 )
Rating Distribution

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(9)

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(7)

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Sort by: Showing all of 19 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 20, 2013

    Best thriller in memory, more breathtaking even than its brillia

    Best thriller in memory, more breathtaking even than its brilliant precursor, Fragment, by the same author. Wonderful, strong, original characters evolve as the story develops.  The descriptions of the underground setting, a cavern in Russia with an entire newly discovered but very ancient ecosystem of incredibly scary and authentically drawn creatures, let you feel you're actually there, like watching a 3D movie. Fahy has done his research well, in the geology of caves and the evolutionary biology of life forms, and describes them with great realism.




    The complex plot is masterminded by a Russian oligarch who has developed a huge underground city with tourism in mind, built on the caves and tunnels originally dug by Stalin as a get-away during the Cold War. We meet again our scientist friends from Fragment's Henders Island adventure, Nell and Geoffrey, and the amazing intelligent hendros rescued from Henders Island. They become involved in an ever more terrifying sequence of events as humans battle Nature's most perverse and destructive inventions. It is a masterfully constructed rollercoaster ride of accelerating terror and treachery, ameliorated only by the spectrum of courage, loyalty, love and friendship among the leading characters. 




    Pandemonium is a book I couldn't put down, caught in the author's web of heart-pounding suspense. Every detail fits in the right place, at the right moment, with the right words. Yet there is no second-guessing the outcome. Fahy always has another surprise in store, to the last paragraph.  Without giving away too much, imagine what can happen when two alien ecosystems collide and when the forces of Nature let loose against the best minds of humans and hendros. Pandemonium ranks up there with the best of Michael Crichton's work, though the comparison is unfair to Warren Fahy's originality. I'd give it 10 stars if Barnes & Noble offered that scale.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 19, 2013

    I stayed up all night to read it and was rewarded greatly. It is

    I stayed up all night to read it and was rewarded greatly. It is a thriller that would rival Crichton or Cussler! I cannot wait to see what Fahy has up his sleeve next!!! 

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 3, 2011

    A Worthy Sequel

    Finally! For the life of me, I dont understand why the original publisher didn't publish this. Every bit much as thrilling as its predecessor, FRAGMENT.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 2, 2013

    A super intense science fiction/horror/action/thriller.  I didn'

    A super intense science fiction/horror/action/thriller.  I didn't think I could enjoy any Warren Fahy book more than "Fragment" but I enjoyed "Pandemonium" even more!  I didn't know how much of "Fragment" would carry over to this book but Fahy brings all the best stuff.  We get Nell and Geoffry Binswanger, the biologists who survived Henders Island, the intelligent Hendros who were taken off the island before it was nuked and we have the incredibly lethal species of Henders Island that somehow  have survived to menace humanity once again.  Add to that a mad Russian billionaire, a secret Soviet subterranean city, a whole new ultra lethal, undiscovered ecological niche and human paranoia and you get "Pandemonium"!
    Warren Fahy does a couple of things that make his work really grab my interest.  As in "Fragment" he uses evolutionary biology to not only make the story sound plausible but also extremely interesting.  Yeah, these animals will kill you in all kinds of gruesome ways but The way they're written, I want to know more about them!  
    And what he does for the science of "Pandemonium", he also does for the setting.  The Russian billionaire. Maxim Dragolovich, has a secret city under the Ural Mountains, a city built by Stalin.  This city has accessed a completely new and bizarre ecological niche, a very deadly ecological niche.....  Fahy gives the city of Pobedograd an amazing mythic quality.
    And while you're drawn in by the science and astounded by the grandeur of Pobedograd, you might forget for a second that Warren Fahy is one hell of an action writer!  And when this thing kicks into high gear, it really explodes!  
    I can only give it a huge thumbs way up.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 14, 2013

    Decent follow-up to Fragment

    This book didn't have the page turning intensity of Fahy's first outing but it still had plenty of action. I enjoy how the author extends existing scientific knowledge to place it in the realm of the extreme. It reminds me of Michael Crichton's work. For those who didn't read Fragment, there is enough background to get through this novel but reading the first installment would help make some of the dangers more understandable.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2013

    Great sequel

    Every bit as good as his first one.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2014

    Awesome book!

    If you're a fan of James Rollins you'll love this new author. This book was very hard to put down. A great read!

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  • Posted April 7, 2014

    Outstanding book, great follow up to Fragment, the creatures you

    Outstanding book, great follow up to Fragment, the creatures you created were unreal this book kept me on the edge of my chair.

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  • Posted March 7, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    The first book in the series, Fragment was such an amazing novel

    The first book in the series, Fragment was such an amazing novel that I couldn't wait to start this sequel.  I was not disappointed.  Pandemonium was an outrageous adventure from cover to cover.  It used the events of Fragment as a foundation a built upon the events and characters of the book to create a story that was chilling and nearly impossible stop reading.  I found myself reading late into the night on more than one occasion.  If you loved Fragment, you must read Pandemonium.  If you haven't read either, what are you waiting for?  :-)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2013

    Great

    Enjoyed this book

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2013

    thought his first book was better.

    Good but not great.

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    Posted July 18, 2013

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    Posted April 13, 2013

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    Posted May 15, 2013

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    Posted October 9, 2011

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    Posted August 8, 2012

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    Posted June 20, 2011

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    Posted June 2, 2013

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    Posted May 19, 2011

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