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4.1 137
by Michael Crichton

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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


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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Random House Publishing Group
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5.57(w) x 8.29(h) x 0.93(d)

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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.

Meet the Author

Michael Crichton (1942-2008) was the author of the ground-breaking novels The Great Train Robbery, Jurassic Park, Disclosure, Prey, State of Fear and Next, among many othersCrichton’s books have sold more than 200 million copies worldwide, have been translated into thirty-eight languages, and provided the basis for thirteen feature films. Also known as a filmmaker and creator of ER, he remains the only writer to have a number one book, movie, and TV show in the same year. 

Brief Biography

Los Angeles, California
Date of Birth:
October 23, 1942
Date of Death:
November 4, 2008
Place of Birth:
Chicago, Illinois
Place of Death:
Los Angeles, California
B.A.. in Anthropology, Harvard University, 1964; M.D., Harvard Medical School, 1969

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Congo 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 137 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Micheal Crighton has written such a richly detailed story that you are drawn into the Congo woirld as if you are there. The research he has done for this book makes it a realistic, and an excellent story for any type or age of reader. The realism and suspense in a dangerous situation earn this book its five star rating.
Carlosdogsmynombre More than 1 year ago
This book has been one of the most suspenseful, interesting, and exiting books I have read so far. I had to choose a book from a list for an English presentation, and when I read Congo's summary I knew this book would not be boring. And in fact I was right. From the very start of this book I was hooked, when the eight man expedition team suddenly died by a mysterious jungle killer. When I read this I just flipped through the pages just to find out some answers. I literally couldn't put down this novel. Also when Michael Crichton added in another story about finding the lost city of Zinj that caught my attention even more. The way Crichton was able to develop Congo's story line amazed me. I feel that his style of writing will interest many readers of all different ages. The perfect use of detail added to this book too. It seemed like the author knew the right spots to add in description. For me, I enjoyed the parts were he described the Congo rain forest. For example, when the new team from ETRS steppes foot into the jungle, Crichton did a good job of explain the scenery. I really felt like I was one of those explorers trekking through the forest, in search of my fellow team member and the lost city. By far the most aspect of this book I enjoyed was the feeling of adventure and suspense. You couldn't even tell what going to happen next. Every story that Karen and her crew faced, was a fascinating. The book did a good job of keeping the reader on their feet. This is why Congo caught my attention as one of my most favorite books I have read so far.
MarekMS More than 1 year ago
Congo, by Michael Crichton, depicts the race between two rival companies for blue diamonds in King Solomon's Mines. The last ETC team that went into the Congo were killed by gray gorilla. Eager to prove herself, Karen Ross, travels into the Congo to excavate the mines. Munro, the guide and Peter Elliot with his signing gorilla, Amy, join the ETC team. The team explores the endless jungles of the Congo fraught with danger. ETC has found a contract offering big money for rare blue diamonds; however the last ETC team got their heads smashed by a primate never seen by the world before. Peter Elliot, a Primatologist from California, and his signing Gorilla, Amy are offered a part in helping to find the King Solomon's mines. Peter Elliot has recently seen Amy draw pictures of the Lost City of Zinj and decides it might be best if she travels with the group. The ETC group is off in a race against similar rival companies. Michael Crichton creates an action packed story with danger at every turn of a page. Crichton creates a novel that is exciting and thrilling. I overall found the book very interesting, but I also found it a little dull at some times when they discussed the company.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A team from the company ERTS is suddenly demolished in the African Congo. What does that mean? It means that another Crichton thriller is on your hands. Another team is sent, which includes a techno bug named Karen, a signing ape named Amy, her owner Peter, and a white-hunter named Munro. It was a great book that followed in the steps of Sphere for the cut away from the world thrill. Not as good as JP or Sphere, but it was better than The Lost World.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an amazing book with great characters and a great story. I think that the description in this book was perfect. Overall i think this was his best book.
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Id say chrichtons 3rd best
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not his best but still a very good read. Ending is a little weird and short but owell
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I personally love everything Michael Crichton writes, however this was an exceptional book. It really went into detail and excavated to the points and gave a lot of background to every individual element. I can appreciate that in writing like this. I definitely recommend this book and think that anyine who reads it would be just as satisfied. Hope this helps!
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I liked the part where Amy was cleaning up her paper before going on the trip.
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Thorne2112 More than 1 year ago
An entertaining action story.
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