The Dragon Factory (Joe Ledger Series #2)

The Dragon Factory (Joe Ledger Series #2)

by Jonathan Maberry


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The Dragon Factory (Joe Ledger Series #2) by Jonathan Maberry

Joe Ledger and the DMS (Department of Military Sciences) go up against two competing groups of geneticists. One side is creating exotic transgenic monsters and genetically enhanced mercenary armies; the other is using 21st century technology to continue the Nazi Master Race program begun by Josef Mengele. Both sides want to see the DMS destroyed, and they've drawn first blood. Neither side is prepared for Joe Ledger as he leads Echo Team to war under a black flag.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780312382490
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 03/02/2010
Series: Joe Ledger Series , #2
Pages: 486
Sales rank: 167,286
Product dimensions: 8.28(w) x 5.54(h) x 1.31(d)

About the Author

Jonathan Maberry is the multiple Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Patient Zero, The King of Plagues, Ghost Road Blues and Rot & Ruin, among others. He also wrote the novelization of the movie The Wolfman. His work for Marvel Comics includes Captain America, Punisher, Wolverine, DoomWar, Marvel Zombie Return and Black Panther. His Joe Ledger series has been optioned for TV by Sony Pictures. He has been inducted into the International Martial Arts Hall of Fame.

Read an Excerpt




Otto Wirths was the second worst mass murderer in the history of the world. Compared to him Hitler, Stalin, Attila the Hun and even Alexander the Great were amateurs, poseurs who could not hold a candle to Otto and his body count.

Only one person was worse.

Cyrus Jakoby.

That wasn’t his real name, and in a way he had no real name. Like Otto, Cyrus was a freak. Like Otto, Cyrus was a monster.

A week ago I’d never even heard of them. Almost no one had. A week ago they were on no watch lists, they were not sought by any world governments, their names were not muttered in hateful curses or angry prayers by a single person on planet earth.

Yet together they had done more harm than anyone. Together they had very quietly slaughtered tens of millions.

Tens of millions.

At night, when they sat down to their dinner they did not dwell on past accomplishments. A champion athlete doesn’t dwell on the preliminaries. To them it was always what was coming next. What was coming soon.

One week ago, seven days before I even heard of them, Otto Wirths placed a large digital clock on the wall above the elaborate workstation where he and Cyrus spent much of their waking hours. The clock was set to tick off seconds and minutes. Otto adjusted it to read 10,080. Ten thousand and eighty minutes.

One hundred and sixty eight hours.

Seven days.

One week.

After he pressed the start button, Otto and Cyrus clinked glasses of Perrier-Jouet, which—at over six thousand dollars a bottle—was the world's most expensive champagne.

They sipped the bubbles and smiled and watched the first sixty seconds tick away, and then the next sixty.

The Extinction Clock had begun.



I crouched in the dark. I was bleeding and something inside was broken. Maybe something inside my head, too.

The door was barred. I had three bullets left. Three bullets and a knife.

The pounding on the door was like thunder. I knew the door wouldn’t hold.

They would get in.

Somewhere the Extinction Clock was ticking down. If I was still in this room when it hit zero more people would die than perished during the Black Death and all of the pandemics put together.

I thought I could stop them.

I had to stop them. It was down to me or no one.

It wasn’t my fault I came into this so late. They chased us and messed with our heads and ran us around and by the time we knew what we were up against the clock had already nearly run its course.

We tried. Over the last week I’d left a trail of bodies behind me from Denver to Costa Rica to the Bahamas. Some of those bodies were human. Some…well, I don’t know what the hell you’d call them.

The pounding was louder. The door was buckling, the crossbar bending. It was only seconds before the lock or the hinges gave out, and then they’d come howling in here. Then it would be them against me.

I was hurt. I was bleeding.

I had three bullets and a knife.

I got to my feet and faced the door, my gun in my left hand, the knife in my right.

I smiled.

Let them come.



“There is no hunting like the hunting of man, and those who have hunted armed men long enough and liked it, never care for anything else thereafter.”

Ernest Hemingway

"On the Blue Water," Esquire, April 1936


Holy Redeemer Cemetery, Baltimore, MD

Saturday, August 28; 8:04 am /Time Remaining on the Extinction Clock: 97 hours; 56 minutes

“Detective Ledger?” he said and held out an ID case. “NSA.”

“How do you spell that?”

Not a flicker of a smile touched the concrete slab of his face. He was as big as me and the three goons with him were even bigger. All of them in sunglasses with American flags pinned on their chests. Why does this stuff always seem to happen to me?

“We’d like you to come with us,” said the guy with the flat face.

“Why?” We were in the parking lot of Holy Redeemer Cemetery in Baltimore. I had a mixed bunch of bright yellow daffodils in one hand and a bottle of spring water in the other. I had a pistol tucked into the back of my jeans under an Orioles away-game shirt. I never used to bring a piece to Helen’s grave, but over the last few months things have changed. Life’s become more complicated, and the gun was a habit 24/7. Even here.

The Goon Squad was definitely packing. Three right-handers and one lefty. I could see the faint bulges even under the tailored suits. The lefty was the biggest of the bunch, a moose with steroid shoulders and a nose that looked like it had been punched at least once from every possible angle. If things got weird he’d be the grabby type. The guys on either side of him were pretty-boys; they’d keep their distance and draw on me. Right now they were about fourteen feet out and their sports coats were unbuttoned. Smooth.

“We’d like you to come with us,” Slab-face said again.

“I heard you. I asked ‘why?’”

“Please, Detective—.”

“It’s Captain Ledger, actually.” I put a bit of frost in it even though I kept a smile on my face.

He said nothing.

“Have a nice day,” I said and started to turn. The guy next to Slab-face—the one with the crooked nose—put his hand on my shoulder.

I stopped and looked down at his big hand and then up at his face. I didn’t say a word and he didn’t move his hand. There were four of them and one of me. The Nose probably thought that gave them a clean edge, and since NSA guys are pretty tough he was probably right. On the other hand these guys tend to believe their own hype, and that can come back to bite you. I don’t know how much they knew about me, but if this clown had his hand on me then they didn’t know enough.

I tapped his wrist with the bunch of daffodils. “You mind?”

He removed his hand, but he stepped closer. “Don’t make this complicated.”

’Why’,’” I said, “is not a complicated question.”

He gave me a millimeter of a smile. “National security.”

“Bullshit. I’m in national security. Go through channels.”

Slab-face touched the Nose’s shoulder and moved him aside so he could look me in the eyes. “We were told to bring you in.”

“Who signed the order?”


“There you go again,”

Slab-face took a breath through his nose. “Captain Ledger.” He poured enough acid in it to melt through battleship armor.

“What’s your name?” I asked. He hadn’t held the ID up long enough for me to read it.

He paused. “Special Agent John Andrews.”

“Tell you what, Andrews, this is how we’re going to play it. I’m going to go over there and put flowers on the grave of my oldest and dearest friend–a woman who suffered horribly and died badly. I plan to sit with her for a while and I hope you have enough class and manners to allow me my privacy. Watch if you want to, but don’t get in my face. If you’re still here when I’m done then we can take another swing at the ‘why’ question and I’ll decide whether I go with you.”

“What’s this bullshit,” snapped the Nose.

Andrews just looked at me.

“That’s the agenda, Andrews,” I said. “Take it or leave it.”

Despite his orders and his professional cool he was a little off-balance. The very fact that he was hesitating meant that there was something hinky about thism, and my guess was that he didn’t know what it was—so he wasn’t ready to try and strongarm me. I was a federal agent tied to Homeland–or close enough for his purposes—and I held military rank on top of it. He couldn’t be sure that a misstep here wouldn’t do him some career harm. I watched his eyes as he sorted through his playbook.

“Ten minutes,” he said.

I should have just nodded and went to visit Helen’s grave, but the fact that they were accosting me here of all places really pissed me off. “Tell you what,” I said, stepping back but still smiling, “when it gets to ten minutes start holding your breath.”

I gave him a cheery wink and used the index finger of the hand holding the bottle to point at the Nose. Then I turned and headed through the tombstones, feeling the heat of their stares on my back like laser sites.

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The Dragon Factory (Joe Ledger Series #2) 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 107 reviews.
redroush99 More than 1 year ago
The dragon factory being the second joe ledgar book is just as unique and maybe even better than the first. At first, when i found out there was going to be another joe ledgar story, i thought it would have to include zombies just like the first, but man did maberry throw me for a loop. The series has the whole X-files thing and maberry makes sci-fi seem so realistic. I just can't believe how much action and character development is crammed into these books, there is never a boring page. I admit, at first i only picked up patient zero for its zombie storyline, but now, i want to read every tale of joe ledgar. I also read that this series is supposed to be optioned for a tv series. If anybody wants a thriller and action packed story, this is the one! Also if anybody is a resident evil fan, read Patient Zero, it seems just like a plot of resident evil and i don't know who is more like joe ledgar; Chris Redfield or Leon Kennedy? Other recommendations; The whole Vampire Academy Series, Any Scott Sigler book or podcast, One Second After, The Ruins, Fragment, World War Z, Monster Nation series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
After reading Rot and Ruin, I couldn't stop reading your books. The Rot and Ruin series was a blast and I am excited for Flesh and Bones. Anyways, this series was a hell of a ride so far but has a sad and unexpected ending in this book. But it wont stop me from reading the rest of the series! Keep up the good work!
josh main More than 1 year ago
The action parts are awesome and will keep you wanting more and even the slow parts are well written and interesting. defiantly worth the read
Hannah Frederick More than 1 year ago
This book will have you on the edge of your seat or wherever your sitting and will have you guessing until the very end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Full of Action and suspense.
debfromphilly More than 1 year ago
My husband loved this series!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
On to #3...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
jlgc More than 1 year ago
The Dragon Factory by Jonathan Maberry is a science fiction action thriller. This is book 2 (of 6) in the Joe Ledger Series featuring the Department of Military Sciences (DMS). The book is about some left over Nazis trying to fulfill the Nazi agenda of killing off all human races they believe to be inferior. The way they are orchestrating this is to develop a way for genetic diseases to be changed so that they are more of a virus or bacterial infection. These Nazis have been experimenting with gene therapy, transgenics, and cloning. Our hero Joe Ledger, and his team, is tasked with tracking down the source of a video showing a hunt of a unicorn. This includes sneaking into a large storage facility deep in the mountains of Denver, finding and rescuing the boy who sent the video, and bringing down the bad guys.  The DMS’s work is made harder at the beginning of the story due to forces within our own government trying to shut them down. Additionally, Joe and Grace’s relationship continues to grow, putting them in the difficult position of an attachment that makes things harder for a warrior. More of Joe’s personality comes through here. He exhibits all three aspects of his personality, but he is mostly in warrior mode throughout this book. Church continues to be a strong leader through the difficulties he faces in saving the DMS. The enemies include 2 Nazi scientists, a couple of twins that are considered the children of one of the scientists, and an assassin. The team also runs up against Russians, genetically altered soldiers, and genetically altered animals. The story is told from the point of view of many of the different characters. All are in the third person except for Joe Ledger’s, which is in the first person. I found this very interesting and was able to follow the story very well through the different viewpoints. It’s a longer story, but all parts are needed to tell it completely. The structure of the story makes sense and works very well. It’s obvious that Maberry spent a lot of time researching the subject matter and he provides a lot of information relating to the research the Nazis are doing.  The characters are very credible both the evil Nazis and the bigger than life heroes. The heroes are the kind we like to see. My favorite character is Joe Ledger. This may be because he takes up so much of the story and because he is a bigger than life personality with many likeable qualities. My second favorite in the series is most probably Rudy, Joe’s best friend. Although Rudy played a small role in this story, it was significant and admirable.  I was very willing to read another Joe Ledger book after reading the first one, Patient Zero. And even though I have a pile of other books to read I will be making it a priority to read the rest of the Joe Ledger series. This is a book (and series) that I highly recommend to those who like science fiction, action, thrillers, and military engagements. I believe that it is appropriate for teens as well as adults. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The final chapters blew my mind!
Drewano More than 1 year ago
Book two of the Joe Ledger series continues to impress. The same cast of characters returns to face new threats against humanity. No zombies this time but there are enough seriously bad guys and other items from your nightmare to bring together a riveting story. The action is fast and furious and the author pulls no punches. As the body count piles high, anyone can be snuffed out at any time in this book as only the strongest will survive and main characters are not exempt. If you like action this is the book for you.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this book. so far I have read all the short stories and the first 3 novels of teh series and this is my favorite
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Generally, Maberry serves a heaping helping of teenage adrenaline with a good dollop of humor and an annoying side of rationalization for cruelty and violence in the public good (the Brussels sprouts, if you will) -- all plated on an exciting, if highly implausible, narrative. This has an added, uncharacteristic ingredient: a truly disturbing twin brother/sister pair of psychos who steal the show. Had the been a little more fully developed, Maberry would have had a classic on his hands. Even so, the book is an excellent read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Way better than the first, but the first was epic.. loved it . Joe is my hero.. sir keep up the good work..
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Johnathan Maberry creates a vivid tale in each part of the Joe Ledger series
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