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Natural Selection: A Novel

Natural Selection: A Novel

4.5 88
by Dave Freedman

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A shocking biological discovery. A previously unknown predatory species. Evolving just like the dinosaurs. Now. Today. Being forced out of its world and into man's for a violent first encounter.

Weaving science and thriller in a way not seen since Jurassic Park, Natural Selection introduces a phenomenally dangerous new species that is rapidly


A shocking biological discovery. A previously unknown predatory species. Evolving just like the dinosaurs. Now. Today. Being forced out of its world and into man's for a violent first encounter.

Weaving science and thriller in a way not seen since Jurassic Park, Natural Selection introduces a phenomenally dangerous new species that is rapidly adapting in a way never before seen.

A mystery. A chase. A vast expansive puzzle. A team of marine scientists is on the verge of making the most stunning discovery in the history of man. In their quest for answers, they engage a host of fascinating characters. The world's premier neurology expert. A specialist on animal teeth. Flight simulation wizards, evolution historians, deep sea geologists, and so many more.

Along the way, the team of six men and women experience love, friendship, loyalty and betrayal. Together, they set off to exotic locales. Literally to the bottom of the ocean. To a vast and mysterious redwood forest. To an unknown complex of massive caves. When people start dying, the stakes are upped even further. Then the real hunt begins. . . .

Loaded with astonishing action sequences, Natural Selection is that rare breed of thriller, filled with intricately layered research, real three-dimensional characters, and tornado pacing.

Editorial Reviews

Washington Post Book World
"An earnest Michael Crichton-style thriller . . . respects science and its audience's intellect . . . In a day and age when "intelligent design" is touted as a respectable credo, a piece of pop entertainment that takes the time to uphold Darwin's thesis in readable fashion is to be heartily endorsed."
Booklist Reviews
This debut novel changes before your very eyes. It begins as an implausible riff on Jurassic Park, with carnivorous rays (those big, flat sea creatures) standing in for the dinosaurs. But somewhere along the way, something remarkable happens to the story: you start believing it. Is it the author's enthusiasm, or his characters, or his research? Whatever the reason, there comes a moment when you feel the first twinge of fear, and then you realize that you're buying into this story of giant, prehistoric rays that have learned to fly (yes, fly, in the air) and are now hunting on land. Some of the imagery--shapes swooping out of the blackness, rays as big as hang gliders hovering in midair--evoke a visceral terror in the reader. And the protagonists, a research crew struggling to figure out what these creatures are--and then running for their lives from them--are a likable bunch. Okay, so bits of the story are a little shopworn, like the financially strapped theme-park owner who sends the crew of plucky young scientists out to find the creatures, but in the end, this hardly matters. Like all the best horror authors, Freedman takes his story well beyond the safety of camp; by making it believable, he makes it genuinely terrifying--and when that happens, large audiences follow. Don't be surprised if giant flying fish are the talk of the summer. Keep watching the skies. ((Reviewed May 15, 2006)) Copyright 2006 Booklist Reviews.
Publishers Weekly
The sea monster "Demonray," who makes landfall in Freedman's far-fetched but entertaining debut, possesses all the predatory features to provide maximum chills. It's got a big brain, big wings, big teeth and a big purpose: to devour anything in its path, including humans. Harry Ackerman, a jaded millionaire whose Manta World (think Jurassic Park) failed when all his captive manta rays died, learns about the sighting of a mysterious flying ray and dispatches a staff of young scientists led by ichthyologist Jason Aldridge, "the next Jacques Cousteau," to investigate. What they find is no ordinary airborne ray, but an amphibious "new order" that has the potential to wipe out mankind. The exciting, science-packed hunt moves quickly but slows down once the crew encounters the Demonray in Northern California's Redwood National Park. Culminating in a cartoonish showdown, this Michael Crichton adventure wanna-be suffers from other odd plot elements, unconvincing romance and pedestrian prose, but it might make an awesome beach read. (June) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
From the dark depths of the ocean floor come flying sea monsters who eat sharks for breakfast. In this debut thriller, Freedman suggests that while evolution may have halted in humans, it continues among sea creatures. Thousands of them swim up from the ocean floor to escape a killer virus, and as they move to the light, they gradually acquire new and deadly characteristics. By the time they're off the California coast, they're 12 feet long, have a 14-foot wingspan and weigh 4,000 pounds. Adaptation has also led to their being able to breathe above and fly from the water-and they're hungry. In a series of action scenes that will have Hollywood animation artists salivating, the monsters stalk and devour dolphins, sharks and humans, though one predator exhibits the good grace to spare an infant. Unfortunately, Freedman's writing, especially his descriptions, never measures up to his nightmarish idea. Hobbling the work is a predictable plot about a group of marine scientists (thin characters all, usually established by what they wear) determined to find out what's coming up from the ocean. They're driven by an entrepreneur who, like those who sought the mighty Kong, desperately wants to capture and exhibit the monsters to the public. Their pursuit takes them up the coast, eventually coming to center on a redwood forest where the creatures swoop down on them. In the midst of it all, romance, of course, blooms between leader Jason Aldridge ("male ambition in a wet suit") and ocean nutrition specialist Lisa Barton. Lisa teaches her man he's just got to open up and trust other people. They head to the altar, the monsters mostly dispatched, though enough remaining to evolve into a sequel. Thepremise has bite, but the primer-style prose lacks teeth.

Product Details

Hachette Books
Publication date:
Sold by:
Hachette Digital, Inc.
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File size:
732 KB
Age Range:
13 - 18 Years

What People are Saying About This

People Magazine
"A sci-fi thriller that combines the best of Jaws and Jurassic Park."
Audio Editions
"A teeth-rattling chiller"
The Journal News
Named one of "Summer's sizzling hot books"
USA Today
"Jaws meets Charles Darwin ... Much foreboding ... doesn't slow down the plot."
Cincinnati Library Review
"An action-packed debut. Make sure to pack this one for your next trip to the beach."

Meet the Author

Dave Freedman was born and raised in New Jersey and currently lives in Southern California with his wife. He earned a Bachelor of Science from Princeton and his Masters from Harvard University. Natural Selection is his first novel.

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Natural Selection 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 88 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well constructed, entertaining, deep and very smart. Dave freedman writes breathless action. He had my heart racing more than once, and I really cared for the characters too. Holding my breath to see the movie!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the fastest reads I've had, reads like the best Crichton with a credibility of an expert in his field. Highly recommended!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An honest to goodness terrifying read on how quickly a species can adapt to the ever changing world. watch out mankind! well done dave freedman, loved your book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fascinating and frightening look at the natural selection process and how species evolve. Completely unpredictable. Enjoyed it immensely!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A rapid read about a new predator. Entertaining and cool, plus some science that was actually fun, not boring. Serious thrills!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Unique read on finding a new species. This book was really great! Sort of like Jurassic but even better because it wasn't just a riff off the old Frankenstein story. This was completely new and fresh. I rocketed through it in less a week.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fun! Interesting ideas about natural evolution processes, really terrifying scenes and a great story. can't wait for the sequel. not to mention the movie. when it's coming out? i'll be in line opening night.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This isn't a book I would normally read, but I loved it. A very cool concept and a writing style and action that made it impossible to put down
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
great read. really smart, lots of action and makes you think hard about what goes on in nature too.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
excellent story. much like a crichton or stephen king novel when they're on top of their game. this was realistic and very, very scary. great!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was awesome, terrifying.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved it! It did not drag ever. I thought it was a really cool, scary but realistic premise! They should make it a movie!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As I see others have already commented, I too found this to be a breathtaking read. The concept was really great. I was skeptical that the author, Freedman, would be able to execute it properly but he did - and then some. Natural Selection was genuinely terrifying and yes, very hard to put down. The visual descriptions were amazing too. If Hollywood could pull it off, this would make an unbelievable movie.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Dave Freedman got it done. Natural Selection had a fair amount of scientific reasoning and biology knowledge. It might not all have been true, but it was very convincing. Great action and scary too. Awesome read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The subject and the storyline were riveting. The plot was a nail-biter. I completely suspended disbelief and never knew what was going to happen next. Amazing book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I listened to the audio book and LOVED it. The creatures were described very well, very specifically, very visually too, and I was genuinely terrified of them. Great action and fun characters. Loved the narrator's voice too. AWESOME book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am on page 162 and so far I am Loving Natural Selection. I love everything about it, particularly the science and the action and more than anything else, how creepy and scary and real it feels. I think that the character's personailities add different but good points of view about the same situation. I can't wait to get to the end to see how the book ends.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Natural Selection could have used a better editor. So what. This book was awesome. Outstanding concept, fun characters, awesome action and serious bonus points for originality. Great, great read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
LOVED LOVED LOVED this book. The science behind it was so great it didn't even require suspension of disbelief. It's that awesome. It's sort of a boring Charles Darwin textbook meets the Terminator. Fantastic and super duper scary.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The stuff of nightmares, very real, horrifying. pages turn fast
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Brilliant story. Takes a really obscure concept like evolution and explains it without being boring. In fact, it makes it really interesting and then terrifying. My kid had to read this for his science class and I can understand why. I listened to the audio book and loved it. Every day I'd go into work late because I didn't want to get out of my car and have to stop listening!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Natual Selection by Dave Freedman was very detailed from a scientific point of view but it also had intense action and was extremely interesting. The more you read it, the better it got. It totally captured me the way books rarely do. I loved it. Plus, it set up for an amazing sequel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Terrific read! Pages flew. It's a wild concept but the author hit it out of the park. It was super scary. My 14 year old daughter's reading it now and can't put it down.