Author: Michael Crichton
Released Date: November 11th 2003
In the Nevada desert, an experiment has gone horribly wrong. A cloud of nanoparticles -- micro-robots -- has escaped from the laboratory. This cloud is self-sustaining and self-reproducing. It is intelligent and learns from experience. For all practical purposes, it is alive. It has been programmed as a predator. It is evolving swiftly, becoming more deadly with each passing hour.
Every attempt to destroy it has failed.
And we are the prey.
The book has a slow start. Jacks suspects his wife of having an affair and he’s taking time on deciding what to do because he isn’t very sure yet. He doesn't want a divorce; he wants to keep his family together, and his kids, always biting each other, are not helping matters. He can’t get a job; he’s rejected wherever he applies because of a ‘got fired for doing the right thing’ incident in his former workplace.
And then the story kicks off when he’s asked to come and solve a problem at the plant. Then comes the action, the suspense, and of course the thrill. You wouldn't want to be anywhere near the swarms – those molecular robots. They're dangerous, they hurt the skin, and they can get into your nasal cavity, suffocating you. They kill wildlife as well as humans. Jack has to stop it, no matter what. Because he designed the program used in modeling the swarms. But he can't do it himself. There are other notable characters there like the quiet, strong and beautiful Mae; devious Ricky; loud-farting/non-stop talking Charley; and of course Jack’s beautiful and secretive wife, Julia. Some of these characters help to achieve the goal, while others stand in Jack’s way. There are lots of deaths in the end.
I loved the technological and biological details the author wove in the various part of the story. It’s blended well into the narrative and doesn’t cause any distraction. Even though I found some of them boring or overly done, I still learnt something from them.
The five-paged bibliography at the end of the book shows well the thorough research undertaken by the author for this book. It is a book worth reading, and I’ll certainly read more titles from Crichton. I have my mind on Jurassic Park next. Although I’ve seen the movie, I’d still love to experience the book side of it.
I recommend this book to any sci-fi and techno-thriller lover. If you like the science-goes-wrong genre, then this is the book for you.
Four stars (****) to Prey.