Review: Extinction Edge (Extinction Cycle Book 2) by Nicholas Sansbury Smith

ExtinctionEdgeAbout Extinction Edge


The dust from Dr. Kate Lovato’s bioweapon has settled. Projections put death counts in the billions. Her weapon was supposed to be the endgame, but it turned a small percentage of those infected with the Hemorrhage Virus into something even worse.

Survivors call them Variants. Irreversible epigenetic changes have transformed them into predators unlike any the human race has ever seen. And they are evolving.

With the doomsday clock ticking, the fractured military plans Operation Liberty—a desperate mission designed to take back the cities and destroy the Variant threat. Master Sergeant Reed Beckham agrees to lead a strike team into New York City, but first he must return to Fort Bragg to search for the only family he has left.

At Plum Island, Kate discovers Central Command may have considerably underestimated the Variant population in New York. As Operation Liberty draws closer, Kate warns Beckham that Team Ghost won’t just face their deadliest adversary yet, they may be heading into a trap…

About the Author

Nicholas Sansbury Smith is the author of several post-apocalyptic books and short stories. He worked for the State of Iowa for nearly 10 years before switching careers to focus on his one true passion--writing. When he isn't daydreaming about the apocalypse he's likely racing in triathlons around the Midwest. He lives in Des Moines, Iowa with his family and several rescued animals.

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My Thoughts

[Note: I received an advanced reader's copy of this book from the author in exchange for review.]

Fans of Nicholas Sansbury Smith's opening gambit in the Extinction Cycle series, Extinction Horizon, will find plenty to enjoy in this bio-tech military thriller. Extinction Edge picks up a short time after the fall-out of Book One's finale, with the nasty, and now evolving, Variants taking center-stage as the primary threat.

Smith's readers probably know what to expect by now, and, as per his usual, the author continues to deliver the goods with knowing nods toward technothriller, horror, sci-fi, and post-apocalypse genres. There's also a lot of well-executed action and plenty of rousing man versus monster scenes that will leave readers ragged, as the remnants of the US military, with Reed Beckham's Delta team on the front-lines, perform a rescue mission to Fort Bragg, before launching Operation Liberty in an effort to reclaim New York from the Variants.

For as good as it is - and it is very good - Extinction Edge suffers a teensy bit from middle-child syndrome. It has to carry on from the events of the previous book, without resolving too many story threads, while not only setting up Book 3 but acting as a gripping narrative in its own right. While the action is top-notch and Smith had my attention throughout, the medical thriller aspects that I loved in Extinction Horizon are forced to take a bit of a backseat to the military operations. Dr. Kate Lovato is stuck in a bit of a no-win scenario, and spends most of the book determined to believe that there is no way to cure the Variants and that they're an unstoppable force. This causes her to make a big decision that will no doubt play center-stage in the next installment, but finds herself in a rut for most of this book. However, there is a burgeoning romance between her and Beckham, with their connection to one another deepening nicely, and providing a reason for both of them to keep on fighting. I just wish she had a more pro-active role here.

Smith introduces us to some new faces, such as a trio of survivors in New York, as well as some new military operators that join Beckham's team. The best of these is Fritz, a war vet who lost both of his legs to an IED and has blade prosthetics. I found this character to be solidly worth rooting for, particularly in the book's finale where he gets a standout bit of imagery as he emerges from the fog of war. It's great stuff, and I look forward to reading more about him!

I'm really liking Smith's take on the apocalypse in the Extinction Cycle, blending together viral outbreaks, sort-of zombies, and military thriller. The story is well-crafted, the characters are believable, and the action makes for an exciting read. If you haven't yet read the previous installment, Extinction Horizon, then get on that pronto. This is definitely a series worth reading.

Buy Extinction Edge At Amazon

Michael Patrick Hicks

Michael Patrick Hicks is the author of the science fiction novels Convergence, an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award 2013 Quarter-Finalist, and Emergence. His work has appeared in several anthologies, and he has written for the websites Graphic Novel Reporter and Audiobook Reviewer. In between compulsively buying books and adding titles that he does not have time for to his Netflix queue, he is hard at work on his next story.

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