Cover Image: Colony

Colony

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Doctor Callum Ross takes the opportunity of a lifetime to work on a project in the Russian Arctic that takes him to a remote island.

Whilst on Harmsworth island he discovers an ice mummy which was a legend of a warrior who went to hunt the lizard birds and never came back.

What he discovers is purely terrifying - will they get out alive?

I found this to be quite complex and I had trouble keeping track of all the characters, especially the military ones.

The creatures, although fearsome were quite hard to visualise in my mind, although I have no doubt they were scary! 

The gore was great but I couldn’t stomached more - I do love a bit of horror. It did remind me of Michael Crichton Jurassic Park due to the dinosaur type animals but that’s where the similarities stopped for me.

There was also plenty of double crossing - by the end I didn’t trust anyone.
Was this review helpful?
I started reading this awhile ago and put it down because I didn’t have time for it. I actually really enjoyed this book and am so glad I got to it!
Was this review helpful?
I actually started to read this and it was really good, but then I got busy and didn't get a chance to finish it before it expired. Totally my fault and I plan on going back and finishing it some day.
Was this review helpful?
This was not what i expected but in the good way i guess.. a thriller set in a remote area with a hostile environment, and ancient frozen mummy. The synopsis of the book had me immediately but the book itself wasn't exactly what i had expected but it didn't disappoint me eventually, it was just okay for me.
Still will definitely be reading more by this author.

Thank you to the netgalley and the publisher for this free coffee exchange for my honest opinion.
Was this review helpful?
I was sent this ebook in exchange for an honest review. I went into it with high expectations but the reality was sorely lacking. I couldn’t connect with the story or characters and whilst I tried hard to enjoy it— it sadly wasn’t for me.
Was this review helpful?
Reading this novel brought back happy memories of those great thrillers by Hammond Innes in which the protagonists were usually ordinary people, not typical heroes, placed in a hostile environment and relying on their wits; and memories of those great adventure thriller writers from a century or more ago: Jules Verne, Edgar Rice Burroughs and H. Rider Haggard. Combine the talents of all of the above and you have the name of a new writer: Benjamin Cross.
This is an intelligent thought-provoking thriller, full of action and horror, with realism evoked by the author's obvious vast knowledge of his chosen subject. Franz Josef Land, in the Arctic above Russia, is a perfect backdrop for a timeless story.
Was this review helpful?
Archaeology Professor Callum Ross is taking a well-earned break with his son, Jamie, when a plea from a friend and the promise of a discovery of a lifetime lures him across the world to chase it. A mummy, preserved in ice, is discovered but something far more sinister is soon to follow it.

I loved the blend of horror with science and adventure with action that occurred throughout these pages. The discoveries made were unexpected and had me eager to learn more. What these discoveries could do, however, was brutal and bloody, leading this book to be as harrowing and horrifying as it was interesting and intriguing.
Was this review helpful?
Ah, now this one I was super looking forward to.

Colony is about the discovery of something ancient and deadly on a remote island in the Arctic.  The writer is an archaeologist.  I was expecting a cross between The Mummy and The Thing.  I got neither.

What I did get was more of an action type thriller rather than horror.  Horror was what I had hoped for, but that’s not to say I was disappointed.

To be fair, the book is tagged as an action thriller, but the blurb would suggest otherwise. ‘Potaytoes, potartoes,’ you might say, and maybe you’re right, but part of me still wishes there had been more of a The Thing vibe about the place.

However, on with the review …

The book is well written, easy to read, and the story interesting enough to make it one of my faster reads (I don’t do speed reading at all), and the cover suggests there will be more books to come featuring the lovely Dr Callum Ross.  I won’t give away what was ancient and deadly (though other reviewers may have already done so), but I will say that this was the only (and only slightly) disappointing part of the book for me.  I had trouble visualising the creature that was laying waste to those who dared to step foot on the island of Harmsworth, and what I did manage to piece together in my tiny brain, came out just plain weird and not that terrifying – though I’ll admit, I wouldn’t want to bump into one whilst out for a late-night stroll (or anytime for that matter).  But that’s just me, and as I noted earlier, I had hoped for more horror than thriller.

The book is reasonably fast paced, a little too much jargon (aka shit I don’t know about) for my taste, but not enough to send me off to sleep (as has happened too many times to mention – is Simply Red singing Money’s Too Tight to Mention in your head now?).

All-in-all Colony is a book I would recommend, and I for one will definitely be looking out for more Dr Callum Ross stories.
Was this review helpful?
This had s bit of a Matthew Reilly feel to it and I was loving it. I will definitely be following this author and checking out more books from him
Was this review helpful?
Ebook/Sci-fi Thriller:  This is a faux thriller because there was nothing spectacular about it.  Besides the characters being cookie cutters, the continuity and setting descriptions lacked. 
I love reading books that take place in remote places like Antarctica or the Upper P.  Except for the description of the nights being daylight, there was nothing to keep my mind in the setting. Four of the characters are wounded and have to travel across rough terrain to get to safety. It's glossed over until they get to the 90-degree drop. Okay, that is a nightmare I have, usually in a car, so to me, this scene should have been a nail biter. No, it is glossed over with two characters being left behind because one physiologically can't do it. But she does do it somehow, but it's never explained. 
The cold should have been better described. Even though it's summer, there is still permafrost and any sence of cold, snow, melted snow, mud was never brought up, or maybe a coat wasn't necessary.
The lifeforms living on the island didn't make sense. From what I gathered, there were at least three different subspecies, which would make sense. But they don't eat each other. They somehow live in harmony with each other. No, that makes no sense. There is a reason alpha animals pack in small group or are alone. There are 100s of these creatures with little food source.  The whole colony could wipe out a ecosystem, again makes no sense.  The description of the creatures was never really explained well. I guess they were humanoid, warm blooded, mixed with reptile aka dinosaurs? 
I barely finished the book only to have the ending dumb. I guess a creature took a thumb drive to the library and borrowed a computer and loaded the virus.
Was this review helpful?
I received an advance reader copy of this book to read in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley and the publishers.

There is something about a horror set in the frozen landscape of the Arctic that draws me in, and The Colony does not disappoint! Fans of The Thing will love this one.

Callum Ross is an archeologist who is convinced by a dying archaeologist colleague to take his place on an expedition to the Arctic circle to do some research. This in itself would be interesting, but add some sabotage, murder, native legends, and prehistoric lizard birds to the mix and you get a fast-paced adventure that is really hard to put down.

The story starts with a soldier being killed by an as yet unidentified creature and never really lets up from there, while the back and forth style of telling the story from the point of view of different characters in different locations on the same timeline, and ultimately bringing these different storylines together at the end, worked really well for me.

I did find the book a little hard to follow in the early stages, I believe due to the number of different characters involved with Russian-sounding surnames, so that I sometimes had to stop to try to remember who a certain character was and what their part in the story up to that point had been. A small complaint though.

Overall I really enjoyed this book, which is especially impressive when you learn that this is Benjamin Cross’s first novel, so I will definitely be keeping an eye out for future works by this author.
Was this review helpful?
Colony begins in the distant past as we follow the journey of a Neolithic hunter as he makes his way across the frozen expanse of the Arctic, searching for something. After falling into a deep ice cave he soon finds himself at the mercy of some unseen creature, one that makes short work of the brave warrior. With this one small scene writer Benjamin Cross sets the tone for a book that is steeped in atmosphere and fraught with danger.

Jumping forward several thousand years, we join archaeologist Callum Ross as he's pulled away from his holiday with his son by a colleague of his who needs Callum to take his place on an expedition to the remote Russian Arctic, where a team of scientists are exploring Harmsworth island as part of an investigation that could have a big impact for the Russian companies that want to begin drilling for oil on the remote wilderness.

Callum is just one of several scientists, from all kinds of fields, and expects to find little archaeological evidence on the island, but when he discovers the frozen remains of an ancient hunter it sparks a mystery as to what could have killed this man all those centuries ago. Unfortunately for Callum, he will get his answers when corporate sabotage and eco-terrorism leads to him and several others being stranded on the island when their ship is destroyed. Not only do they have to find a way to survive in the extreme conditions of the Arctic, but they're also being hunted.

Over the course of the book we begin to discover what these creatures are, though there's a pretty big clue early on that makes it an obvious leap of logic as to what these things used to be, though it's one that the actual characters seem to take a little longer to get to. It makes it somewhat amusing to see them trying to puzzle out what's really on the island using scientific processes, when if they took a step back a moment and took a less precise examination they'd get to the answer a lot quicker. But then a lot of the fun of these kinds of stories is being a step or two ahead of the characters and seeing them trying to play catch up with the reader.

In a lot of ways the book reminded me of the Meg series by Steve Alten. It deals with a group of scientists having to fight for their lives against vicious killer creatures that are the stuff from history and legend; and like some of the later books in that series and it's sister series The Loch, it takes place in a remote, frozen location. It definitely made Colony more enjoyable for me, reminding me of a series that I love, and much like those books it doesn't just rely in killer creatures to keep things interesting, throwing in corporate espionage and shady dealings too so that there's a much more recognisable and human enemy in the mix.

The characters make for an interesting mix of people too, and none of them are perfect. It would have been easy to have Callum end up being a big hero, for example, when things started to go wrong, but he's not. He's imperfect. He struggles in survival situations, having to grab for nearby weapons and hoping they'll work; he's not an expert gunman mowing down hordes of creatures whilst he protects his new girlfriend. He's also very human in his personal life thanks to the relationship he has with his son, and the struggles he goes through to try and be a good father whilst juggling his work. It makes him feel like an every-man, the kind of person you yourself might know and be friends with, and it helps to ground the more fantastical elements of the book.

The supporting characters are equally well made, and most of them get small moments to shine along the way. We get a good sense of what drives them, and quickly begin to learn how they're going to react in certain situations; who will step up to the challenge and who will falter under pressure. Even those characters who end up being revealed to have ulterior motives, who end up bordering on villainous, manage to make you feel something, and you end up rooting for them to do the right thing because you just don't want to hate them. There was one particular character in the book whose death actually made me cry a little, but I'm not going to tell you which one.

Colony is a fun book, one that takes a fantastical premise and takes it seriously throughout. It doesn't enter hammy or silly territory, and works so much better because of that. This is the kind of story that under other writers could easily be seen as ridiculous or over-the-top, but Benjamin Cross manages to make it engaging, tense, and emotional throughout.
Was this review helpful?
This is a story about exploration & the dangers of what might be found.

This was such a fun, scary read.  I love a good creature feature!   The less you know going in be better, but I would recommend this for horror fans, as well as action/adventure readers.

Thank you Netgalley & Matador Books for this e-Arc!
Was this review helpful?
I love a creature feature, and this one does not disappoint.. I really enjoyed it. A tagline I saw for this book was The Relic meets Jurassic Park. I love both of those books and authors. This definitely has a James Rollins/Matthew Reilly vibe to it. 
There is quite a bit of blood and gore and the characters aren't very well developed, but I don't think you need that for stories like this. The writing is a little stilted, but you can tell the author has authority on the subjects. It was a little slow to get in to for me, but once I did it's a fast pace read with tons of action, drama, suspense, interesting history, and screams.
Was this review helpful?
I don’t read a lot of thrillers, but I loved the idea of a mystery in the Arctic and the words “prehistoric ice mummy” really stood out to me in the book blurb, so I was eager to get my hands on this. Unfortunately, it read like a super forgettable action movie with a poor Rotten Tomatoes score. I had to push myself to finish. 

My favorite parts included the incorporation of real history, archaeology and paleontology - I believe the author himself has a background in archaeology.  The setting was fun and the general arc of the plot entertaining, but there were issues with the execution. It was all very convenient how it wrapped up, the pacing went from slowwww to go-go-go, and I hated the silly romances that added nothing to the general story. I also struggled at times figuring out <i>what</i> was happening in certain action scenes, and frequently had to reread sections in order to determine the correct sequence of events. 

While <i>Colony</i> is a different type of book compared to what I normally read, I don’t think it’s warmed me to the thriller genre. 

I voluntarily obtained an eBook version of this book free from Netgalley and The Book Guild in exchange for an honest review!
Was this review helpful?
This was a brilliant book. It was dramatic and thrilling, with lots of emotions. The setting of the book was gripping and made the story sound more plausible. The characters were great
Was this review helpful?
Dr Callum Ross is an archaeologist who has been recruited for a job in the Russian Arctic. There is a natural gas company who are hoping to tap into the underground gas reserves and build a large processing plant in the wilderness. In order to follow strict regulations they must undertake thorough examinations of the landscape and environment to show they will do all in their power to preserve the existing habitat. So Dr Ross is flown out and joined by other environmentalists, paleontologists etc.
During one of his explorations Dr Ross makes the remarkable discovery of an ice mummy. All evidence points to him possibly being a legendary figure. He sustained some horrific injuries when he died. What could have possibly caused them?
When other members of the expedition start to disappear it is clear that they are not alone on this frozen island. What is hiding in these caves? What could have caused such catastrophic injuries?

I couldn't put this book down. It had my heart racing, my palms sweaty and chills down my spine. There were lots of reveals and twists. It was so exciting to read, I absolutely loved it.
I don't want to talk to much about it incase I give anything away, but the constant feeling of hopelessness, then switching to never giving up, then back to hopelessness.... My poor heart!

I would recommend to someone who loves suspense, horror, monsters, action, blood and gore, explosions and battles. It's a real bum-clencher!
Was this review helpful?
Quite an action-packed ride. Dr. Ross had to overcome so many obstacles in this intense page-turner.  Part espionage,  part archeological, it reads like Indiana Jones meets Jason Bourne.
Was this review helpful?
An unashamed B-movie in book form. Set in the remote arctic environment of Franz Jozef Land, a group of scientists are tasked with conducting an environmental impact assessment in preparation for a new gas pipeline. But they’re not alone on the island...

As a fan of character-rich fiction, I found that the characters here were only developed as far as the plot required. The two female characters, in particular, felt underdeveloped to me, spending much of the action either unconscious or in shock (not that I think I’d cope any differently, but still). This did not sit overly well with my feminist side.

That said, the pace of the plot worked for me, gearing up nicely towards the second half of the book. There is plenty of action, suspense and drama here.

A solid debut novel, recommended to fans of Michael Crichton and Clive Cussler.

I received an ARC from NetGalley and Matador in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
I received an advance reader copy of this book to read in exchange for an honest review via netgalley and the publishers.

Colony is an amazing, edge of your seat horror about Dr Callum Ross and a group of other scientists who are hired to go to Harmsworth Island in Franz Joseph Land far north of the Arctic circle. They are hired by a Russian company who hope to tap into the rich natural gas resources there and as such require an assessment to enable them to do so. 
The main characters are Dr Callum Ross - archaeologist, Dr Darya Lebedev - ecologist, Dan Peterson and Dr Ava Lee - vertebrae palaeontologist.
Something is stalking the visitors to the island and picking them off one by one. This scary creature is just as intelligent as the humans and after sabotage occurs on the trip, the scientists and the Russian soldiers (who were hired to guard the ship and its habitants from harm) are left stranded on the island with nowhere to hide. 
This book was a fantastic roller coaster of a ride and I couldn't put it down. There's many small twists at the end of the book and as I read it I could envision the scenery, the scenes and the action played out like a movie! The suspense was heart racing and the fast pace was fantastic and didn't let the story grow stale.
Benjamin Cross is definitely an author to look out for!
Was this review helpful?