Cover Image: Colony

Colony

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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.
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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.
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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!
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this was not what i expected but in the best way. a thriller set in a remote area. it had me on the edge of my seat waiting to see what happened next. will definitely be reading more by this author
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For starters, I will not say that it’s an amazing book from a first time Author, cause even some experienced writers don’t have Mr. Cross storytelling skills. It’s a Techno-Thriller/adventure novel in the purest sense. Think Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park or Preston & Child’s The Ice Limit mixed with a bit of James Rollins and a dash of Matthew Reilly. It is the perfect companion piece with any of these. It works perfectly as a stand-alone but could easily span a trilogy. A five star action-packed, sparkled with humour and twists. I will recommend the heck out of this one and await eagerly the next novel by Benjamin Cross.
I received this copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Colony is a horror story.  It is also a story built around adventures in a land that has hardly been explored.  It is a love story and a story about natural selection run amuck producing a species that is too prepared to be allowed to flourish.  Finally, and most important it is a well researched and well written story that is a prime example of an all nighter and a book that will keep the reader glued to the pages panting to learn just what is going on.
     Callum Ross is a man that has been estranged from his wife and maintaining contact with his son mainly via telephone or by Zoom as he is able.  His ex-wife makes it obvious that she does not consider Callum a good father and would love to completely cancel the relationship.  Callum holds on and intends to take a break from work in order to spend more time with the boy.  Due to an expertise that he has he is invited to spend a few days working with a group of Russian business men who have found a 4000 year old nummy at a remote location on a Russsian island in the arctic. The opportunity to examine the mummy is fascinating and the fact that it is only for a few days makes a good reason for Callum to take on the assignment.
     Of course, the few days stretches out as the find leads to the reason that the mummy was killed 4000 year ago. Callum cannot leave the area as rapidly as he would like to.  He finds a new love among his coworkers and he is terrorized by what has evolved in the area over millennium, and also terrorized by a plot to thwart the efforts of the group set up to survey the find who it seems has someone or something very interested in not allowing the exploration at that point.
     Mr. Cross presents a good reason for another novel utilizing the people and the circumstances to go on, and that would be a welcome situation for the interest created by this book. Let us certainly hope it does become the case and another showcase for a new literary talent emerging.
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Jurassic Park on Ice.  Now that I have your attention I need to admit that I think I have a problem, regular readers may notice that my favourite books of late seem to feature remote islands, snow, ice or a collection of all three.  This one does tick those boxes but it also brings to the table, mummified remains and something carnivorous lurking in the dark.

Callum Ross is a professor specialising in archaeology, he is asked to join a team going to survey the remote Harmsworth Island, the island has been earmarked for it’s potential bounty of natural resources.  Its location is the Arctic circle, Franz Josef Land.  Uninhabited except for its recent residents, a troop of soldiers charged with getting the base ready.

The journey to the island for Callum is uneventful, the ship is luxurious, his fellow passengers are a mix of obnoxious and alluring, he just wants to get there and get the job done so he can go home to his son.  Of course that isn’t going to happen.  On arrival to Harmsworth he discovers a mummified corpse, an ice age man, one who didn’t just drop down and die, this mummy had a little help from something with teeth.

Whilst he is exploring the island unbeknownst to Callum there is a saboteur in his midst, someone who doesn’t want this natural haven drilled to within an inch of his life.  Once they set their plan in action, Callum and his team members find themselves stranded, they also find themselves discovering a new species, one that is is not on any pages of current books.  A creature that has walked straight from the pages of history and its hungry.

I really enjoyed this book, you do have to suspend disbelief, some books can do it well, other books not so much.  This one did it well, if was fun if you overlook the bloodiness that pops up.  It was a great setting, with a good mix of characters and a foe that proves very hard to beat.

If you like your monsters with great big teeth and your islands frozen and remote then you’ll enjoy this book!
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Steven king meets Jurassic park - the perfect horror, sci-fi and crime thriller. Insights a fantastic mix of Wayward Pines fear and morbid curiosity. There are parts of this book that I read and thought “why am I doing this to myself?” Similar to when you watch vague Netflix horror movies alone and spend half of them hidden behind a cushion. Some of the gore in this book was a bit much for me - makes me worry about what is going on inside the authors head! But if you love horror movies in general then it’d be perfect as it’s a very ‘visual’ book - easy to imagine a scene playing out in your head. It’s basically written to become a TV series ! 

I loved it.

There are basically two major plots in this book - the first, a group of eco warriors trying to preserve an uninhabited island in the Arctic; the second, a group of scientists excited to explore an island above Russia that has been the subject of local myths about an ancient monster. The team are fully equipped to explore the fauna, species and geography of the new island - but need to watch their backs a bit more carefully! 

I loved all of the different characters and you can tell that the author has been a scientist / archaeologist as their experiences have made the main character very believable and likeable. The location is eery (mist that reduces visibility) cold and exposed.  It was a long book to read but I read it in a few days and couldn’t put it down! Although I found it very easy to return to and get sucked into the Arctic again when I did absolutely had to take a break. 

All in all, one of the best books I’ve read so far this year! 

Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC in return for an honest review.
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"Colony" by Benjamin Cross is a debut novel - and a fantastically creepy one at that! This book was full of action and suspense and I relished every minute of it. If you are looking for a fun, creepy, thrilling book, look no further! I look forward to reading anything from this author in the future in the same genre. I recommend this to anyone who likes a good horror or thriller or just a good book in general! Don't hesitate - grab this one up - you won't regret it.
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Very awesome thriller! That had me wanting more and didn't want to tend to my wifey\motherly duties! 
But that is life! ;) this book was amazing! I really loved everything about this one!
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Discovery Of A Lifetime.....?
The discovery of a lifetime, on a remote Russian Arctic island, gives Professor of Archeology Callum Ross more than a little grief in this tense, well written suspense. A slow build up leads to an action packed storyline amidst much description and a well crafted cast of characters. Engaging reading.
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This novel is epic.  I would say it combines fantasy drama and apocalyptic fiction into one book. I was absolutely on the edge of my seat until the last page wondering what was going to happen.  I highly recommend this book.
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I will spare you the intimate details of who said what to whom and why as many other reviewers have done this before me, lets say this debut story is very well composed and professionally written with vivid descriptions of both the physical landscape of Franz Josef Land, a Russian archipelago located in the Arctic Ocean composed of 192 islands over 80% covered in snow and Ice and the character's and prehistoric dinosaurs (yes I did  say this). Ben uses his background in archaeology to good effect bringing an authenticity to this story. Well plotted with depth to the story 'lost world' with 'Jurassic Park' overtones but no cuddly 'frozen', read with a hot drink and fur lined slippers to keep you warm.
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I undoubtedly will be reading more books by Benjamin Cross in the future, his archaeology past really helps elevate the atmosphere and writing of this debut novel. 

Colony is definitely calling for all lovers of The Thing to read, because who doesn't love a high tension Antarctica whodunit/creature feature? When you get to the action and the plot starts unravelling, you will not be able to put it down. 

Where my problem lies is probably with our introduction to the story. While I love explosive endings where everything goes berserk it did take me a little bit to get into. I found myself picking it up and down a lot during the first quarter ish, and I think that problem could've been solved with a faster introduction to the bunker and other characters so we could jump right in immediately. But once you cross that mark, it goes absolutely insane from there on out.

Like I said, a lot of opportunity for future books with this author. With a similar concept to Colony but with a few more developed characters and a faster introduction it would be an easy five stars.
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One of my favourite thriller tropes is dinosaurs who have somehow survived extinction events and are seriously unhappy about humans turning up to ruin their shit. This colony is pissed. They're happily living on their Arctic island, having baby monsters and generally living their best lives, when a whole bunch of greedy men decide to exploit the natural resources of the neighbourhood. Needless to say, there's lots of screaming and dying, which was lovely.

On the negative side, there's perhaps a slight stiltedness to the writing, a few things that don't quite gel, some scenes which could have been shown but weren't. Plus, the author kills something which should never be killed in fiction. That lost him a whole point.

Even so, Benjamin Cross author is one to watch. I'd pick up whatever he writes next with no hesitation. 

ARC via Netgalley
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Well I was all in to this but then I had to go to bed and the second half didn't hold my attention the next day. I liked the creatures and the myths mentioned within the book. I almost cried when they got the dog. That wasn't fair. The nest was a good part. The deaths were gory and the mystery of it all was good. I was on tender hooks at parts but other parts just dragged for me.
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Thanks to Matador for providing pre-access to this book! Personally, I liked it because there are elements of horror, thriller, and spy genre. The author seems to understand archeology and this is one of the advantages of the book - a team of scientists who go on a mission, but there is also a conspiracy against them. In addition to the conspiracy, they will have other problems that they did not expect at all. 

I like that the book pays attention to the climate, to politics - it makes references to the Arctic Council and the race for influence in this new geopolitical region, the Arctic. I think it could be a good film adaptation, to be honest. 

I will definitely want to read more from the author. The only thing I would like to see more is the development of the characters - in the book, the characters are developed as much as necessary for the development of the plot.
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That was quite the adventure!  It's puts me in mind of Jurassic Park but situate it in the  stark arctic landscape and boom an engaging, thrill ride of a novel.  It was rich in descriptive action and gore making it a engrossing read for the creature feature audience.  Excellent read.

Thank you netgalley for the arc
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383 pages

5 stars

What is going on on Harmsworth Island? Quite a lot it seems. 

Harmsworth is located in the Russian part of the Arctic off of Franz Josef Land. A Russian oil and gas magnate named Volkov wants to drill for gas and agrees to a environmental survey while his rigs are being constructed. He has a wide variety of experts in archeology, fauna and flora and so on invited aboard his large ship that is anchored of the island. 

The scientists are ferried to and from the island by helicopter. There is also a crack military unit based on the island ostensibly to clean up an old abandoned research station. They are led by a very brave soldier named Koikov.

Scottish Dr. Callum Ross, an archeologist, is there to replace a good friend who is ill. There is also Darya, a Russian scientist, and Peterson who is an American scientist. There are many, many other scientists and techs aboard as well. Lungkaju is a native man who acts as a guide and protector when the scientists visit the island.

But, there is also another life form on the island...

I could say all kinds of cliché things about this book: “thrill ride, action-packed.” and so on, but that still wouldn't do it justice. This fantastic book is a reader's dream. The characters are very real. We learn enough about the protagonists to get to know them, but not so much that it detracts from the story. The island was described beautifully; the reader is transported to the site. It has all the things I have a deep interest in such as archeology, Antarctica, creatures and real people. This is a wonderful debut novel. Please, keep them coming Mr. Cross! 

I want to thank NetGalley and The Book Guild for forwarding to me a copy of this absolutely wonderful debut novel for me to read, enjoy and review. The opinions expressed here are my own.
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ARC provided by NetGalley for an Honest Review 
4.5 Stars
Visiting the Arctic is a perilous task all on its own. When prehistoric beings are thrown into the mix that against all odds have managed to thrive and survive, you’re in for one hell of a cold and bloody adventure. For this being the author's first book l really enjoyed myself. I don't have the highest standards when it comes to fact checking my fiction so I can't attest to the believability of all the ‘monsters’ in the book however all the creative liberties the author took worked for me. Early on I struggled a bit with so many characters but as the book went on and they were killed off one by one it mattered little who they were. 😳🤫 I was worried what the human connection would be in the end because let’s be honest, there usually always is one, sometimes even scarier than that of any monster. And so I’m happy to report this at least wasn’t some military ploy to weaponize the creatures or even the sending in of scape goats to scrutinize the situation. In fact it seems like no one including the military had a clue these beings even existed. Which is the one thing I questioned in the book since there was at one time a military base on the island, now abandoned and barely standing. There is of course a bigger picture going on that brings along its own obstacles but nothing to deter from the core of the story and the fight for survival. The book is told in multiple POVs but mostly that of the MC & archaeologist Callum whose addition to the exploratory team is a last minute addition. Poor him. Together he and a group of fellow scientists will go through many extremes from joy at the discovery of a lifetime to utter desperation as they fight for their very lives. If one thing is made abundantly clear, the mist is a sign of impending doom and one only the lucky will survive. On an abandoned island in the middle of the Arctic though, there’s nowhere to run and even less places to hide. Really fascinating thrill ride and I’ll be eager to see what else the author has in store for us in the future.
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