Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Review by JD: Primitive by Mark Nykanen


Review written by John and posted by Shellie.

  • Primitive
  • by Mark Nykanen
  • ISBN: 978-0-9821756-4-4
  • Pages 384: paperback
  • Bell Bridge Books, 2009
  • Genre: Thriller

Sonya Adams is a reasonably successful model in her early forties, who has a tremendously difficult relationship with her daughter, Darcy. Things had been OK until Darcy spent her summer vacation with her estranged father when she was fifteen. Ever since she returned from that vacation the relationship between mother and daughter has been fractured and unpleasant, and Darcy has rebelled in every way imaginable.

Now, eight years later, they are spending a short time together on Darcy’s birthday and she has things she wants to share with her mom. But unfortunately Sonya has received a last-minute modeling assignment that she felt she couldn’t turn down, and has to dash to the airport before Darcy is able to open up. A lot will happen before they see each other again.

The assignment is a ruse and Sonya is kidnapped. She is taken on a long and difficult journey, culminating in a three-hour dog sled ride through remote wintry forests that drops the off in a strange and primitive camp. It turns out that the camp is run by extremist eco warriors. Through their lifestyle they have turned their backs on the modern world, but they have found out that the world is in much greater danger from global warming than people have been led to believe – and the CIA and some other government agencies are working hard to keep the truth hidden.

Sonya’s kidnap is part of a plan to grab the attention of as many people as possible, so that when the group starts to share the shocking truth about what is happening, they will have a huge audience. And while their lifestyle may be primitive, they use the full power of the internet to disseminate information and to reach countless millions of people.

Darcy fears for her mom’s life and she dives into a shadowy underground network of activist groups in order to try and locate her. Equally shadowy government forces will stop a nothing to prevent the eco warriors from sharing what they know. Meanwhile, Sonya’s attitude towards her captors gradually starts to change, though she remains determined to escape. You’ll have to read the book to find out how it all ends.

I like this book. It is easy to read, exciting and carries some strong messages about government and political inertia even in the face of catastrophic dangers. Although it is essentially a thriller there are quite a few political barbs in here which are targeted at the actions (and sometimes inaction) of government over the last ten years. As a work of fiction it pushes the plot to extremes to make for an exciting story. Sadly some of it is all too believable.

I read a pre-publication galley copy of the book, but it looks like the final published version has a description on the cover that says “Dan Brown meets Al Gore”. Not quite the way I would have described it but you get the picture.

I’d rate this book 3.5 stars.

For Amazon purchasing links as well as publisher’s blurb please see the mini preview for Primitive.

Here is the YouTube book trailer:

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