Colony, by Benjamin Cross

I was offered a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review as part of Blackthorn Book Tours. This review may contain spoilers.

I’ve always loved a good, classic adventure story. As a child, I used to watch The Mummy and Journey to the Centre of the Earth on repeat, wishing I could explore unknown lands and discover lost tombs. With most of the world known now, the genre isn’t quite as popular as it used to be. Colony is an updated addition to the genre, a tale set during a scientific expedition to the Arctic circle. This book reminds me of Jurassic Park in many ways; it has the same thriller/horror vibes that made both the film and the novel international hits.

One of the strengths of Colony was the characters. I was rooting for Calum, our protagonist, the entire way through. I love that he was Scottish (though we all know Nessie’s really a girl!). Another strength was the ramping tension. Cross managed to keep continually increasing the tension with repeated payoffs, so every time the tension broke there was another new and difficult problem to keep me hooked.

Isolation is a common horror trope and it was used incredibly well in Colony. The characters are forced to save themselves. The expanse of the Arctic was a brilliant backdrop. Similarly, the ‘creature feature’ aspect of this novel was super effective because of how it played on the fear of the unknown, while still using a familiar concept. Altogether, it makes a fantastic and well-written novel.

Colony is an excellent book and one of my favourite reads of the year.

About the book

A remote, mist-shrouded island in the Russian Arctic. A team of international scientists are hard at work. Amongst them, Doctor Callum Ross, Professor of Archaeology, makes the discovery of a lifetime: a prehistoric ice mummy, preserved for thousands of years by the sub-zero temperatures. Only, whoever it was didn’t die of natural causes… As Callum races to unravel the mystery, a terror plot leaves him and his colleagues stranded on the island. And they are not alone. Someone – or something – is stalking them. As the arctic mist descends and the death toll rises, Callum finds himself embroiled in a nightmare fight for survival, involving submarines, cyber warfare and Spetsnaz. A secret has awoken on Harmsworth, a secret so ancient it’s been overlooked by time itself. And nothing can prepare Callum for the terror that survives, deep within the island’s heart. An edge-of-your seat action thriller that will appeal to fans of James Rollins, Clive Cussler, Michael Crichton and Clive Cussler.

About the author

Benjamin Cross has an M.Phil. in Landscape Archaeology from the University of Oxford. He’s been lucky enough to explore some of the world’s most spectacular ancient sites; from the temples of Cambodia to the Andean cloud forest cities of Peru; from the burial sites of the Tibetan plateau to the Maori strongholds of New Zealand.

He is now an Associate Director of Heritage and Archaeology at a national consultancy and is a member of the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists. Colony is Benjamin’s first novel and it was written whilst he worked full-time as a professional archaeologist.

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