Wilson has crafted many books about problematic issues surrounding robotics and technology, so it’s a bit strange that he is writing about the world of micro-organisms and viruses. But his scientific skills and background play perfectly into the narrative. He’s able to convey complex scenarios and situations and make them understandable to the non-scientist, something the late Crichton had a gift for as well. Wilson’s stellar cast of characters makes the story more than just a series of events but a tale that carries weight ... The structure of the novel reads as if the reader has been granted access to a top-secret file that provides an overview of the incident, which follows the exact layout of Crichton’s classic novel. Wilson invokes the best of that story, and updates everything with terrific flair.
Wilson takes one of Crichton’s most durable story structures—a group of specialists ventures into the unknown—and works numerous variations, some small, some devastatingly large, on the theme. The story’s premise (the justification for the existence of this sequel) is rigorously developed, and the story deftly blends science, suspense, and character interaction in a way that will be familiar to Crichton’s fans ... As the story progresses, Wilson reveals the hidden history of the past 50 years and the truth about the international space program. Oh, and the glorious final-sentence cliff-hanger is just beautiful. In every way, this is a wonderful sequel to a classic novel, written in the spirit of Crichton but in Wilson’s own powerful voice. Terrific.
There’s tension at every level, with one totally unexpected event after another, and ever-larger perspectives opening up. The mode of narration makes the events seem much more plausible, with heavy doses of technical detail (including four pages of heavyweight endnotes), and the whole story presented as a retrospective, created after the event from logbooks, reports, interviews, information from drones. All the action is related from the limited viewpoints of the participants, none of whom know the whole story ... Michael Crichton’s own mantra was that science fiction could mature into science, and that’s almost what is happening here. There’s a shock or a cliff-hanger every few pages, all rigorously controlled. Believe it or not, it’s even better than the original.