Impact

Impact

by Douglas Preston

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Overview

In Douglas Preston's Impact, Wyman Ford is tapped for a secret expedition to Cambodia... to locate the source of strangely beautiful gemstones that do not appear to be of this world.

A brilliant meteor lights up the Maine coast... and two young women borrow a boat and set out for a distant island to find the impact crater.

A scientist at the National Propulsion Facility discovers an inexplicable source of gamma rays in the outer Solar System. He is found decapitated, the data missing.

High resolution NASA images reveal an unnatural feature hidden in the depths of a crater on Mars... and it appears to have been activated.

Sixty hours and counting.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780765356970
Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
Publication date: 12/28/2010
Series: Wyman Ford Series , #3
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 147,214
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 7.50(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

DOUGLAS PRESTON is the co-author, with Lincoln Child, of the famed Pendergast series of novels, including such bestselling titles as The Book of the Dead and The Wheel of Darkness, as well as The Relic, which was made into a number one box office hit movie. His solo novels include Jennie, made into a movie by Disney, and the New York Times bestsellers Tyrannosaur Canyon and Blasphemy.

Scott Sowers has narrated numerous audiobooks, including books by Douglas Preston, Robert Ludlum, John Hart, and Nicholas Sparks. He was named the 2008 Best Voice in Mystery & Suspense by AudioFile magazine. AudioFile also awarded Sowers an Earphones Award for his narration of John Hart's Down River, writing, "[providing] a bewitching rhythm and pace, expertly capturing and elevating this story of redemption. The combination of Hart and Sowers provides the perfect marriage of prose and voice. Together they enable the book to transcend genre fiction and become something exceptional."

Place of Birth:

Cambridge, Massachusetts

Education:

B.A., Pomona College, 1978

Read an Excerpt

Impact


By Douglas Preston

Tom Doherty Associates

Copyright © 2009 Splendide Mendax, Inc.
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4299-6784-6


CHAPTER 1

APRIL


The trick would be to slip in the side door and get the box up the back stairs without making a sound. The house was two hundred years old and you could hardly take a step without a flurry of creaks and groans. Abbey Straw eased the back door shut and tiptoed across the carpeted hallway to the landing. She could hear her father puttering around the kitchen, Red Sox game low on the radio.

Her arms hugging the box, she set her foot on the first step, eased down her weight, then the next step, and the next. She skipped the fourth step — it shrieked like a banshee — and put her weight on the fifth, the sixth, the seventh. ... And just as she thought she was home free, the step let out a crack like a gunshot, followed by a long, dying groan.

Damn.

"Abbey, what's in the box?"

Her father stood in the doorway of the kitchen, still wearing his orange rubber boots, his checked shirt stained with diesel fuel and lobster bait. His windburned brow was creased with suspicion.

"A telescope."

"A telescope? How much did it cost?"

"I bought it with my own money."

"Great," he said, his gravelly voice tense, "if you never want to go back to college and stay a waitress the rest of your life, blow your paycheck on telescopes."

"Maybe I want to be an astronomer."

"Do you know how much I spent on your college education?"

She turned and continued up the stairs. "You mention it only five times a day."

"When are you going to pull yourself together?"

She slammed the door and stood for a moment in her tiny bedroom, breathing hard. With one arm she swept the bedcover free of stuffed animals, set the box down on the bed. She flopped on the bed next to the box. Why had she been adopted by white people in Maine, the whitest state in the union, in a town where everyone was white? Hadn't there been a black hedge-fund manager somewhere looking for kids? "And where do you come from?" people would ask her, as if she'd recently arrived from Harlem — or Kenya.

She rolled over in bed, gazing at the box. Sliding out her cell phone, she dialed. "Jackie?" she whispered. "Meet me down at the wharf at nine. I got a surprise."

Fifteen minutes later, cradling the telescope, Abbey cracked the bedroom door and listened. Her father was moving about the kitchen, washing the dishes that she was supposed to have washed that morning. The game was still on, turned up, Dave Goucher's obnoxious voice barking out of the cheap radio. By the sound of her father's occasional swearing she figured it must be a Sox–Yankees game. Good, he'd be distracted. She crept down the stairs, stepping gingerly, trying not to creak the old pine boards, slipped past the open kitchen door and in a moment was out and into the street.

Balancing the tripod over her shoulder, she darted past the Anchor Inn toward the town wharf. The harbor was as calm as a millpond, a great sheet of black water stretching to the dim silhouette of Louds Island, the boats lined up by the tide like white ghosts. The peppercan buoy marking the channel at the mouth of the narrow harbor blinked its light, blink, blink, blink. Above, the heavens swirled with phosphorescence.

She angled across the parking lot, past the lobster co-op, and headed onto the wharf. The strong smell of herring bait and seaweed drifted on the damp night air from a stack of old lobster traps at one end of the pier. The lobster joint hadn't opened yet for the summer season and the outdoor picnic tables were still turned up and chained to the railings. Back up the hill she could see the lights of the town and the steeple of the Methodist Church, a black spire against the Milky Way.

"Hey." Jackie stepped out of the shadows, the red glow of a joint bobbing in the dark. "What's that?"

"A telescope." Abbey took the joint and inhaled sharply, with a crackle of burning seeds. She exhaled and handed it back.

"A telescope?" asked Jackie. "What for?"

"What else is there to do around here but look at the stars?"

Jackie grunted. "How much was it?"

"Seven hundred bucks. Got it on eBay, a Celestron six-inch Cassegrain, automatic tracking, a camera and everything."

A low whistle. "You must be getting some good tips over at the Landing."

"They love me over there. I couldn't get bigger tips if I was giving out blow jobs."

Jackie burst out laughing, wheezing smoke and coughing. She passed the joint back and Abbey took another long hit.

"Randy's getting out of Maine State," said Jackie, lowering her voice.

"Oh God. Randy can sit on a lobster buoy and rotate five times."

Jackie muffled a laugh.

"What a night," Abbey said, staring at the immense bowl of stars. "Let's take some pictures."

"In the dark?"

Abbey looked over to see if she was kidding, but there was no wry smile on those lips. She felt a wave of affection for her dim, lovable friend. "Believe it or not," Abbey said, "telescopes work better in the dark."

"Right. That was stupid." Jackie knocked on her own head. "Hello?"

They walked out to the end of the pier. Abbey set up the tripod, making sure it was anchored on the wood planking. She could see Orion hanging low in the sky and aimed the telescope in that direction. Using the computer starfinder attached to the telescope, she punched in a preset location. With a whirring of worm-gears, the telescope slewed around to point at a patch at the bottom of Orion's sword.

"What're we going to look at?"

"The Andromeda Galaxy."

Abbey peered into the eyepiece and the galaxy sprang into view, a glowing maelstrom of five hundred billion stars. She felt her throat constricting with the thought of the immensity of it, and her own smallness.

"Lemme see," said Jackie, sweeping back her long, unruly hair.

Abbey stepped back and silently offered her the eyepiece. Jackie fitted her eye to it. "How far away is it?"

"Two and a quarter million light-years."

Jackie stared for a while in silence, then stood up. "Think there's life out there?"

"Of course."

Abbey adjusted the telescope, zooming out, increasing its field of view, until most of Orion's sword was visible. Andromeda had shrunk into a little fuzz-ball. She pressed the cable release and heard the faint click as the shutter opened. It would be a twenty-minute time exposure.

A faint breeze came from the ocean, clanking the rigging of a fishing boat, and all the boats in the harbor swung in unison. It felt like the first breath of a storm, despite the dead calm. An invisible loon called from the water and was answered by another one, far away.

"Time for another doobie." Jackie began rolling a joint, licked it, and put it in her mouth. A click and flare of the lighter illuminated her face, her pale, freckled skin, green Irish eyes, and black hair.

Abbey saw the sudden light before she saw the thing itself. It came from behind the church, the harbor instantly as bright as day; it streaked across the sky in utter silence, like a ghost, and then an immense sonic boom shook the pier, followed by a blast-furnace roar as the thing blazed over the ocean at incredible speed, disappearing behind Louds Island. There was a final flash of light followed by a cannonade of thunder, rolling away over the ocean distances into silence.

Behind her, up in the town, dogs began barking hysterically.

"What the fuck?" Jackie said.

Abbey could see the whole town coming out of their houses and gathering in the streets. "Get rid of the pot," she hissed.

The road up the hill was filling with people, jabbering away, voices raised in excitement and alarm. They began moving down toward the piers, flashlights flickering, arms pointing skyward. This was the biggest thing that had happened in Round Pond, Maine, since a stray cannonball went through the roof of the Congregational Church in the War of 1812.

Suddenly Abbey remembered her telescope. The shutter was open and still taking a picture. With a trembling hand she found the shutter release and clicked it off. A moment later the image popped up on the telescope's small LCD screen.

"Oh my God." The thing had streaked through the center of the image, a brilliant slash of white among a scattering of stars.

"It ruined your picture," said Jackie, peering over her shoulder.

"Are you kidding? It made the picture!"

CHAPTER 2

The next morning, Abbey shoved through the door of the Cupboard Café with a stack of newspapers under her arm. The cheerful log-cabin diner with its checkered curtains and marble tables was almost empty, but she found Jackie sitting in her usual place in the corner, drinking coffee. A damp morning fog pressed against the windowpanes.

She hustled over and slapped The New York Times down on the table, exposing the front-page article below the fold.


Meteor Lights up Maine Coast

Portland, Maine — At 9:44 p.m. a large meteor streaked across the skies of Maine, creating one of the most brilliant meteor displays seen over New England in decades. Witnesses from as far as Boston and Nova Scotia reported seeing the spectacular fireball. Residents of Midcoast Maine heard sonic booms.

Data from a meteoroid tracking system at the University of Maine, Orono, indicated that the meteor was several times brighter than the full moon and may have weighed as much as fifty tons when it entered the Earth's atmosphere. The single track reported by witnesses suggests the meteorite was of the iron-nickel type, as those are the least likely to break up in flight, rather than the more common stony-iron or chondritic type. Its speed, tracking scientists estimated, was 48 kilometers per second or about 100,000 miles per hour — thirty times faster than a typical rifle bullet.

Dr. Stephen Chickering, professor of planetary geology at Boston University, said: "This isn't a typical fireball. It's the brightest and biggest meteor seen on the East Coast in decades. The trajectory took it out to sea, where it landed in the ocean."

He also explained that its journey through the atmosphere would have vaporized most of its mass. The final object that struck the ocean, he said, probably weighed less than a hundred pounds.


Abbey broke off and grinned at Jackie. "You read that? It landed in the ocean. That's what all the papers are saying." She settled back and crossed her arms, enjoying Jackie's wondering look.

"Okay," said Jackie, "I can see you've got something on your mind."

Abbey lowered her voice. "We're going to be rich."

Jackie rolled her eyes theatrically. "I've heard that before."

"This time I'm not kidding." Abbey looked around. She slid a piece of paper out of her pocket and unfolded it on the table.

"What's that?"

"It's the data printout of GoMOOS Weather Buoy 44032, between 4:40 and 5:40 GMT. That's the instrument buoy out beyond Weber Sunken Ledge."

Jackie stared at it, crunching her freckled brow. "I know it."

"Look at the wave heights. Dead calm. No change."

"So?"

"A hundred-pound meteorite slams into the ocean at a hundred thousand miles an hour and doesn't make waves?"

Jackie shrugged. "So if it didn't land in the ocean, where did it land?"

Abbey leaned forward, clasped her hands, her voice dropping to a hiss, her face flushing with triumph. "On an island."

"So?"

"So, we borrow my father's boat, search those islands, and get that meteorite."

"Borrow? You mean steal. Your father would never let you borrow his boat."

"Borrow, steal, expropriate, whatever."

Jackie's face darkened. "Please, not another wild-goose chase. Remember when we went looking for Dixie Bull's treasure? And how we got in trouble digging in the Indian mounds?"

"We were just kids then."

"There are dozens of islands out there in Muscongus Bay, tens of thousands of acres to cover. You'd never search them all."

"We don't have to. Because I've got this." She pulled out the photograph of the meteor and laid it on top of a chart of Muscongus Bay. "With the photo, you can extrapolate a line to the horizon and then draw a second line from that point to where the photo was taken. The meteorite must have landed somewhere along that second line."

"I'll take your word for it."

Abbey pushed the chart toward her. "There's the line." Her finger stabbed a line she had penciled across the chart. "Look. It intersects just five islands."

The waitress approached with two enormous pecan sticky buns. Abbey quickly covered up the chart and photograph and sat back with a smile. "Hey, thanks."

When the waitress had gone, Abbey uncovered the chart. "That's it. The meteorite is on one of these islands." Her finger thumped on each one in turn as she named it: "Louds, Marsh, Ripp, Egg Rock, and Shark. We could search them in less than a week."

"When? Now?"

"We have to wait til the end of May, when my father'll be out of town."

Jackie crossed her arms. "What the hell we gonna do with a meteorite?"

"Sell it."

Jackie stared. "It's worth something?"

"Quarter million, half a million. That's all."

"You're shitting me."

Abbey shook her head. "I checked prices on eBay, talked to a meteorite dealer."

Jackie leaned back, a grin slowly spreading over her freckled face. "I'm in."

CHAPTER 3

MAY


Dolores Muñoz climbed the stone steps to the professor's bungalow in Glendale, California, and rested a moment on the porch, her large bosom heaving, before inserting the key. The scrape of the key sounding in the lock, she knew, would trigger an explosion of yapping as Stamp, the professor's Jack Russell terrier, went berserk at her arrival. As soon as she opened the door the ball of fur would shoot out like a bullet, barking furiously, whirling about the tiny lawn as if to clear it of wild beasts and criminals. And then he would make his rounds, lifting his little leg on each sad bush and dead flower. Finally, his duty done, he would rush over, lie down in front of her, and roll on his back, paws folded, tongue hanging out, ready for his morning scratch.

Dolores Muñoz loved that dog.

With a faint smile of anticipation she inserted the key in the lock, giving it a little rattle and waiting for the eruption of excitement.

Nothing.

She paused, listening, and then turned the key, expecting joyful barking at any moment. Still it did not come. Puzzled, she stepped into a small entryway. The first thing she noticed was that the side-table drawer was open, envelopes scattered on the floor.

"Professor?" she called out, her voice hollow, and then, "Stamp?"

No answer. Lately the professor had been a later and later riser. He was one of those types who drank a lot of wine with dinner and snifters of brandy afterward and it had been getting worse, especially after he stopped going to work. And then there were the women. Dolores was no prude and she wouldn't have minded if it was the same girl. But it never was, and sometimes they were ten, twenty years younger than he was. Still, the professor was a fine, fit man in the prime of life who spoke excellent Spanish to her using the Usted form, which she appreciated.

"Stamp?"

Maybe they had gone out for a walk. She moved into the front hall and peered toward the living room, suddenly drawing in her breath. Papers and books were scattered over the floor, a lamp was overturned, and the far set of bookshelves had been swept free, the books lying in jumbled heaps below.

"Professor!"

The full horror of it sank in. The professor's car was in the driveway and he must be at home — why didn't he answer? And where was Stamp? Almost without thinking, her plump hand fumbled the cell phone out of her green housedress to dial 911. She stared at the keypad, unable to press in the numbers. Was this really the kind of thing she should get involved in? They would come and take down her name and address and check her out and the next thing she knew, she would be deported to El Salvador. Even if she called anonymously from her cell, they would still track her down as a witness to ... she refused to complete the thought.

A feeling of terror and uncertainty seized her. The professor could be upstairs, robbed, beaten, injured, maybe dying. And Stamp, what did they do to Stamp?

Panic took hold. She stared about wildly, breathing heavily, her large bosom heaving. She felt tears spring into her eyes. She had to do something, she had to call the police, she couldn't just walk out — what was she thinking? He might be hurt, dying. She had to at least look around, see if he needed help, try to figure out what to do.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Impact by Douglas Preston. Copyright © 2009 Splendide Mendax, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Tom Doherty Associates.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Impact 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 298 reviews.
Grandpa More than 1 year ago
Strangely beautiful, but, dangerous gemstones begin appearing from blackmarket sources. Two young women, one the daughter of a Lobster fisherman, her dad, a disgruntled fired employee from the National Propulsion Facility and a semi-retired CIA oprative empark of a race to discover the source of these gemstones, and find a mind blowing answer. The end is thoroughly satisfying as are most of Prestons storys. Though sorter than I like, this book has it all, the hook, the action, good character depth, and a rip roaring end. Get this one for a great weekend rhomp.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One word sums up this book "Disappointment". The story was not that original, the characters were not well defined and you did not get invested in them. The plot was all over the place and worst of all the ending was a huge letdown. I got this e-book awhile ago when the price was $4.00 less so please save your money when it is $13.00 now. This is one you defiantly should skip.
NandoFL More than 1 year ago
This is not your average Preston adventure. While the caracters are interesting, the story is too far fetched to have any credibility, needed to mantain interest. Overall...a bit disappointing.
KenCady More than 1 year ago
This is the worst novel by a major author I have read in my adult life. The plot is ludicrous, but, even if it wasn't, the plotline is so clunky and the dialog so bad that even a B movie director couldn't fix it up. Sometimes a reader can suspend belief to go along with an author's fantasy, but here the suspension is simply the rules of literature.
am-10_gine More than 1 year ago
Terrible book. Great premise. Mysterious source of gamma rays from Mars is shooting pot shots at earth. Problem solved by marijuana smoking, booze drinking 20 year old drop out from Princeton with convoluted plot and unrealistic scenarios. One has to suffer through to see what happens at the end - a very stupid ending. This book is burnable.
TaylaurErin More than 1 year ago
Although many of my favorite books by Douglas Preston are co-authored with Lincoln Child, his recent solo book, Impact, was surprisingly excellent. Using the main character Wyman Ford, also from some of his other non-related books, you travel across the world and back studying what appears to be a "strange" meteor. I am not often completely surprised by the twists in his books, but one in this book really hooked me and left me dumbfounded. Although somewhat far-fetched, his plot and the questions it brings up are exceedingly intriguing and leave you wondering what really might be "out there." This book is a good choice for those who like his writing style and scientific subject matter, and wont leave you disappointed.
harstan More than 1 year ago
College dropout turned waitress and amateur astronomer Abbey Straw believes she and her BFF Jackie saw a meteor crash near the Maine coast where she lives. The two young females agree to search the nearby barrier islands as Abbey using wave theory believes the meteor struck land. The plan is to sell the finds on E-Bay. Meanwhile the president's science adviser Stanton Lockwood III asks former CIA filed operative Wyman Ford to investigate the sudden flooding of radioactive gemstones in Cambodia. At about the same time Stanton makes his request that seems more like an order to Wyman,on the West Coast, just before he is murdered Professor Jason Freeman sends a classified file containing proof of abnormal gamma ray activity on Mars to mission technician Mark Corso of the National Propulsion Facility. Soon these three diverse scenarios converge with sixty hours to countdown impact. This is an engaging science fiction thriller that hooks the audience from the moment Wyman begins his inquiry and never slows down as California, Maine and Cambodia hook up. The story line is fast-paced as fans will welcome the return of Wyman (see Blasphemy), but in many ways the brilliant slacker with her naive innocence makes the tale fresh. Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A little research might be in order here. Right at the beginning the author has an amature astronomer and her friend looking at the Andromeda galaxy at the tip of Orion's sword! Really? Since when was the Andromeda galaxy moved to the constellation of Orion. It used to be in the constellation of (are you ready for this?) Andromeda! I've just started this book and I hope the rest of the "facts" arn't as badly mangled as this one. This tends to spoil all subsequent credability of events. This author usually does a much better job in this regard and I have enjoyed many of his other books.
LifeOutYonder More than 1 year ago
WOW! Preston did it all in this page turner. Entertains, makes you think, scares the reader with potential that's so realistic it could happen...or be happening as you read!! Conspiracy theory, ancient aliens, puzzles, maritime intrigue in the Maine islands..assassin, plotters, action supreme..just everything a thinking reader could possibly ask for and then some. I am a writer and a fan of books that have a variety of subject matter that twists around a plot and keep you guessing. Best book in a long time. I am a Preston fan for sure. Don't pass this one up! I hope he does more like this one. Life Beyond
Mary O'Hara More than 1 year ago
Kept me reading it until finished.
Winston Ruggiero More than 1 year ago
Some part were hard to put down. Overall enjoyable plot however the ending was a bit of a letdown.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The author once again creates a thriller, which gives us all a warning about what first contact with an alien race may be like. Rather than the usual science fiction first contact scenarios we are all used to, this poses quite the opposite. The author presents a scenario in which the colonial defenses left behind by another race threatens us humans as a society. I found the book to be a fast read, keeping me way past midnight, but I always found energy to keep on reading. I found the story reminiscent of hard sci fi of the likes of Jack McDevitt or Stephen Baxter, and was a reminder that we may not be as alone as would seem. The book could have used more science, and elaboration on the fermi paradox, but still overall, I think met the goals of the plot. The book does have strong language, dropping the "f-bomb" multiple times per page it seems, so I do not recommend the novel for any but mature readers, if parents have qualms about that. I would recommend reading this book for a book club, and then discussing it, as well as some research papers from Icarus on extraterrestrial intelligence in the galaxy. Should make for some interesting discussion topics.
cataryna on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'm a huge fan of Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, together or separate so when I saw this book on the shelves I immediately picked it up. I knew I had something in hand that would keep my attention and would be enjoyable to read. For the most part that was the case. However, I was disappointed at the end of it. I thought the last 100 pages or so were very rushed and actually thought I'd maybe missed something and went back and reread about 25 pages pages. The very ending was rather boring, simple, and predictable. I expected something better from Douglas Preston.
kpdriscoll on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I was due for an enjoyable novel. Great suspense and nicely written, this was hard to put down. The audio book's narration was excellent and there was enough good science in it that Wikipedia did not contradict it or make the overall storyline impossible. I enjoy the bigger picture of life and the universe that the author makes us consider via the plot, even if some of the travails and victories of the characters are against the odds and written as movie-rights bait.
mrodger on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
After reading over the previous reviews, I must agree on most of their points. (As you can see from my list, I'm a fan of Preston and Child, singly or together). My overall impression of this book was that I thought the alien connection was handled better than Carl Sagan did it in Contact. Admittedly, I read that some time ago, but the impression remained that it was a heavy-handed treatment of the subject. This book is a romp through the subject, a good read, and a satisfying conclusion.
bcquinnsmom on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have bought and read every single book this author has published, and those that he wrote with Lincoln Child. I have to say that this one was not the best in the bunch ... I was so disappointed. I know, I know, I'm once again swimming against the tide of people who really loved this book, but, well, that's just how it is. As the story begins, two things are going on. First, A young woman, Abbey Straw, is out with her friend watching the heavens at night and the sky lights up over Maine's coast. Abbey believes that what just landed was a meteoroid (not meteorite)and after checking e-bay, she realizes that there are people who collect these things and will pay her a hefty chunk of cash. She does some research, realizes the thing did not land in the ocean as previously thought, and off she and Jackie go in search of their fortune. Second, a young scientist at NPF (the National Propulsion Facility) in Pasadena receives a hard drive in the mail from a now-dead associate. As the action gets going, CIA operative Wyman Ford (a continuing character in Preston's novels) is asked by the President's science advisor to go to Cambodia and locate the source of some radioactive gems that have been coming into the country lately, worried about the possibility that the radioactivity might possibly fall into the hands of terrorists. Preston proceeds to interweave all three stories into one big one, and the action doesn't let up until the end.Normally, I can sit back and enjoy a bit of far-fetched escape reading, one of my guilty pleasures in reading life, but this one was way too over the top plotwise and the ending was just silly. Many of the action scenes were just highly implausible, and overall I felt like this story was flat. Normally with this kind of thing, I can at least get into it a little, but not this time. But then again, everyone else who's written a review seems to really like it, using superlative adjectives to describe it, so maybe it's just me.
pharrm on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Loved the bood. Full of suspense and fast paced. Several story lines blend together to a brilliant end. An impact hits Cambodia and Maine with different results. In Maine, a young girl drawn to astronomy seeks to find the meteor that hits near her home town. Her brave friend joins her adventure; At the same time, Wyman Ford heads at his government's request to seek out the source of radiation in Cambodia. What he finds shocks him.In Pasadena at the Jet Propulsion Lab, a scientist is dead and his finding are passed on to a protoge' who finds the truth of the impact from NASA photos on the secreted data. He passionately tries to convince his superiors that the data is ominous.All three events converge into a great end. Read it.
edjane on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I don't have many requirements for any book in the thriller genre. However, I have some expectations: (1) I want to be entertained; (2) The science should be realistic enough that, even if improbable, I can still suspend my belief to enjoy the story; (3) Interesting characters always a plus. It should be easy for an author to achieve? In reality, I rarely get all three of my wishes.Impact certainly has fulfilled two and a half of my expectations. Fast paced, it doesn't let up until the last page. I was afraid that Preston wouldn't be able to tie all the knots in the end to my satisfaction, but he was able to do just that. While the plot is very improbable (strange matter traversing through the planet and alien weapons) there were other elements (government agents conspiring to keep secrets, foreign shadow agents trying to undermine US, a hit man) that brought it back to the more 'believable' realm and made the plot very entertaining. The science descriptions were easy to follow and did not feel like out of a college text book. I am not an astronomer, so I can't say how accurate the scientific information described, but I was able to follow it and didn't let it interfere with my enjoyment of the story. The character development (as expected for this genre) is small. However, Mr. Preston at least made the protagonists likely enough that I cared to know their fate.If you are looking for an entertain read, I would recommend Impact.
readinggeek451 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What do meteorites, radioactive gems, and stolen classified information have in common? There's a lot of running around, not to mention a murderous druggie and a paid assassin, but the threads do finally converge into a satisfying conclusion. Preston's novels with Lincoln Child are generally better, but this is as good as his other solo novels.
suetu on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Douglas Preston¿s homage to H.G. Wells?Doug Preston¿s latest solo effort starts with a bang¿literally¿in the form of a meteoroid impact off the coast of Maine. And that¿s where the juggling begins. Preston¿s juggling three narrative threads. The first involves two young girls who go in search of the fallen meteoroid. They¿re after big bucks on Ebay and maybe a little adventure. They get a hell of a lot more than they bargained for.The second thread involves a researcher with the Mars Mapping Orbiter (MMO) project at the National Propulsion Facility (NPF, but you might as well think JPL). Mark Corso has just been promoted. In fact, he¿s taken the position of his disgraced mentor, Jason Freeman, who was fired and then murdered in a random home invasion. (Uh huh.) A few days after Dr. Freeman¿s death, Mark receives a package with a stolen hard drive full of very classified, very illegal data. He can NOT have this data! He¿s got to destroy the thing, forget he ever saw it¿. but he can¿t help looking to see what¿s on it first. And so Mark Corso gets sucked into what may be the biggest, most dangerous scientific discovery of all time. And possibly the biggest cover up.And finally, the third thread involves our old friend Wyman Ford. (Don¿t worry if you haven¿t read his previous adventures. This book is essentially a stand alone. There¿s not a thing you need to know from previous books that will effect your reading of this one.) Ford¿s a former CIA operative, a freelancer now, and he¿s just been offered a job. There have been some very unusual gems showing up for sale in Asia. They¿re strikingly beautiful, but notably unlike anything anyone¿s seen before. And potentially quite dangerous. Ford is tasked with finding the source of the stones and reporting back. One of the easier assignments he¿s taken in recent years. (Uh huh.)Preston does a good job of keeping all his balls up in the air. This 368-page book has an even 100 chapters. You can do the math. That¿s a whole bunch of short, fast-paced chapters. Almost every one of them ends on a hook, making the novel virtually impossible to put down. Preston places his characters in every type of peril you can imagine, from the everyday unpleasantness of a strung out drug addict, to an extraordinary threat to all life on earth. Simply put, Preston goes all out with this one.Is some of it ridiculous? Sure. I mean, what waitress knows that much about astrophysics? But then again, I¿M a college drop-out that knows a hell of a lot about physics. It could happen. Actually, now that I try to think of examples of ridiculousness, they evade me. My point is, read Impact with a sense of fun. Enjoy it as the thrill ride, and the homage to they greats of science fiction, that it is. If you try to pick it apart, you¿ll be able to find flaws. Just leave it alone and have a good time. Because this book IS a really good time. You¿re going to be holed up inside some snowy weekend this winter. I seriously can¿t imagine a more entertaining way to pass the time.
Adolphogordo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The story of how a young woman saved the Earth.Well written but good only for a Disney teenager movie.
Jarratt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the first three-quarters of this book, but then it just got a little silly. I'm not much into science fiction and this veered too far that way. The cloak and dagger stuff that took up the first half was pretty intriguing, but most of the characters were pretty flat. It seemed like Preston wanted to tell several stories, but unfortunately fell upon the least interesting of the three.While I really enjoyed the movie ¿Independence Day,¿ the last quarter of ¿Impact¿ reminded me of some of the silliness of that movie¿successfully flying a spaceship to the Mother ship; uploading a virus (using a Mac, of course) to the Mother ship; successfully flying back to Earth¿I think "Blasphemy" was a far better book by Preston.
cmeilink on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this recent book from Douglas Preston and read it within a day. Although not the best book I've read from him, it nonetheless kept my interest and kept me turning pages.
Djupstrom on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Impact starts out with three seemingly unrelated story lines, but they all come together in an exciting (yet improbable) plot. The end let me down a bit. It was fairly anti-climactic, but I enjoyed the ride.
mjscott on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
They had to say 4 or 5 times "A civilization/technology that advanced would certainly understand English" in an attempt to convince us of such hooey. Abbey and Jackie great characters, fabulous boat-in-a-storm scenes