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The Cobra Event (1997)

The Cobra Event (1997)
3.98 of 5 Votes: 5
0679457143 (ISBN13: 9780679457145)
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The Cobra Event (1997)
The Cobra Event (1997)

About book: CHILLING...My high school biology/chemistry teacher should see me reading a book like this one! She wouldn't believe it. That said, I've never been so good at science or biology and such, which is a shame since I'm interested in that and have always found it fascinating. I was recently interested in plagues and pandemic stuffs, but I stumbled upon this book about biological weapons, and how it was non-fiction and part fiction, a deadly virus named Cobra being the fictional thing. I admit I knew so little about biological/chemical weapons, and probably because I don't live in a country with such institutes or factories dedicated to the investigation of those weapons, or biotechnology. BUT, I think this is a topic everyone should know because it's literally THERE, it's a real threat. It was also interesting how, the book being wrote in the late 90's, it can perfectly fit in today's standards. Of course medicine and technology have evolved A lOT but, if the world is faced with a virus/biowepon like Cobra's, what could we do? I read a few reviews before starting this, and a lot of people said you must have a strong stomache to read it, and I was a bit skeptical at first but oh boy! it does have some pretty graphic images, which makes it great but scary... it evokes a too real scenario. I was worried it would get too technical you know? Like, something only scientists or people with science-knowledge would understand but it was pretty good! It only takes general knowledge on the matter, or nothing a quick google search couldn't do. Preston does explain several things, and I liked that EVEN THOUGH, just like I guessed, things could get a bit boring or not so exciting. I'm mostly talking about the historical part of the book... that gives us insight and background about bioweapons. I was like "oh yeah alright but TAKE ME BACK TO THE COBRA TOPIC WHAT'S HAPPENING I WANT TO KEEP READING ABOUT IT" lol anyways, I understand that the historical part was really neccesary but it's no surprise that I was excited and intrigued with the thriller part of the plot.It really gets to you, and you forget what's fiction or not! Again, the terrible thing about this is that it could happen, that it has already happened... not in a global way but still! Like I said, if we face something like this (even worse than VIH and Ebola) what could we do? And even in the end (view spoiler)[when you'd think that "oh well it all ended nice! a happy ending after all those terrible deaths and the fucked-up threat!!!" but nope... I guess things like this can't ever end well. There must have been some particles left in the air... and now the goddamned rats can host the virus! (was it because of the bomb that exploded at that "underground train station"/tunnel, or because of the rats eating the vagabond's corpse... just like Alice Austen said, it doesn't really matter... we're fucked and that's it) meaning that it would never end, leaving aftermaths. The only thing left to fo, is find a vaccine. (hide spoiler)]

Richard Preston is best known for his nonfiction book The Hot Zone, a horrifying account of the Ebola virus, and other research based books. I was interested in reading his fiction book The Cobra Event. It is a chilling story about what a bioterrorist attack could look like today. Preston also has included in the story some of the history of bioweapons and information regarding bioengineering. If you want to be scared to death by a fiction book that is solidly grounded in fact and almost reads like nonfiction, The Cobra Event will fit that description.The bioweapon used in Preston's The Cobra Event, is a genetically engineered viral brain pox being slowly "tested" on humans by one crazed man. After 2 suspicious deaths in NYC, the CDC sends Dr. Alice Austen to do the autopsy of a 17 year old girl who dies from this virus. The FBI is also called in and the search for what the virus is and who engineered it begins. There are several very vivid descriptions of autopsies and of the symptoms and ultimately the violent behavior the virus causes in humans (seizures, self cannibalism). This is a very gripping story because it is so based on real facts.Ultimately, Richard Preston is a nonfiction writer and he writes like one. This isn't always bad, but it does mean that, for example, when describing his characters, he gives us just the facts. Do not expect lengthy descriptive passages that help develop well rounded characters. He gives us the basic information and then proceeds onto his fictionalized attack and real facts regarding bioweapons. His facts are gripping and the story certainly moves along, but The Cobra Event often reads like an nonfiction account of an event.You'll never look at a runny nose the same way...
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Once again Richard Preston sets out to scare us about the (very real) threat of diseases and viruses that could wipe out a significant portion of the world population. Unlike The Hot Zone: A Terrifying True Story this book is fiction and about what if a virus was altered and used as a weapon, rather than about a natural virus.The first half of this book is great. The slow buildup as the virus starts to be found, the uncertainty of the source or nature of it, the small snippets of real-life background of biological weapon research and development. But once the source starts to be revealed the book really loses its way and degenerates into a generic chase with an inevitable conclusion. Sorry to tell you but the good guys win in the same way they do in every Hollywood blockbuster. Now it's not that I don't want the good guys to win but it was so predictable and cliched it really let the book down. If the authors intent was to scare and educate people on what these viruses can do then he really should have taken it further. The start was great with random people dropping, terrifying symptoms, panic and uncertainty. He should have played that part out a lot longer. Let it creep out into further random parts of the city. The public knowing something but nothing at the same time. And towards the end ramp it up to full blown epidemic. The virus was defeated too easily and it could give people a false sense of security. He should have shown what could really happen if it got loose.An interesting book and one that grips you most of the way it really lost its strength. This book would have been better if the author had been willing to take it further.
Samantha Schumann
I loved this book. It is a great medical mystery. You will love it if you're into that kind of thing. The suspense is incredible. And the mystery. Oh. I never knew what was coming next. I loved all the twists and turns. And I must admit, I loved the gory parts too. I would not recommend this book if you are in any way squeemish. There are some intense passages in which a lot of gory images are presented. Richard Preston does an amazing job of presenting the story. The imagery is incredible. I could just see everything as if it were being played out right in front of me. I often forgot I was reading words on a page. It felt as though I was witnessing everything first hand. I highly recommend this book. It is one of my favorites.
This book is absolutely terrifying. The very real possibility of a bioweapons attack and the potentially massive lethality of an event like this is more frightening than any boogeyman that King or Koontz could conjure up. The book is well-researched, educational, and at times incredibly graphic in its descriptions of the horrific effects of bioweapons on the human body. With the spectre of another terrorist attack in the back of most (if not all) Americans' minds, Preston's pre-9/11 fictional account of a bio weapons attack on US soil takes on a frightening new poignancy in post 9/11 America.
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