At the end of Project Eden series opener Sick, Daniel Ash knew the nightmare that had been dodged by the resistance’s victory in preventing a global pandemic was only temporary. After all, the virulent Sage Flu was not a natural phenomenon, but rather a genetically engineered virus produced by a group known as Project Eden, whose mission is to bring about a “reboot” of the human race by killing 99% of the population and starting over with a select group of the best and brightest the world has to offer.
As Exit 9 opens, Ash and his two kids have assumed new identities and are doing their best to have as normal a life as possible given their knowledge that Project Eden still exists. It’s a difficult situation, one which is not made easier when members of the resistance show up on Ash’s doorstep, once again calling upon him for help. The countdown to the day they’ve all been fearing, Implementation Day, has begun.
Now Ash and his team must race against the clock to discover Project Eden’s secret base of operations Bluebird, believed to be located in the extreme northern reaches of Canada inside the Arctic Circle, before the group can unleash its “final solution” on the world.
In Exit 9 author Brett Battles takes the disturbing concept he introduced in Sick, the existence of a group with both the desire and the means to cause the end of humanity, and moves things beyond the “what if” stage. Where the events that unfolded in Sick were ultimately an elaborate dress rehearsal, the plan Project Eden sets into motion in Exit 9 is terrifying in its scope and finality. Even more disturbing than their plan, however, is how absolutely rational Battles has made the members of Project Eden. They are not some mindless cult lead by an out of control fanatic, but rather a group of highly intelligent, highly organized, extremely well funded men and women around the world who have united to pursue a goal they truly believe necessary to ensure the long-term survival of the human race… killing off most of it and starting over.
Battles puts the scope of Project Eden’s plan into perspective by presenting the story from multiple points of view, including those of people at various locations around the world who are involved, sometimes unwittingly, in setting up the mechanization through which the Sage Flu will be unleashed upon the planet. Interspersed with the unfolding of Project Eden are scenes of Ash and his team’s race through the treacherous arctic landscape to locate Bluebird, the one and only place where there may still be an opportunity to derail the group’s plan. And lest you think you know how things turn out, Battles has crafted a doozy of a cliffhanger ending that is definitely open to interpretation. Until we get the next book, that is.
Exit 9 is yet another feather in Brett Battles’s already extremely well-plumaged cap, clearly demonstrating why he’s one of the most exciting authors writing thrillers today.
PS – You don’t have to have read Sick to understand and enjoy Exit 9, though I do think your enjoyment of it will be enhanced if you have.