Audiobook Review: The King of Plagues by Jonathan Maberry

17 06 2011

The King of Plagues by Jonathan Maberry

Read by Ray Porter

Blackstone Audio

Genre: Thriller

Quick Thoughts: The third Joe Ledger novel starts with a literal bang and never lets up. The incredibly terrifying plot is handled perfectly by narrator Ray Porter, who totally encompasses the role of DMS agent Joe Ledger.

Grade: A

I think Jonathan Maberry is trying to kill me. OK, maybe not me specifically, but it seems with each book, the terrorist attacks, and general mayhem of Joe Ledger’s world just keeps getting closer to home. In Patient Zero, fundamentalist try to unleash a zombie plague in Philadelphia, the city whose suburbs I’ve lived my entire life in. Now, in King of Plagues mercenaries wreak havoc on a Starbucks a mere 10 minutes from my house. What’s next, genetically engineered monkeys on my front steps, I mean, seriously, can’t we send some grief Cleveland’s way. I’m just saying. The King of Plagues is the third book in the Joe Ledger series, and it starts off with a literal bang. Ledger is pulled out of his self imposed exile to investigate the bombing of The Royal London Hospital. This attack, which leads to nearly 4,000 casualties, is the type of tragedy that a good thriller ends with the good guys preventing. Yet, in The King of Plagues, Maberry starts with the successful tragedy, sending notice right away that this isn’t going to be an easy day in the life of Captain Joe Ledger.

In Joe Ledger, Maberry has created one of the most intriguing modern day heroes in fiction. Ledger isn’t a superman. Sure, when the battle is brought to him, he usually finds a way to wind, no matter what the odds, but despite his victories, he never leaves without scares, physical, and otherwise. What truly has made Ledger, perhaps my favorite thriller character is his utter humanness. Some author’s give lip service to how hard it is to take a human life, and how hard the life of taking down evil-doers is, yet, in Ledger, you feel the karmic scares, and sense his heartbreak with each horrible thing he must do. In the King of Plagues, Ledger is again battling those who would do harm on a global scale. The scenario dreamt up by Maberry is terrifying, using what is best about humankind to aid in evil of a massive scale.  Again, Maberry offers well choreographed action that plays out in your mind in more crisp detail than most action movies, each step is deliberate, with no wasted movement, or unnecessary clutter. I for one was wondering how Mayberry would top his previous two Joe Ledger novels, yet I knew right away that Maberry was bringing his ‘A’ game when you find out that Joe Ledger now has a dog. I mean, all the awesomeness of Patient Zero and The Dragon Factory, plus a kick ass dog. That’s off the chart awesome with all the fixin’s.

You only need to listen to the first 15 minutes, or the last 15 minutes of the audiobook to see how much Ray Porter has encompassed the character of Joe Ledger. Porter’s reading of Ledger is so real, so perfect that it’s almost scary. With each character, Porter not only creates a voice and accent, but a specific cadence and confidence in speech. With each sigh, deep breath and awkward pause you can hear Ledger’s doubts, and feel his pain, yet, with Mr. Church, Porter comes at you rapid fire, as if each second he spends talking heightens the chances of the world coming to an end. Porter adds this level of detail to every character, no matter how large or small. It’s a rare treat to find a narrator so suited for a role. For fans of thrillers with a science fiction bent, you can’t do much better than the team of Maberry and Porter.

Note: A special thanks to the kind people at Blackstone Audio for providing me with a copy of The King of Plagues. You can purchase this audiobook direct from their site: BlackstoneAudio.com

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4 responses

17 06 2011
Lena

Great review, I thought it was funny and witty. Maybe you should write the author and tell him to geographically write about some other place. Would be terrible to go to Starbucks and see zombies fighting mercenaries with monkeys on their shoulder.

15 12 2011
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[…] King of Plagues by Jonathan Maberry Share this:Share on Tumblr Pin ItEmailDiggLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

23 09 2013
Franklin DeSandro

Ray Porter reads this audiobook like he is double parked. I thought he did a great job with Ledger and Church in both Patient Zero and the Dragon Factory. However I thought it was an entirely different narrator I was listening to for King of Plagues. The book is great but I have no idea why Church has a Boston accent all of a sudden. The pacing of the other audiobooks was great but he speaks so fast that it is hard to discern if he has changed characters. I am very disappointed in the reading of this. So much so that I might read the book instead of listening to the audiobook. I just want narrators to be true to their characters and stay consistent. I remember reading the gunslinger series and the original narrator was almost killed and could not read the other books in the series. It totally changed the series and characters for me.

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