Jeremy Robinson, a master artist of the 21st century version of the pulp ‘Doc Savage’ adventures, takes his ‘Chess Team’ through a hell ride of lunatic proportions in their second outing Instinct. This series whose protagonists are a Delta Force team of ‘super’-soldiers named the Chess Team tackles speculative scientific concepts, connecting them to historical and ancient mysteries, horror concoctions that arise from the author’s creative wonderland of a mind, wildly entertaining adventure thrill rides that are a gift to the genre in this dark era of censorship and sensitivities, deranged and maniacal villains, monsters, and an explosive, tactically amazing, bullet ridden good time.
The plot in Instinct has a contagious virus that threatens to wipe out humanity within a small time span and sends the Chess team along with a CDC researcher to the source of the disease in order to find a cure. That region is a highly disputed, heavily forested, mountainous and uncivilized part of northern Vietnam. The tension never lets up from the moment they drop into the region and drags you into one long roller coaster ride of high adventure, insanity, and multiple plot twists and scenes which are genuine WTF moments.
The narrative is loaded with technical, scientific, and anthropological information but never slows down the plot which moves fast enough to stay addictive. The team’s leader Jack Sigler aka King along with all the other characters go through a considerable amount of development emotionally and take a heavy toll through the events of the story.
It was refreshing to see a book pay homage to another legendary piece of work in the genre in a scene where the fictional US President reads Matthew Reilly’s Ice Station in his R&R time. A more bonkers fun scene was when the same President survives his death and drops in the jungle, guns blazing, geared up like the commando he once was, to rescue the protagonists from a rampaging mob of powerful ape-like monsters which are a mutant species connected to the ancient Neanderthals.
Yep, these superstrong, fast, and rapidly healing ancient and savage primates are the greatest threat to the Chess team. The humorous but intensely deadly team of protagonists also face off against a few militant groups in Vietnam who almost ruin the world with their pride.
This book and series can be comparable to Grieg Beck’s Alex Hunter series and James Rollins’ Sigma Force series, but Jeremy Robinson’s Chess Team Series is the wildest in this genre. Instinct uses the plot’s complexities to explore many serious concepts about our evolution, humanity and the deeper mysteries of the world.
A major standout character in this book is the CDC scientist who has a rare hyper sensory condition which causes her to have a heightened perception of hearing, sight, smell and other senses but is handled respectfully in the story. It’s not made to be a superpower, but as a scarily difficult condition to live with, and this makes it relatable to those in the real world with a similar situation.
The action, the struggle to survive, and the fight against overwhelming odds give all the main characters their own stories and development while still keeping the story connected like an intense epic. While many team based series focus heavily on one protagonist, this book gave a heavy importance to each member of the team as individuals in their own right as multiple main characters in the story while still connecting them with a bond forged through hell.
With enough double crosses, treachery, manipulations along with the action packed rampages, this book is more than just a pulp adventure. It mixes the seriousness of the scientific technothriller, the military techno thriller, the archeological adventure, the semi sci fi monsters vs super soldiers element, and the wild action thriller genres together into a mind blowing and fun time that cannot yet be found in any blockbuster movies.