The Hades Factor - Robert Ludlum & Gayle Lynds

***** A contagious . . . action thriller

The plot of this novel is well-designed and is focused on a very charismatic and credible male character, Jonathan Smith. Jon, as his friends call him, is a doctor, but also a soldier. He is an intelligent man and full of resources, but not the classic perfect action man. He has faults, makes mistakes, but in the end he is also a bit lucky (as it always happens in novels).
Even if this book wasn’t written only by Ludlum, who would be dead the year after its publication, his touch is evident. In fact, despite being a very long book, it reads just as quickly, almost creating dependency, and has the right balance between action and introspection of the characters.
The theme, that of a pandemic caused voluntarily to obtain a financial return, makes you think. The scenario, although extreme, is however realistic and, precisely for this reason, gives the chills.
The scientific part, although it is not overly developed (for the benefit of the reader, who should not put up with any info-dump), is credible.
Among the characters I particularly liked Marty, a nerd with Asperger’s Syndrome. It was interesting to follow the fluctuation of his thoughts as the levels of the drugs changed in his body.
On the other hand, this novel is not without downsides, starting with an excessive head hopping. It is not functional to the story, so it seems almost causal and sometimes it makes you lose empathy with the characters.
The ending opens to a series of books that can be read separately with limited or no real subplot, which unfortunately sounds like a commercial operation. For this reason I do not think I’ll read more books in this series, because the next two, to which Ludlum participated (I cannot say to what extent) are posthumous, while all others are completely written by other authors.
Despite the downsides, I really enjoyed reading this book, so I still decided to give it full marks.

The Hades Factor on Amazon.