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Joe Ledger #2

The Dragon Factory

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Joe Ledger and the DMS (Department of Military Sciences) go up against two competing groups of geneticists.  One side is creating exotic transgenic monsters and genetically enhanced mercenary armies; the other is using 21st century technology to continue the Nazi Master Race program begun by Josef Mengele.  Both sides want to see the DMS destroyed, and they've drawn first blood.  Neither side is prepared for Joe Ledger as he leads Echo Team to war under a black flag.

486 pages, Paperback

First published March 2, 2010

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About the author

Jonathan Maberry

472 books7,029 followers
JONATHAN MABERRY is a New York Times best-seller and Audible #1 bestseller, five-time Bram Stoker Award-winner, anthology editor, comic book writer, executive producer, magazine feature writer, playwright, and writing teacher/lecturer. He is the editor of WEIRD TALES Magazine and president of the International Association of Media Tie-in Writers. He is the recipient of the Inkpot Award, three Scribe Awards, and was named one of the Today’s Top Ten Horror Writers. His books have been sold to more than thirty countries. He writes in several genres including thriller, horror, science fiction, epic fantasy, and mystery; and he writes for adults, middle grade, and young adult.

Jonathan is the creator, editor and co-author of V-WARS, a shared-world vampire anthology from IDW Publishing that was adapted into a NETFLIX series starring Ian Somerhalder (LOST, VAMPIRE DIARIES).

His young adult fiction includes ROT & RUIN (2011; was named in Booklist’s Ten Best Horror Novels for Young Adults, an American Library Association Top Pick, a Bram Stoker and Pennsylvania Keystone to Reading winner; winner of several state Teen Book Awards including the Cricket, Nutmeg and MASL; winner of the Cybils Award, the Eva Perry Mock Printz medal, Dead Letter Best Novel Award, and four Melinda Awards); DUST & DECAY (winner of the 2011 Bram Stoker Award; FLESH & BONE (winner of the Bram Stoker Award; 2012; and FIRE & ASH (August 2013). BROKEN LANDS, the first of a new spin-off series, debuted in 2018 and was followed by LOST ROADS in fall 2020. ROT & RUIN is in development for film by ALCON ENTERTAINMENT and was adapted as a WEBTOON (a serialized comic formatted for cell phones), becoming their #1 horror comic.

His novels include the enormously popular Joe Ledger series from St. Martin’s Griffin (PATIENT ZERO, 2009, winner of the Black Quill and a Bram Stoker Award finalist for Best Novel) and eleven other volumes, most recently RELENTLESS. His middle grade novel, THE NIGHTSIDERS BOOK 1: THE ORPHAN ARMY (Simon & Schuster) was named one the 100 Best Books for Children 2015. His standalone novels include MARS ONE, GLIMPSE, INK, GHOSTWALKERS (based on the DEADLANDS role-playing game), X-FILES ORIGINS: DEVIL’S ADVOCATE, and THE WOLFMAN --winner of the Scribe Award for Best Movie Adaptation

His horror novels include The Pine Deep Trilogy from Pinnacle Books (GHOST ROAD BLUES, 2006, winner of the Bram Stoker Award for Best First Novel and named one of the 25 Best Horror Novels of the New Millennium; DEAD MAN’S SONG, 2007; and BAD MOON RISING, 2008; as well as DEAD OF NIGHT, and its sequels, FALL OF NIGHT, DARK OF NIGHT, and STILL OF NIGHT.

His epic fantasy series, KAGEN THE DAMNED debuts in May 2022. And he just signed to co-author (with Weston Ochse) a new series of military science fiction novels that launches the SLEEPERS series. Jonathan will also be launching a new series of science fiction horror novels for the newly established Weird Tales Presents imprint of Blackstone Publishing.

He is also the editor of three THE X-FILES anthologies; the dark fantasy anthology series, OUT OF TUNE; SCARY OUT THERE, an anthology of horror for teens; and the anthologies ALIENS: BUG HUNT, NIGHTS OF THE LIVING DEAD (with George Romero), JOE LEDGER UNSTOPPABLE (with Bryan Thomas Schmidt); two volumes of mysteries: ALTERNATE SHERLOCKS and THE GAME’S AFOOT (with Michael Ventrella); and ALIENS V PREDATOR: ULTIMATE PREY (with Bryan Thomas Schmidt). He is also the editor of DON’T TURN OUT THE LIGHTS, the official tribute to SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK. His next anthology will be ALIENS VS PREDATOR: ULTIMATE PREY (with Bryan Thomas Schmidt), debuting in spring 2022.

Jonathan was an expert on the History Channel documentary series, ZOMBIES: A Living History and TRUE MONSTERS. And he was participated in the commentary track for NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD: REANIMATED.

His many nonfiction works include VAMPIRE UNIVERSE (Citadel Press, 2006); THE CRYPTOPED

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5 stars
3,973 (39%)
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3 stars
1,706 (16%)
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70 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 649 reviews
Profile Image for Zain.
1,379 reviews141 followers
April 5, 2023
Shut Up and Shoot! 🔫

I guess I am an adrenaline junky. I love the rush l get from a great action-thriller.

The running, the falling, the stabbing, the shooting. Did I say the shooting? Just go, go, go!

Mayberry’s The Dragon Factory is the kind of action-thriller I like. You can evaluate the level of activity range from 60-100/km a minute. That’s fast!

The only thing that gets me irritated is when I have to listen to someone with a gun in their hands run off their mouth, instead of shooting, and then get shot! It happens, repeatedly!


Takes away the perfection of a story that would be perfect. So, I have to take a star away.

Now just four stars instead of five. ✨✨✨✨✨
Profile Image for Choko.
1,203 reviews2,583 followers
August 12, 2020
*** 4 ***

Let's get this clear from the start - this is a testosterone laden, flag-waving, over-the-top, completely unrealistic, fictional macho-man heroes riddled, summer mega block-buster type of series and if you are going to start reading it knowing that, and still find things to be offended by, then it is on you. This series, and this second book in particular, is full of every possible trope about an American government agency fighting covertly against evil you could ever imagine. We have genetic experiments, evil Nazis, racial cleansing, plotting to destroy the current world order, evil twins, assassins, attack on the government, abuse, hunting innocent beings, evil scientists, more genetic experiments... Anything that can come to your head in that premise, it is in here for sure. It almost seems like the author was trying to see how many of the action tropes he could possibly fit in the same book, and still sell it. Well, I think he pulls it off because he is not apologetic about in the least, and because as absurd as the whole thing is, the characters are still likable and you find yourself rooting for them... If there is one thing I would have liked for the author to do, it would be for at least the scientist who is on the side of the good guys, to actually be a good guy! Maybe because of the times we are living in, but I am starting to get very sensitive about this negative campaign against all things sciency! In my personal experience, the folks who devote their lives to the sciences, are some of the smartest, most dedicated to the betterment of the human experience people, and they are way underpaid for the amount of schooling, education and dedication they have to go through, and the repetitious, exhausting work they have to do day in and day out, just to be able to advance their science. Most of them are well aware that what happens to their research ultimately depends on who is willing to pay for it, thus they rarely have any say of if or how their work comes outside of a lab... I hate that in the recent 4 years all those people have been vilified and their work taken as some shady conspiracy against the rest of "us"... You might be unhappy with Big Pharma, but they are not the people who actually come up with new medications and treatments. They are the dealers, the pushers, the price setters... The people who actually work on the medications are so far removed from pricing and marketing, that it might be another planet. So, even if we are OK with the Evil Scientists who are on the side of the bad guys, I do have an issue with the good guys having an Evil Scientist of their own. It just comes off as if all scientists are evil... It is the farthest from the truth trope I wish we could get rid of...

Otherwise, the book is perfect for what it is - an action romp of good guys pummeling the bad guys and almost, almost winning... There are always seeds of EVIL left for the next time, of course 😈👿😈👿😈
Profile Image for Scott Sigler.
Author 120 books4,041 followers
November 29, 2015
The second book in the Joe Ledger series. Three parts science, two parts gore, five parts testosterone, all mixed with gasoline and nitro and moonshine and poured into a flask made of dynamite. This is serious summer blockbuster stuff, folks.
Profile Image for Char.
1,638 reviews1,487 followers
August 19, 2019
4.5/5 stars!

Together, narrator Ray Porter and author Jonathan Maberry form an unbeatable team!

I'm not going to write a full review because I'm way behind the times on this book, (it was published back in 2011.) Military/Action type books aren't really my thing, but with Ray Porter narrating, now they ARE. So much so, that I'm starting the next book in this series right now!

*Thank you to my local library for the digital loan of this audiobook. Libraries RULE!*
Profile Image for Sarah.
639 reviews148 followers
May 3, 2018
Really enjoying this series and Ray Porter’s narration. I didn’t follow this one as well as I followed the previous one. The villains were many and a little more complex so that made it difficult.

It started very strong and mysterious. Joe is being harassed by some Secret Service agents, and Church isn’t sure why they are at odds with the DMS. As Church and Ledger are wont to do, they follow the cookie crumbs back to the source and a much larger plot unfolds.

There were some very fun things going on here. No Zombies this go around, but several other mythical creatures pop their heads up (actually it was a lot of fun, just a different vibe).

I did miss some of the camaraderie between Joe and his team. Bunny and Topp (?) were there but it felt like much of the team was missing and Joe’s relationship with Grace took center stage.

All in all, a quick fun read. Even if you aren’t catching every last detail it’s still a great book to listen to.
Profile Image for Rizwan Khalil.
332 reviews510 followers
March 4, 2015
Good, but nothing great. It's entertaining quick fun read, but the plot was all over the place, very scattered, which made the book difficult to enjoy properly. Without a doubt the most interesting character was Ledger himself and the most fun I was having was following his POV (supposedly the main storyline), but even when the series itself is named "Joe Ledger", our hero's appearances were too few and far between among all the hundred other parallel POVs of various villains and flashbacks and subplots etc etc. Have to say, jumping through countless characters and plotlines in every (short) chapters was too distracting and annoying. Also, its just my personal opinion, but Maberry really needs a better editor to throwout all the unnecessary flashbacks and subplots... We didn't need to see every other situations and developments (both in past & present) from first hand account of yet another new side character (given with that character's detailed background no less) for a single short chapter who wouldn't be returning to the story ever again. All these made the book unnecessarily bloated (it could've easily been atleast 100-150 pages shorter) and the pace sluggish instead of lightning fast which it should've.

Yet, the book is not without it's merits, the 2nd half is waaay better than the 1st half of the story and with much faster pace. The action sequences were vivid and breathlessly suspenseful, and finally gave proper legroom to our favorite Echo Team for some truly spectacular missions. Not to mention the character of Joe Ledger is outstanding with all the great inner monologs and perfect characterization for our damaged brooding hero. Same goes for his DMS colleagues Grace Courtland, Mr. Church, Top and Bunny. Seriously I love these guys, specially the various types of relationships they're having with Ledger. But alas, more than half of the book was wasted on the villains and their motivations and their inner relationships, and most of all, their sheer evilness... How evil they truly were blah blah blah. I totally didn't care for them, because quite frankly they were not at all interesting characters with any kind of depths, and the neo-Nazism, dreaming of master race, hating on "mud people" all these things are just cliched and been-there-done-that a thousand times before. Sure, Nazis can be great villains, but they can be quickly turn into boring when getting almost equal spacing with our heroes for painstakingly detailed characterizations, motivations and background. Plus, the transgenic genetic manipulation plot line was nothing new, I read much better executed techno thrillers with similar genetic manipulation plots from James Rollins which were frankly, more entertaining and way more detailed in their scientific descriptions.

All in all, the book is a quick fun read. It just it could've been much better, leaner, faster with sharper focus on Ledger and his team rather than all the villains and countless subplots & characters. I gave it a 4 out of 5 stars because, even after all the problems, one thing is true: Maberry's writing remains topnotch, and you just can't help but have to keep reading pages after hundreds of pages!
Profile Image for Jason.
1,179 reviews256 followers
July 11, 2011
4.5 Stars Fun

"Die Vernichtungs Welle!"
"The Extinction Wave"

Joe Ledger is a very memorable protagonist, and as a result I found this book to be very enjoyable. This is my type of summer read. Book number 2 in the Joe Ledger series, this one is quite different from the first Patient Zero in that there are no zombies and there is new cast cast of baddies.

Like other Maberry novels this is an ACTION novel first, the horror, science fiction, and thriller elements all come in to add color and flair to them.

Joe Ledger is a former police officer, one bad ass SOB, and the leader of the Echo Team that was created in the first book. He is quite likable, short fused, and a master at hand to hand combat. If you have never read any of Jonathan Maberry books before, he is a master at choreographing the action scenes into juicy snippets of words that will have you hungry for more in a hurry.

There are some very humorous scenes in this one that really balance out the weight of this doomsday scenario.
"Cyrus shook his head.'...Send Milo: he has good manners.'
Otto tidied the cultlery.'You shot Milt two weeks ago.'
'Did I? Why?'
'It was a Tuesday.'"

Even though Joe Ledger is a tough and nasty man, he knows himself pretty well and as a result he does not have any illusions about his character.
Ledger says:
"My boss may think that I'm hot shit and even the guys on Echo Team might think that I'm cool and together, but Rudy knows the score. I've got enough baggage to start a luggage store, and I have a whole bunch of buttons that I don't like pushed."

The plot of this novel is quite simple. Some really bad men have decided that they were going to start many extinction waves that through genetic engineering would wipe out 6/7 of the entire world. Couple this with some dreams of the "Perfect Race", through cloning, killing, and genocide, and buckle up for an action packed thrill ride. Our favorite Hero Joe Ledger needs to lead his Echo Team across the globe to stop the Extinction Wave.

Without any spoilers, Maberry fills in every details of the how and the why behind the Extinction Wave, providing us with some interesting choices of world building. He gives us a full backstory that to some may come off as a bit cliche, but I felt that he was trying to go "Old School". And "Old School" he does with spades. This is an evil, massively daibloical plan that makes most of our historical tragedies seem small in comparison. I found this to be so over the top, that it came across a bit funny to me. But, put it all together, the old school bad guys, the cutting edge genetics, and our cool ass protagonist... and it works and makes for a damn fun read.

As I have said before Jonathan Maberry really knows how to put action into words. There is a scene between Ledger and Carteret that will leave you (slap) cringing as you read it and (slap)laughing out loud while at the same time (slap) leaving you breathless as you try to take it all in....Just Masterful!!!!

Nazi's, Russian's, clones, daddy issues, grumpy old men, greed, asshole politicians, genetic freaks, world domination and cool as ice Joe. This is what Dragon Factory is all about...

If you want to read a modern day spin on Jack Ryan or 007, and like your good guy's to be tough and dirty, than be sure to start with Patient Zero and follow it up with this one. As you can already tell I am a huge fan of Jonathan Maberry and think that you should be too...
Profile Image for ✨Susan✨.
900 reviews175 followers
September 26, 2015
Jonathan Maberry is a wonderful tale spinner and his character Joe Legend is a definite stand out in the mass pool of save the day, action heroes. In this second addition to the series, crazy genetic scientists create a wild twisted story that is frightening and weirdly believable. Fast moving and intriguing with a small side of romance. A few of the main and favorite characters return but the end leaves us wondering who will be returning in the next book. Highly reccomend to those who like interesting and exciting mental and physical combat.
Profile Image for Luna .
133 reviews30 followers
March 17, 2021
Crazy fun and yet how can that be when dealing with such a disturbing topic - oh cuz the good guys just might win? This is my third Ledger book and after reading the fifth first I am now going in order with this the second (already having read the first).
In reading this you kind of have to get used to the style of these books. Maberry takes a lot of time setting things up and detailing characters paying attention to every t being crossed and I dotted. You have to pay attention to the settings that each chapter references. This setting up of the story by no means diminishes it but you do have to get through it. Maberry though gives you enough action along the way.
So our hero Joe Ledger works for a covert off the books unit of the U.S. government known as the Department of Military Sciences which uses the famous Mindreader computer to infiltrate and discover all kinds of secrets from all computers around the world without being detected. It's quite possible and I allude to just such a beast in my review of Patient Zero which was the first book I read in the series from when I seemed to confirm the existence of such a computer in dealing with Homeland security. So in my mind this whole premise that Maberry basis his book is most buyable.
Yet this time DMS is fighting for its very existence. During this attack on the DMS they become aware of a video which was sent to them asking for help. The video is of a safari hunt where a unicorn, yes a unicorn is the prey.
So we then learn that there are a couple of mad scientists who are basically neo nazi's and who have discovered eugenics work, transgenic work and the like carried out by governments of the west in the 30's and 40's. There is a definite tie in to the aryan race and white supremacy in general which may offend people. Maberry covers this topic in a straight forward way and really gets in depth in some parts. It's because of his seriousness and detail to the subject matter that I actually don't think he is poking fun at it the way an artist might. I believe he is trying to legitimize the way these idiots think.
The mad scientists are developing inherent diseases like sickle cells and various others to spread like a virus. Think along the lines of our current foe Covid. Each virus being worked on is specific to certain races. heir end goal is to only have the white race standing. They also know that by killing 6/7 of the world's population the remaining living will be plunged into war and chaos and as per the nazi dream only the strongest caucasians will survive.
So does the DMS team come to the rescue? Once the story and plan are laid out there is a ton of action. Is it believable? Not really. Is it fun? You bet. The DMS end up battling creatures created by these wackos like apelike men with incredible strength. Hybrid dogs with scorpion tails and body armour. Crazy hybrid tiger/dogs. It's quite crazy but it's kind of fun in its own way.
So overall some parts a little touchy on a socio political level. Some parts complete exaggeration. Yet somehow it all comes together. You have to remember that this type of political thought which mirrors nazi thinking is sadly out there. The scenario the author sets up is equivalent to their wish list coming true. The only good thing to me is that this type of thinking is clearly on its way out but to turn your back to it would be very naive.
So I think I've outlined enough so you can decide if this is your cup of tea. I really like how Maberry sold this story. He outlined how it was the nazi's who discovered the first computer and used them. He sold this and sold how the biology played into this as well. At least in my mind. To be honest I'm not sure if the nazi's made the first computer but like I said Maberry sells this story in my mind and typical of the Ledger series there is a lot of action centred around a very buyable though disturbing plot. A solid 8 out of ten range. There are a lot of twists and turns and when you discover who are mad scientists really are its really cool!
Profile Image for Anete.
428 reviews63 followers
June 22, 2019
Department of Millitary Sciences ir jauns ienaidnieks, pret kuru cīnīties. Un šoreiz likmes ir vēl augstākas.
Ļaundari ir ieplānojuši masu genocīda viļņus vērstus pret visām rasēm, izņemot balto. Un taimeris jau ir sācis savu atskaiti. Plānos ietilpst 5/7 daļas cilvēces likvidēšana. Jautra ballīte.
Joe Ledger un viņa vienībai nākas cīnīties ar ģenētiski modificētiem superkareivjiem un dzīvniekiem. Asinis un ķeskas lido pa gaisu pa labi un kreisi!
Labs sērijas turpinājums.
Profile Image for Lena.
1,145 reviews244 followers
March 28, 2020
DNF 22%

The book is a collection of the worst of white people. It’s an ugly chaotic crayola comic. I will try one more Ledger to see if this was a blip.
Profile Image for Chris  Haught.
576 reviews214 followers
November 4, 2014
3.5 stars. Honestly, this was a bit of a letdown from Patient Zero. It had plenty of action and suspense, and plot and characters. It just didn't have the bullets-flying kick assery of the first book.

Still, pretty good stuff. Some of the villains were stereotypically dastardly, but others were good. I didn't care for the increase of POV switches away from Joe Ledger that this one took. It was jarring for his story to be first person, and then about half the rest of the chapters were third.

The extra .5 star comes from the ending. I was rather impressed with the way the final shakedown came about. Nice heartstring play there, Mr. Maberry.

ETA: Oh yes, at least a half-star must go to Ray Porter for his reading. Very nice. His character voices were excellent.
Profile Image for Soo.
2,598 reviews257 followers
February 21, 2022
09/24/2020 Notes:

- Rating Raised from 3.5 to 4 Stars
- This book was more clunky in progress & light on main cast of characters. Some of that was necessary for the series but it made the story less interesting as whole due to the detached perspective of the bad guys.
- The ending was a classic Joe Ledger on multiple layers.
Profile Image for Lou.
879 reviews860 followers
August 20, 2011
Joe Ledger and the DMS on another mission. This time it involves a neo-Nazi, eugenics, pathogen,twins and genetics. As the clock counts down to a deadly weapon being released the team is on the search for the source. The story is well researched with many military specifics. It's written well. I preferred Patient Zero the first Ledger book, when it comes to stories involving combat and espionage I tend to struggle in keeping interest. This is not a short read and just found myself wanting it to end if it was shorter I might have liked it even more.
Profile Image for aPriL does feral sometimes .
1,893 reviews430 followers
January 3, 2016
If the author Ian Fleming’s character MI6’s James Bond was real he would be sweating gunpowder over the newest competition to his throne of being the world’s top fantasy assassin and secret agent, namely, the author Jonathan Maberry’s gloriously confident and haunted Baltimore Detective Joe Ledger. Likewise, the producers and creators of The Man from U.N.C.L.E, Napoleon Solo, or The Wild Wild (James) West, American TV characters from the 1970’s, have to be wishing they could have gone as far into the graphic violence which earns the ‘R’ rating as the fictional DMS black-ops team which Joe Ledger leads often into the pop terror territory to which the more technologically primitive but also fun earlier secret agents covered.

I LOVED these guys! The mad scientists, I mean, without whom I would have spent many a dreary Saturday cleaning up my bedroom, instead of hunting down and reading the latest teen novel tie-in to the pseudo-scientific/spy television shows! I still have my junior U.N.C.L.E badge to allow admittance to Section II - Operations, sent to me after remitting a check to join the U.N.C.L.E. fanclub, if not my David McCallum fan book, full of show pictures of McCallum in danger as Illya Kuryakin, mostly crouching with gun in hand, sidekick to U.N.C.L.E.’s main number one secret agent, suave Napoleon Solo. These PG-rated James Bonds of television fueled my passions and dreams, and tie-in novels and clone tongue-in-cheek spies filled my first bookshelves, muscling out the classics (except my beloved Sherlock Holmes). My first (and only) short story attempt starred a cat who was a spy, working for an organization called K.I.T.T.E.N., dedicated to destroying mad scientists who wanted to defeat democracy.

Instead of ‘M’ (or British Mr. Waverly in the case of The Man from U.N.C.L.E., or USA President Grant in the case of The Wild Wild West, Captain Ledger, ex-Marine and perhaps former cop (it still is up in the air) answers to the mysterious ‘Church’, head of DMS (Department of Military Sciences), a super-secret spy agency answerable only to the office of the President of the United States. Through the fabulous pattern-spotting ability of a unique computer called MindReader, nefarious schemes and evil plots by insane scientists are uncovered or detected, sending the DMS special ops teams into action around the world!

This series is not literary, and it is not overtly a satire. However, the series, so far, is a purely delicious, goofy if bloody, high-octane black-ops adventure of fighting evil scientists. So far, in the first book Patient Zero (a kind of zombie apocalypse threat) and in this book, ’The Dragon Factory’ (a pre-CRISPR gene-slicing nightmare - yes, I’m punning on the word splicing), book two in the Joe Ledger series, the latest DNA science discoveries have been turned into incredible and satisfying military-action black-ops ridiculousness reminiscent of my favorite 1970’s television shows and James Bond movies, only WAY better and, perhaps, more grounded in actual future scientific possibility? But who cares, if it is fun action beach-reads which fire your brain cells! There are many who will find this too stupid, I think, but not me. NOT ME!

I recommend this series, gentle reader, but only to those who love silly James-Bond-type spy action novels.
Profile Image for Jason Brown (Toastx2).
325 reviews17 followers
June 8, 2017
A couple months back, i read Patient Zero, book one of Jonathan Maberry’s “Joe Ledger” novels. Because Patient Zero was so stinking good, The Dragon Factory arrived with a taint of wariness to it. I was fearful that book 2 of the Ledger series was going to disappoint.. i mean, how can a semi-secret military science team battle terrorists and genetically modified “zombies” in book one and still have enough spunk for a second book?

my fear was that the Ledger series blew its load after a 2 hour marathon, leaving nothing for round two.

I was dead wrong… my oh my, how could i ever think such things? Joe Ledger has some stamina to him. enough to f-with folks all night every night till the job is done.

In Dragon Factory, you will run across mass conspiracy, genetic mods, nazi fringe groups, assassinations. The plotlineis twisted enough to leave MC Escher impressed but looking over his shoulder into the shadows.

If you were to combine the best DNA aspects from Clancy’s Jack Ryan, 24’s Jack Bauer, and Evil Dead’s Ash Williams… The Chimera you would end up with is the fast moving, brilliant, fearless and witty Joe Ledger. If you were to combine the plots from all of the same DNA sourced character, you would have the Joe Ledger Novels.

Keep up the great work Mr Maberry!
I am sincerely hoping for a third installment ASAP
Di Di mau and get to it my good man!

– Dragon Factory went on sale in the US, March 2nd, go grab a copy.
– UK Readers, grab it early.. ship it from the US so that you can get the good cover as opposed to the really retarded UK version coming in July

xpost https://toastx2.blogspot.com/
Profile Image for Merryish.
23 reviews5 followers
April 7, 2010
Second book of the Joe Ledger series, and regretfully, I find I've reached my lifetime limit of Joe Ledger. He was fun for the first book, but his perfection is getting a bit wearing.

More to the point, the storytelling is even more simplistic than the first outing - all the good guys are Good with a capital "G", and all the bad guys are mustache-twirlingly Evil with a capital "E". The more I read, the more my problem with the writing becomes the utter lack of any shades of grey; even torture becomes Good in the ones and zeroes of the story's moral binary, if it's done by a Good guy for Good reasons. Really not my politics, and also really not engaging to read. There's no challenge in these books, no thought required, just a kind of endless slog through action scenes and one-liners to the predictable ending.

There's also a very strong thread of Science = Bad running through these books that I find very disturbing. In the first, it was Evil Scientists using viruses to turn people into zombies, while the good guys tried to stop them using guns and clever quips. In the second, it's Evil Scientists trying to kill all non-white people via genetics. In each, Good is equated with fighting and muscle and one-liners, while Evil is equated with research, experimentation, and scientific progress.

And if that's not enough for you - the end of this one involved the fridging of the series' lone sympathetic female character. She was tough and in charge and great at her job, and then she was the lead's lover, and now she is dead to further his manpain. Charming.

This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Cindy Newton.
622 reviews129 followers
April 19, 2019
I think Joe Ledger is my new book boyfriend! He's a badass who just drips sarcasm--is there anything more attractive? This is a new genre for me, the military action/thriller/weird sort of horror, but I'm loving it. This book really resonated with me because the weird sci-fi/horror angle was a Nazi genetic mutation thing with Dr. Mengele thrown in, and I just finished teaching Night to my students, so it was timely.

The only thing I had a teeny tiny problem with was the character of Paris. He's been raised by this monster, has a monster for a twin sister, and has done SO MANY bad things himself! He has strangled more than one innocent woman to death after having sex with her, just because he thought it would be fun. Killing anyone is terrible, but I think that strangling someone requires a personal investment that could be lacking in a gunshot to the back of the head. Strangling means you are face to face with that person, eye to eye with them as they die. And its not a fast death. It takes a really cold person or someone with a malignant hatred of the victim to have the cojones for that, in my opinion. Yet Paris does it for fun! Then, all of a sudden, he gets all consciousy about the "master plan" of his dad. I know its not a big thing, but it just kind of didn't ring true for me.

Other than that, I loved it, and I loved the narration by Ray Porter. He has a great voice for Joe, and also manages to differentiate between all of the other characters. Strongly recommended!
Profile Image for Michael Hicks.
Author 35 books434 followers
September 12, 2018
Only two books in and the Joe Ledger series has become a fast favorite of mine. Maberry effortlessly entwines a wide range of genres - military thriller, horror, science fiction, comic book action - to create an incredibly entertaining and compulsively listenable story.

In The Dragon Factory the extinction clock is ticking, counting down to global genocide. Cyrus Jakoby is a brilliant geneticist, his research building off the horrific medical tests conducted by Nazi scientists in World War II, and he has perfected the ultimate means to deliver the Final Solution and offer the white race complete domination over the Earth. It's up to Captain Joe Ledger and Echo Team to stop them, but time is running out and the Department of Military Sciences are caught off guard, stuck playing catch-up after inter-agency politics prompts the NSA to curtail their investigations.

There's a lot going on in The Dragon Factory and Maberry is an expert wrangler, maintaining almost complete control of the story's various plot threads and its multitude of characters. There's enough 24 and James Bond-style shenanigans and to keep listeners thoroughly engaged. The Jakoby family themselves are practically plucked right out of a Bond flick, with the incestuous albino assassin twins of Paris and Hecate conducting their own secret science experiments on a secluded island research base. Not every story thread gets wrapped up sufficiently (but hey, more fodder for book #3!), and some story elements simply fall by the wayside along the way to larger, more intriguing action sequences until they're briefly revisited and fairly neatly and quickly resolved in the book's epilogue, but taken as a whole The Dragon Factory is consistently good and completely captivating.

Published in 2010, The Dragon Factory feels less outlandish today than it may have at the start of this decade, as some of its more seemingly implausible aspects have been fulfilled in reality in only a handful of years. Take, for instance, the subject of white supremacists manipulating and controlling the White House and various government agencies, plotting to destroy the world by poisoning Earth's waters. Certainly this seemed more far-fetched in 2010, but here we are in 2018 with a band of white supremacists in the Oval Office, passing bills allowing our waters to be poisoned by mining waste and appointing the enemies of various government agencies to lead those very same agencies, like the EPA, and withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accord, and placing immigrant children in concentration camps, and on and on and on. Sadly, the idea of virulently evil racists plotting to destroy the world from within America and through a network of highly-placed and influential government agents isn't quite the extraordinarily imaginative work of fiction it used to be.

Besides the white supremacist bad guys, Maberry injects a metric ton of cutting edge science and plausible-enough horrors stemming from transgenic experimentation to create superhuman animal hybrids to give Ledger and company a savagely violent run for their money. Using the concept of scientific terrorism to fuel a series also gives Maberry a hell of a lot of elasticity in redefining the shape and scope of various horror genre staples. In Patient Zero, Maberry wrote about a militarized unit's response to the zombie plague. Here, we get rogue government operators, assassins, and a bevy of massive, berserker monsters, alongside a spate of other genre concepts.

It's clear Maberry is having a ton of fun writing this stuff, and his enthusiasm is infectious. The Dragon Factory is awful lot of fun to listen to, and Ray Porter delivers another knock-out reading as he firmly settles into these characters and brings them to life (and in more than a few instances death as well). He manages to make each of the characters distinct, utilizing tonal ranges, inflections, and accents to differentiate Maberry's large cast, always making it clear which character is speaking at any given moment. His is a pitch perfect narration, hitting the highs of each action scene and the softer lows of emotional reflection and devastation. Porter further solidifies the simple fact that he is the definitive voice of the Joe Ledger series, and I can't imagine listeners wanting it any other way.

Patient Zero instantly hooked me, roping me into the thick of things and making me a Joe Ledger devotee. The Dragon Factory shows that this series most certainly has legs, and that it can run for miles. While the action is fast and fluid, this is a series that is more than just muscular brawn - it has a hell of a lot of smarts, too, both on and off the page.
Profile Image for Narilka.
583 reviews40 followers
August 29, 2020
The Dragon Factory is the second book in the Joe Ledger series by Jonathan Maberry. This time around a group of scientists are looking to finish what Hitler started, his eugenics program to eliminate "lesser" races, and are using highly sophisticated transgenic techniques to carry out their plan. As part of their experiments they've created genetically enhanced mercenaries and exotic monsters inspired by mythology. Unfortunately the DMS has no idea they're racing against an extinction clock with 80% of humanity at stake.

I think it's safe to say that this series is the book equivalent of summer blockbuster action movies. Or, better yet, action/scifi/horror/comedy summer blockbusters. The bad guys are all diabolical and scary. Joe and his team continue to be bad ass action heroes that remain likeable enough for you root for them the whole time. The science used on the plot again is impressive at how well he takes real technologies to spin into fantastical realms.

This ends up being a rough mission for Joe and his team. The story starts off with the DMS being targeted by the Secret Service for reasons unknown. It takes them a long time to be clued in to what's really going on so they can save the day... barely. I was surprised at that ending, both at what Maberry pulled off and what it means for Joe in the future. Even with all the fantastical creatures discovered throughout the story, I found myself missing the zombies from the first book.

I listened to the audio book narrated by Ray Porter. Porter does a phenomenal job yet again.
Profile Image for Julie Davis.
Author 4 books267 followers
November 20, 2013
Autumn 2013, now.

Reread this in print, also thanks to Paperback Swap, following up my enjoyment of rereading Patient Zero in print. I realized rereading this in print that they are the modern equivalent of the penny dreadfuls, in the sense of cheap, sensational fiction. Indeed yes.

I have a place in my heart for cheap, sensational fiction and I believe this fills this bill on several levels of the meanings for cheap and sensational. It is probably the reason that my rereading leads me to skip over the villains' sections and just read about the good guys. Although it changes a bit as the series goes on, at this point the villains are not very complex which makes them not very interesting. Joe is also not very complex, but he's a hero. I can dig simplicity on the heroic level.

Below is my original review of the audio book.

"Detective Ledger?" he said, and held out an ID case. "NSA."

"How do you spell that?"
Joe Ledger's back.

In Patient Zero, (SFFaudio review here) he saved the world from a zombie apocalypse and Muslim terrorists. Almost single handed.

How will he do on the island of Dr. Moreau?

In The Dragon Factory Joe is evading government agents trying to shut down the DMS, is the only man alive to have defeated genetically engineered super warriors, and is romancing his beautiful fellow agent Grace Courtland.

And that's just in the first few chapters.

Once again, Jonathan Maberry weaves a threat we know with a threat from fiction. A mad scientist (Cyrus) is using genetic experiments to mold the world in a way that will have horrific results for the population at large. Did I mention he's German? And enjoys cloning as a light pastime?

Meanwhile, a pair of amoral, super intelligent, albino twins are mixing and matching genetics to create creatures of myth and monsters from your worst nightmares.

Joe's got to find and stop all of them before the "Extinction Wave" doomsday program counts down to zero and releases havoc on the world. With a little help from Top, Bunny, Grace, and the enigmatic Mr. Church, of course.

I enjoy the way that Maberry mashes up several genres, with tongue in cheek, and produces a pulp fiction style, action-packed, roller coaster ride that keeps me on the edge of my seat.

This book tells a good portion of the story from the crazed villains' point of view, to good effect. I really love the dysfunctional family of super-villains where the children have disappointed the father by not having enough "vision" and the kids have giant "daddy" issues.

Maberry also dug just a bit deeper than I expected by contrasting the villainous family with Eighty-Two  the clone who Cyrus loves most but who fails every psych test in being "acceptable" (as his henchman, Otto, puts it). I didn't initially realize what that meant when filtered through the horrific mindsets of Otto and Cyrus, but the result was a surprise that led to some interesting musing about free will versus evil and nature versus nurture.  It isn't terribly deep but I still found its inclusion refreshing in a book of this sort.

As in Patient Zero, Ray Porter’s narration was spot on, voicing Joe Ledger as if he were the man himself, with slight variations applied to other characters to make them come alive equally well. I'd rather hear these books narrated than read them myself just for the sheer enjoyment of Porter's style and emphasis.

Make no mistake, The Dragon Factory is a straight-up thriller without a lot of twists and turns in plot. You read it for the hunt, for the action, for the adventure. You also read it for the twists of humor, the pulp fiction style, and the monsters. Especially for the monsters.

It's a good time at high speed. What more can you ask?

(This review is from SFFaudio.)
Profile Image for Giovanni Gelati.
Author 32 books884 followers
June 5, 2010

First off I must come clean about a few things in regard to Mr. Maberry & his work. He was nice enough to add me as a friend on Facebook and allow me into his world as we do there. Originally I was just interested in one facet of his work as the sci –fi /paranormal posts were not on the radar yet. His work with Marvel Comics and the graphic novels were all that was on my mind. The other work he has done, the novels that have earned him multiple Bram Stoker Awards – Patient Zero, The Pine Deep trilogy (Ghost Road Blues, Dead Man’s Song, & Bad Moon Rising), The Wolfman, Zombie CSU, & They Bite- really weren’t on my list of novels to read. What a mistake on my part, I know for many of you I am not imparting something new, the quality of his writing is amazing.

The Dragon Factory is Maberry’s second Joe Ledger vehicle. The first is Patient Zero, and trust me I plan to get that ASAP. The Dragon Factory was a great surprise to me; I enjoyed every page of it and I fell in love with Joe Ledger. Finding new novels to read, another avenue to go to is great, and this is definitely one here.

The story revolves around the now running Doomsday clock. The bad guys have ties to WWII Nazis. They are trying to release deadly viruses & diseases among the worlds “mud people”, those of us that are not white, literally killing not just thousands or millions, but billions of people. They also genetically engineer super soldiers and transgenic monsters. Joe Ledger and his crew at the Department of Military Sciences are the only ones that have time to stand in the way.

If you have a checklist of things you enjoy in a novel, then you can check off the following things: Action- there is plenty of it from page one to 486, excellent dialogue, great plot, good villains, characters that you can grow to care about, superior execution and conclusion of storyline. Did I miss anything? No & neither did Jonathan Maberry in this novel. I think this would be a very neat movie. Put this in your Goodreads –to read- list at the very least. Check it out.

What are you reading today? Check us out and become our friend on Facebook. Go to Goodreads and become our friend there and suggest books for us to read and post on. You can also follow us on Twitter and visit us on Book Blogs. Thanks for stopping by today; we will see you tomorrow. Have a great day.

Profile Image for Rachel.
102 reviews28 followers
December 31, 2013
I really loved this book. It's an action packed, fast paced good time. The Dragon Factory is the second Joe Ledger book, the first being Patient Zero. Instead of chasing after zombies, this time the DMS is chasing after a familial group trying to eradicate the world through eugenics and a genetically engineered series of plagues. It's a really interesting premise for a thriller, kind of Jason Bourne meets The Island of Dr. Moreau. Or Indian Jones with better science. I am a fan of Patient Zero and I think what makes these books worth my time is the characters and how real they are. They're not really stock action hero characters that you don't care if they live or die as long as it's exciting. Joe Ledger seems like a guy who could just go nuts at any moment but is also really methodical and efficient when tracking the bad guys. I wish we could learn a little more about the other guys on the Echo Team because sometimes they come off as interchangeable smartasses. The one team member we learn a little bit more about is Grace Courtland who has formed a deeper relationship with Ledger eventually leading to the utterance of the dreaded "L" word. I actually found the expansion of this relationship real as opposed to a simple thriller, "we're-in-a-tense-situation, let's-have-lots-of-hot-sex" relationship. It seemed like Joe might get some stability in his life, until the job intervenes. My favorite character in this book has to be Hecate, the daughter of the evil scientist out to destroy the world. She and her twin brother, Paris, have a bit of a cat and mouse game going with their father. They're both messing with the same science but for slightly different reasons. Hecate is the stronger of the two twins and a total bad ass. I think she scared me the most because she was obviously crazy but really intelligent. I'd recommend this book to anyone who wants a fast-paced read with interesting characters that is 100% engrossing and you will not want to put it down!
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Josh.
1,636 reviews148 followers
June 11, 2015
The second Joe Ledger book continues the frenetic pacing of its predecessor in PATIENT ZERO thrusting Ledger into the strange world of militarized science at the hands of madmen. His task, along with Echo Team and a raft of ancillary support units is to stop an extension level event targeting population groups across the world. An idea founded on the back of World War II gains momentum when a scientific breakthrough is reached and a death sentence for millions made possible via hidden gene specific disease in water bottles.

As if that wasn't a story in it's own right, author Jonathan Maberry ups the ante by introducing the 'dragon factory' - a place where monsters and human/animal hybrids are born. Even more menacing, its founders and owners are a son and daughter team whose father happens to be the man behind the threat to wipe out population groups across the world.

Then there's the super soldiers - a genetic blend of prime evil strength and dog-like obedience guarding the respective facilities.

Throughout THE DRAGON FACTORY Ledger and co face adversity after adversity in a fast paced thriller that also combines sci-fi and horror elements. The action is plentiful, however, this isn't all about fist fights and brutality - Ledger grows as a character as we glimpse into his relationship with Grace and the world outside the violence Maberry has created for him.

While part of a larger series THE DRAGON FACTORY does read well as a standalone within the broader series. It's a self contained story, that, while providing a satisfying ending sets up the next installment perfectly.

Profile Image for Rob.
689 reviews95 followers
April 17, 2013
Okay, look: I realize Jonathan Maberry is only a step up from Patterson and Grisham and (shudder) Sparks, but it's an important step also occupied by people like John Sandford and Dennis Lehane, a step that includes quality writing, intelligent plotting, believable characters, and, crucially, humor. Maberry's Joe Ledger series deals with a covert government entity called the Department of Military Sciences – sort of Homeland Security if Homeland Security fought zombies. This is the second book in the series, and it's every bit the equal of Ledger's debut, Patient Zero. Half the fun of a book like this is seeing how things unfold and how Maberry makes the implausible plausible, so let's just say this is a breathlessly fun read – full of action, deadpan laughs, and tough-guy dialogue – that deals with (among other things) the legacy of Nazism, genetic engineering, and giant dogs with scorpion stingers. I mean, seriously. What's not to love about that?
Profile Image for Craig.
4,993 reviews116 followers
October 1, 2014
Joe Ledger isn't faster than a speeding bullet, but he's cooler than James Bond, tougher than Chuck Norris, and has wittier badinage than John Steed. Nazis aren't cool; never were, never will be. Being Joe's girlfriend is a hazardous position. What is it with Mr. Church and those cookies? Who the heck -is- Mr. Church, anyway? Should we trust him? Scorpion dogs are creepy. The dragon factory is creepy, though the dragons seemed pretty cool. Maybe they should clone Joe and he could take care of all of the Nazis, as well as all of the other evil geniuses out to wreck the free world. PS- The plot of this sf thriller -is- faster than a speeding bullet, right up to the last page, where the ending left me anxious to find out what comes next... as soon as I caught my breath.
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