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Panacea: A Novel (The ICE Sequence Book 1)…
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Panacea: A Novel (The ICE Sequence Book 1) (edition 2016)

by F. Paul Wilson (Author)

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924214,968 (4.02)4
Medical examiner Laura Henning has two charred corpses and no answers. Both bear a mysterious tattoo but exhibit no known cause of death. Their only connection is a string of puzzling miracle cures. Her preliminary investigation points to a cult that possesses the fabled panacea--the substance that can cure all ills--but everyone knows that's impossible. Or is it? Laura finds herself enmeshed in an ancient conflict between the secretive keepers of the panacea and the equally secretive and far more deadly group known only as 536, a brotherhood that fervently believes God intended for humanity to suffer, not be cured. A reclusive, terminally ill billionaire hires Laura to research the possibility that the panacea exists. The billionaire's own bodyguard, Rick Hayden, a mercenary who isn't who he pretends to be, has to keep her alive as they race from continent to continent to find the legendary panacea before the agents of 536 can destroy it.… (more)
Member:scallorn
Title:Panacea: A Novel (The ICE Sequence Book 1)
Authors:F. Paul Wilson (Author)
Info:Tor Books (2016), 384 pages
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Panacea by F. Paul Wilson

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I'm glad to have Wilson writing more suspense novels that solid enjoyment. Kind of a silly statement since the vast majority of his work falls into that bucket. In my case, it was exactly what I needed and I'm very happy with the book.

Laura Fanning is a medical examiner who finds a weird connection between two corpses she has examined. Both bodies are in perfect condition other than being dead. She soon finds herself pulled into a search by a terminally ill billionaire to find the legendary panacea which will cure all ails. She is joined on her quest by Rick Hayden, an ex-Navy Seal who was also hired by the billionaire.

Going into this book, I knew that there were two more sequels in the The ICE Sequence books, so I wasn't exactly sure how it would end. And up to about two-thirds of the way through, I thought it was going to be a massive cliffhanger. Instead Wilson does his usual talented job and closes the novel up in a clean, respectable manner. Similar to the Repairman Jack series, you can tell further adventures are coming. However, at least at this point, there is no massive evil entity trying to destroy the world as there was in Repairman Jack. PANACEA is a Done In One. The continued continuity will be coming, I'm sure. There were a couple minor things that I wasn't crazy about in this novel. There were a couple characters that were too good to be true; they had all the right answers at the right time and guided our heroes along their quest. Yes, they were both explained later in the book but it still struck me as too convenient at the time. The story was a tad too formulaic also. Heroes travel to foreign country, defeat some trap and/or bad guys, find a clue that has them travel to yet another foreign country and do it all again. It was fine and worked but one more country would have been it! An excellent start for a new series by Wilson. I look forward to the future novels. ( )
  dagon12 | Mar 18, 2019 |
If you like the Repairman Jack novels, you will really enjoy this novel also. Can there really be a plant that can be made into a drug that can cure any diseases. Well done and thought out. ( )
  Virginia51 | Dec 4, 2016 |
Things I liked about this book:
* The premise is neat, and some interesting questions are explored.
* The different factions are really interesting and well-developed
* Laura Fanning and Rick Hayden are compelling characters, and the supporting cast is pretty well-drawn too

Things that annoyed me:
* Laura's incessant policing of Rick's speech patterns. Especially because the way he talks /isn't actually weird at all/. It makes her sound like an obnoxious grammar pedant... and she uses the same constructions he does immediately afterwards.
* Towards the very end of the book something happens that feels like a very ham-fisted hook for a sequel or series of sequels. It's unnecessary (it could just happen at the beginning of some hypothetical sequel), and distracts from wrapping up the narrative.
* The way a certain romantic subplot developed... Laura periodically declaring "I sure haven't been with a man in a loooooong time" in a matter-of-fact way was a really weird way to convey her gradually falling for Rick. Like, seriously, the best thing you can find to say about your crush is "he sure is male and also here right now!"? It didn't read right to me at all.
* Switching back and forth between viewpoints sometimes spoiled a surprise that one POV hadn't found out about yet, taking some of the suspense away.

Overall, it was an enjoyable story. ( )
  lavaturtle | Aug 9, 2016 |
PANACEA
F. Paul Wilson
June 27, 2016

It was around 1995 when I snatched THE TOMB off a rack at the end of a check-out lane in a local grocery store. I devoured F. Paul Wilson’s first Repairman Jack novel, and remember thinking, “This guys is awesome.” It is sad to admit, I never followed up. I never read another book by Wilson, and I have no idea why. So when I was offered a copy of PANACEA in exchange for a review, I jumped at the opportunity.

In Wilson’s latest novel, medical examiner, Laura Hanning, is doing her best to keep a busy life in check. Divorced, she works hard in her field, but also has a young daughter battling cancer. To complicate things, she is handed two new, and bizarre cases. The corpses found at the scene of two separate fires are burnt nearly beyond recognition. However, she can find no cause of death for either. Unique tattoos might be the only other immediate link between the victims.

There are two opposing cults at work. One is known as 536, and they are on the hunt for the elusive Panacea. The all-natural plant cures people of any ailment. They believe the miracle drug is abomination, going against God, and God’s Plan. They want to rid the world of the drug forever. The other cult, the makers of Panacea, do not take their responsibility with the elixir lightly. It is doled out in small, calculated doses.

They know the 536 are closing in on them.

Laura is hired by a terminally ill billionaire to investigate the reality of such a drug, and if it in fact does exist, return to the states with enough to cure him of his disease. While Laura does not believe in the Panacea, or its mystical powers of healing, she can’t walk away from his offer. For two weeks of her time, and even if she returns empty handed, she will be paid millions.

Rick Hayden is her assigned bodyguard, an ex Navy Seal. The trip should be relatively quick, and easy. Except, nothing is ever quick and easy.

Laura and Rick find themselves the target of the 536, as they discover that each clue leads them to yet another clue. Their search for answers turns up only more questions. What they thought would be a single stop to find the Panacea, ends up the first of many --and before they know it, they are traveling all over the globe.

Deception, and mistrust abound. With her ex-husband caring for their daughter at home while she traverses the continents on a bizarre scavenger hunt, Laura learns those closest to her might not be who they seem. Unable to give up, and walk away, Laura is determined to see the trek out to the end. She has to know if the Panacea is real . . . even if it means she could die trying.

PANACEA is a compelling medical thriller. Wilson has created a cast of characters that, good, or bad, the reader will relate with them. I found myself sympathetic to the antagonist on more than one occasion. The pacing is fast. The chapters taut. I read the book in a few sittings, and loved every piece of the story. I can tell you, I am not going to wait another 30 plus years to read my next F. Paul Wilson novel!

Phillip Tomasso,
Author of Wizard’s Rise & Wizard’s War ( )
  ptom3 | Jun 27, 2016 |
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Medical examiner Laura Henning has two charred corpses and no answers. Both bear a mysterious tattoo but exhibit no known cause of death. Their only connection is a string of puzzling miracle cures. Her preliminary investigation points to a cult that possesses the fabled panacea--the substance that can cure all ills--but everyone knows that's impossible. Or is it? Laura finds herself enmeshed in an ancient conflict between the secretive keepers of the panacea and the equally secretive and far more deadly group known only as 536, a brotherhood that fervently believes God intended for humanity to suffer, not be cured. A reclusive, terminally ill billionaire hires Laura to research the possibility that the panacea exists. The billionaire's own bodyguard, Rick Hayden, a mercenary who isn't who he pretends to be, has to keep her alive as they race from continent to continent to find the legendary panacea before the agents of 536 can destroy it.

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