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The Flock by James Robert Smith
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Jan 16, 08

Read in September, 2006

James Robert (Bob) Smith's novel, THE FLOCK, is a worthy first effort, beautifully produced in hardback by Gale/Five Star Books. The flock of the title is a group of prehistoric birds, known as Phorusrachids, which has survived in one of Florida's last remaining wilderness areas. They are impressive, predatory creatures whose survival is largely due to their near-human intelligence; however, their existence is now threatened by both developers and by an eccentric militiaman who owns a portion of the wilderness. A group of environmentalists, who wish to see the land preserved, pit themselves against the exploiters, and in the process discover the existence of the creatures. A complex game of intrigue ensues as the various parties square off, each with its own single-minded agenda.

Smith is a capable writer and has created a remarkably believable backstory for these dinosaur-like creatures. His human characters are mostly colorful — sometimes a little too colorful — but the drama never fails to be engaging. The birds themselves, though, are the stars of the story, and their unique characters enliven the book far more than if they were merely one-dimensional, predatory monsters.
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