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The Devil's Garden

2.92  ·  Rating details ·  101 ratings  ·  20 reviews
Dr Forle is a scientist on a river station deep in the heart of the South American jungle: the last inhabited point before the impassable interior. He is studying the eerie forest glades that the local tribes call 'devil's gardens'. Who or what has created these cursed and poisoned places? The answer, he hopes, will change the way we think about life itself.

But as The Dev
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published April 1st 2011 by Picador USA (first published March 1st 2011)
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2.92  · 
Rating details
 ·  101 ratings  ·  20 reviews

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Jul 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
There's not a lot of love here for The Devil's Garden, but I really enjoyed it. The setting, a scientific community in the 'jungle' (let's just call it Amazon) was well drawn and while I do understand some of the criticisms of the lack of character development, for me (and I'm normally a stickler for this) I found that although we aren't told much, there is plenty to be gleaned from their actions. Their various motivations were clear. I think pages spent working through character back story woul ...more
Sep 17, 2010 rated it liked it
I fully admit it: I was disappointed by many aspects of this book.

It felt like he was rushed through (book deal with Picador?). The plot was interesting enough - I liked the scientific aspect (which he researched, which was lovely -- previous works were not so stitched together using facts from real events and science) - though if I hadn't read his previous books, I never would have been interested in this one. But while this book had its main character and close supporting characters (the Docx
John Dobbin
Jan 21, 2019 rated it liked it
This was an easy to read and interesting thriller set in the Amazon. The name comes from a phenomenon where a specific species of ant poisons all plants other than its mutualistic host and thereby creates patches of monoculture in an otherwise richly diverse ecosystem. The ants seem to defy the concept of the selfish gene and there is nice metanarrative about individualism verse altruism in nature, and humans. I enjoyed it.
Jun 13, 2018 rated it it was ok
A bit to like a take off of "the heart of darkness".

had a little bit of menace, but was a bit predictable. None of the characters were particularly likeable and I am not sure I really cared about any of them.

However I finished the book and don't feel it was a total waste of my time. I wouldn't be inspired to read any other by the author, nor to recommend it - even for a beach read. There are so many others out there that would do.
May 04, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, get-rid-of
This was the most boring, convoluted , drivel I have read in awhile. I don't know what the hell this story is about, where or when it takes place. I'm not even sure on who was speaking at times. .1 stars
Aug 10, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookcrossing
I seem to be in a run of thrillers at the moment, but didn't really enjoy this one. It has the madness in the jungle atmosphere of Heart of Darkness but transposed to an un-named Central or South American country. I felt I never really got to know Forle, in spite of 'extracts' from his book which gave an insight into the relevant science. He seemed to have no real enthusiasm for the research, possibly continuing with it for the sake of his dead friend, and no real enthusiasm for holding things t ...more
Jul 29, 2014 rated it did not like it
Despite the claims on the cover, I didn't find any suspense or excitement in this book. The tone of the narrator makes it seem almost Victorian, which is fine, but then in the same paragraph they're talking about satellite phones and GPS tracking. It doesn't make sense. I couldn't see any character development and there isn't enough detail to create a sense of atmosphere.
This book has drama but I didn't find it very realistic nor did the characters have much depth. It's not difficult to imagine that incidents like those described might occur in parts of the Amazon, but it's also difficult to imagine that it's as lawless as Docx suggests.
May 20, 2012 rated it really liked it

Perfect combination of fact and fiction, some insights into the natural sciences and into human nature, combined with a good deal of suspense. Set in the Amazon rainforest of Peru, the book's premise is all too realistic. Well written.
Rohini Sunderam
Sep 02, 2015 rated it liked it
I was disappointed. I had very high hopes as I thoroughly enjoyed The Calligrapher, but somehow I couldn't connect with the protagonist Dr. Frole.
The comparison with the ants, the Myrmelachista schumanni, and human society didn't quite work for me.
Brian Murray
Jun 03, 2011 rated it it was ok
I didn't really get into the characters. The story didn't really need 300+ pages to tell. The ant/human analogy was interesting, but got old pretty quick.
Portal in the Pages
Jan 12, 2015 rated it it was ok
I don't know what to say of this book. I liked the descriptions, the atmosphere but I had no connection with the cold, lifeless characters who wandered through the jungle.
Bobbie Darbyshire
Jun 10, 2011 rated it liked it
Real sense of being in the Amazon jungle, of its myriad dangers and overwhelming power. A few too many characters and very spare style diluted the human drama for me, but well worth a read.
Sep 01, 2010 marked it as to-read
Nik Tahirah
Aug 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
Excellent discussion of the meaning of life. I'm not too keen on the narrative style, but certainly worth a read.
Jane Walker
Jul 05, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Docx is an excellent writer, so he must know his grammar. Why, then, is this book littered with "sat" where the correct usage is "sitting"? It's not a small point because it's very irritating.
Jul 07, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was ok. His previous two novels I found very absorbing but I could not engage with these characters. He is an excellent writer however.
Nov 07, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
lost the plot along the way, altho gotta say enjoyed the insight about ant life! :)
Jul 26, 2012 added it
never knew ants were so interesting!
Alex Scott
rated it it was ok
Jan 22, 2013
Ben Clissen
rated it really liked it
Jul 18, 2014
rated it did not like it
Jun 12, 2018
Louis Buckley
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May 26, 2016
Dion Doherty
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Aug 06, 2015
Cherrylita Ollyvia
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Sep 16, 2017
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Edward Docx was born in 1972 in the north of England. He grew up in Cheshire and London. After school, he went to Christ’s College, Cambridge, where he read English Literature and was Junior Common Room President.

He began his professional writing career working on the national newspapers. In 2003, his first novel, The Calligrapher, was published to widespread acclaim. It was selected by the San Fr