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The Primus Labyrinth


Loved it! 😍

Science fiction blends with political thriller in this fast-paced novel about molecular level terrorism.

Loosely inspired by the 1996 film Fantastic Voyage, Scott Overton's book The Primus Labyrinth is a daring science fiction novel about a terrorist who has planted molecule-sized "bombs" inside a very important person, leaving a team of scientists scrambling to navigate a microscopic ship through the victim's bloodstream to save her. I give this book an enthusiastic four stars for its political intrigue, discussion of moral dilemmas, exciting action scenes, and fully fleshed characters.

Our world-weary protagonist, Curran Hunter, is an out-of-work submarine pilot with a past that haunts him and at times threatens to derail the life-saving mission. With PTSD, a skeptical attitude, and functional alcoholism, Hunter is a rough-around-the-edges and far from perfect hero. For the most part, the rest of the cast of characters was thoroughly fleshed out, save for the main bad guy. Even as a lover of plot-driven narratives, I always appreciate thorough characterization.

Though the plot sagged from roughly 25% to 50% of the narrative, the action-packed second half made up for the lull. I especially loved the scenes set in Washington, D.C., such as the thrilling action sequence in which the brakes of a mysterious Washington insider's car are sabotaged, leading to high-speed peril.

Refreshingly for genre fiction, The Primus Labyrinth also explores impossible moral dilemmas about medical consent, voyeurism, and bioethics. Questions regarding whether the ends justify the means abound in this science fiction novel, making the reader pause and consider their own opinions.

As mentioned above, though, The Primus Labyrinth starts to sag significantly somewhere around the 25% mark. Laboratory scenes start to feel repetitive at that point, not driving the plot forward. At nearly 400 pages, I felt that the novel could have easily been trimmed down to closer to 300 pages by cutting out the sagging bits and tightening the narrative. My only other piece of criticism is that the big plot twist at the end fell flat for me, due to a lack of sufficiently establishing the character of the person in question. Readers should also go into this book aware that there is a subplot involving sexual abuse of a minor, although nothing graphic is shown.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed The Primus Labyrinth. Fans of Dan Brown's more science fiction heavy works will love this book. Many thanks to the author and Reedsy Discovery for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Reviewed by

Hello! I'm Charlotte, an avid reader, blogger, and author. My favorite genres to read include cozy mysteries (especially ones with a culinary hook!), fantasy, and steampunk.


About the author

A career radio morning host, Scott’s mystery/thriller Dead Air was shortlisted for a Northern Lit Award in Canada . His short fiction has been published in numerous magazines and anthologies. Scott’s hobbies include scuba diving and collector cars. He lives on a private island in Northern Ontario. view profile

Published on March 10, 2020

Published by

110000 words

Contains mild explicit content ⚠️

Genre: Science Fiction

Reviewed by