Gone To Ground by Bronwyn Hall

Gone To Ground by Bronwyn Hall
Publisher: Harper Collins Publishers Australia
Genre: Contemporary, Action/Adventure, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Fern

A heart-in-the-mouth and utterly addictive adventure thriller from a phenomenal debut Australian talent.

UN surgeon Rachel Forester is posted at a remote medical clinic deep in the jungle of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. With violence escalating in the region, Dr Forester risks her life by remaining to tend an injured child while the rest of her team evacuates. On the cusp of her final desperate chance to leave, a soldier is carried into the camp by three other members of his unit, his condition so critical, his airlift must take priority over hers.

With no help coming, and in the path of warring militias, this small unit must flee through the heart of the jungle to reach the safety of the province capital. But in the dark wilderness lies a strangling web of crime and corruption. As they get deeper, they discover a sinister mining operation and stolen children with evidence indicating shadowy ties to the UN. But aren’t those the people Dr Forester works for? The only people who know she’s still lost out there? And now, the people who want her dead?

The further they delve, the more the web closes around them. Will they make it out alive?

Dr Rachel Forester is an Australian working with the UN deep in the jungles of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. What was meant to be one week delivering much needed vaccines to the tribal children living in the remote jungle areas has turned into more than a month. But with the violence escalating she and her one remaining nurse, Michael, are about to be evacuated when the fighting suddenly explodes and – while saving a Canadian soldier – Rachel finds herself fleeing with the military team into the jungle in a rush for their lives.

I picked up this book on a whim having never heard of the author but the blurb and first few pages really captured my attention. I’m so glad I listened to my instincts as this is absolutely one of the best books I’ve read this year – and possibly a new “must read” author for myself. I found this book had a really wonderful blend of action, adventure, military plotline combined with medical attention and a small hint of romance amongst the mystery/suspense. I never would have guessed this was the authors debut novel – but Google assures me this is Ms. Hall’s first novel. I found the plotlines, pacing and writing exceptional and really enjoyed this read.

Readers who like very strong military (ie loads of description about the guns/weaponry/helicopters etc) might not find this quite to their tastes. While there is ample description for me – I’m more of a reader who enjoys the plot/character lines and I am very satisfied with enough description for me to imagine what’s going on without needing to go overboard on the army/military angle. I was pretty pleased there were a few plots interweaving throughout the whole story – as well as a very slowly simmering romance which is given very little screen time but just enough to keep you guessing will they/won’t they.

I feel this story should appeal to a wide range of readers and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’ve already noted for myself that I want to buy the next book (another stand alone it appears) and I am eager to see if Ms. Hall’s second book matches the highly satisfactory outcome of her first. A really enjoyable book and one I will reread very soon.

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