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Summary

Deep in the African rain forest, near the legendary ruins of the Lost City of Zinj, an expedition of eight American geologists are mysteriously and brutally killed in a matter of minutes.

Ten thousand miles away, Karen Ross, the Congo Project Supervisor, watches a gruesome video transmission of the aftermath: a camp destroyed, tents crushed and torn, equipment scattered in the mud alongside dead bodies - all motionless except for one moving image - a grainy, dark, man-shaped blur.

In San Francisco, primatologist Peter Elliot works with Amy, a gorilla with an extraordinary vocabulary of 620 "signs," the most ever learned by a primate, and she likes to finger paint. But recently her behavior has been erratic and her drawings match, with stunning accuracy, the brittle pages of a Portuguese print dating back to 1642…a drawing of an ancient lost city. A new expedition - along with Amy - is sent into the Congo, where they enter a secret world, and the only way out may be through a horrifying death.....

Congo was adapted to the screen and directed by Frank Marshall.

©1980 CrichtonSun LLC (P)2015 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

What listeners say about Congo

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Better than Jurassic Park!

Don't be put off by the average at best 1995 movie, the book has plenty of story lines not included in the film, plus an excellent presentation. 5*

4 people found this helpful

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Stop Eating My Sesame Cake!

Early '80s reboot of the Boy's Own adventure yarn from that giant of the Top Gear blockbuster, Michael Crichton, Here, competing consortiums race to secure a priceless source of blue diamonds in the steaming jungle heart of Africa. Mercenaries, cannibals and witch-doctors lurk behind every baobab tree. Amy the signing gorilla paints the fabled City of Zinj and struggles with heights. There is a volcano; it does erupt.
I have a genuine fondness for the dopey, good-natured film adaptation of this novel: an unabashed z-movie piece of nonsense that is elevated by one of the most moving scenes in cinematic history ("Stop. Eating. My Sesame. Kek!"). Sadly, neither Delroy Lindo nor Tim Curry's devious Romanian "philanthropist," Herkemer Homolka ("travel-ink the world, do-ink good"), feature in the actual novel and it is much the poorer for it.
In fact, for all the action-adventure tropes, 'Congo' is surprisingly dry. Crichton appears to have been a writer who did not believe in the footnote, instead padding out his word count with large, undigested tracts of research. At one point I suddenly realised that I had been listening to a potted history of the home computer for the previous 25 minutes! It made me genuinely angry. Despite this sort of thing, Crichton was an enormously successful novelist, so his brand of buccaneering didacticism must have resonated with a lot of people; to me, however, it just felt like there was a straight-ahead romp struggling to breath beneath the excess of man-facts (and, of course, there was; it was 'King Solomon's Mines').
Happily, Julia Whelan's narration is excellent throughout and kept me onboard with the signifying monkey, all the way to the rather perfunctory conclusion.

3 people found this helpful

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Classic Crichton

A very good novel excellently read by Julia Whelan. Whilst this is certainly not among Crichton's best novel it is by no means the worst, and a must for Crichton's fans.

1 person found this helpful

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Sci-fi greatness considering it's from 1980

I enjoyed this book, I have always loved Michael Crichton and this book is very much like his other novels.
As others mention there is A LOT of science and technological jargon in this book (too much perhaps?) but reading this in 2020, with the book being 40 years old, its staggering how much of the predictions in the book have come true and for that reason alone I also (mostly) enjoyed the science bits too, though the action and wildlife bits were by far my favorite part of the book.
I, however, did not enjoy the narration all the time, when she is narrating the storyline and the female character it's perfectly fine, but for some reason she gives all the male characters a drawling, stupid voice, almost like they are high or half asleep or just unintelligent, which doesn't match the storyline, and most male characters have same voice, which means I lost track of who was talking sometimes. ,
Overall good and I enjoyed it..

1 person found this helpful

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Disappointing

There’s possibly a good story in there somewhere, but it gets totally bogged down in regular mind numbing passages about the technology the characters are using. This meant that for the first time I wished I was listening to an abridged version of a book. As for the characters, the only really likeable of the leads is Amy the gorilla & perhaps Peter, her human custodian. It’s therefore difficult to care if the humans make it through their perilous journey. There’s no sign that they ever learned from their selfish mistakes, grew in any war or showed any contrition for the devastation they (although mainly one character in particular) caused. The narration was acceptable, but only just acceptable. I made it through by increasing the speed. I certainly won’t listen to it again or read it.

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A compelling adventure story

Surprisingly different to the 1995 film, Crichton's novel has a grounded sense of realism, danger and threat, largely absent from the film. Really enjoyed the narration.

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Fascinating

An intriguing exploration of human-animal relationships. Amy the Gorilla is complex, intelligent, and wonderful. Brilliant.

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not brilliant but okay

not the best I mean its quite dull in places and relates more to the safari (journey) then the mysterious destination zinch

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Interesting

Congo is a work of fiction but listening to it you would almost believe that it was based on fact. The characters, human and gorilla, were vivid in all their facets and were easily brought to life by the vocal talents of Julia Whelan, which I enjoyed more than the story itself in all honesty. A good book became an excellent audiobook on the strength of its narrator, and I would recommend it for that reason.

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Lots of padding

Disappointed at the sheer volume of 'research' which pad out this book. Too little raw narrative and too much supporting background information and research to justify the premise of the book

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Profile Image for hgpilot - MM
  • hgpilot - MM
  • 28-11-15

Fantastic - better the second time around

I originally read this 20 years ago and have recently started re-listening to Michael Crichton books this year. Congo is one of the best books, in my opinion, that Crichton ever wrote. Great character development, realistic mix of science / fantasy, and steady plot development.

49 people found this helpful

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  • Ree
  • 16-03-19

the best of Crichton with excellent narration

Popular opinion on Crichton's Congo has always been divided--some feel it's one of his better novels while many feel it's the opposite. I'm one of the former. I love this book. And while the Jurassic Park movies remain among my favorites, I didn't love the books nearly as much--they were good, interesting, but failed to sweep me away like Congo did and continues to do, and for that reason, I put it well above the Jurassic Park and Lost World novels. Amy, the gorilla, in particular is a gem. I always forget how much I love Crichton's sense of humor. Amy is marvelously rendered and a fabulous character. The other characters are well drawn and interesting--no one is one-dimensional, no one is perfect, everyone is interesting.
The narration is superb, and I need to spend a sentence or two on that because when I was trying to decide whether or not to buy the audible version, I very nearly didn't because of the many negative reviews of the narration. One in particular shreds her performance of Peter, saying he sounds like a sulky teenager. I honestly have no idea where they got that. Julia Whelan does a magnificent job with all elements, particularly the sciency bits where Crichton veers off into massive amounts of exposition/history/etc that no fiction author should be allowed to get away with and yet he DOES and somehow does it really well--Julia Whelan does a masterful job with those sections making them every bit as interesting to listen to as the action sequences. As if often the case with cross gender reading, Whelan does sound a little strained with the male characters. But I've heard far worse, and it's not distracting. And she's spot-on perfect with the overall narration, the female voices, and Amy.

This was an easy 5 stars and I will definitely be re-listening to it many times in the future.

33 people found this helpful

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  • Jake Campos
  • 19-10-15

Good not Great

Any additional comments?

I found this particular novel from Crichton to be less interesting that the others of his that I have read. The story itself was good, and it had his scientific details that really help to absorb the reader into a world where the events are actually taking place. But the story seems to be a ton of build up to about 50 pages (or about an hour) of rap-up. The story seems to focus most of its content on the preparation and trip to the Congo, and falls a little flat there. The technology discussed is particularly interesting to me, but I can see it further discouraging other readers. I would recommend it, and I will likely read/listen-to it again, but before you dive in, manage your expectations. This will likely not end up on your top 100.

33 people found this helpful

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  • Nathan
  • 11-10-15

Very good

I really liked the story. The narrator did a decent job, although it took some effort to get through the male voices. Definitely worth it, however.

22 people found this helpful

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  • Jonevan Brown
  • 25-08-17

Roller coaster

This book was incredibly fun to listen to, with some great narration to boot.

If you love Crichton, this is about as classic as it gets.

"Amy good gorilla."

16 people found this helpful

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  • Billy
  • 16-08-16

Iteresting read with great narration

Really liked the narrator, she was very even and did a good job of making the long explanations that while interesting, are not blended into the story line very well, more enjoyable to listen to.
Fascinating story that was very well researched of course which helps blend the science and fiction seamlessly.

16 people found this helpful

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  • J. R. Bradbury
  • 17-07-17

Not his best

This book spends way too much time on events leading up to the final conflict and technical jargon. I purchased it as a cheap buy to tide me over until next month's credit, but I struggled with wanting to finish it in many places. The narrator did a good job differentiating between different characters and it was entertaining, albeit frustratingly slow in places. I recommend his other novel, Prey, over this one, but it's not a terrible choice.

13 people found this helpful

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  • Adam
  • 02-09-16

Good Story, Bad Performance

This is a typical Crichton novel, a nice mixture of adventure and science. Not one of his better works but still an enjoyable read. Unfortunately it is not a enjoyable listen. I found the narrators attempts at accents to be distracting and would have preferred if she didn't even attempt them.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Dawn
  • 19-10-15

Worth reading.

It was good just not great, I can't quite put my finger on it but it was missing something.

10 people found this helpful

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Profile Image for Jim "The Impatient"
  • Jim "The Impatient"
  • 20-11-16

SLEEP WROTE

THAT'S A B8 PROBLEM
Written in 1980, Crichton was just getting his feet wet. This is a mass amount of facts and figures. While some of these tidbits of information are interesting, the book as a whole is lacking. No character development, with the exception of Amy the Gorilla. The story was not compelling. You want to skip this one.

48 people found this helpful