Once a year, scoutmaster Tim Riggs leads a troop of boys into the Canadian wilderness for a three-day camping trip—a tradition as comforting and reliable as a good ghost story and a roaring bonfire. But when an unexpected intruder—shockingly thin, disturbingly pale, and voraciously hungry—stumbles upon their campsite, Tim and the boys are exposed to something far more frightening than any tale of terror. The human carrier of a bioengineered nightmare. An inexplicable horror that spreads faster than fear. A harrowing struggle for survival that will pit the troop against the elements, the infected...and one another.
Winner of the inaugural James Herbert Award, THE TROOP is a novel that will not fail to get under your skin...He felt something touch his hand. Which is when he looked down. For the scouts of Troop 52, three days of camping, hiking and survival lessons on Falstaff Island is as close as they'll get to a proper holiday. Which was when he saw it. But when an emaciated figure stumbles into their camp asking for food, the trip takes a horrifying turn. The man is not just hungry, he's sick. Sick in a way they have never seen before. Which was when he screamed. Cut off from the mainland, the troop face a terror far worse than anything they could have made up around a campfire. To survive they will have to fight their fears, the elements ...and eventually each other. 'THE TROOP scared the hell out of me, and I couldn't put it down. Not for the faint-hearted' Stephen King
Wow, what a crazy ride!
This novel hits you in the face from the very first chapter with promises of yuck and eek. And if you think the poor sucker that started it all on this island is the most disturbing part of this book, you are in for a surprise.
Hang on to your stomachs people! Pretend you are going swimming and wait half an hour before taking your brain for a backstroke in this one. I am usually a strong stomach type of person, able to pick up some really disturbing stuff, but even I turned green and teared up at some parts of this novel. And why such strong reactions?
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PROCEED WITH CAUTION
Engineered Tape Worms.
Ya, you read right!
Engineered, gross, yucky, cringe-worthy, massively destructive tape worms that can take over a host and destroy you within hours, causing disgusting havoc on a human and animal body, all the while taking control of your body and brain.
Ok. So depending on who you may talk to, there may be arguments on the realism of this (I don't think it would be so far fetched, personally). But here is where the believability kicked in for me. Everyone's behavior in this story was, in my head, spot on to what I think someone would behave in every single situation in this book. Inclusive of the psychopath child that pretends to be perfectly normal within this otherwise, typical group of boy scouts.
So, let's throw in this extremely contagious 'escaped' (debatable) test subject filled with killer tapeworms on an island with a group of young boys and their scout master, and let's see what happens. This literary experiment played out in ways that I certainly imagined and didn't want to imagine. From the raw fear of infection, the predictable breakdown of trust, to the sheer determination to survive, and hopelessness that comes with a dire situation of which you cannot escape, this book was raw, gritty and frankly terrifying. It will be a long time before I can stop tearing up over the turtle scene, or the disturbing ways that one of the young boys decided to eliminate the perceived threat in his own body.
I am definitely intrigued to read more of this author's books after 'The Troop' but, no offense to you, Nick Cutter.... I think I will give it a little bit of time before I pick up the next one after what you did to me with this one.