I enjoyed this book too much to give it any less than 5 stars. It had all of the history and science elements to push my buttons. Irish history and lore, Druids, pagan and Christian history. Polar bears and the dangers of genetically modified crops all wrapped up in a nice shiny conspiracy. As usual, you have your share of explosions, near misses and enough action to keep the pulse racing.
The plot of a Rollins novel is not easily summarized. The action is sometimes frantic and the conspiracies run deep. In this novel, there are two parallel storylines. Grayson and Kowalski go to the Vatican as a personal favour to Rachael, Grayson’s former girlfriend. A priest has been killed in a violent fashion and he has left behind a cryptic clue. While there, the team runs into Seichan and all hell breaks loose. They chase down ancient secrets to across the countryside and dodge death. Meanwhile, Painter and Monk are in Norway on the heels of a massive corporation that genetically modifies crops. They are brought there after a massacre occurs at on of their test farms. Secrets are being held but are not revealed until the plotlines collide.
For my money, James Rollins ties together pseudo-science, hard science and history better than any other author today. Whether or not all of the predicted calamities could ever occur, Rollins makes you believe that it is possible. In this case, Rollins plays on the fears related to GMO’s and leave you to wonder what really is possible.
If science isn’t your kick, Rollins delves into history and expands on mysteries and unexplained occurrences from the past. In this case, part of the story focuses on the so called Doomsday book which, amongst other mysterious things, lists apt descriptions of the popes, up to and included the current pope. Some say this is prophetic writing from a long dead seer while other say it is a clever hoax. You judge.
Rollins will not fit every taste. This is not literary fiction and was not shortlisted from some prestigious prize given out to dull literature. It requires suspension of disbelief and the ability to glaze over the blurring of scientific fact from fiction. The conspiracy angle may put some off as will the toned down nature of the book. Sex is at a minimum as is adult language and while there is violence, it is rarely graphic and never gory. Some will think that it is washed down tripe. In my opinion, this is Action Adventure that pleases many while staying original.
For me, reading a Rollins novel is like meeting up with an old friend. It is always comfortable and always enjoyable. His writing is always consistent and the stories are always strong. This novel is part of a series but could be read as a standalone. There are relationships between characters that evolve from one book to the next, but the enjoyment of the story will be no less if this is your first book in the Sigma Series.
I would say this book is appropriate for mature teens and up.
It is difficult to find commentary on the sex/violence/language content of book if you are interested. I make an effort to give you the information so you can make an informed decision before reading. *Disclaimer* I do not take note or count the occurrences of adult language as I read. I am simply giving approximations.
Scale 1 – Lowest 5 – Highest
Sex – 2
As usual, Rollins shows that relationship can be developed without graphic sex. There are a few scenes where sex is implied or cut away from before the action begins.
Language – 2
Occasional mild profanities and there may be a couple of f words.
Violence – 3
There is a significant amount of violence but much of the tension and thrill comes from the anticipation of violence. There are several murders and gun fights but the deaths are not graphic or gory.