Black Order, James Rollins (Morrow)

rollins

The globe-trotting adventurers of Sigma Force, that elite American special-ops team, return in this high-powered thriller. The story begins cryptically. In Nepal, a strange plague has struck a remote Himalayan monastery, and a Nazi swastika is found on a cave wall. In Denmark, someone is buying up rare historical documents connected to Victorian scientists (for instance, Charles Darwin’s family Bible), and the purchaser is desperate enough to kill for his prizes. In South Africa, a mythological beast is apparently alive and well and preying on wildlife. The author interweaves these stories, following the Sigma Force team members as they risk their lives to get to the heart of one of humankind’s greatest mysteries: the origins of life itself. Rollins keeps getting better with every novel, and his fast-paced thrillers are feasts for the imagination. Why Hollywood hasn’t snapped his books up yet is a mystery, but it’s doubtful any big-screen version could capture the author’s gung-ho enthusiasm and intellectual curiosity. If you like all-stops-out, high-concept adventure, this one’s for you.

This review originally appeared in Booklist, March 2006.

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