Rollins’ latest Sigma Force thriller verges on science fiction. A satellite crashes in Mongolia, but before it does, it transmits what appears to be an image of Boston, New York City, and Washington, D.C., in ruins. The image, it turns out, is time-shifted from the very near future by about 90 hours (there’s a rather laborious scientific explanation for how this could happen). As Painter Crowe, head of Sigma, tries to understand the situation, operative Gray Pierce learns of an ancient relic that seems to predict imminent disaster. In four days, the end of the world begins, and can even the highly skilled Sigma team stop something as big as that? As usual, there’s a historical element to the story—this time involving Attila the Hun, Genghis Khan, and Genghis’ legendary hidden treasure—but it’s the fast-paced action that carries us through to the end. Sure, the Sigma Force novels are formulaic (modern-day threat, ancient mystery, a team of experts who risk their lives to avert disaster at the last minute), but when the formula generates this much excitement, should we really mind?
This review originally appeared in Booklist, June 2013.