Sunday, June 24, 2007

Black Order by James Rollins

Completion Date: June 2007
Pages: 448
Publication Year: 2006
Owned Prior to 2007
Book 3 (or 2 depending on whether you count Sandstorm) in the Sigma Series.

Reason for Reading: The next book in the series, The Judas Strain, will be out in July.
A sinister fire in a Copenhagen bookstore ignites a relentless hunt across four continents. Arson and murder reveal an insidious plot to steal a Bible that once belonged to Charles Darwin, the father of evolutionary theory. And Commander Gray Pierce dives headlong into a mystery that dates back to Nazi Germany . . . and to horrific experiments performed in a now-abandoned laboratory buried in a hollowed-out mountain in Poland.

A continent away, madness ravages a remote monastery high in Nepal, as Buddhist monks turn to cannibalism and torture. Lisa Cummings, a young American doctor investigating the atrocity, is suddenly a target of a brutal assassin working for clandestine forces that want the affair buried at any cost. Lisa's only ally is a hidden pilgrim, Painter Crowe -- director of SIGMA Force, an elite command of American scientists and Special Forces operatives -- who is already showing signs of the baffling malady that destroyed the minds of the monks.

Now it is up to Gray Pierce to save both Painter and Lisa -- and a world in jeopardy -- as SIGMA Force races to expose a century-old plot that threatens to destroy the current world order . . . and alter the destiny of humankind forever.

Combining the historic scope of The Da Vinci Code with the relentless thrills of today's best action novels, James Rollins's Black Order is a classic adventure -- an ingenious and breathtaking tour de force that explodes with revelations . . . while offering a startling new view of our place in the grand scheme of existence.

Two James Rollins books in one month, very unusual for me. This book follows on from Map of Bones in Rollins new Sigma Series. I do suggest, though, if you plan on reading it that you read Deep Fathom first because Lisa Cummings is in both books. It just helps you better understand where she is coming from. I hope that Rollins includes more people from his standalone books in this series, it was nice to see her again.

When this book first came out, I have to admit that I was intrigued by the Nazi storyline and how exactly that was going to come into play. Rollins has a lot going on all at one time, and for most of the book you know it is going to end up being related, but it takes a while for you to find out why. The adventure all seems to be connected to a Darwinian Bible that was supposed to be auctioned off. The people that want it will go to great lengths to acquire it, putting the Sigma force in dangers that they were not anticipating. It is Gray Pierce that finds himself tied up in this mess, all starting with the explosion of a bookstore he had set out to investigate to learn more about the Bible.

Painter Crowe returns as well, being the one character that has appeared in all three books, he is always a good addition to the mix. Things are different for him this time, though, because he got caught in a town where a terrifying illness is running amuck. Lisa Cummings comes to investigate the illness and finds herself in the midst of a Sigma operation and far away from the Mount Everest climb that was her intention. Crowe withstands admirably, but there comes a point where it is up to Gray to be the hero. He is having relationship troubles which are put on the back burner for the majority of the book, but he is determined.

It is up to the Sigma team to get to the bottom of this decades old plot and save themselves and the world. There are lots of close calls in this book and it is anyones guess who will live and who will die. Including a supporting cast that adds to the story, this book will keep you riveted until the last page. I really wish, though, that thrillers did not have to compare with The Da Vinci Code to be considered good nowadays, but it seems to be the mark of a good book. I will say it again, Rollins is better than Brown, so everyone should read him.

Parting Thoughts: Another edge of your seat by, for me, the king of thrillers. As thrillers are not my normal genre read, I do not have a lot of people to compare him with, so take that as you will. I will be interested to see what happens next for Sigma, and I only have to wait about a week. (Hopefully).

The Judas Strain will be in stores on July 2, 2007.


  1. I like the cover of the paperback better than the hardback. Strange that they changed it so much though.

  2. Yeah, I like the paperback copy more too. I think they just changed it so much so that it would go with Map of Bones. The new book will probably be the same. Basic harcover cover and then a fancy softcover...


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