We’re two weeks away from the release of The Eye of God, by James Rollins, and I’m marking the countdown with reviews of all the previous Sigma Force novels.
This is the seventh book in a series. This review DOES contain spoilers for previous books. If you don’t want to read anything about the first six books in the series, you can skip to the bold text near the end for my spoiler-free closing thoughts.
The Devil Colony, by James Rollins
#7 in the Sigma Force series
William Morrow, June 2011
480 pages (hardcover)
The gruesome discovery of hundreds of mummified bodies deep in the Rocky Mountains — along with strange artifacts inscribed with an unfathomable script — stirs controversy and foments unrest. And when a riot at the dig site results in the horrible death of an anthropologist captured by television cameras, the government focuses its attention on an escaped teenage agitator — the firebrand niece of Sigma Force director Painter Crowe.
To protect her, Crowe will ignite a war across the nation’s most powerful intelligence agencies. But the dark events have set in motion a frightening chain reaction: a geological meltdown that threatens the entire western half of the U.S. And the unearthed truth could topple governments, as Painter Crowe joins forces with Commander Gray Pierce to penetrate the shadowy heart of a sinister cabal that has been manipulating American history since the founding of the thirteen colonies.
The Devil Colony continues to build on the conflict between Sigma and the Guild. Instead of merely being inevitable enemies who run into each other time and time again, it starts to get more intense, more personal, for all involved.
One of my favorite things about this book is Seichan. She’s been one of my favorite characters since her introduction, and now, after the events of The Judas Strain and The Doomsday Key, she’s entered into a tentative alliance with Sigma. And though they’ve worked together out of necessity in the past, there’s definitely a shift in the dynamics here.
And in the end, the trail that her information uncovers leads to the biggest shock of the series, revealed in the final pages… and in turn, that revelation will lead to the ultimate payoff, especially if you’ve been following the series from the beginning. But more on that next week.
(spoiler-free from here to the end)
Objectively, this is probably a stronger book than The Doomsday Key. The stakes are, if not actually higher, then certainly more immediate (I know I’ve said it before, but there’s nothing like a ticking clock to crank up the jeopardy). For me, though, I just didn’t come away with that elusive 5-star feeling.
This is the first Sigma book to be preceded by a short story — The Skeleton Key. It’s definitely an extra, not a must-read, but if you want to read a little more about Seichan and her Guild associates, it’s $.99 for the ebook, or it’s included in the paperback version of the novel.
If you’re really into American history, The Devil Colony might appeal to you more than others in the series; it draws heavily on stories and myths from both Native American and colonial history. And I think it would be okay as a stand-alone — it relies less on character histories than The Doomsday Key does — but, as always, you’ll be spoiling yourself for past books.
Next week: Bloodline
Do any of your favorite authors use these e-exclusive short stories or novellas to fill the gap between books? What do you think of this trend?