“A full circle of the globe. All in an attempt to save it. She hoped it wasn’t her farewell tour.”
This is the ninth book in a series. While the blurb below gives away the survival of one character in the series, this review contains no spoilers for previous books.
The Eye of God, by James Rollins
#9 in the Sigma Force series
William Morrow, June 2013
410 pages (hardcover)
The crash of a U.S. military research satellite in the remote wilds of Mongolia triggers an explosive search for the valuable cargo it holds: a code-black physics project connected to the study of dark energy, the energy connected to the birth of our universe. But the last blurry image from the falling satellite captures a chilling sight: a frightening look into the future, a view of a smoldering eastern seaboard of the United States in utter ruin.
At the Vatican, a mysterious package arrives for the head of Pontifical ancient studies, sent by a colleague who had vanished a decade earlier. It contains two strange artifacts: a skull scrawled with ancient Aramaic and a tome bound in human skin. DNA testing reveals both are from Genghis Khan — the long-dead Mongol king whose undiscovered tomb is rumored to hold the vast treasures and knowledge of a lost ancient empire.
Commander Gray Pierce, and Sigma — joined by a pair of Vatican historians — race to uncover a truth tied to the fall of the Roman Empire, to a mystery bound in the roots of Christianity’s origins, and to a weapon hidden for centuries that holds the fate of humanity.
That was my response when I set this book down, roughly ten hours after having purchased it. (No, I wasn’t reading for ten hours straight.) This one really takes you for a ride. The adventure side of the book is filled with frightening revelations and narrow escapes, and there was quite a bit that got extremely intense and personal as well.
One big point worth making is that while the action is front and center, this book reads a little more like science fiction than most of the others in the series. Rollins always includes cutting-edge science in his books, and in his author’s note here he makes a point of saying that his fictional science includes “some speculation and extrapolation (but not as much as you might imagine).” Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction, and things like dark matter and quantum theory — things that even the experts don’t fully understand — definitely fit that statement. Regardless, however much of what’s in here may or may not be fact, it doesn’t change the fact that it feels very much like science fiction. So your interest — or lack thereof — in exploring these ideas will definitely influence your reaction to the novel.
One big theme of the book is the relationship between past, present, and future… for the characters individually, and for the entire world. To me, it was a very fitting idea for the book that takes the Sigma Force series in a new direction. Don’t worry — Rollins’s signature thrills, combining history and science with a heavy dose of action, are all intact. But after the significant events of Bloodline, there is an unavoidable shift, and I’m curious to see what Rollins has in store for us in future books.
As for those who are new to the series, I still advocate starting from the beginning… but if you did want to jump right in, this book is a good place to start.
There’s so much more I wish I could say, but I’d be venturing dangerously close to spoiler territory, so I’ll just leave you with this:
As I was reading, I wasn’t expecting this to be another 5-star. It was a solid 4, no doubt… and I was fine with that. They can’t all be favorites. And then I got to the end. The last twenty pages or so (and especially the epilogue) totally won me over. There’s an optimism for the future that comes through on every page, and I can’t wait to see where the series goes from here.
I’ve had so much fun reliving the series these past several weeks, and now I’m back to waiting another year. And what about you? Have I convinced you to give the Sigma Force series a try?