Sunday, June 26, 2011

"Devil Colony" by @JamesRollins. Reviewed by @mrneil98

The wait is over but was it worth waiting an extra year? Heck Yes!! I will try to review the book without giving away too much but first some background. I discovered James Rollins and the Sigma Force series at a library book sale in 2005 where I purchased Sandstorm, mostly due to the cool holographic cover. After reading it I was hooked; with ball lightning, killer scientists and hidden cities under the desert, how could I not be. As a reader of all seven novels, I think of the characters as family, the most thrilling family evah! We have shared loss of friends and body parts, struggles with family and relationships and become cognizant of the latest developments in science and technology usually mixed with historical fiction.

This is exactly what The Devil Colony offers. There are two missions that keep overlapping. In the first Painter Crowe, Kowalski and the geologist Chin are investigating the aftermath of a mysterious explosion in Utah. The fireworks were outside an ancient Native American cave containing mummified bodies and artifacts and the perpetrator may have been a young Native American activist Kai who is also Painter’s niece. The other story line has Gray, Seichan and Monk investigating the true story of the Guild. (Sorry Rachel fans but this is Seichan’s book.) At the end of the e-short story The Skeleton Key, Seichan receives papers embossed with The Great Seal of the United States containing clues to the Guild. She delivers them to Gray and their search is on!

In true Rollins fashion, The Devil Colony is filled with historical and religious information concerning Native American, Mormons, Israelites and our Founding Fathers. Several times I paused to “wiki” some of the topics like the Caucasoid mummy remains or Chief Canasatego, as well as nano-bots and neutrinos. I love when my novels peak my curiosity and my adrenalin, and Rollins consistently delivers. There are many locales visited by the two groups but this time the majority of the action takes place in the United States. Painter’s group journeys up and down the Rockies while Gray’s stays east of the Mississippi (Iceland is east).

While the action is fast and furious, what distinguishes Rollins from many others in this genre, is the balance of duty to country (or world) and duty to family. Gray’s struggles with his father’s Alzheimer’s seem to weigh on him more than being caught in a volcanic eruption. Painter must decide how to deal with his niece Kai while heading off impending disaster. Kat, eight months pregnant, is left in charge of Sigma and must send her husband out on a life threatening mission.  Then there is the mutual attraction of Seichan and Gray. Her transformation over the last several novels from cold assassin to team member and even confidante has been subtle.  Will they or won’t they? Of that, my lips are sealed.

After reading The Devil Colony this, I listened to Map of Bones audio book while doing yard work and I am amazed by the way Rollins has intricately incorporated recurring themes through all of his novels almost as though he had all seven mapped out. The m-state white gold from Map of Bones is eerily similar to substances in The Devil Colony. There is also a reference by Raul of the Dragon Court to secret societies during the founding of the United States. Each time I revisit one of the earlier books I pick up more of the threads that have been so deftly woven  into The Devil Colony.

Do you need to read the previous books to enjoy The Devil Colony? No, but it will enhance your understanding and satisfaction. Just a note to the author, since when do books end with bombshells? Please don’t make us wait too long before the next Sigma adventure.  You can purchase Devil Colony here.

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