WM. Morrow/Harper Collins, $27.99, 471 pages, ISBN 978-0-06-238164-4
Anyone who’s passed by a mass-market paperback book rack has probably seen the name James Rollins, even if they have never read one of his many action-adventure yarns featuring Commander Gray Pierce and the Sigma Force Team. In Rollins’s fictional world, the Sigma Group acts as the operational arm of DARPA: the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. DARPA is real. It has a three billion dollar annual budget and is responsible for the development of emerging technologies for use by the U.S. military. Google it and see for yourself . . . it’s where all of the whiz-bang, Buck Rogers, 25th century stuff is thought up and developed. And therein, I think, lies the secret of Mr. Rollins’s success. He combines fact and fiction, science and superstition, then overlays it all with a generous helping of history, geography, and bone-chilling-suspense. The result is a situation that plays out in the reader’s mind as if it were the nightly news and not cutting-edge fiction.
The Bone Labyrinth, by James Rollins is his twenty-first work of fiction and has been judged by many to be the most exciting of all. It’s about the evolution of human intelligence and the pending battle for control of the human genome, and with it the ability to gene-splice made-to-order creatures—including humans—of all kinds, shapes and sizes. As the novel begins, a group of archaeologists and researchers in a remote cavern deep in the mountains of Croatia make a startling discovery about early man and an explosion of knowledge which took place 50,000 years ago. They locate a hidden Catholic chapel containing the bones of a Neanderthal woman and an elaborate set of primitive paintings depicting a war between humans and monstrous giant creatures. But before they can announce their discovery, they’re attacked, the bones are stolen and the chapel destroyed. At the same time, a primate research center in Atlanta, Georgia is attacked and their research, in the form of a genetically-modified and highly intelligent baby gorilla, is stolen and its scientist handler kidnapped in what may be an act of piracy, sabotage, or the opening salvo of a high-tech war in which the future of the entire human race hangs in the balance. As the Sigma Force deploys, the trail of the two events leads half of the group to Ecuador where they’re plunged into a four-hundred year old mystery that’s baffled some of the best minds in the world; while the other team members follow a faint trail to China, attempting a rescue that will put them into a death fight with some living monsters that are straight out of a nightmare.
The action, adventure and thrills never stop in The Bone Labyrinth. It’s an exquisite, intricately-plotted and science-oriented thriller that’ll have you gasping for breath before it’s finished and leave a sense of wonderment in everyone who reads it. For those who do, we strongly suggest reading the author’s notes at the conclusion of the text. They’re astonishing! They’ll leave you thinking about this novel for a long, long time. Don’t say we didn’t warn ya!