The Eye of God by James Rollins is the ninth military thriller of apocalyptic proportions in the Sigma Force series featuring a doomsday sentence and the one team that stands in the way (available June 25, 2013).
I never thought much about physics until I became a fan of the TV show, The Big Bang. Now I actually watch programs that explain elements of physics to someone as dumb as me and I find it fascinating.
Physics is the heart of James Rollins’ ninth Sigma Force novel. It begins with a big bang—the explosion of a secret military satellite sent out to further the study of dark matter. While this is happening, a secret package arrives at the Vatican containing a skull and a book bound with human skin. DNA tests prove both belonged to Genghis Khan. While the crash of the satellite and the relics of the old ruler seem unrelated, they both carry a message of doom the world.
Members of Sigma Force are working with both teams on these two projects, and a cast of thousands is involved in all of it.
Rollins does a masterful job of keeping his characters moving the story forward. I actually took notes while reading this so I wouldn’t have to keep going back for information, and I was very glad I did. There’s history, mystery, romance, and action so intense at times you’ll have to stop reading and rest.
As the teams learn the secrets revealed by their various discovered, we also open the door on the personal histories of the individual members. Seichan is searching for a mother lost to her in the dark days of Vietnam. Rachel Verona, a member of the Carabinieri Guard, travels with her uncle, Monsignor Vigor Verona, and worries he keeps secrets from her. Father Josip Tarasco disappeared years ago, but it was he who sent the package to the Monsignor Verona.
Each character’s story builds on the other, and the truth is revealed layer by layer. This scene is from the early in the book when Seichan is following leads that may take her to the mother she has longed to see again for years. Rollins skill with language and description are evident:
They had crossed half the world to hunt a ghost.
Commander Gray Pierce followed the midnight crowd off the boat and into the ferry terminal. The high-speed catamaran had made the passage from Hong Kong to the peninsula of Macau in a little over an hour. He stretched a kink from his back as he waited to clear passport control in the crowded terminal building.
People were pouring into the peninsula to celebrate a special Water Lantern Festival in honor of the comet in the sky. A large party was under way this night, where floating lanterns were set adrift in the lakes and rivers as offerings to the spirits of the deceased. Hundreds of lights even bobbed in the waters around the terminal, like a scatter of luminous flowers.
Ahead of him in line, a wizened old man cradled a reed cage with a live goose inside.
Both looked equally sullen, matching Gray’s mood after the seventeen-hour journey here.
“Why does that duck keep looking at me?” Kowalski asked.
“I don’t think it’s just the duck,” Gray said.
The big man, wearing jeans and a long duster, stood a head taller than Gray, which meant he towered over everyone in the terminal. Several people took pictures of the American giant, as if some craggy-faced Godzilla with a crew cut had wandered into their midst.
Gray turned to his other traveling companion. “It’s a long shot that we’ll learn anything from our contact here. You understand that, right?”
Seichan shrugged, seemingly unperturbed, but he read the tension in the single crease between her eyebrows. They had traveled this far to question this man in person. The meeting was Seichan’s last hope to discover the fate of her mother, a woman who had vanished twenty- two years ago, ripped from her home in Vietnam by armed men, leaving behind a nine-year-old daughter…
None of them wanted their real identities known by the Chinese government. Gray and Kowalski were field operatives for Sigma Force, a covert wing of DARPA, made up of former Special Forces soldiers who had been retrained in various scientific disciplines to protect against global threats. Seichan was a former assassin for an international criminal organization, until recruited by force of circumstance to ally with Sigma. Though she wasn’t officially part of the Sigma, she remained its dark shadow.
At least for now…
Macau, a former Portuguese colony, had become the Sin City of the South China coast, a gambling mecca that had already surpassed Las Vegas in gaming revenues. Only steps away from the ferry terminal rose the gold tower of one of the city’s largest casinos, the Sands Macau.
It was said that the three-hundred-million-dollar complex had recouped its costs of construction in less than a year. Other gaming powerhouses continued to pour in, with new casinos popping up regularly. The total count stood at thirty-three, all in a city one-sixth the size of D.C.
But the appeal of Macau did not stop at gambling. The hedonistic pleasures of the city— some legal, most not—went well beyond slot machines and poker tables. The old adage of Vegas applied equally here.
What happens in Macau stays in Macau.
I know Rollins fans are eagerly awaiting their chance to read this book, and I’m certain they won’t be disappointed. It’s a colorful, dangerous journey to a place that could mean apocalypse or salvation to the world. It won’t be easy to find out which way it goes!
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Leigh Neely is a former journalist and editor who now writes fiction full time. She and her writing partner, Jan Powell, are anticipating the upcoming release of their debut co-written novel, Second Nature by Neely Powell for Carina Press. She also writes for the popular blogs womenofmystery.net and neelypowell.wordpress.com. Her short story, “A Vampire in Brooklyn” is in the anthology Murder New York Style: Fresh Slices.