You know what I love about James Rollins? He’s not a slacker. I’ve seen other favorite authors rise to the top of best-seller lists, then get really lazy, or just start writing bizarre stuff that makes zero sense whatsoever. But not Mr. Rollins. He still takes the time to research and write a stellar adventure. While that isn’t usually one of my favorite genres, I got hooked on James Rollins back before Sigma ever existed, when he was writing someone cheesy archeological mysteries, like Amazonia and Subterranean. I like adventure books that feature archeology or some sort of ancient mystery.
While most of the Sigma books have taken place in exotic locations, aside from a brief journey to Iceland and a few supporting scenes in Japan, The Devil Colony takes place almost entirely in the US, with secrets going back to our founding fathers and beyond. In this latest Sigma novel, the basically trying to stop the end of the world, which has been set in motion by a chain of events that start with a discovery of hundreds of mummified bodies in a cave in Utah. One of the things that I love about Rollins’ books is that he always bases his fantastic events on real science. Yes, he takes some liberties with those sciences, but there is always more than a kernel of truth to those events. This time, it’s neutrinos, volcanoes, and ancient Native American treasures that threaten to destroy the entire United States, and soon after, the world. Basically, the opening of the tomb in Utah unleashes a swarm of nanobots that set off a volcano that sets off another volcano and so on, and the team has to follow clues dating back to Thomas Jefferson to figure out how to stop it. I love how Rollins combines all the major “ologies”- geology, archeology, mythology, and anthropology- with a heavy dose of adventure, a very light side of romance, and just plain brilliant writing. I also really appreciate how, at the end of the book, he explains which parts of the story were based on fact and which were mostly fiction.
The Devil Colony splits the Sigma team up into two missions working towards the same goal, so there is a lot of switching back and forth, which keeps the story very action-driven. While it helps to have read all the other books before this one, it isn’t essential. You could theoretically jump right in and still follow along just fine, but you’ll miss some of the nuances between the characters. Seichen and Gray, for example, have a history going all the way back to the first Sigma book, and in The Devil Colony, things finally seem to start coming to a head. There are references to relationships that may be lot on newer readers too, but they’re few and far between enough that you wont feel like you’re missing some big inside joke. Still, I do recommend going back to Sandstorm and starting from there.
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