Synopses & Reviews
Following the fall of Baghdad, two Iraqi boys stumble upon armed men looting the city zoo. The floodgates have been opened for the smuggling of hundreds of exotic birds, mammals, and reptiles to Western nations, but this crime hides a deeper secret. Amid a hail of bullets, a concealed underground weapons lab is ransacked—and something even more horrific is set free.
Seven years later, Louisiana state veterinarian Lorna Polk stumbles upon a fishing trawler shipwrecked on a barrier island. The crew is missing or dead, but the boat holds a frightening cargo: a caged group of exotic animals, clearly part of a black market smuggling ring.
Yet, something is wrong with these beasts, disturbing deformities that make no sense: a parrot with no feathers, a pair of Capuchin monkeys conjoined at the hip, a jaguar cub with the dentition of a saber-toothed tiger. They also all share one uncanny trait—a disturbingly heightened intelligence.
To uncover the truth about the origin of this strange cargo and the terrorist threat it poses, Lorna must team up with a man who shares a dark and bloody past with her and is now an agent with the U.S. Border Patrol, Jack Menard.
Together, the two must hunt for a beast that escaped the shipwreck while uncovering a mystery tied to fractal science and genetic engineering, all to expose a horrifying secret that traces back to humankind's earliest roots.
But can Lorna stop what is about to be born upon the altar of Eden before it threatens not only the world but also the very foundation of what it means to be human?
"Bestseller Rollins (Subterranean) explores the genetic engineering theme popularized by Jurassic Park, if less imaginatively than, say, Warren Fahy did in his 2009 debut, Fragment, in this solid stand-alone thriller. During the looting of the Baghdad zoo in the early days of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003, 12-year-old Makeen and his younger brother observe two men, one dressed in a khaki military uniform and the other in a dark suit, remove a large metal briefcase containing embryos from a secret facility at the zoo. About five years later, a U.S. Border Patrol helicopter lands at the New Orleans Audubon Center for Research of Endangered Species to take Dr. Lorna Polk, a postgraduate resident, out over the Mississippi Delta to an abandoned trawler. In the boat Polk sees cages filled with bizarre creatures like Siamese twin capuchin monkeys and oversized vampire bats. The science mostly takes a backseat to generic suspense scenes of animal attacks, gunfights, and abduction." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
“Rollins is as sure-footed on new ground as he is in the familiar Sigma Force world.” Booklist
“Every James Rollins delivers mach-speed mayhem, throat-clutching suspense, high-style adventure, and a terrific story told terrifically.”
—Steve Berry, author of The Romanov Prophecy
The thriller king praised for his “edge-of-your-seat excitement” (San Francisco Chronicle), James Rollins storms the New York Times bestseller list with every novel he writes. With his latest breathtaking blockbuster, Altar of Eden, Rollins takes a breather from his Sigma Force adventures (Map of Bones, Black Order, The Judas Strain, et al) while delivering all the action, surprise, and intensity for which hes well known—and loved. Combining science, history, and breakneck suspense—and a secret tied to the Book of Genesis—Altar of Eden is sure to satisfy every James Rollins fan while winning over a slew of new converts.
About the Author
James Rollins and Jake Ransom share many of the same passions. The author's interest in archaeology led him to amass his own Cabinet of Curiosities, which includes a 100,000-year-old mammoth tusk from China.
His New York Times bestselling books include The Last Oracle, The Judas Strain, and Black Order. James lives in Sacramento, California. An amateur spelunker and a certified scuba enthusiast, he'll often be found either underground or underwater.