Synopses & Reviews
ju·das strain, n. A scientific term for an organism that drives an entire species to extinction
A master at combining historical and scientific intrigue with cutting-edge adventure, New York Times bestselling author of Map of Bones and Black Order James Rollins returns with his most relentless, high-octane thriller to date a terrifying story of an ancient menace reborn to plague the modern world...and of an impossible hope that lies hidden in the most shocking place imaginable: within the language of angels.
From the depths of the Indian Ocean, a horrific plague has arisen to devastate humankind a disease that's unknown, unstoppable...and deadly. But it is merely a harbinger of the doom that is to follow.
Aboard a cruise liner transformed into a makeshift hospital, Dr. Lisa Cummings and Monk Kokkalis operatives of the shadowy covert organization SIGMA Force search for answers to the bizarre affliction that has inexplicably washed ashore. But there are others with far less altruistic intentions. In a savage and sudden coup, terrorists hijack the vessel, turning a mercy ship into a floating bio-weapons lab.
At a Fourth of July celebration a world away, SIGMA's commander Gray Pierce thwarts the murderous schemes of a beautiful assassin a would-be killer who holds the first clue to the discovery of a possible cure. With the fate of every man, woman, and child on Earth hanging in the balance, Pierce joins forces with the woman who wanted him dead, and together they embark upon an astonishing quest one that winds through Venetian tombs, Byzantine cathedrals, and jungle-encrusted ruins following the trail of the most fabled explorer in history: Marco Polo.
But time is an enemy as a worldwide pandemic grows rapidly out of control. And as a relentless madman dogs their every step, Pierce and his unlikely ally are being pulled into an astonishing mystery buried deep in antiquity and in humanity's genetic code. And as the seconds tick closer to doomsday, Pierce will realize he can truly trust no one not the bewitching enigma who runs at his side or even those who are closest to him for any one of them could be...a Judas.
"'The special-ops trained scientists of Sigma Force battle the criminals of the shadowy Guild in bestseller Rollins's lively third Sigma Force thriller (after Black Order). An ancient and deadly plague, the Judas Strain (which afflicted Marco Polo), has suddenly re-emerged. Gray Pierce, a Sigma operative, and Seichan, a Guild defector, pursue clues to the nature of the plague to the Vatican, Istanbul (with a fine shootout in the Hagia Sophia mosque), Marco Polo's tomb and, finally, Cambodia's Angkor Wat. Meanwhile, Guild members hijack a cruise ship full of plague victims (to provide experimental subjects for the weaponizing of the plague), and Gray's parents are taken hostage (though the senior Grays prove feistier than their kidnappers reckon). Sophisticated the plot isn't, but Rollins includes more than enough action and suspense to keep readers turning pages. 8-city author tour. (July)' Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"[U]nfolds at breakneck speed....After a handful of Sigma Force novels, Rollins has fine-tuned the formula to precision....The books' style perfectly matches their subject matter, and it's impossible not to be swept up by their energy and excitement." Booklist
"[E]xciting but complex and overlong....As with all Rollins books, this book is great good fun, if readers suspend their disbelief and sense of logic. Recommended." Library Journal
"Relentless action in spectacular places and plenty of spurious science provide more than enough distraction from some fairly breathtaking coincidences and leaps of logic." Kirkus Reviews
"Rollins's latest thriller should appeal to those who prefer books that focus on serpentine plots rather than multidimensional characters, and it will give readers something scary to think about while vacationing at the beach." Bookreporter.com
"The crack, ultrasecret Sigma Force team returns in another adventure that, as usual, unfolds at breakneck speed" (Booklist). Sigma Force, made up of former Special Forces officers, scours the world for technologies that could help or threaten the U.S.
About the Author
James Rollins is the bestselling author of eight previous novels: Subterranean, Excavation, Deep Fathom, Amazonia, Ice Hunt, Sandstorm, Map of Bones, and Black Order. He has a doctorate in veterinary medicine and his own practice in Sacramento, California. An amateur spelunker and a certified scuba enthusiast, you'll often find him either underground or underwater.