More James Rollins
Here we are with some more techno-thrillers from James Rollins (pen name of former veterinarian James Paul Czajkowski). As I’ve noted, he started out doing several stand-alone techno-thrillers before kicking off his own series focusing on the fictional Sigma Force (a secret part of DARPA), and he’s since branched out from there.
A spin-off from Sigma Force are the adventures of former Army Ranger Tucker Wayne and his military dog Kane, which make an interesting pairing in the techno-thriller world. The characters were introduced in a short “ebook” before appearing in a Sigma Force novel, and now have two solo novels, co-written with Grant Blackwood, who has written his own novels, as well as “co-written” three Fargo novels with Clive Cussler.
The first novel, which I previously reviewed, Kill Switch, has Tucker and Kane on a mission for Sigma. The second, War Hawk, has them on a mission that Tucker is pulled into by a former military associate who is on the run from a sinister force trying to kill her and her son. Tucker discovers more killings and a conspiracy to use hi-tech drones to start wars and gain power.
Tucker is able to put an end to it, but some involved don’t make it. Sigma only gives small assistance in the later part of the novel. But there are hints at the end of Tucker doing more work with them. I haven’t see any announcement of a third Tucker novel. I wonder if we will see a rotation of works were Tucker and Kane do work for Sigma, and where they have their own “adventures” without Sigma. Time will tell.
The latest Sigma Force novels have been The Bone Labyrinth and The Seventh Plague.
The Bone Labyrinth has part of the group pulled into action when rogue Chinese forces kidnap a gorilla and his handlers, which also includes Sigma Force’s Joe Kowalski by mistake. This is part of a larger story about the origins of human intelligence, as the story deals with a group of engineered hominids that have been created under a great Chinese zoo. An interesting aspect of the story is that it allows Kowalski to become an important part of the story, rather than a more-or-less minor part of the Sigma team.
At this writing I haven’t gotten The Seventh Plague yet, so will have to review it in the future.
The Order of the Sanguines
Another series, actually a trilogy, that Rollins has written, this time with Rebecca Cantrell, is the Order of the Sanguines. All three novels are out, and the first two contain short stories that each introduce a character in that novel (so should be read before the novel). A more supernatural series, it’s about a secret order of vampires who work for the Catholic Church!
Now, personally, I’m not a big fan of the various novels, movies, and TV shows that deal with vampires, werewolves, and zombies. All just too much and over done, leading to crap like Twilight. Ugh.
Here the vampires are vulnerable to silver (and sunlight). Nothing about crosses, garlic, or stakes to the heart. The vampires who join the Order drink consecrated wine that has become the “blood of Christ,” rather then human blood. In addition, there are creatures who are turned by the vampires, so there are vampiric wolves, bears, bats, and more.
It’s an interesting series. It ties in figures like Lazarus and Rasputin, even Countess Bathory. As the main characters we have an Army sergeant who does battlefield forensics, an archaeologist, and a member of the Sanguines. They are the main team trying to prevent the end of the world.
As noted, I look forward to the next Sigma Force novel and any future works from Rollins.