James Rollins has always been the author I turn to when I need some escape from reality, and I’ve never needed more escape than right now in the middle of the pandemic. And I got so much more from it than I expected.
There’s usually an equal amount of historical and scientific themes that play out in a Sigma Force novel but this was slightly different and I found that refreshing. This book takes the mythological route, concentrating on Homer’s The Odyssey and various other Greek myths and reimagining if they were all actual historical events that took place. We also get to know about some of the most acclaimed scientists and inventors of the Arab world and their creations were definitely very eye opening. I found the idea that innovations that happen in one kingdom/civilization are then used by others to build up on and that’s how more innovation propagates across the world fascinating to read about. When we are talking mechanical inventions, Leonardo da Vinci can’t be far behind, so his addition was fun. There is also a theme about the different versions of the coming apocalypse across religions and the zealots among them who want to do everything they can to bring it on sooner. I loved the way the author weaved all these threads together to create such an entertaining adventure tale. And as usual, all the locations that the characters are jet setting to are wonderfully described and I always wish I could jump into the pages to visit them myself.
It’s always very comforting meeting these characters because I’ve known them for almost a decade and they feel like my friends now. And after all this time, seeing Gray and Seichan as parents felt surreal. They are still struggling with their new found parenthood which actually made them feel more human than the usual badass persona they always project. Kowalski also gets a great arc to shine in this book and he always comes across as gruff and grumpy but we get to see how much of a heart of gold he has and what lengths he will go to protect his team. There are also many other new side characters and I was amazed by how I could never guess who among them was trustworthy and who was a villain. The author kept hitting me with betrayal after betrayal and I was happy to be shocked.
To conclude, this was a lot of fun and just the bit of relief I needed at this tense time. If you have followed this series since the beginning and have ever thought the storylines had become repetitive, then I promise you that you’ll find this book to be refreshing and a lot more adventurous. I don’t know if I can recommend it as a stand-alone but if you wouldn’t mind taking on a huge series that is a mix of great action, lots of history, and some very cool advanced science and tech stuff, you should totally start from Sandstorm.
PS: Thank you to William Morrow and Edelweiss for providing me with this advance copy. All opinions expressed here are unbiased and solely mine.