James Rollins started his writing career in 1998 with a fantasy novel under the pseudonym James Clemens. The Rollins pen name came in 1999 with the publication of his first thriller. Since then, he’s basically produced two novels a year, one fantasy and one thriller. He’s not published a fantasy since 2007, so one wonders if he’s concentrating on thrillers now. Two last year(one the Indiana Jones novelization) and there will be three this year.
For myself, he could leave the high fantasies alone(not a great fantasy fan in general) and do thrillers. But that’s just me.
THE DOOMSDAY KEY is the latest in his Sigma Force(the sixth) series, that shadowy government agency run by Painter Crowe.
Rollins is quite adept at taking disparate historical elements and weaving them into a solid story filled with action.
Here we have The Domesday Book(nicknamed the Doomsday Book), an actual historical document commissioned by William the Conqueror in the eleventh century, a survey of his domain for tax purposes. What connection does it have with three murders in the twenty-first century? One in Princeton, one at the Vatican, and one on the African continent, all connected by a circle with a cross dividing it branded into the victims’ flesh.
There’s a biotech company based in Oslo involved, an island off the coast of Ireland, a prison in France, the Svalbard Seed Vault on an Norwegian island. A secret organization known only as Guild to outsiders manipulating things.
Throw in several running gun battles, bombs, burning forests, all to secure the key to Doomsday, whatever that might be. Sigma Force and it’s agents pursue several separate trails trying to, first learn exactly what’s going on, and second stop it.
Rollins is very good at pacing the action, keeping you turning the pages to keep you involved. He’s become one of my favorite writers in recent years. If you like this kind of unrelenting action, highly recommended.