Excerpt from Map of Bones by James Rollins, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Map of Bones

By James Rollins

Map of Bones
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Hardcover: May 2005,
    448 pages.
    Paperback: May 2006,
    560 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


Oh. Jason turned his attention back to his iPod and pressed play.

He leaned back on his hands. The two were seated on a thin grass sward that framed the open pedestrian plaza, called the Domvorplatz. It surrounded the massive gothic cathedral, the Kölner Dom. Perched on Cathedral Hill, it commanded a view over the entire city.

Jason gazed up the length of the twin spires, decorated with stone figures, carved in tiers of marble reliefs that ranged from the religious to the arcane. Now, lit up at night, it held an eerie sense of something ancient risen from deep underground, something not of this world.

Listening to the music leaking from the iPod, Jason watched Mandy. Both were on summer holiday from Boston College, backpacking through Germany and Austria. They were traveling with two other friends, Brenda and Karl, but the other two were more interested in the local pubs than attending tonight's midnight mass. Mandy, though, was raised Roman Catholic. Midnight masses at the cathedral were limited to a few select holidays, each attended by the Archbishop of Cologne himself, like tonight's Feast of the Three Kings. Mandy had not wanted to miss it.

And while Jason was Protestant, he had agreed to accompany her.

As they waited for the approach of midnight, Mandy's head bopped slightly to the music. Jason liked the way her bangs swept back and forth, the way her lower lip pouted out as she concentrated on the music. Suddenly he felt a touch on his hand. Mandy had shifted her arm closer, brushing her hand atop his. Her eyes, though, remained fixed on the cathedral.

Jason held his breath.

For the past ten days, the two had found themselves thrown together more and more often. Before the trip, they had been no more than acquaintances. Mandy was Brenda's best friend since high school, and Karl was Jason's roommate. Their two respective friends, new lovers, hadn't wanted to travel alone, in case their budding relationship soured while traveling.

It hadn't.

So Jason and Mandy often ended up sightseeing alone.

Not that Jason minded. He had been studying art history back at college. Mandy was majoring in European studies. Here their dry academic textbooks were given flesh and girth, weight and substance. Sharing a similar thrill of discovery, the two found each other easy traveling companions.

Jason kept his own eyes averted from her touch, but he did move one finger closer to hers. Had the night just gotten a tad brighter?

Unfortunately the song ended too soon. Mandy sat straighter, pulling away her hand to remove the earphones.

"We should be getting inside," she whispered and nodded toward the line of people flowing through the open door of the cathedral. She stood up and buttoned her jacket, a conservative black suit coat, over her flamboyant t-shirt.

Jason joined her as she smoothed her ankle-length skirt and combed the pink tips of her hair behind her ears. In a breath, she transformed from a slightly punk college student into a staid Catholic schoolgirl.

Jason gaped at the sudden transformation. In black jeans and a light jacket, he felt suddenly underdressed to attend a religious service.

"You look fine," Mandy said, seeming to read his worry.

"Thanks," he mumbled out.

They gathered their things, threw their empty Coke cans into a nearby trashcan, and crossed the paved Domvorplatz.

"Guten abend," a black-frocked deacon greeted them at the door. "Willkommen."

"Danke," Mandy mumbled as they climbed the stairs.

Ahead, candlelight flowed through the cathedral's open doorway, flickering down the stone steps. It enhanced the feeling of age and ancientness. Earlier in the day, while taking a cathedral tour, Jason had learned that the cathedral's cornerstone had been laid back in the thirteenth century. It was hard to fathom such a breadth of time.

Copyright © 2004 James Rollins - Excerpted from Map of Bones by James Rollins. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher, William Morrow.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Hyde
    Hyde
    by Daniel Levine
    In Robert Louis Stevenson's 1886 novel, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the story ends ...
  • Book Jacket: Shotgun Lovesongs
    Shotgun Lovesongs
    by Nickolas Butler
    Nickolas Butler's debut novel, Shotgun Lovesongs, follows five life-long friends, now in their mid-...
  • Book Jacket: Gemini
    Gemini
    by Carol Cassella
    How good is Gemini, Carol Cassella's book about a Seattle intensive care physician who becomes ...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry
by Gabrielle Zevin

Published Apr. 2014

Join the discussion!

  1.  143Happier at Home:
    Gretchen Rubin
  2.  254Cartwheel:
    Jennifer duBois

All Discussions

Who Said...

There is no science without fancy and no art without fact

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

P Your O C

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.