Summary and book reviews of Map of Bones by James Rollins

Map of Bones

By James Rollins

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

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Book Summary

The bestselling master of astonishing adventure James Rollins delivers his most relentlessly exciting page-turner to date -- a gripping and explosive novel of an ancient conspiracy to create a terrifying new world order out of the ashes of modern civilization.

The crime is inhumanly cruel with horrific consequences both unthinkable and inevitable. During a service at a cathedral in Cologne, Germany, a band of armed intruders dressed in monks' robes unleash a nightmare of blood and terror, ruthlessly gunning down worshippers and clergy alike. The killers haven't come for the church's gold and valuable artwork, but for a priceless treasure secreted within: the preserved bones of the Three Magi who once came to pay homage to a newborn savior. As they flee the carnage they have wrought, they carry a prize that could reshape the world.

The Vatican is in turmoil, and Lieutenant Rachel Verona of Rome's carabinieri is assigned to lead the investigation. But no ordinary police organization alone can deal with the bizarre theft and massacre, and SIGMA Force -- an elite covert arm of the U.S. Defense Department -- is called in under the command of Grayson Pierce. New to SIGMA, Pierce assembles a crack team of scientific and Special Forces operatives to unravel the mystery of the stolen bones, and together they set out on a twisting trail through a labyrinth of clues and dark revelations that carry them to the sites of the Seven Wonders of the World -- and to the doorstep of the mystical and terrifying Dragon Court.

An ancient, secret fraternity of alchemists and assassins, the master-adepts of the Dragon Court have plans for the sacred remains that will alter the future of humankind in devastating ways that only the maddest of zealots could desire -- and they will let nothing and no one stand in their way. Suddenly Pierce, Verona, and the SIGMA team are the hunted as well as the hunters, forced to use every skill they possess to survive as they follow the bones to the ultimate confrontation between darkness and light -- in a lost place of history where science and religion will unite to unleash a horror not seen since the beginning of time.

A masterful novel that combines the exhilarating mysticism of The Da Vinci Code with the pulse-pounding action of a Tom Clancy thriller, James Rollins's Map of Bones is destined to be a modern classic that will stand among the very best adventure tales ever written.

The holy relics were granted to Rainald von Dassel, Archbishop of Cologne (1159-67), following Emperor Barbarossa's sacking of the city of Milan. Such a treasure was granted to the German Archbishop for his aid and chancellorship in service to the current Emperor. Not all were content to see such a treasure leave Italy…not without a struggle.

--Excerpt taken from L'histoire de la Sainte Empire Romaine (The History of the Holy Roman Empire), 1845, HISTOIRES LITTÉRAIRES
 

***


March, 1162


The archbishop's men fled into the shadows of the lower valley. Behind them, atop the winter pass, horses screamed, arrow-bit and cleaved. Men shouted, cried, and roared. The clash of steel rang as silvery as a chapel's bells.

But it was not God's work being done here.

The rear guard must hold.

Friar Joachim clutched the reins of his horse as his mount slid on its haunches down the steep slope. The loaded wagon had reached the bottom of ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse

It's difficult not to compare Map of Bones to The Da Vinci Code, because they both involve Catholic conspiracies and they are both reasonably cerebral thrillers, but in terms of writing style and action I found them quite different. I enjoyed Map of Bones as a rip-roaring action adventure but found the plot a little too incredible at times, which is a pity as the science is at the cutting edge of reality, but there were just a few too many narrow escapes against seemingly inescapable odds to hold my credibility over the long haul.   (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).

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Media Reviews
Publishers Weekly

Rollins has few peers in the research department, which makes the historical material fascinating, and he keeps the dialogue believably colloquial and the incidental elements motivated - and plausible for at least short stretches. Clumsy romance is mostly overcome by lots of action.

Booklist

Fans of The Da Vinci Code will obviously want to read Map of Bones, but even those who found Brown's opus unpalatable will thoroughly enjoy the taste of this one.

Reader Reviews
Catie

Pageturner
This is an outstanding book! I could not put it down. James Rollins, "Maps of Bones", reminds me a lot of Dan Brown. so if you like Dan Brown, you will love this book. It's action packed and mysterious at the same time. Pick it up and be part of this...   Read More

The one and only Me

absolutely sensational
What a sensational novel! I've read some cracking books in my time, and this, for sure is right up there with the best of them. An absolutely gripping read, Rollins puts some of Dan Browns best works - Angels and Demon/Da Vinci code, to shame. ...   Read More

Chick fan

Action-Packed for Guys and Chicks!
This is by far the best book I have read in a very long time. James Rollins captures the reader with his plot twists and turns. All of his characters are truly loved or hated. His plotline is amazing and his extent of research into scientific and ...   Read More

USAFAirman

Awesome, and not even finished yet.
The book has been the best book I have read in a long time, and i'm not even finished with it. I almost don't want it to end even though I know it has to. I may read it again after I finsih, its that good. I'm certainly going to tell everyone I know ...   Read More

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Beyond the Book

Interesting facts according to Rollins:

  • The Vatican maintains a sophisticated intelligence-gathering operation, even employing full-time agents.
  • Catholic canon law requires every chapel or church altar to enclose some form of relic within it. The Vatican maintains its own 'relics library,' a storehouse of filing cabinets, shelves, and drawers filled with bits of bone or spoonfuls of dust.
  • The science behind this story is not fiction, but based on current research. The investigations center on a new form of solid matter that was recently discovered -- or rather re-discovered?
  • He came up with the ...

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