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BookBrowse Reviews Map of Bones by James Rollins

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Map of Bones

by James Rollins

Map of Bones by James Rollins X
Map of Bones by James Rollins
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  • First Published:
    May 2005, 448 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2006, 560 pages

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Catholic Conspiracy + Cutting Edge Science = Action Adventure

From the book jacket: During a service at a cathedral in Cologne, Germany, a band of armed intruders unleash a nightmare of blood and terror, ruthlessly gunning down worshippers and clergy alike. As they flee the carnage 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 with the help of SIGMA Force, an elite covert arm of the U.S. Defense Department.

Comment: 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.

This is the first in a series. When asked why he has chosen to start a series instead of continuing to write stand-alone novels, Rollins says, "For years, readers have contacted me and asked questions about various cast members from my earlier books....I came to realize that I wanted to know those answers, too. I was no longer satisfied with the confines of a single book. So I challenged myself to construct a series -- something unique and distinct....While there certainly will be a central recurring character in the series (Commander Gray Pierce), the supporting players will come and go in what I describe as a 'revolving set of characters around a central figure.'"

'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.' - Publishers Weekly.

His next book, Black Order, will be published in late June, in which the elite scientists of SIGMA Force race to crack the ultimate mystery of mankind, a quest that will save - or destroy - us (again!)

This review was originally published in The BookBrowse Review in June 2005, and has been updated for the May 2006 edition. Click here to go to this issue.

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