I read that James Rollins grew up on Doc Savage, the bronze tinted pulp hero of brains and brawn who trotted the globe fighting some very weird forms of evil with a group of eccentric specialists. In reading his latest Sigma Force book, Bloodline, it comes as no surprise. Rollins has created the the closest thing there is to modern pulp (and that’s absolutely a compliment.)
Rollins introduces us to two events right off the bat. One takes place in the year 1134 with a female member of The Knights Templar as she comes to the bloody end of a quest. The other brings us up to the present as an assassin prepares to take out the President in four days. The killer is Sigma Team commander Grey Pierce.
We are then plunged into a Sigma Force mission. Somali pirates have kidnapped the President’s daughter. It’s up to Pierce and his soldiers trained in various scientific disciplines to rescue her before her identity is discovered. To help track her down they take on Captain Tucker Wayne, his army dog Kane , and a former Somali pirate.
While this would be enough for one story, it’s just the first third. It’s not long before we’re dealing with killer robots, evil scientists, and a centuries long conspiracy involving the secret to immortality.
Rollins never lets these fantastic elements become over the top or cheesey. He creates a bed of actual science, history, theory, and traditional legend for them to grow from. He also gives his characters real problems outside of their work such as Grey having to deal with his father’s Alzheimer’s.
That said, Rollins is in the business of providing wonder and adventure. His characters are colorful, locations exotic, and his writing has a smooth visceral feel I really enjoyed.
MysteryPeople welcomes James Rollins to BookPeople to speak about and sign Bloodline on Saturday, June 30 at 5pm.