Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Devil Colony

The Devil Colony by James Rollins
HarperCollins, copyright 2011
Mass Market Paperback, 672 pages
ISBN-13: 9780061785658
Sigma Force Series #7

Could the founding of the United States be based on a fundamental lie?
During a riot at a gruesome dig site deep in the Rocky Mountains, an anthropologist dies horribly, burned to ash in a fiery explosion. All evidence points to a radical group of Native Americans, including one agitator who escapes with a vital clue to the murder and calls on the one person who might help—her uncle, Painter Crowe, director of Sigma Force.
But to protect his niece and uncover the truth, Painter will ignite a war across the nation’s most powerful intelligence agencies. From the volcanic peaks of Iceland to the blistering deserts of the American Southwest, from the gold vaults of Fort Knox to the bubbling geysers of Yellowstone, he joins forces with Commander Gray Pierce to penetrate the shadowy heart of a dark cabal, one that has been manipulating American history since the founding of the thirteen colonies.

My Thoughts:
I love James Rollins novels. If you crave reading some action/adventure escapism from time to time you can't beat any James Rollins novel. The Devil Colony by James Rollins is the seventh novel in his Sigma Force series, but can also be enjoyed as a stand alone novel. The great thing about Rollins' novels is that he creates complex plots based on scientific and historic facts. (He'll tell you what is based on fact and what isn't at the end of the novel.)
The book opens in 1779 when a Native American burial mound in Kentucky is being excavated for a treasure, and the group excavating it is attacked as soon as the item they were seeking is found. Then we jump to the present, in the Utah wilderness where two young men are searching for another secret burial site of a rumored Native American treasure. This search also ends tragically.
In the investigation we discover that some kind of ancient curse is unleashed. It is actually some form of ancient nanotechnology (which you can easily surmise from the opening "Notes from the Scientific Record"). The burial site had some fail-safe designs in place, but the release of the "treasure" sets a chain of events into motion that could mean the end of the world. The plot actually draws connections between Native Americans, Mormons, and a secret/lost tribe of Israelites. The Sigma Force is on it though, and Painter Crowe actually goes into the field on this one.
This is a complicated plot but the action is very fast-paced. It certainly helps that Rollins is a good writer too. Although I know all the characters from the previous novels in the series, I really think you could enjoy this without reading the other novels first. You'll want to read them, though, after you read The Devil Colony. This is really one of the better novels in the series - compared to the others, but they are all very good.  
Very Highly Recommended.


Autumn, 1779
Kentucky Territory
The skull of the monster slowly revealed itself.
A shard of yellowed bone poked through the dark soil.
Two muddy men knelt in the dirt to either side of the excavated hole. One of them was Billy Preston’s father, the other his uncle. Billy stood over them, nervously chewing a knuckle.  At twelve, he had begged to be included on this trip. In the past, he’d always been left behind in Philadelphia with his mother and his baby sister Nell.  opening

Since the founding of these lands, many Indian mounds had been dug up and looted, only to confirm his father’s assessment. All that had been found were the buried bones of the dead, along with a few arrowheads, hide shields, and shards of Indian pottery.
So why was this particular site so important? pg. 4

Even in the meager sunlight, what lay inside the skull glinted brightly. 
“Gold,” his uncle choked out, shocked.
The entire inside of the skull had been plated in the precious metal. Fortescue ran a finger along the inner surface of one of the bony platters he had pulled open. Only now did Billy notice the engraving across the gold surface. It looked to be a crude map, with stylized trees, mountains, and rivers. The surface was also inscribed with hen-scratches that might be writing.
Leaning closer, he heard Fortescue mumble one word, full of awe and a flicker of fear. “Hebrew.”
After the initial shock wore off, his father spoke at Billy’s elbow, “But the skull is empty.” pg. 7

The bloody savage sought to hold him. Billy tugged his arm loose. 
The Indian fell back. Where the hand had clutched his sleeve, a smeared handprint remained. Not blood, Billy realized in a flash. 
He stared down at the dying savage. The palm that had clutched him was as white as a lily, though some of the paint stuck to creases in the palm.   pg. 10

Present Day, May 18:
It looked like the entrance to hell.
The two young men stood on a ridge overlooking a deep, shadowy chasm. It had taken them eight hours to climb from the tiny burg of Roosevelt to this remote spot high in the Rocky Mountains. pg. 15

According to Charlie, only a handful of his tribal elders even knew about this burial site in the High Uintas Wilderness. Those who did were forbidden to speak of it. The only reason Charlie knew about it was that his grandfather liked his bourbon too much. Charlie doubted his grandfather even remembered showing him that old deer-hide map hidden in a hollowed-out buffalo horn.
Trent had first heard the tale when he was in junior high, huddled in a pup tent with Charlie. With a flashlight held to his chin for effect, his friend had shared the story. "My grandfather says the Great Spirit still haunts this cave. Guarding a huge treasure of our people."
"What sort of treasure?" Trent had asked doubtfully. At the time he had been more interested in the Playboy he'd sneaked out of his father's closet. That was treasure enough for him.
Charlie had shrugged. "Don't know. But it must be cursed."
"What do you mean?"
His friend had shifted the flashlight closer to his chin, devilishly arching an eyebrow. "Grandfather says whoever trespasses into the Great Spirit's cave is never allowed to leave."
"Why's that?"
"Because if they do, the world will end." pg. 17-18
For the thousandth time, she wondered why they had all killed themselves. It reminded her of the story of the siege of Masada, where Jewish rebels had committed suicide rather than succumb to the Roman legion at their gate. pg. 35
Hidden in the shadows, the saboteur watched the three vanish into the tunnel. pg. 36
The brilliant flash blinded Hank. One moment he was shouting at Maggie, the next his vision went white. A clap of thunder tried to crush his skull, immediately deafening him. An icy shock wave knocked him back like a cold slap from God. He hit the ground on his back, then he felt a strange tug on his body, pulling him toward the explosion. pg. 50

1 comment:

Unknown said...

James Rollins is my favorite author. I first discovered him with Map of Bones, and subsequently devoured everything else he'd published. The Devil Colony was good, but I liked the newest one, Bloodline, even better.