Sunday, March 22, 2020

The Last Odyssey

The Last Odyssey by James Rollins
HarperCollins: 3/24/20
review copy; 448 pages
Sigma Force Series #15

The Last Odyssey by James Rollins is a very highly recommended thriller combining "cutting-edge science, historical mystery, mythology, and pulse-pounding action."It is always a celebration when Rollins releases a new novel!

In Greenland, researchers find a medieval ship trapped in the ice whose hold contains Bronze Age artifacts. A clockwork gold atlas embedded with an intricate silver astrolabe is found inside the captain's cabin, along with the remains of the captain. The intricate clockwork treasure was crafted by a group of Muslim inventor the Banū Mūsā brothers whose work later inspired Leonardo Da Vinci. When activated, "the moving map traces the path of Odysseus’s famous ship as it sailed away from Troy. But the route detours as the map opens to reveal a fiery river leading to a hidden realm underneath the Mediterranean Sea. It is the subterranean world of Tartarus, the Greek name for Hell. In mythology, Tartarus was where the wicked were punished and the monstrous Titans of old, imprisoned."

There are other, frightening inventions/protectors set in place on the ship and they are released by the discovery. The research group is attacked by a modern group related to the Banū Mūsā brothers and hostages are taken. When news of the attack on the researchers and their discovery reaches Sigma Force, they are called to help. They must now protect the world by figuring out how to follow the path laid out by Homer’s The Iliad and The Odyssey.

Those who love mythology can rejoice as that knowledge will pay off and make following the action easier because you'll know what they need to search for along the path of Odysseus. Again, just like previous Sigma Force novels, The Last Odyssey is another exciting addition to the series. Rollins always delivers pulse-pounding, nail-biting action and bases his story on historical facts and current scientific research resulting in a great mix of action, history, and science. The story itself is full of twists and surprise along with the trade-mark action you expect. As usual, do not skip Rollins author's notes at the end about his research for the novel. I've said it before, and I'm going to repeat myself here, but I appreciate the fact that Rollins treats his readers with respect and a nod to their intelligence and ability to comprehend a complex plot.

We know all the Sigma Force characters and Rollins adds some new, interesting characters to the mix. I think you can read this as a standalone novel, but having read all the Sigma Force novels I might not be the best judge of that. I do think that there is enough background information provided for the characters that a new reader could enjoy the novel. And everyone will be reading this for the non-stop action, twists, and surprises along the way. If you love action/adventure thrillers and have never read a Rollins novel, now would be a great time to start working your way through all of his novels.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of HarperCollins.

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