In the race to save one of their own, Sigma Force must wrestle with the deepest spiritual mysteries of mankind in this mind-expanding adventure from the #1 New York Times bestselling author, told with his trademark blend of cutting edge science, historical mystery, and pulse-pounding action.
Arriving home on Christmas Eve, Commander Gray Pierce discovers his house ransacked, his pregnant lover missing, and his best friend’s wife, Kat, unconscious on the kitchen floor. With no shred of evidence to follow, his one hope to find the woman he loves and his unborn child is Kat, the only witness to what happened. But the injured woman is in a semi-comatose state and cannot speak—until a brilliant neurologist offers a radical approach to "unlock" her mind long enough to ask a few questions.
What Pierce learns from Kat sets Sigma Force on a frantic quest for answers that are connected to mysteries reaching back to the Spanish Inquisition and to one of the most reviled and blood-soaked books in human history—a Medieval text known as the Malleus Maleficarum, the Hammer of Witches. What they uncover hidden deep in the past will reveal a frightening truth in the present and a future on the brink of annihilation, and force them to confront the ultimate question: What does it mean to have a soul?
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Medieval magic meets modern technology in James Rollins’ 14th action thriller featuring the fearsome Sigma Force. This time, the covert military unit gets involved in a kidnapping case that pits it against two feuding shadow organizations: a team of under-the-radar female scientists developing artificial intelligence, and a diabolical, centuries-old cabal with evil designs. As usual, Sigma Force’s rescue mission relies on cutting-edge science, much of it based on real innovations, as Rollins notes in his afterword. But Crucible is also sprinkled with the kind of mystery and magic that characterize Dan Brown’s historical thrillers. The result is fascinating and action-packed.
At the start of bestseller Rollins's imaginative 14th Sigma Force novel (after 2017's The Demon Crown), Sigma Force commander Gray Pierce and his best friend, Monk Kokkalis, return to Monk's house in Silver Spring, Md., after a night out to find the place a wreck. Monk's wife, Kat, is lying unconscious on the kitchen floor, and Monk's two daughters, six-year-old Penny and five-year-old Harriet, and Gray's pregnant wife, Seichan, have been abducted. The operatives learn that the home invasion occurred shortly after a massacre in Portugal that claimed the lives of five women who led an international network of female scientists, which funded groundbreaking AI research conducted by 21-year-old genius Mara Silviera. Mara, who believes that accessing her work was the killers' goal, is on the run for her life, a plot line that overlaps with the search for Penny, Harriet, and Seichan. Rollins does a good job keeping the action moving, but the future scientific developments he presents fall short of the standards set by Michael Crichton. Author tour. Agents: Russ Galen, Scovil Galen Ghosh Literary Agency; and Danny Baror, Baror International.