Nationally bestselling author James Rollins has transported readers to the dark heart of the Amazon, the bowels of the earth, far below the ocean, and the top of the world. Now he embarks upon his most gripping and terrifying adventure yet: to a nightmare buried beneath a treacherous desert wasteland.
An inexplicable explosion rocks the antiquities collection of a London museum—a devastating blast that sets off alarms in clandestine organizations around the world, as the race begins to determine how it happened, why it happened, and what it means.
Lady Kara Kensington's family paid a high price in money and blood to found the gallery that now lies in ruins. And her search for answers is about to lead Kara and her friend Safia al-Maaz, the gallery's brilliant and beautiful curator, into a world they never dreamed actually existed. For new evidence exposed by the tragedy suggests that Ubar, a lost city buried beneath the Arabian desert, is more than mere legend . . . and that something astonishing is waiting there.
Two extraordinary women and their guide, the international adventurer Omaha Dunn, are not the only ones being drawn to the desert. Former U.S. Navy SEAL Painter Crowe, a covert government operative and head of an elite counterespionage team, is hunting down a dangerous turncoat, Crowe's onetime partner, to retrieve the vital information she has stolen. And the trail is pointing him toward Ubar.
But the many perils inherent in a death-defying trek deep into the savage heart of the Arabian Peninsula pale before the nightmarish secrets to be unearthed at journey's end. What is hidden below the sand is more than a valuable relic of ancient history. It is an ageless power that lives and breathes—an awesome force that could create a utopia or tear down everything humankind has built during millennia of civilization. Many lives have already been destroyed by ruthless agencies dedicated to guarding its mysteries and harnessing its might. And now the end may be at hand for Safia, for Kara, for Crowe, and for all the interlopers who wish to expose its mysteries, as it prepares to unleash the most terrible storm of all . . .
If he weren't such a good action writer, Rollins might make a dynamite climatologist. Each of his thrillers has featured as a central character an extreme environment, most recently the Arctic ice (Ice Hunt, 2003) and now the hot sands of Saudi Arabia. But while Rollins writes settings and scenes that sizzle, what's caught in the heat are usually familiar characters grappling with far-fetched threats, and so it is here. That one male lead is a danger-courting archeologist named Omaha Dunn seems less parodic than tired, and the novel's premise of a hoard of antimatter hidden in the legendary city of Ubar is almost as ridiculous as the idea that this cache has been guarded for millennia by an order of women who propagate without men, via parthenogenesis. Rollins writes less like Michael Crichton than Stan Lee. Most of his readers won't care, though, because there's just enough scientific gloss on the nonsense to make it palatable, and anyway, what they want, and what he delivers, is action, as Omaha and an American military agent, Painter, join forces with two Mideastern women, one a scientist, the other a billionaire, to locate the steadily destabilizing antimatter before it's snatched by a villainous cabal, or worse, blows up the planet. And that's why they'll buy this book in numbers big enough to have it flirt with national bestseller lists.
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Enter SIGMA Force!
What was supposed to be a stand alone action-thriller, this series takes readers on an amazing thrill ride into history, mystery, science, and of course action. Now if you don't know what SIGMA Force is, its basically a group of former special forces soldiers that have been trained and/or posses skills in some form of scientific discipline. As the author would put it, they are scientists with guns!
In this first installment we get to see the beginnings of now SIGMA Director Painter Crowe when he was just a field agent. We get our first glimpse of The Guild, the main enemy of SIMGA and unlike SIMGA who's job it is to protect the world from advanced forms of technology from falling into the wrong hands, The Guild is out for profit.
Sandstorm is a fun ride into the Arabian Peninsula to the lost city of Ubar. Taking mystery backed by scientific reasoning, the two blend so well. From static sandstorms, to antimatter, to people being burned alive in liquid glass, this book delivers with a punch. I even learned what a buckyball was! lol
If you're new to the SIGMA Series, here's your starting point. Have fun!
The action scenes are full of absurdities
Before writing a book that involves the military, authors need to consider how many combat veterans are out there now. Still, you don’t have to be a combat veteran to realize what an absurd idea it would be to have small one-man helicopters and mortars used effectively in a swirling sandstorm capable of producing 80mph winds and toppling buildings.
Then you have non-military things that just aren’t accurate. I would expect more accuracy in describing the characteristics of a carpet viper from an author who is also a veterinarian.
While much of the story is not meant to be taken as remotely possible, I believe that the above mentioned things are. Nevertheless, I will give the book 2 stars since it could have otherwise been a fun read.
My rating system:
5 stars are reserved for books that totally blow me away, or classics that I believe would have when they were new. I don’t give too many of these out, because it’s the highest rating that you could ever possibly give any book on here.
4 stars for books that I would recommend to just about anyone, or, at least, to someone who doesn’t dislike the genre.
3 stars for books that I would only recommend to someone who is fond of the genre.
2 stars for books that I would be hesitant to recommend to anyone at all, but the book was not a total disaster.
1 star for books that I found so terribly ridiculous, or poorly written, that I wish I had not spent time reading to begin with.