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Thursday, August 21, 2014

The 6th Extinction by James Rollins (Reviewed by Mihir Wanchoo)

Official Author Website
Order The 6th Extinction HERE
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of The Judas Strain
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of The Last Oracle
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of The Doomsday Key
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of The Devil Colony
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of Subterranean
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of The Blood Gospel

AUTHOR INFORMATION: James Rollins is a pseudonym for James Czajkowski and is the New York Times, USA Today and Publishers Weekly bestselling author of twenty-nine novels including the SIGMA Force, the Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull novelization, and the Jake Ransom YA books. He also writes fantasy—The Banned and the Banished, The Godslayer Chronicles—under the pen name James Clemens. Besides writing, Jim holds a doctorate in veterinary medicine and is an avid spelunker and certified scuba enthusiast.

OFFICIAL BOOK BLURB: A remote military research station sends out a frantic distress call, ending with a chilling final command: Kill us all! Personnel from the neighboring base rush in to discover everyone already dead-and not just the scientists, but every living thing for fifty square miles is annihilated: every animal, plant, and insect, even bacteria. The land is entirely sterile-and the blight is spreading.

To halt the inevitable, Commander Gray Pierce and SIGMA must unravel a threat that rises out of the distant past, to a time when Antarctica was green and all life on Earth balanced upon the blade of a knife. Following clues from an ancient map rescued from the lost Library of Alexandria, SIGMA will discover the truth about an ancient continent, about a new form of death buried under miles of ice.

From millennia-old secrets out of the frozen past to mysteries buried deep in the darkest jungles of today, SIGMA will face its greatest challenge to date: stopping the coming extinction of mankind.

But is it already too late?

FORMAT/INFO: The 6th Extinction is 427 pages long divided over four titled parts, which include thirty-four numbered chapters, a prologue and an epilogue. Also includes Acknowledgments, a map, Notes from the Historical/Scientific Record, and an Author’s Note to Readers: Truth or Fiction. Narration is in the third person via various characters, namely Grayson Pierce, Painter Crowe, Lisa Cummings, Jason Carter, Dr. Kendall Hess, Jenna Beck, Cutter Elwes and a few minor POVs. The 6th Extinction is the eleventh book in the SIGMA series and is a standalone story.

August 12, 2014 marked the North American Hardcover publication of The 6th Extinction via William Morrow. The UK edition (see below) will be published on August 28, 2014 via Orion.

ANALYSIS: The 6th Extinction marks a decade of James Rollins’ amazing combination of scientific fact and adventure thrillers. It’s the tenth entry in the SIGMA series officially but technically is the eleventh book to feature and focus on SIGMA. The series has been going from strength to strength and a couple of books ago (Bloodline), the author managed to complete an arc that had begun with Map Of Bones.

With this book, the author manages to combine a variety of scientific threads involving bioterrorism, XNAs and a bunch of other things that you need to read about. The story begins when a distress call sent from a northern California military research station is heard and then all sentient life around the area is seen to be exterminated. Things soon take some rather dramatic twists as the SIGMA team is forced to visit Antarctica due to certain clues interspersed within the damage. Pierce, Kowalski and Jason Carter (SIGMA’s newest recruit) make up the team sent to South Pole while Lisa Cummings works with her brother try to resolve the crisis in California. Mixed in are the remaining SIGMA crew consisting of Painter Crowe, Kat Howard, and Monk Kokkalis .

The book follows James Rollins' characteristic pattern of action mixed with dollops of scientific intrigue in new locales. This time around, with this being the tenth anniversary of the SIGMA series debut, we are treated to an extra-wild adventure that involves not only the location of one of James’ previous standalone thrillers but also a couple of characters from it. I loved this aspect of the storyline and once again the author manages to combine some rather strange but utterly true factoids amidst the action sequences. With the different locales explored in the story such as Antarctica and the Amazonian rainforests, the author manages to showcase different facets of the landscape. Even though he has previously explored these locales but he again manages to put a new spin on them.

One of the characters that takes a backseat due to the events of The Eye Of God is Seichan and a fiery character as her is surely missed. Another slightly weird aspect was that Jason Carter’s previous experiences in Antarctica never quite get explored. However with the story unfolding at the pace it does, I don’t think the author could insert reminiscing about previous adventure in it. He however does include some fun cameos and gives a rather strong hint about a Subterranean sequel which if he writes, would be simply awesome.

For all that is good with the book, I must point out that previous points that went against the previous book in the series, are still present to a minor degree. One good thing is that this story is more of a standalone nature and that helps majorly for any new readers who don’t want to read all the previous books in the series.

CONCLUSION: James Rollins dazzles massively with his newest SIGMA adventure and if you haven’t read any of his work yet. Then this would be a nice start to the amazing world of SIGMA, with all of its’ exciting science, new locales and the mix of the two that makes his work so unique.



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