This is where I will review all of James Rollins’s books. He is one of my favorite thriller authors. He tends to have a bit of the supernatural in his books as well as high action and great dialogue. So stay tuned!
Published 1999 by William Morrow an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers.
Plot summary from the James Rollins official website at jamesrollins.com:
“Beneath the ice at the bottom of the Earth is a magnificent subterranean labyrinth, a place of breathtaking wonders – and terrors beyond imagining. A team of specialists led by archaeologist Ashley Carter has been hand-picked to explore this secret place and to uncover the riches it holds. But they are not the first to venture here – and those they follow did not return. There are mysteries here older than time, and revelations that could change the world. But there are also things that should not be disturbed – and a devastating truth that could doom Ashley and the expedition: they are not alone.“
I read this book back in the early 2000s and this was amazing to me. It’s one of the books that got me into thrillers (the genre you’ll find it under). The action is intense, the characters are somewhat shallow, but the dialogue is good and he makes the unbelievable possibly believable.
I’ll start with characters. Most of the characters in this book are not well developed enough to truly care about them other than as humans in general. The female main character, Ashley Carter, is almost a bit of a bitch. She’s been hurt so now she is as hard feelings wise as her physique. Rollins makes the case as to how tough she is supposed to be when we first meet her out in the New Mexico desert treating herself in the field for a Diamond Back rattlesnake bite; again. But as the book goes on, she is not as bad ass as she seems which may be the point, but it is still almost an inconsistency. The other female, Linda, starts out not as bad ass as Ashley, but ends up being a great heroine. She actually becomes much more likable than Ashley, especially since Linda has to protect Ashley’s son from a terrorist. The male characters are even more shallow, but the majority are likable even in the hero role; not overbearing, but supportive. The role of Jason, Ashley Carter’s son, is almost too fluid meaning that he goes from being a little kid (11 years old) to seeming very wise then back to a kid. He’s probably one of the more likable characters, as well.
The dialogue in this book was well done and believable. The conversations flow well and it’s easy to follow.
The action is always where it’s at with a James Rollins. The action is as fast paced as a Clive Cussler novel, but with out the annoying conveniences of things just being perfectly right for everything to work out in the end. This book is a heart-pounder to the point that I need to take a break on occasion. Seeing things from different characters’ perspectives keeps the action flowing and the reader reading faster than their eyes can actually handle. Fantastic!
There is always an element of the supernatural to a James Rollins novel and this being the first of his published work, it sets the tone. Beings who shouldn’t exist, existential and telepathic communication, and of course a past meets present element make this an interesting concept. What’s under all the ice and continent of Antarctica anyway?
Give it a read. 4.5 out of 5 stars.
2000, Harper Collins
Plot summary from jamesrollins.com:
“High in the Andes, Dr. Henry Conklin discovers a 500-year-old mummy that should not be there. While deep in the South American jungle, Conklin’s nephew, Sam, stumbles upon a remarkable site nestled between two towering peaks, a place hidden from human eyes for thousands of years.
Ingenious traps have been laid to ensnare the careless and unsuspecting, and wealth beyond imagining could be the reward for those with the courage to face the terrible unknown. But where the perilous journey inward ends – in the cold, shrouded heart of a breathtaking necropolis – something else is waiting for Sam Conklin and his exploratory party. A thing created by Man, yet not humanly possible. Something wondrous…something terrifying.“
As always with James Rollins there is a sense of the supernatural or mystical. This one does not disappoint in that area. Again, a past-meets-present, beings that shouldn’t exist, well researched maybe science, all combine again for Rollins’s second stand-alone novel.
The characterization in this is much like the first; the characters are actually very similar to the first ones. But I don’t necessarily read a James Rollins for his characters. There seems to be a formula for these; a woman and man main characters who either already know each other or will become quite close as the novel progresses. Usually one of them has a secret or some kind of past that they can’t shake. There is usually a cast of characters that support the main ones well, usually a friend of one of the protagonists or a colleague. Usually there is a spy or betrayer. Truly this follows that pattern but in a way that it is not so obvious.
The supernatural element in this story is quite interesting. I don’t want to go into too much detail because of spoilers, but the area of Peru and the Andes should give you some clues. The descriptions of the settings are detailed enough for the imagination but doesn’t bog the plot down.
The action is once again fast paced and satisfying. The dialogue isn’t great but it works for the genre.
Now that I’ve read it twice I’ll say that it is worth reading once if not twice. 🙂