I had heard about James Rollins but had never had a chance to experience one of his thrillers for myself. That was set to change when I got a copy of his upcoming book, “The 6th Extinction,” and prepared to dig into this story of adventure and intrigue.
It is a quiet day in the Sierra Nevada Mountains when a park ranger picks up a disturbing message. As she goes to check on a sudden silence from a nearby military installation, she hears a distress call from one of the scientists at the base asking that the military kill them all. As a firefight ensues when the ranger confronts a group of men who are raiding the base, something escapes the base and begins to lay waste to everything around the base. What is this strange, creeping death that seems to be spreading and what extremes must be resorted to in order to avert a biological disaster?
The secret to stopping this force that could reshape the world by creating the sixth extinction event in the world’s history, this time by leading to the extinction of the human race, lies beneath the ice in Antarctica. There is only one team in the world who has the expertise and ability to save the world: Sigma Force. Now the team finds itself in a race against the clock to find the solution amidst a strange world inside of the continent’s extensive system of tunnels before it is too late. With panic rising in the United States as the mysterious blight expands, the government is looking into a nuclear option that could destroy the bioengineered virus but would at leave the area a nuclear wasteland as a best case scenario and help the virus expand worldwide as the worst case scenario. Will the team find the solution in time or will mankind be wiped off the face of the Earth?
Once I had started reading “The 6th Extinction,” I wished that I had given Rollins a try earlier. This is a very good thriller that immediately brought to mind the works of Michael Crichton at his best. Even though this is the tenth book featuring the Sigma Force, I was able to immediately slide into the story and get lost in the constant action an adventure of the story. Rollins handles the story deftly with a mixture of science fiction and action that kept the story moving at a brisk pace while still giving the story substance. This is not just a simple tale of action and adventure but one that is supported by enough science at to be more believable to the reader and give the story some substance that is sometimes lacking in thrillers. Fans of military fiction are sure to enjoy this novel as there is definitely a fair amount of military thriller elements to the story but this is a story that is so much more than that.
This novel alternates between action in the “real” world and that of a strange world that exists under the ice in Antarctica so that it becomes a blend of thriller and action novel that would be spawned by a book co-written by Tom Clancy and Michael Crichton. This is Jack Ryan in Jurassic Park as the Sigma Force must battle strange creatures at it works to find the cure for the virus amidst a strange and ancient landscape inhabited by creatures that have never been imagined by the human mind or that have been thought to be long extinct. “The 6th Extinction” is one of the best thrillers that I have read in a long time and it kept me on the edge of my seat from the first page to the last. With the constant action supported by more than a helping of science, Rollins constructs a rare story of the fantastic that feels real. I will definitely be looking for more of Rollins works in the near future and would recommend that anyone looking for an entertaining read pick up this book.
I would like to thank Edelweiss and William Morrow for this advance review copy. “The 6th Extinction” is scheduled to be released on August 12.