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on December 4, 2003
Here you go folks, a book seemingly designed for those with ADD. Extreme action, mutated creatures, explosives, giant jaguars, violence( including dismemberment and head shrinking!), a dash of sex, poison, betrayal, technology on the fritz, insects that will eat you alive, pirahnas that will chase you onto land, giant caimans that will jump into trees, a lost tribe, a plague threatening the world, prehistoric plants, and regenerating body parts!
Whew, that's a lot of stuff going on and James Rollins pulls most of it off without a glitch. The characters are strong enough to make you care, the action is most definitely exciting, the various creatures interesting and nasty enough to shock and awe even the most poised reader. So why not 5 stars? Well...
The ending could have been better, there could have been a little bit more surprise when it comes to the realization of who the "mole" is (that was kinda Scooby Doo-ish), and those who deserved horrible demises get dispatched rather quickly.
However, if you have read Rollins earlier work you most likely won't be dissapointed here. No matter how you look at it this guy is damn fun to read, and his books would make excellent movies. I know I'd buy a ticket, and speaking of buying check out Subterrranean and Excavation, both solid actioners.
No Tor-Tors were harmed in the writing of this review.
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on April 14, 2002
When I was a boy (1946), I used to lay in bed and listen to a radio show called "I Love a Mystery". It only lasted for 15 minutes each night but use to scare the hell out of me as Doc, Reggie and Jack took on the mystery and majic of the night. This book had the same effect as each night I would read a few chapters about a team of men and women who were trying to locate a group that disappeared 5 years earlier in the amazon. The thrill of the quest which was followed by non-stop action and a little majic had me turning each page slowly so I won't miss a thing even though I was never sure what would happen next. If you want to take a wild ride with James Rollins down the Amazon never knowing what's aroound the bend as you encounter creatures, old enemies and a whole new world, then put on a reading lamp, turn down the lights and sit back, hang on, and enjoy.
I read all the mystery and thrillers on the market and this is clearly one of the best this year.........
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VINE VOICEon August 25, 2004
Judging this book by its genre gives it a solid 5. Rollins gets better with each book. There is enough action to keep you up all night, and though some reviewers have not thought the characters were interesting, I disagree. I felt the characterization was excellent, especially for an adventure novel of this type. It bordered on being too gruesome in its torture details...I don't like that...but all in all this book held me spellbound throughout. The ending was totally satisfying too. I heartily recommend it. (And after you've read this one, be SURE to get Sandstorm! It is even better!)
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VINE VOICEon March 29, 2002
This is one heck of an adventure. As far as entertainment is concerned, James Rollins will fulfill your needs.
Nathan Rand is the main protagonist. He has lost both his mother and father to the dangerous Amazon. The government would like his help in finding the trail his father took four years ago. It seems a member of his father's original team has shown up alive after four years, but lives just long enough to say a few words to a shaman in a small Amazonian village. He also had a real arm in place of one that was amputated several years earlier. There is something out there that could change the world. Nathan's team includes Army Rangers as well as a group of scientists. The obstacles encountered will leave no man unscarred.
I just love stories like this. High adventure in the vain of Indiana Jones. The writing was so vivid it was like watching the big screen. It has fantasy with sci-fi, it has horror and mutations, and it covers the sciences from archeology to biology to evolution. Jaguars, anacondas, black caimans, piranhas, black ants, and one of the most vicious creatures, a woman called Tshui, are all part of the dangers (at least the normal dangers).
You'll enjoy this escape to the dangerous Amazon.
Highly recommended.
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on March 28, 2006
first of all, this is one of the most action packed books ive ever read. theres really not many parts where the action lets up. its a story about Nate Rand, whos father disappeared into the amazon jungle on an expidition. 4 years later, however, one of the members of the expidition, who went into the jungle with only one arm, stumbles out, both arms intact, but ravanged by cancers. the man carried some kind of disease which is quickly trasmitted to the surrounding area, and to the U.S. Nate then puts his own expidition together to go find a cure to the plague, but also to find out what happened to his father.

the plot is fairly believeable, it starts getting a little far fetched at the end though. its PACKED with action, mystery, betrayal, romance and even a little bit of comedy. the characters are great and i got pretty angry when my favorite was cut off. the facts are good, i dont know a lot about the amazon rainforest, but it all sounded good to me. the monsters (yes theres monsters) are creative and they have facts/reasons to back them up, so as to keep them believable.

OVERALL- if you are looking for a good, action packed read, with suspense and mystery (and MONSTERS!!!) this is certainly for you. i know ill be reading the rest of Rollins's novels as well.
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on April 19, 2002
I didn't mean to stay up until 1:30 in the morning, especially since I had to be up at 6:00 am to get to work on time, but I just couldn't stop turning the pages of this book until I reached the back cover. Thanks a lot, James, now please call my boss and explain why I showed up late, with bags under my eyes!
The early chapters seemed reminiscent of his other three books, and I didn't want to see the people and setting change, but the basic story remain the same as some of his earlier works. I'm glad that I decided to reserve judgment. This story is a unique work unto itself, and it really gripped me.
Now, I'm not a reviewer who will summarize the plot for you (if I tell you everything that happens, why would you then need to read it??). But I will tell you that James creates a very real picture of the Amazon in his story telling, and then adds a sense of the fantastic (personally, I loved the Piranhas with legs who ravenously chase our heroic team through a terrifying night!). He reveals rich knowledge of botany and holistic healing in his story telling that balances the art of the shaman with the quest of major pharmaceutical companies all over the world. The amount of research work that went in to building this story is apparent, and suggests quite a bit of dedication on Mr. Rollins' part toward his chosen occupation.
In fact, when I finished the book, I turned back to the front to read his acknowledgements, and was surprised to see an acknowledgement for someone who assisted him with the French phrases in the book (which consisted mostly of 'mes amis' and 'mon dieu'), but no acknowledgement for the indigenous Amazon Indian phrases he uses--so are they real? I would have loved to seen a prologue to the book giving us more detail on some of his work on in. Maybe next time? In the meantime, I recommend this book very highly! One of the best reads I've had in quite a while. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
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on October 30, 2015
I finished reading Amazonia by New York Times best selling author James Rollins. To me, this is the best of his stand alone books (and my overall favorite out of all his books). I had read all of the Sigma Force books before I started reading these. It was the dust jacket blurb that reeled me in . . . "The Rand scientific expedition entered the lush wilderness of the Amazon and never returned. Years later, one of its members has stumbled out of the world's most inhospitable rainforest - a former Special Forces soldier, scarred, mutilated, terrified, and mere hours from death, who went in with one arm missing . . .and came out with both intact."
Who on earth, and in their right mind, wouldn't want to read about that? I would love to see the book turned into a movie - if only to see the mutant animals dreamed up out of this author's mind. This is a bonafide action/adventure/thriller. No 'ifs, ands or buts' about it. There is a twist or turn on every page. There is the perfect blend of fiction overlaid with just enough science to make it believable. This tale has murder, giant jaguars, lost indigenous tribes, mutant animals and a truly, mind-boggling mystery at it's core. The research achieved for writing this book makes me feel like Jim was jotting down actual events instead of making them up.
A James Rollins book is the best place I know of where a person can escape, ignore what's going on around them, and get lost in another world. A world that seems so real, you never want to leave! It has been quite a while since he has written a stand alone book. His Sigma Force series is so wildly popular with his fans. All I can do is keep my fingers crossed.
James Rollins is an expert at "Catastrophising" everyday life and painting a world that is scary, exhilarating, thrilling and extreme. If you are in the mood to travel to far off, exciting, exotic locals then open up any book by James Rollins. It gets a little scary out there, so you might want to take a friend along with you.
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on April 2, 2005
This was my first Rollins novel and I thought it was one of the best action/adventure books I've ever read. Aside from being action packed, it was also very suspenseful. You had no idea what was going to happen next. You kept thinking that the group of bad guys might get them only to have them run into some unknown danger from the depths of the jungle. The constant action and suspense keeps you glued to this book.Also aside from the non-stop action there are also several subplots like the fact that a sickness is plaguing the world and the romance between Nate and Kelly, and the fact that the leader of the men that want to kill Nate already has his own problems with the Rand family. There is enough intrigue and action in this book to keep readers very interested.
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on August 18, 2005
James Rollins is an interesting type of thriller author. A lot of Matthew Reilly fanatics have adopted Rollins as a new favorite, and at first glance it's easy to see why. He writes twisty thrillers with lots of unlikely action, bloodthirsty beasts, and tough heroes. But at the same time, he doesn't quite manage to reach his potential.

I'll start by mentioning his flaws in this novel, and then finishing off with the reason why it is still worth reading. Rollins wants to write a very good action thriller, with three-dimensional characters. But the problem is that he gets stuck in limbo. His action sequences slow down and frequently shudder to a halt as he tries to write descriptive prose, or add some depth to the characters. Now, I am certainly not against either of those practices, but Rollins doesn't really go the whole way on these things either. He gives us just a little bit of depth for each character (depth which more often than not seems generated by some "How to" essay on character conflict, i.e. single parent, early family tragedy, alcoholism, racism, whatever), just enough to make us interested, and then stops.

So that's the problem with his books, or at least most of them. But Amazonia manages to rally for two reasons. One is the sheer pulp fun. This is a guy who has read some Tarzan and Doc Savage in his time. You want head shrinking? You got it. Giant caimans? Right here. What about a tame jaguar? Yep. The giant black cats were a little reminscent of Reilly's "Temple," but not enough to be boring.

But what really saves this book from the haphazard pacing and stunted character development is the hook. The Amazonian plague is really quite intriguing, and the explanation presented is quite possibly one of the best ideas from any thriller in the last couple of years. Really good stuff. So if you like decent adventure thrillers, and don't mind an uneven pace, give "Amazonia" a spin.
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on February 16, 2016
This is one of my all time favorite James Rollins books! I've read it several times over the years and decided to pick it back up again this past weekend. I stayed up half the night reading it from start to finish. The setting in the Amazon is amazing with fast paced action throughout the book. The descriptions of what they encounter in the jungle are so real you feel as if you are trekking along with them. I loved all the information on the medicinal properties of jungle plants and the unique tribes that live deep in the Amazon. After finishing the book, I did some research on the tribes and medicinal plants in the book. To my surprise, much of what Rollins wrote about is actually factual information. The Yamomama and Shuar headhunter tribe are actual indigenous people groups living in Ecuador and Peru. I found three true stories which relate and have now purchased these books as well. Check out: The Way Around by David Good, Through the Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliot, and End of the Spear by Steve Saint.
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