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The Last Oracle (Sigma Force) Hardcover – June 24, 2008

328 customer reviews
Book 5 of 11 in the Sigma Force Novels Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

At the start of bestseller Rollins's rousing fifth Sigma Force novel (after The Judas Strain), the group's leader, Cmdr. Gray Pierce, encounters a homeless man as he's crossing the Mall in Washington, D.C., near Sigma Force's secret lair far beneath the Smithsonian Castle. The man, who's really an MIT neurology professor, collapses in Pierce's arms and dies after passing him a strange coin, thus kicking off a far-flung adventure whose plot threads include the Oracle of Delphi, autistic savant children with strange implants behind their ears, Gypsies, power-mad Russians bent on unleashing enough radioactivity to poison the world, rogue American spy agencies and genetically enhanced wolves and tigers. Lots of absorbing scientific information and tantalizing sentences like With two rifles strapped to his back and a boy and a chimpanzee in tow, Monk marched down the pitch-black tunnel keep the pages flying by. 10-city author tour. (July)
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“Lots of absorbing scientific information and tantalizing sentences.” (Publishers Weekly)

“Rollins combines real-world science with high-octane action to create rousing stories of adventure that are as exciting as any movie.” (Chicago Sun-Times)

“Once again, the action is nonstop.” (Sacramento Bee)

“The perfect escape novel, an edge of-your-seat read.” (Knoxville News-Sentinel)

“Rollins has outdone himself with this fabulous mix of history, science, and adventure that will easily increase his growing number of fans.” (Library Journal)

“Go out and buy James Rollins’s latest saga. He just keeps getting better and better.” (The Barnstable Patriot)

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Product Details

  • Series: Sigma Force (Book 5)
  • Hardcover: 434 pages
  • Publisher: WilliamMr; 1 edition (June 24, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061230944
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061230943
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.3 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (328 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #258,690 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

James Rollins is the New York Times bestselling author of the Sigma Force series and other novels. Blending science and history, his action adventure novels have been praised as "enormously engrossing" (NPR) and "smart, entertaining adventure fiction" (New York Journal of Books). Before pursuing a writing career, Jim obtained a degree in veterinary medicine and established a successful veterinary practice in Sacramento, CA. He currently resides in the Sierra Nevada mountains.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

108 of 120 people found the following review helpful By Mel Odom VINE VOICE on June 30, 2008
Format: Hardcover
The first James Rollins book I ever read was SUBTERRANEAN. It was a "lost world" adventure, about an underground world that spawned the marsupial creatures that inhabit Australia. The book was a blistering good read and I read it - held completely in thrall - in a single sitting. Not many 400-page novels can do that to me these days.

Rollins is the pseudonym of Jim Czajkowski, but he also writes fantasy novels under the pen name James Clemens. As Clemens, he's written and published seven high fantasy novels so far, with more in the works.

Writing under the Rollins name, he wrote five stand-alone thrillers that took readers inside the earth -- SUBTERRANEAN, into high mountains -- EXCAVATION, to the ocean's bottom -- DEEP FATHOM, through the deepest jungles -- AMAZONIA, and to the most remote and dangerous pole in the world -- ICE HUNT. He also wrote the novelization of the newest Indiana Jones movie, INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL.

In SANDSTORM, Rollins introduced a covert espionage team called Sigma Force that deals with archeological and scientific threats to the world. Made up of scientists and military personnel, Sigma Force goes anywhere and battles anything to ferret out puzzles and mysterious left throughout history. Imagine Dan Brown on steroids with Tom Clancy weaponry and you've got a good idea of what Rollins does in these books.

His interest in science and history are immediately noticeable in these books. They're carefully researched (albeit with an eye toward getting Rollins and his fans where they want to go in high adventure), and the pacing is absolutely frantic. Not only does Rollins present information, but he also leavens the exciting mixture with no-holds barred conjecture on his part.
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Susan Tunis on June 24, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Last summer, the diabolical Mr. Rollins left his fans with a cliff-hanger ending that was simply TORTUROUS. Let me start this review by telling readers that the unresolved questions are answered thoroughly and in a completely satisfying manner. And, you don't have to wait `til the end of the book to learn those answers. Yes, that's all very vague, but I don't want to give away a thing.

Now the above paragraph may seem pretty intimidating or off-putting if you haven't read the novel that precedes this one, The Judas Strain. Well, here's the most impressive thing about The Last Oracle: It absolutely works as a stand alone novel. Yes, it's great if you're a long-time fan of the Sigma Force novels, but Rollins manages to jump-start this tale from the opening pages, and I don't think you'd need any back story to dive right into this adventure. And never once did I feel like there was that awkward exposition you often see in series novels. Bravo!

The hard part of reviewing any James Rollins novel is trying to summarize the plot. This novel opens in 398 A.D., with the eponymous Oracle of Delphi. The final moments of the temple are depicted. A few pages later we're in Romania, circa 1959. The Ruskies are rounding up a bunch of charming villagers. And a few pages after that we're at last in modern-day DC, with our old friend Gray Pierce of Sigma. Walking across the Mall, he's approached by a "homeless" man. As he pauses to give the guy a hand-out, a shot rings out. Gray is safe, but the derelict is killed. Later investigation suggests the stranger was the intended target, not Gray. This is confirmed when Gray's boss takes one look at the body and say's, "I know this man."

It turns out the man was an important part of Sigma history.
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44 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Stacey Cochran on June 24, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I haven't read another James Rollins novel. THE LAST ORACLE was my first, and I enjoyed it. While this style of plot-driven novel is definitely not for everyone, I'd be hard-pressed to name another author who is more on top of his game writing action and suspense than Rollins is in THE LAST ORACLE.

The story concerns a group of autistic savant children who have been bred and surgically altered to improve their savant skills. A rogue Russian senator has plans to create a nuclear disaster that will vault him to global power, and he plans to use the children's talents in his new, self-appointed position. Furthermore, the children's ancestry dates to the ancient Oracle of Delphi, which acts as a historical backdrop for the story.

SIGMA Commander Gray Pierce leads the band of folks who must stop him, navigating from SIGMA's headquarters in Washington DC, to India, to Chernobyl, and finally to the Ural Mountains in the former Soviet Union. Many people try to kill them along the way.

James Rollins has clearly done his research to ground THE LAST ORACLE in a reality that fits the story, and the fear of nuclear waste left available in the former Soviet Union is an issue that needs to be addressed. The political unease underlying the novel works to ratchet the tension, and Rollins does a remarkable job of juggling multiple storylines to enhance the suspense even further.

I'm not convinced that a writer in this genre can't create realistic, emotionally-complex characters, but it does seem like they might get in the way of the plot. That said, if you're looking for a fun action-suspense novel, Rollins is your man. He is at the top of his game in THE LAST ORACLE, and I do recommend this novel.
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