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Black Order: A Sigma Force Novel Mass Market Paperback – May 29, 2007

4.3 out of 5 stars 519 customer reviews
Book 3 of 11 in the Sigma Force Novels Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

What would thriller writers do without the Nazis? At the start of Rollins's inventive eighth Sigma Force novel, a secret experiment is smuggled out of Berlin in the waning days of WWII. While the Americans have been working on the atomic bomb, the Nazis were delving into the paradoxical tenets of quantum mechanics. In the present day, descendants of Heinrich Himmler are trying to create a new race of Aryan supermen. Last seen in 2005's Map of Bones, Painter Crowe and Grayson Pierce, employees of Sigma Force, a secret arm of the U.S. military, venture to the brink of death to puzzle out mysteries that encompass the theories of evolution, intelligent design, and the physical and spiritual nature of love and God. It's a tall order, but every time the author appears to have stretched too far, he saves the read by throwing in a fascinating scientific or historical fact, plus a scene of heart-pumping action. This is Cussler and Ludlum territory with a dash of Dan Brown, sure to please devotees of any of these authors. (July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

The globe-trotting adventurers of Sigma Force, that elite American special-ops team, return in this high-powered thriller. The story begins cryptically. In Nepal, a strange plague has struck a remote Himalayan monastery, and a Nazi swastika is found on a cave wall. In Denmark, someone is buying up rare historical documents connected to Victorian scientists (for instance, Charles Darwin's family Bible), and the purchaser is desperate enough to kill for his prizes. In South Africa, a mythological beast is apparently alive and well and preying on wildlife. The author interweaves these stories, following the Sigma Force team members as they risk their lives to get to the heart of one of humankind's greatest mysteries: the origins of life itself. Rollins keeps getting better with every novel, and his fast-paced thrillers are feasts for the imagination. Why Hollywood hasn't snapped his books up yet is a mystery, but it's doubtful any big-screen version could capture the author's gung-ho enthusiasm and intellectual curiosity. If you like all-stops-out, high-concept adventure, this one's for you. David Pitt
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Sigma Force (Book 3)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; Reprint edition (May 29, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060765372
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060765378
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (519 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,327,786 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I've been reading James Rollins since his very first novel. I look forward to each one with anticipation months ahead of its publication. (Thank God he's prolific!) Truthfully, I like some of them better than others. This latest, The Black Order, is an unequivocal slam dunk. I loved everything about it from start to finish.

One thing Rollins has done right is bring back Painter Crowe in a more significant roll. I've had a warm spot for him since Sandstorm. And in his second outing, I feel that I know Gray Pierce better than I did. How wonderful that these individuals have become like friends and I see their characters deepen and grow from book to book. He introduces a new character in this book that has become a favorite. I really hope we get to see her again!

But the best thing about The Black Order is the plot. I couldn't turn pages fast enough! I plowed through the book in two days and was then sad it was over. What a thrill ride! The novel is complex enough that I can't do it justice trying to sum it up in a paragraph. There were several different intertwined stories spanning the globe, from Asia to Europe to Africa to America. Rollins ties in Nazi science projects dating back to WWII to South African mythological beasts. And even though there were Nazi bad guys, this book has a lot of shades of gray and things aren't necessarily what they seem at first glance.

As always, there was fascinating, cutting-edge science. Each book has some bit of factual science that literally makes my jaw drop, and I think: I have to learn more about that! This one was no exception, but there were also major philosophical aspects to the story. Really, it's a book that has everything--non-stop action, terrific characters, a little romance, a little humor, some good scares, and a lot to make you think. I can't recommend it highly enough!
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Format: Hardcover
James Rollins novels are generally readable, but several of his most recent, in particular Map of Bones and this new release, Black Order show greatly improved structure and narration. While SIGMA Force stories have appeared before, Rollins has greatly developed the basis of this series, and the result is characters that have some claim for personality and glimmers of original plotting. In a genre that isn't particularly noted for novelty and depth of plot, this is a welcome change. If you have enjoyed Rollin's stories before you will like this new work even better.

Several related subplots make up the story. Commander Gray Pierce is in Copenhagen following an auction of rare books that involves some surprise bidders. Attempted murder and arson make what he thought was an easy assignment that he could use as an excuse to have a lover's tryst into a frantic chase that comes very close to nipping him in the bud. Meanwhile, a continent or so away, an isolated Tibetan monastery goes insane, trapping Lisa Cummings, a young doctor studying survival in the severe heights of Mt. Everest. Also hidden in the monastery is Painter Crowe, Director of SIGMA Force. The two join in their own flight from merciless hunters.

Deep in the mountains is hidden the castle Granitschloss, the ultimate retreat of Heinrich Himmler. Nazi experiments interrupted by the end of the war are still carried on there. An arcane technology is being used to create the super race of which Hitler dreamed. But the current residents may be heirs of the Nazi's but they are no longer the monsters of the Third Reich.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Black Order" is, by far, the most exciting, fascinating, heart-wrenching, suspenseful book I've read in years. The premise is believable, the pace is fast, and the characters are all well developed and interesting.

I cheered for the hero's, bled with them, worried for them, held my breath waiting to find out what happened to them, and I cried for them. The 2 anti-heroes were worthy of my contempt, suspicions, limited admiration, encouraging cheers and my tears. The evil ones are pure evil--evil that is believable and caused the hairs to stand up on the back of my neck.

James Rollins has done his research--and it shows. He carefully explains several scientific theories, without talking down to the reader, and I was able to follow along without being lost in the mechanics of it all.

The highlight of the book for me was near the end when Gray and Lisa figured out the puzzle and stated the simple answer--I cried. It's something I discovered long ago in my life, and to read this in a book touched my heart.

Jim stated in his "Author's Note":

"Rather than focusing so intently on where we have come from, a larger question deserves even more fervent attention: Where are we headed?"

What a great summation--to encourage the reader to think: to think about their life and it's purpose, to think about their life and their future.

In "Black Order" Jim incorporates history, science, and religion as effortlessly as a chef moves about the kitchen. Put together, it's an exciting blend of story telling that draws the reader along on a grand adventure. I highly recommend this adventure.
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