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Judas Strain review
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7/6/2008 11:32 AM
    I believe I’ve covered this subject before, but I feel that it is appropriate when it comes to the latest James Rollins thriller.
    There are people who believe that the world will not end with a bang – as in global war, but with a whimper – a plague unlike anything humanity has ever seen. A plague that will make the Black Plague which decimated Europe so many centuries ago look like the common cold.
    That’s the premise for the novel. A disease of such potency that it could conceivably spell the end of the human race, a disease that is as old as the planet itself and hasn’t been seen since Marco Polo’s great exploration.
    As per usual, my disclaimer… There will be no spoilers in this review to ruin the book for any would-be readers. Everything I talk about can be found on the back of the cover or the inside cover of the novel.
    The men and women of Sigma force once again find themselves at odds with the Guild in Judas Strain… but this time around the fate of humanity lies in the hands of the victors.
    It all starts with a rash of unexplained marine animal deaths around Christmas Island. Sigma sends in a small team to work along side the WHO in order to determine what has happened. As fate would have it a massive cruise ship just happens to be in the vicinity of the island, and its services are put to good use to help those who have become infected with a wide variety of illnesses.
    Things quickly go sour when a band of pirates attack the island and take over the ship. Of course the attack is lead by a high ranking member of the Guild, and the team members of Sigma are put to use in trying to figure out a cause and possible cure for this deadly ‘Judas Strain’ that has been discovered.
    Now, I’ve been a fan of James Rollins writing for close to a decade. I’ve read every single book he’s written since I picked up his first thriller Subterranean many years ago. For me, the main reason I’ve enjoyed his work is the science fiction aspect that has appeared in every novel he’s written.
    That’s why his work is up there with my other favourite authors, Preston and Child. I found a number of similarities between their work, and it has always kept me guessing, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised when I finally read the outcome in each book.
    This particular offering was, in my opinion, one of Jim’s best offerings. The action was almost non stop, and even though there have always been great threats to the world and mortal danger to the characters he created, I’d have to say that this time around Sigma faced their most difficult task to date.
    Because, not only were the lives of the Sigma members in jeopardy, but as I stated before, the entire world.
    And to make matters worse, the Guild upped the ante and made things personal.
    Also, on top of the action and suspense, Jim threw a number of surprises into the mix, things that, as usual, I wasn’t expecting, as well as the return of an old adversary, one who had all the earmarks of a classic ‘Dragon Lady’.
    If you don’t get the meaning, look it up on the net. If you’re a fan of James Rollins work, then you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.
    The science in the novel seemed quite sond as well, although when I asked two close personal friends who are both doctors at the university of Calgary and deal with viruses and the like, they were at a loss. They had never heard of a ‘Judas Strain’ before, and after I explained the concept to them, understood it but never heard of a name for it like that.
    Still, after talking to them about the novel, they were intrigued enough to pick it up and give it a go.
    I’ll also say this – it was hard to put down! It only took me about five days to read the book from cover to cover. My wife was quite angry at me a couple of nights when we went to bed and I kept the lights on until nearly midnight so that I could read while she tried to sleep.
    If she was a reader, she’d understand. I digress…
    One final note – the novel had closure. There have been many times in the past where I’ve read books that left sub-plots unresolved, or where the novel just ended abruptly. That’s not the case with this book. All sub-plots were tied up nice and neatly and the fates of various characters were dealt with.
    So, it was the perfect end to a great novel.
    5 out of 5
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