Written by New York Times best selling author, James Rollins, The Devil Colony continues the legacy of Painter Crowe and his crack team of military veterans, patriotic scientists and intellectuals, all of which comprise The Sigma Force: a secretive, black-op organization who match brains and brawn with the enemies of freedom. Admittedly, I was a tad skeptical when publicist and media guy, Mike Farley, queried whether I was interested in reviewing the novel. Why was that? Because in my estimation, it’s generally difficult for an author to maintain quality momentum when writing a series, particularly a series that stretches beyond three or four books, regardless of how invested a reader becomes in the characters in the initial installment. You know of what I speak. Just ask fans of Anne Rice.
What started with a tantalizingly fresh rendition of vampire lore in Interview with a Vampire eventually morphed into tedious swathes of forced prose and stale, stretched literary concepts by the time her fifth installment in the Vampire Chronicles came to press. Reading Rice’s fifth installment, Memnoch the Devil, was much like watching Michael Jordan play basketball. I’m talking about the Michael Jordan who played for the Washington Wizards, not the legendary hall of famer who led the Bulls to multiple NBA rings. Jordan had lost a step or two by the time he laced up his sneakers for the Wizards in 2001 and as much as the NBA and its fans adored him, it became tiresome to watch him clang jumpers, complain to the refs and blame the slick floors for his lack of lift-off when taking it to the hole in the fourth quarter. (Sounds eerily reminiscent of Lebron James post-Cleveland departure to the Heat, doesn’t it?)
But as for my initial reticence regarding James Rollins’ newest installment in the Sigma Force series, I humbly stand corrected. The Devil Colony is a soaring, from the foul line slam dunk. Chock full of action and sweeping across continents and history, Rollins guides the reader back to America’s infancy and into the present, cleverly splicing legend, fact and myth into a breathtaking conspiratorial tale of what might have happened and what could be.
Beginning with the book inside jacket teaser, “Could the founding of the United States be based on a fundamental lie”, Rollins’ sixth installment in the series explodes from the pages with intrigue: strange artifacts, gold plates inscribed with semi-Semitic script and hundreds of prehistoric mummified bodies of Caucasian origin are discovered out west in a secluded mountain cave system sparking controversy as the U.S. government and the Native American Heritage Commission race to lay claim to the remains and more importantly, the artifacts. However, the U.S. government and the Native Americans are not the only ones vying for the strange artifacts. A secret society known as the Guild, with its enormous wealth, resources and protective cloak of anonymity, has also entered the fray, its objective to steal the strange artifacts and harness the artifacts’ power and mystique for their own purposes, and the Guild is not easily subdued. Manipulating America’s course since the time of the thirteen colonies, the Guild’s shadowy influence permeates every U.S. institution, showing itself to be more than a match for Painter Crowe’s vaunted Sigma Force.
That’s all the detail you readers will pull out of this reviewer. If you want more, you’ll have to read it for yourself. If you like your novels served action heavy, with a dash of true science and spiced with archaeology and history with a garnish of plausible fiction, then by all means read The Devil Colony.