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Altar of Eden

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

18 out of 22 people found this review helpful.

Fans will relish this terrific thrille

With the fall of Baghdad, the American political leadership in the White House and the Pentagon howled in euphoria for the military victory insured the reelection next year. In their adrenalin highs, no one was concerned over looting including the zoo of its exotic ani...
With the fall of Baghdad, the American political leadership in the White House and the Pentagon howled in euphoria for the military victory insured the reelection next year. In their adrenalin highs, no one was concerned over looting including the zoo of its exotic animals that would make a fortune in the black markets of the west as some Iraqi adjust to capitalism rather quickly. However, when the zoo was invaded by smugglers, a secret underground lab is found.

Seven years later research environmental biologist Dr. Lorna Park finds a wrecked trawler on Lost Eden Cay, a barrier island off the Louisiana coast. No crewman is found alive, but inside the cargo bay is a shocker; mutations of species that should not exist are locked in cages. Besides physical anomalies, these caged beasts are extremely intelligent. Ironically as her work is to save endangered species, Lorna is unsure what to do with this strange cargo. She and U.S. Border Patrol officer Jack Menard unite in an attempt to uncover who genetically modified the animals and perhaps more important the one beast who escaped captivity.

This is a fast-paced thriller that modernizes Dr. Moreau using recent current events including the Iraq War and genetic breakthroughs; but the key is like HG Wells did, James Rollins makes the bad guys and altered animals especially the one that got away three dimensional and intelligent. The lead couple is a solid pairing, as they follow the clues of diabolically clever villains and an even smarter genetically altered beast. With an underlying message to think what we sow before we Alter Eden, fans will relish this terrific thriller.

Harriet Klausner

posted by harstan on December 19, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

4 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

Wasn't worth the effort

I had never read a James Rollins book and was expecting much more from this novel. Although the plot was somewhat interesting, albeit reminiscent of Fragment or Island of Dr. Moreau, the writing style and character development left me cold. I usually enjoy a book that f...
I had never read a James Rollins book and was expecting much more from this novel. Although the plot was somewhat interesting, albeit reminiscent of Fragment or Island of Dr. Moreau, the writing style and character development left me cold. I usually enjoy a book that follows the theme of "suspend disbelief and just enjoy the ride" but after investing the time to get through 300 pages of this novel, I realized I didn't care how it ended and gave up. I doubt I will try another James Rollins novel in the future.

posted by bookwizardRM on January 24, 2010

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  • Posted December 19, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Fans will relish this terrific thrille

    With the fall of Baghdad, the American political leadership in the White House and the Pentagon howled in euphoria for the military victory insured the reelection next year. In their adrenalin highs, no one was concerned over looting including the zoo of its exotic animals that would make a fortune in the black markets of the west as some Iraqi adjust to capitalism rather quickly. However, when the zoo was invaded by smugglers, a secret underground lab is found.

    Seven years later research environmental biologist Dr. Lorna Park finds a wrecked trawler on Lost Eden Cay, a barrier island off the Louisiana coast. No crewman is found alive, but inside the cargo bay is a shocker; mutations of species that should not exist are locked in cages. Besides physical anomalies, these caged beasts are extremely intelligent. Ironically as her work is to save endangered species, Lorna is unsure what to do with this strange cargo. She and U.S. Border Patrol officer Jack Menard unite in an attempt to uncover who genetically modified the animals and perhaps more important the one beast who escaped captivity.

    This is a fast-paced thriller that modernizes Dr. Moreau using recent current events including the Iraq War and genetic breakthroughs; but the key is like HG Wells did, James Rollins makes the bad guys and altered animals especially the one that got away three dimensional and intelligent. The lead couple is a solid pairing, as they follow the clues of diabolically clever villains and an even smarter genetically altered beast. With an underlying message to think what we sow before we Alter Eden, fans will relish this terrific thriller.

    Harriet Klausner

    18 out of 22 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 31, 2009

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    I Also Recommend:

    ANOTHER SUCCESS!

    I have read every book James Rollins has written (after coming across his work accidentally). I have yet to be disappointed in one of his novels. They are always well thought out and well researched. His writing style gives just enough techno jargon to serve its purpose , but always comes with a character who needs it in layman's terms and I thank him for that. I love the way he takes something historically provocative and weaves a thrilling tale around it. If you've never read his work, but like action packed adventure, Rollins is your guy.

    11 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 23, 2010

    Rollins Continues to Stagger Readers

    Writing plots and intricate characters that virtually reach out to snare like tentacles, Rollins continues to stagger us with his mind-blowing style in the introduction of his stand-alone thriller, "Altar of Eden". Beautifully crafted and set in the backcountry of Louisiana, it only takes a small squint of the eyes to see the landscape unfurl as Rollins words progress.

    When veterinarian Lorna Polk is summoned to the scene of an abandoned shipwreck, she couldn't have been prepared for the shock when she encounters an individual from her painful past and a vessel crammed with exotic animals. Each, a slightly unnatural version of a recognizable beast has an obvious and extraordinary intelligence. These animals-now orphans of the storm-are an incredible find even after the collective realization that a modern day monster, a female jaguar with the teeth of a saber tooth and a hungry cub, is on the loose.

    As the mission morphs into a hunt for the beast, the company that stands to lose all is taking no prisoners and leaving no evidence. They will not allow anyone to discover the truth behind their life's work even while it threatens the very fabric of our world.

    Teeming with creativity, Rollins' mix of the wide-ranging worlds of suspense and science equal a perfect cocktail to satisfy anyone's literary palette.

    Reviewed by Suspense Magazine
    www.suspensemagazine.com

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 24, 2010

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    Wasn't worth the effort

    I had never read a James Rollins book and was expecting much more from this novel. Although the plot was somewhat interesting, albeit reminiscent of Fragment or Island of Dr. Moreau, the writing style and character development left me cold. I usually enjoy a book that follows the theme of "suspend disbelief and just enjoy the ride" but after investing the time to get through 300 pages of this novel, I realized I didn't care how it ended and gave up. I doubt I will try another James Rollins novel in the future.

    4 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 8, 2010

    Very Exciting!

    This book was definitely a page turner, unfortunately in a few chapters it was a page skipper as well. The plot was awesome, your typical mad scientist looking to create a race of super human fighters in the hope of securing a Haliburton-sized government contract, and his evil minions who will stop at nothing to protect the "project". Most of the characters were well drawn out if not just a tad cliche. The heroine was your classic superwoman, blonde, blue eyed with advanced degrees who can quote obscure scientific facts at the drop of a dime. And our leading man was the lone-wolf warrior with the chiseled chin and piercing gray eyes that looked through your soul, his hard body bearing the scars of victory as he battles evil. But Mr. Rollins is such a talented writer that he makes these characters work. There is a sub-plot about their personal relationship that I found to be a bit contrived and when it engaged into the main storyline it was like an unwelcome houseguest that you just want to go away. The plot takes many surprise turns although some were painfully obvious most were pure writing genius, and while the last few chapters were nail-bitingly exciting the end was as flat as a pancake. I pressed the next key thinking there was a clitch in my Nook and this could not be the end, alas it was. As for the aformentioned page skipping, we really did not need the extended science lessons on the theoretical existance of factuals (sp?) and the beginning of life. However, Igor the featherless, talking parrot was a great character and I do hope we see him again.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 14, 2010

    Great New Rollins Characters

    As a fan of Rollins' previous Sigma force novels, I was somewhat hesitant to dive into a new set of characters, but what a pleasant surprise. In this new novel he introduces two new great characters (Jack & Lorna) all the while immersing the reader in the Louisiana bayou setting. And of course Rollins maintains his trademark perfect blend of science, action and character development.

    A must read for any Rollins fan.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 13, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Rollins Delivers Again

    I'm a fan of James Rollins - I like his writing style, as well as his stories. This was not his "best" book, but still was a great book! Rollins has some interesting characters in this one: I particularly like that the lead female thinks and behaves as many real women do (rather than like a scared, stupid ninny, as women are often portrayed). Rollins also touches very briefly on the issue of homosexuality in this book, making me wonder if he might write more on that some other time. I always appreciate Rollins' intellect, insight, and respect for all human beings and animals. This was a fantastic book with an interesting plot and I found it hard to put the book down when real life came calling!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 25, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    wow

    This is the first and only book to date I have read br Rollins. I couldnt put down. The animals kept me intrigued and the plot kept me turning pages as fast as possible. Unusual, suspenseful and hard hitting. I hope this author keeps it coming. Mith a bit of scifi, and mysterious twist, couldnt put it done. I am definitely shopping for more by Rollins.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 16, 2010

    You'll not want to put this one down until you've read the entire book!

    This one got off to a quick start and never slowed down. The Louisiana swampland was a perfect setting for this novel. The plot centers on a series of government experiments gone awry. Throw in a rekindled romance and several colorful characters, several good twists, and you have a great story. I found it hard to put down.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 13, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    SHOCKING TALE OF GENETIC MANIPULATION

    Multi talented actress Paula Christensen gives a stunning voice performance of James Rollins's latest thriller - a startlingly imagined tale of genetic engineering. From the initial moment when protagonist Lorna Polk makes an incredible discovery to the denouement Christensen perfectly captures each characters' shock, fear, resolution. ALTAR OF EDEN is a spellbinder, albeit a scary one.

    The tale begins at the Baghdad Zoo where two young boys are poking around where they shouldn't be - they find a storeroom filled with strange equipment and come face to face with an enormous monster, the likes of which they've never seen.

    Action segues quickly to veterinarian Lorna Polk in Louisiana who is summoned to see a cage of animals in a shipwrecked vessel. Odd things may have been found in the Mississippi River but never anything like this - the animals have been mutated, horribly so yet they are all highly intelligent. However, one beast is missing - a mammoth jaguar escaped and is killing in order to eat.

    Not only must the jaguar be found, but what or who could possibly be behind such nefarious doings, and for what reason? Lorna, with the help of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Jack Menard, must find the answers to these questions and quickly. It's a gasp producing hunt as the two eventually uncover a secret they never could have imagined.

    - Gail Cooke

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 26, 2010

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    I Also Recommend:

    Solid and fun adventure, but not very deep

    Altar of Eden is a fun, exciting and fast read. If you're looking to escape in a tv-movie sort-of-way, then this is a good purchase.

    James Rollins writes short and to the point. His characters and plot are somewhat similar - short and to the point. And it's enjoyable. The first half of the book sets the stage for genetically altered animals escape into the Bayou after an attempt to smuggle them into the U.S. goes awry.

    Rollins writes adventure and pseudo-science well. Think Michael Crichton lite. But that's not a bad thing.

    The book is full of gun fights and nasty animals attacks, plus the obligatory evil-scientist-explaining-his-nefarious-plot-to-the-protagonist. But it wraps up the story nicely.

    If you're looking for something deep, then keep looking. You can stop looking, however, if you're in the market for a rock solid adventure, with mutated jaguars and super-smart hominids.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 4, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Beware the Tigerphants as the Zoo

    After the fall of Baghdad, looters discover a secret laboratory beneath the zoo, and allow more than animals to escape. Seven years later a fishing trawler shipwrecks with very unusual things aboard. U.S Border Patrol agent, Jack Menard, is trying to track down the perpetrators of this horrible cargo. Twists and turns, packed with action make this a great read. I highly recommend it.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 4, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Another good book from a awesome author

    The book starts with a break neck speed and never lets go. The books start in Baghdad after fall of Iraq. Two kids scavanging in a abandoned zoo for food witness a horrible attack by a creature that comes out of a hidden lab under the zoo. Fast forward to Louisiana. In the aftermath of a hurricane, an investigation into a beached trawler leads to a horrific discovery and hunt for a escaped creature that should not exist at all.
    Genetic manipulation, evolution, fractals, flocking behaviour and lots and lots of action make up rest of the book.
    Have read all James Rollins books (except for Jake Ransom. Yes I read Indiana Jones too), I am a big JR fan. It is refreshing to see JR return to stand alone series. The book devels into the murky subject of genetic manipulation with a awesome twist. I think the reason JR choose to write a standalone thriller was because Sigma team has already touched on some elements of this book (but not all) in The Judas Strain.
    The reason I read JR books is because I always get to learn something new science wise. Sadly the only new thing I learned was too little(fractals fractals everywhere). Rest of the elements in the book have already been touched upon in other recent books like Judas Strain, Next (by Michael Chricton) etc.
    Also the characters were not as well developed as you might expect of a JR book. And the Sigma Team would have probably kicked the villan's butt in the first few pages.
    Despite some of the shortcomings this is a excellent book. Definitely recomend it.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2012

    Worst Rollins book

    This is the worst Rollins book I have ever read. It was hard for me to get through the first few chapters because of how incredibly cliched the characters from Louisiana are portrayed. Rollins names drops throughout the book as though he is mentioning a Travel Channel highlights. By trying to be " authentic" he wound up being nauseating.

    Alter of Eden had a lot of promise, evolution, genetic throwbacks, but it was terrible. It may be the last newer james Rollins book I will read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 8, 2010

    Too Much Like Crichton

    I was a bit disappointed in The Altar Of Eden. It had a little too much like the late Michael Crichton with mutant animals.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 3, 2010

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    I'll be real

    I needed more, more of what it did well and less of what it did wrong.

    1 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 4, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Rollins has another fast paced hit

    Storyline centers in New Orleans and the Mississippi delta/bayou. Lot's of local flavor and character appeal. The story revolves around genetic engineering of animals and some humanoids in the pursuit to develop a better soldier. As with all Rollins books there is lots of interesting science wrapped around fast paced action. This is not a SIGMA series but the characters are all interesting, believable and as said before really ooze the local color of the bayou region on New Orleans.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 17, 2013

    best of the year!

    I read several books a week and this by far has to be the best book I've read all year.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2013

    Alter of Eden

    I liked this book..I like the Signa Force books also, he keeps you turning the pages..I read for pleasure, his books give me pleasure..

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  • Posted April 2, 2013

    Highly recommended for those that like good reading

    Keeps you turning the page from the first. It mixes what is possible today with the consequences of cutting edge science. Once you start, you won't want to put it down

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