4.3 278
by James Rollins, Ruben Santiago-hudson

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When the Director of the CIA is handed a report from a Brazilian morgue documenting the confirmed death of Agent Clark, who disappeared four years before on an expedition into the Amazon jungle, it doesn't take long for him to realize why he has been notified. In one hand, he holds a pre-expedition photo of Agent Clark, waving with the one arm he has left after a


When the Director of the CIA is handed a report from a Brazilian morgue documenting the confirmed death of Agent Clark, who disappeared four years before on an expedition into the Amazon jungle, it doesn't take long for him to realize why he has been notified. In one hand, he holds a pre-expedition photo of Agent Clark, waving with the one arm he has left after a sniper's bullet cost him the other; in his other hand, the director holds a photo from the morgue - both arms resting by Clark's sides. What happened out there? A specially selected scientific and military team is sent in to find out...

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The use of mass market originals as a farm team for hardcovers has lost popularity, but still works occasionally, as with Rollins, whose three mass markets (Deep Fathom, Excavation and Subterranean) displayed a flair for brawny adventure within an exotic locale a flair put to good use in his hardcover debut. A U.S. Special Forces agent walks out of the Amazon jungle and quickly dies of rampant tumors; what's especially bizarre is that this man has two arms, but when he entered the jungle five years before as part of a biopharmaceutical exploratory expedition, which has been lost track of, he had only one. The rest of the novel follows a group of scientists and U.S. military guardians as they trek deep into the jungle in search of the missing expedition and, hopefully, the secret to the regrown arm a secret that takes on vast importance when the dead agent's body, shipped to the States, spreads a disease that threatens to wipe out the American population. Meanwhile, a second, predatory expedition, led by a French psychopath, surreptitiously follows the first, aiming to steal whatever cure the searchers uncover; both expeditions wind up at the isolated home of a legendary tribe and the malignant, giant tree that sustains it. Rollins won't win awards for his prose or characters, though both function smoothly in this boldly drawn entertainment, and there's little here that isn't a variation of some classic adventure trope. His pacing is forceful, however, and his atmospherics rich, with giant caimans and jaguars, mutant amphibians and hungry locusts adding to the mayhem, a high body count and a congenial sense of the ridiculous although Rollins plays it deadpan. This is old-fashioned, rugged adventure in the tradition of Haggard and Crichton, told with energy, excitement and a sense of fun. (Mar.) Forecast: National print ads and California regional author appearances will win Rollins some fans, but the simultaneous release of 12-copy prepacks of his three mass markets manifest this novel's likely fate: respectable hardcover, bestselling paperback. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Workmanlike debut hardcover, a variation on King Solomon's Mines, this time set in the Amazon, where a search party seeks a bizarre protein that can kill and cure. Four years previously, ethno-botanist Nate Rand's father and a team of 30 researchers disappeared while on a mission into the rain forest. Now the CIA's Environmental Center wants to learn what fate befell the crew. They ask Nate and a team that includes an anthropologist, a shaman, and comely, auburn-haired Kelly O'Brien to find out. Adept at action scenes, Rollins keeps everything that follows sliding, swooping, and clawing at a steady, if ultimately wearying, pace. In the "eat-or-be-eaten world" of the rain forest come encounters with monstrous anacondas, dark storms of locusts, and leaping piranhas. This latter aberration, a mutation of sharks with frogs, apparently stemmed from an Amazonian tribe's use of a Jekyll-and-Hyde protein that both creates and kills other cells. Meanwhile, back at the CIA's Langley headquarters, Kelly's mother discovers that this same deadly element is spreading at home, threatening even Kelly's daughter, now fallen ill. And at the same time, in a back corner of the jungle, notorious soldier-of-fortune Louis Favre and his nasty accomplice Tshui, shrunken heads adorning her lithe, sinuous, seminude body, shadow Rand and company, setting them up for a deadly ambush at the site of a mysterious tree. Far-fetched as all this sounds, Rollins makes it by and large credible, sketching out as he does a convincing layer of myth to explain the tree's fantastic powers. And yet there's nary a shiver to be had. Sense of place is negligible, the armchair traveler never quite forgetting-well, the armchair. Punchybut scare-free. Still, there are enough cliffhangers here to keep a Saturday afternoon serial running for a year.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Edition description:
Abridged, 4 Cassettes
Product dimensions:
4.46(w) x 7.02(h) x 1.22(d)

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Chapter One

Snake Oil

August 6, 10:11 A.M.
Amazon Jungle, Brazil

The anaconda held the small Indian girl wrapped in its heavy coils, dragging her toward the river.

Nathan Rand was on his way back to the Yanomamo village after an early morning of gathering medicinal plants when he heard her screams. He dropped his specimen bag and ran to her aid. As he sprinted, he shrugged his short-barreled shotgun from his shoulder. When alone in the jungle, one always carried a weapon.

He pushed through a fringe of dense foliage and spotted the snake and girl. The anaconda, one of the largest he had ever seen, at least forty feet in length, lay half in the water and half stretched out on the muddy beach. Its black scales shone wetly. It must have been lurking under the surface when the girl had come to collect water from the river. It was not unusual for the giant snakes to prey upon animals who came to the river to drink: wild peccary, capybara rodents, forest deer. But the great snakes seldom attacked humans.

Still, during the past decade of working as a ethnobotanist in the jungles of the Amazon basin, Nathan had learned one important rule: if a beast were hungry enough, all rules were broken. It was an eat-or-be-eaten world under the endless green bower.

Nathan squinted through his gun's sight. He recognized the girl. "Oh, God, Tama!" She was the chieftain's nine-year-old niece, a smiling, happy child who had given him a bouquet of jungle flowers as a gift upon his arrival in the village a month ago. Afterward she kept pulling at the hairs on his arm, a rarity among the smooth-skinned Yanomamo, andnicknamed him Jako Basho, "Brother Monkey."

Biting his lip, he searched through his weapon's sight. He had no clean shot, not with the child wrapped in the muscular coils of the predator.

"Damn it!" He tossed his shotgun aside and reached to the machete at his belt. Unhitching the weapon, Nathan lunged forward'but as he neared, the snake rolled and pulled the girl under the black waters of the river. Her screams ended and bubbles followed her course.

Without thinking, Nathan dove in after her.

Of all the environments of the Amazon, none were more dangerous than its waterways. Under its placid surfaces lay countless hazards. Schools of bone-scouring piranhas hunted its depths, while stingrays lay buried in the mud and electric eels roosted amid roots and sunken logs. But worst of all were the river's true man-killers, the black caimans — giant crocodilian reptiles. With all its dangers, the Indians of the Amazon knew better than to venture into unknown waters.

But Nathan Rand was no Indian.

Holding his breath, he searched through the muddy waters and spotted the surge of coils ahead. A pale limb waved. With a kick of his legs, he reached out to the small hand, snatching it up in his large grip. Small fingers clutched his in desperation.

Tama was still conscious!

He used her arm to pull himself closer to the snake. In his other hand, he drew the machete back, kicking to hold his place, squeezing Tama's hand.

Then the dark waters swirled, and he found himself star ng into the red eyes of the giant snake. It had sensed the challenge to its meal. Its black maw opened and struck at him.

Nate ducked aside, fighting to maintain his grip on the girl.

The anaconda's jaws snapped like a vice onto his arm. Though its bite was nonpoisonous, the pressure threatened to crush Nate's wrist. Ignoring the pain and his own mounting panic, he brought his other arm around, aiming for the snake's eyes with his machete.

At the last moment, the giant anaconda rolled in the water, throwing Nate to the silty bottom and pinning him. Nate felt the air squeezed from his lungs as four hundred pounds of scaled muscle trapped him. He struggled and fought, but he found no purchase in the slick river mud.

The girl's fingers were torn from his grip as the coils churned her away from him.


He abandoned his machete and pushed with his hands against the weight of the snake's bulk. His shoulders sank into the soft muck of the riverbed, but still he pushed. For every coil he shoved aside, another would take its place. His arms weakened, and his lungs screamed for air.

Nathan Rand knew in this moment that he was doomed — and he was not particularly surprised. He knew it would happen one day. It was his destiny, the curse of his family. During the past twenty years, both his parents had been consumed by the Amazon forest. When he was eleven, his mother had succumbed to an unknown jungle fever, dying in a small missionary hospital. Then, four years ago, his father had simply vanished into the rain forest, disappearing without witnesses.

As Nate remembered the heartbreak of losing his father, rage flamed through his chest. Cursed or not, he refused to follow in his father's footsteps. He would not allow himself simply to be swallowed by the jungle. But more important, he would not lose Tama!

Screaming out the last of the trapped air in his chest, Nathan shoved the anaconda's bulk off his legs. Freed for a moment, he swung his feet under him, sinking into the mud up to his ankles, and shoved straight up.

His head burst from the river, and he gulped a breath of fresh air, then was dragged by his arm back under the dark water.

This time, Nathan did not fight the strength of the snake. Holding the clamped wrist to his chest, he twisted into the coils, managing to get a choke hold around the neck of the snake with his other arm. With the beast trapped...

Amazonia. Copyright © by James Rollins. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

James Rollins is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of international thrillers that have been translated into more than forty languages. His Sigma series has been lauded as one of the “top crowd pleasers” (New York Times) and one of the “hottest summer reads” (People magazine). In each acclaimed novel, Rollins unveils unseen worlds, scientific breakthroughs, and historical secrets—and he does it all at breakneck speed and with stunning insight.

Brief Biography

Sacramento, California
Date of Birth:
August 20, 1961
Place of Birth:
Chicago, Illinois

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Amazonia 4.3 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 278 reviews.
Eat_The_Kids_First More than 1 year ago
I have never written a review before so I decided to pick one of my favorite books and Amazonia definitely qualifies. I loved reading this book and did not want to put it down. It really grabs you and doesn't let you go. This is definitley a re-read for me. Nathan Rand is an exceptional main character who isn't in a race to be the next Rambo. He's a hero when needs to be but he isn't stupid or foolish. One can very easily relate to his character. I highly recomend this book to anyone that is in search of a good thriller.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awesome book! I could hardly put it down! If you like action, adventure, and learning about new cultures and places (or at least getting inspired to go do some research) then this is the book for you-as well as any other book written by James Rollins!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Since the first book I picked up of his, I've never been dissapointed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I purchased this book at 9:00 PM and couldn't put it down till I finished it at 5: AM.
Steamwitch More than 1 year ago
Once you get started reading you need keep turning the pages.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awesome book Very interesting animals that scare you but also grab your attention.dont read if you get scared easily.
Rocka More than 1 year ago
Amazonia is now one of my favorites! It is such an amazing book, and has you not wanting to put the book down!
rjr66 More than 1 year ago
Reads like and old black and white "B" movie.
ThrillerFanMS More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book. It was nice combination of a Thriller and Science Fiction. Good character development.
Electrician71 More than 1 year ago
James Rollins fans must read this book. It is every bit as good as the Sigma series. James Rollins uses both historic fact and well researched fiction to craft a suspenseful story in the Amazon jungle.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was the first novel I have read by James Rollins and I am hungry for more!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amazonia, for me, was a mega adventure. Full of danger, excitement, discoveries.With Rollins writing style and descriptions of events (excellent as always), the story was so vivid and had a terrific ending. James Rollins never fails to transport me into a place far more exciting than even my extremely vivid imagination can take me. I love all his books!
Mistie3k More than 1 year ago
Definitely will check out some more books by this author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lots of action, in an exciting location. Well written fast paced. I am not a fast reader and have put down many books that don't hold my attention, this is not one of them.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MaraBlaise More than 1 year ago
I almost read the entire book in one evening, I just couldn't stop. James Rollins is master when it comes to writing adventure books and this book is so incredibly engrossing that I just couldn't stop reading. Just one more chapters, and suddenly it's two hours later. The only drawback? The romance, I don't know why, I just wasn't fond of it. I'm not against romance in adventure book, but I want it to feel real, and the romance between the main characters, well it was just corny, one step away from a harlequin novel...but beside that the book was really good!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have never read a James Rollins book that I didn't thoroughly enjoy and Amazonia was no exception. I read allot and I rarely give such high praise but Rollins' is far more creative and talented a writer than most others. Stephanie Clanahan
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Dean_Kutzler More than 1 year ago
James has created a tantalizing tale of Amazonian jungle Mystery, packed with plenty of fast-paced action, love and a little gore.  Maybe a tad more than a little – but never over-the-top.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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JenaLG More than 1 year ago
James Rollins creates a roller coaster of a ride through the jungle in Amazonia. The book is filed with scientific drama that never seems to end. Once one new bizarre species is discovered, Rollins creates two more waiting around the corner to attack. Each chapter is a nail bitter as you fear for your favorite character's life. The writing style and the addition of 'pointless' characters for killing off is similar to Michael Crichton. I highly recommend this book for people who like fast paced books with mind blowing plot twists that keep you turning the page.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago