Amazonia

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Overview

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 ...
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Overview

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...
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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.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060089061
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/28/2002
  • Pages: 432

Meet the Author

James Rollins

James Rollins is the 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 "hottest summer reads" (People magazine). In each novel, acclaimed for its originality, Rollins unveils unseen worlds, scientific breakthroughs, and historical secrets—and he does it all at breakneck speed and with stunning insight.

Biography

James Rollins is the New York Times, USA Today and Publishers Weekly bestselling author of Black Order, Map of Bones and other adventure thrillers. He was born in Chicago and grew up in Ontario, Canada, and St. Louis, Missouri. He graduated with honors from the University of Missouri with a degree in veterinary medicine. And like most veterinarians, he presently shares his home with a Golden Retriever, a Dachshund, and a sixty-five year old parrot named Igor. Rollins currently practices in Northern California, and when not writing or working in his veterinary practice, he can often be found underground or underwater as an amateur spelunker and scuba diver. These hobbies have helped in the creation of his earlier books Subterranean, Deep Fathom, Amazonia, and Sandstorm. His thriller, Black Order, skyrocketed to the top of bestseller lists across the country, winning the author countless new fans, and was proclaimed by People magazine as one of last summer's "hottest reads." Map of Bones was chosen by Publishers Weekly as one of the most likely to win over Dan Brown's faithful audience, and the New York Times rated the book as one the summer's top crowd pleasers.

Author biography courtesy of HarperCollins.

Good To Know

Some fun and fascinating outtakes from our interview with Rollins:

"I often get asked if I still practice veterinary medicine. While I don't practice full-time, I still do volunteer. I work with a group that traps stray cats, brings them to the shelter, where I spend a day spaying and neutering them. It's basically eight hours of removing genitalia. It's a hobby."

"I am a TV junkie. I have two Tivos and they are constantly full."

"My first job was to flip pizzas. I once got a pie spinning that was ten feet across. I had to spin it on my back to keep it going. Yet, I still love pizza."

"Two hobbies I love -- caving and scuba diving -- are also essential research for my novels. Case in point:

I've always been an avid cave explorer, from the vast systems in Missouri to the lava tubes of Hawaii to the tighter squeezes of the California foothills. But one of my most frightening episodes also allowed me to better describe claustrophobia in my novels. While climbing out of the fairly technical wild cavern, involving lots of rope work, I managed to jam myself midway up a narrow vertical chute. Hung up on my ascending gear midway up the chute, I found myself unable to move up or down. My chest was squeezed between two walls, my left knee turned the wrong way. I could not maneuver, and there was not enough room to get a rescue climber to me. I was trapped. I remember the team leader, leaning down from above, shining his helmet lamp at me. ‘You either find a way to un-jam yourself, or you stay there forever.'

So over the course of a long hour -- wriggling, sweating, cursing, and clawing -- I managed to creep a millimeter at a time out of the jam. After this event, I had a better understanding for panic and the determination born of pure desperation, essential ingredients for to writing thrilling fiction.

But spelunking through caves was not my only ‘research' lesson. Two decades ago, I also took up scuba diving and went on dive trips all around the world: Monterey Bay, Hawaii, South Pacific, Australia. I particularly remember one trip to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. I was informed by the dive master to beware of the many hazards found in the region. ‘On land, Australia has seven of the ten deadliest snakes. The seas are worse. Box jellyfish can kill in minutes. Local sea snakes are some of the most toxic. But worst of all is the stone fish. It looks like a stone, but its spines are loaded with paralytic poison. So be careful what you touch.'

And down we all went, buddied up in pairs, enthusiastic and excited. I dropped toward the reef and adjust my buoyancy until I'm floating just above the reef. All around spread amazing sights: giant clams, a flurry of colored fish, an astounding variety of coral. But I miscalculated my buoyancy, my weight shifted, and I planted a hand into the sand to stabilize my tumble, careful of the razor-sharp coral. Inches from my thumb, a jagged rock suddenly sprouted fins and swam away. I met the gaze of my buddy diver. His wide eyes firmed up the identification. The deadly stone fish. And I had almost slapped my hand on its back. As the fish scurried away, I understood at that exact moment how little Nature cared about the life of a scuba-diving novelist. Down here, Nature ruled. We were only visitors.

This mix of respect and terror is brought to life in my latest novel, The Judas Strain."

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    1. Hometown:
      Sacramento, California
    1. Date of Birth:
      August 20, 1961
    2. Place of Birth:
      Chicago, Illinois

Read an Excerpt

Amazonia

Chapter OneSnake 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.

No...Tama!

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.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 272 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(158)

4 Star

(69)

3 Star

(31)

2 Star

(8)

1 Star

(6)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 272 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 31, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Amazing

    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.

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 5, 2012

    Recommend-must read

    Once you get started reading you need keep turning the pages.

    4 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2012

    Highly (x3) Recommended!

    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!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2012

    I purchased this book at 9:00 PM and couldn't put it down till

    I purchased this book at 9:00 PM and couldn't put it down till I finished it at 5: AM.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2012

    Love it!

    Since the first book I picked up of his, I've never been dissapointed.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2012

    Anonymous

    There was waaay too much action for me in this story, that I found myself skipping pages. It was also in so many parts unbelievable. Bacon and eggs for breakfast, in the middle of no where in the jungle. Nate finding his father alive after all those years. All the dangers they faced daily, that could have easily killed them all. This book could have been written in less pages, there was too much to take in. They no sooner got themselves out of one mind boggling dangerous situation, they were facing another. I like action packed stories, but I also like to know the main characters a little more.
    If you like non-stop action in a book, this is for you.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 4, 2012

    A great read.

    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.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2012

    Amazonia is awesome.

    This was the first novel I have read by James Rollins and I am hungry for more!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 18, 2014

    G

    Awesome book
    Very interesting animals that scare you but also grab your attention.dont read if you get scared easily.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 29, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    Amazing!

    Amazonia is now one of my favorites! It is such an amazing book, and has you not wanting to put the book down!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 11, 2013

    light reading

    Reads like and old black and white "B" movie.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 28, 2012

    Recommend for Thriller/SciFi fans

    I enjoyed this book. It was nice combination of a Thriller and Science Fiction. Good character development.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2012

    Great read.

    James rollins hits the spot.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2012

    Loved it

    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!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 4, 2012

    Great Read!!!!

    Definitely will check out some more books by this author.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 2, 2014

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 27, 2014

    James has created a tantalizing tale of Amazonian jungle Mystery

    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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 23, 2014

    James Rollins creates a roller coaster of a ride through the jun

    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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 19, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    What I really like about Rollins is how he dips his fingers into

    What I really like about Rollins is how he dips his fingers into the various cultures around the world. Coming from a remote area, there are many things we used that treated common illnesses where here in the U.S., medication is almost always sought after. This book is a great example of using what resources you have to treat what we suffer from. Not to mention the suspenseful journey they go through to get to the climax of the story. This is one of my favorite novels by Rollins and will keep reading his works.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 25, 2013

    Highly recommend

    if you like adventure novels, James Rollins has done it again. A fun faced paced fun read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 272 Customer Reviews

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