The Devil Colony (Sigma Force Series)by James Rollins
“Every James Rollins delivers mach-speed mayhem; throat-clutching suspense; high-style adventure; and a terrific story told terrifically. He makes the rest us look bad.”
—Steve Berry, author of The Emperor’s Tomb
“This guy doesn’t write novels—he builds roller coasters.”
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“Every James Rollins delivers mach-speed mayhem; throat-clutching suspense; high-style adventure; and a terrific story told terrifically. He makes the rest us look bad.”
—Steve Berry, author of The Emperor’s Tomb
“This guy doesn’t write novels—he builds roller coasters.”
New York Times bestselling thrill-master James Rollins is back with The Devil Colony, another electrifying combination of suspense, history, science, action, and ingenious speculation. In The Devil Colony, Sigma Force stalwarts Painter Crowe and Commander Grayson Pierce must investigate a gruesome massacre in the Rocky Mountains and root out a secret cabal that has been manipulating momentous events since the time of the original thirteen colonies. Once again, Rollins delivers a spine-tingler that will leave fans of Michael Crichton, The Da Vinci Code, and Indiana Jones breathless—as he exposes the dark truth behind the founding of America.
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The Devil ColonyA Sigma Force Novel
By James Rollins
William MorrowCopyright © 2011 James Rollins
All right reserved.
Chapter OnePresent Day
May 18, 1:32 P.M.
Rocky Mountains, Utah
It looked like the entrance to hell.
The two young men stood on a ridge overlooking a deep, shadowy
chasm. It had taken them eight hours to climb from the tiny burg of
Roosevelt to this remote spot high in the Rocky Mountains.
"Are you sure this is the right place?" Trent Wilder asked.
Charlie Reed took out his cell phone, checked the GPS, then examined
the Indian map drawn on a piece of deer hide and sealed in a clear
plastic Ziploc bag. "I think so. According to the map, there should be a
small stream at the bottom of this ravine. The cave entrance should be
where the creek bends around to the north."
Trent shivered and brushed snow from his hair. Though a tapestry of
wildflowers heralded the arrival of spring in the lowlands, up here winter
still held a firm grip. The air remained frigid, and snow frosted the
surrounding mountaintops. To make matters worse, the sky had been lowering
all day, and a light flurry had begun to blow.
Trent studied the narrow valley. It seemed to have no bottom. Down
below, a black pine forest rose out of a sea of fog. Sheer cliffs surrounded
all sides. While he had packed ropes and rappelling harnesses, he hoped he
wouldn't need them.
But that wasn't what was truly bothering him.
"Maybe we shouldn't be going down there," he said.
Charlie cocked an eyebrow at him. "After climbing all day?"
"What about that curse? What your grandfather"
A hand waved dismissively. "The old man's got one foot in the grave
and a head full of peyote." Charlie slapped him in the shoulder. "So don't
go crapping your pants. The cave probably has a few arrowheads, some
broken pots. Maybe even a few bones, if we're lucky. C'mon."
Trent had no choice but to follow Charlie down a thin deer trail
they'd discovered earlier. As they picked their way along, he frowned at
the back of Charlie's crimson jacket, emblazoned with the two feathers
representing the University of Utah. Trent still wore his high school
letterman jacket, bearing the Roosevelt Union cougar. The two of them had
been best friends since elementary school, but lately they'd been growing
apart. Charlie had just finished his first year at college, while Trent had
gone into full-time employment at his dad's auto-body shop. Even this
summer, Charlie would be participating in an internship with the Uintah
Reservation's law group.
His friend was a rising star; one that Trent would soon need a telescope
to watch from the tiny burg of Roosevelt. But what else was new? Charlie
had always outshone Trent. Of course, it didn't help matters that his friend
was half Ute, with his people's perpetual tan and long black hair. Trent's
red crew cut and the war of freckles across his nose and cheeks had forever
relegated him to the role of Charlie's wingman at school parties.
Though the thought went unvoiced, it was as if they both knew their
friendship was about to end as adulthood fell upon their shoulders. So as
a rite of passage, the two had agreed to this last adventure, to search for a
cave sacred to the Ute tribes.
According to Charlie, only a handful of his tribal elders even knew
about this burial site in the High Uintas Wilderness. Those who did were
forbidden to speak of it. The only reason Charlie knew about it was that
his grandfather liked his bourbon too much. Charlie doubted his grandfather
even remembered showing him that old deer-hide map hidden in a
hollowed-out buffalo horn.
Trent had first heard the tale when he was in junior high, huddled in
a pup tent with Charlie. With a flashlight held to his chin for effect, his
friend had shared the story. "My grandfather says the Great Spirit still
haunts this cave. Guarding a huge treasure of our people."
"What sort of treasure?" Trent had asked doubtfully. At the time he
had been more interested in the Playboy he'd sneaked out of his father's
closet. That was treasure enough for him.
Charlie had shrugged. "Don't know. But it must be cursed."
"What do you mean?"
His friend had shifted the flashlight closer to his chin, devilishly
arching an eyebrow. "Grandfather says whoever trespasses into the Great
Spirit's cave is never allowed to leave."
"Because if they do, the world will end."
Right then, Trent's old hound dog had let out an earsplitting wail,
making them both jump. Afterward, they had laughed and talked deep
into the night. Charlie ended up dismissing his grandfather's story as
superstitious nonsense. As a modern Indian, Charlie went out of his way to
reject such foolishness.
Even so, Charlie had sworn Trent to secrecy and refused to take him
to the place marked on the mapuntil now.
"It's getting warmer down here," Charlie said.
Trent held out a palm. His friend was right. The snowfall had been
growing heavier, the flakes thickening, but as they descended, the air had
grown warmer, smelling vaguely of spoiled eggs. At some point, the snowfall
had turned to a drizzling rain. He wiped his hand on his pants and
realized that the fog he'd spotted earlier along the bottom of the ravine
was actually steam.
The source appeared through the trees below: a small creek bubbling
along a rocky channel at the bottom of the ravine.
"Smell that sulfur," Charlie said with a sniff. Reaching the creek, he
tested the water with a finger. "Hot. Must be fed by a geothermal spring
somewhere around here."
Trent was unimpressed. The mountains around here were riddled
with such baths.
Charlie stood up. "This must be the right place."
"Hot spots like this are sacred to my people. So it only makes sense
that they would pick this place for an important burial site." Charlie
headed out, hopping from rock to rock. "C'mon. We're close."
Together, they followed the creek upstream. With each step, the air
grew hotter. The sulfurous smell burned Trent's eyes and nostrils. No
wonder no one had ever found this place.
With his eyes watering, Trent wanted to turn back, but Charlie
suddenly stopped at a sharp bend in the creek. His friend swung in a full
circle, holding out his cell phone like a divining rod, then checked the
map he'd stolen from his grandfather's bedroom this morning.
Trent searched around. He didn't see any cave. Just trees and more
trees. Overhead, snow had begun to frost on the higher elevations, but it
continued to fall as a sickly rain down here.
"The entrance has got to be somewhere nearby," Charlie mumbled.
"Or it could just be an old story."
Charlie hopped to the other side of the creek and began kicking at
some leafy ferns on that side. "We should at least look around."
Trent made a half-assed attempt on his side, heading away from the
water. "I don't see anything!" he called back as he reached a wall of granite.
"Why don't we just"
Then he saw it out of the corner of his eye as he turned. It looked like
another shadow on the cliff face, except a breeze was combing through the
valley, setting branches to moving, shadows to shifting.
Only this shadow didn't move.
He stepped closer. The cave entrance was low and wide, like a mouth
frozen in a perpetual scowl. It opened four feet up the cliff face, sheltered
under a protruding lip of stone.
A splash and a curse announced the arrival of his friend.
"It's really here," Charlie said, sounding hesitant for the first time.
They stood for a long moment, staring at the cave entrance, remembering
the stories about it. They were both too nervous to move forward,
but too full of manly pride to back away.
"We doing this?" Trent finally asked.
His words broke the stalemate.
Charlie's back stiffened. "Hell yeah, we're doing this."
Before either of them could lose their nerve, they crossed to the cliff
and climbed up into the lip of the cave. Charlie freed his flashlight and
pointed it down a tunnel. A steep passageway extended deep into the
Charlie ducked his head inside. "Let's go find that treasure!"
Bolstered by the bravado in his friend's voice, Trent followed.
The passageway narrowed quickly, requiring them to shuffle along
single file. The air was even hotter inside, but at least it was dry and didn't
stink as much.
Squeezing through a particularly tight chute, Trent felt the heat of the
granite through his jacket.
"Man," he said as he popped free, "it's like a goddamn sauna down
Charlie's face shone brightly. "Or a sweat lodge. Maybe the cave was
even used by my people as one. I bet the source of the hot spring is right
under our feet."
Trent didn't like the sound of that, but there was no turning back now.
A few more steep steps and the tunnel dumped into a low-roofed
chamber about the size of a basketball court. Directly ahead, a crude pit
had been excavated out of the rock, the granite still blackened by ancient
Charlie reached blindly to grab for Trent's arm. His friend's grip was
iron, yet it still trembled. And Trent knew why.
The cavern wasn't empty.
Positioned along the walls and spread across the floor was a field of
bodies, men and women, some upright and cross-legged, others slumped
on their sides. Leathery skin had dried to bone, eyes shriveled to sockets,
lips peeled back to bare yellowed teeth. Each was naked to the waist, even
the women, their breasts desiccated and lying flat on their chests. A few
bodies had been decorated with headdresses of feathers or necklaces of
stone and sinew.
"My people," Charlie said, his voice croaking with respect as he edged
closer to one of the mummies.
Trent followed. "Are you sure about that?"
In the bright beam of the flashlight, their skin looked too pale, their
hair too light. But Trent was no expert. Maybe the mineral-rich heat that
had baked the bodies had also somehow bleached them.
Charlie examined a man wearing a ringlet of black feathers around his
neck. He stretched his flashlight closer. "This one looks red."
Charlie wasn't talking about the man's skin. In the direct glare of the
beam, the tangle of hair around the dried skull was a ruddy auburn.
Trent noted something else. "Look at his neck."
The man's head had fallen back against the granite wall. The skin
under his jaw gaped open, showing bone and dried tissue. The slice was too
straight, the cause plain. The man's shriveled fingers held a shiny metal
blade. It still looked polished, reflecting the light.
Charlie swung his flashlight in a slow circle around the room. Matching
blades lay on the stone floor or in other bony grips.
"Looks like they killed themselves," Trent said, stunned.
Trent pointed to the only other feature in the room. Across the chamber,
a dark tunnel continued deeper into the mountain. "Maybe they were
hiding something down there, something they didn't want anyone to
They both stared. A shiver traveled up from Trent's toes and raised
goose bumps along his arms. Neither of them moved. Neither of them
wanted to cross this room of death. Even the promise of treasure no longer
held any appeal.
Charlie spoke first. "Let's get out of here."
Trent didn't argue. He'd seen enough horror for one day.
Charlie swung around and headed toward the exit, taking the only
source of light.
Trent followed him into the tunnel, but he kept glancing back, fearing
that the Great Spirit would possess one of the dead bodies and send it
shuffling after them, dagger in hand. Focused as he was behind him, his
boot slipped on some loose shale. He fell hard on his belly and slid a few
feet down the steep slope back toward the cavern.
Charlie didn't wait. In fact, he seemed anxious to escape. By the time
Trent was back on his feet and dusting off his knees, Charlie had reached
the tunnel's end and hopped out.
Trent started to yell a protest at being abandonedbut another shout,
harsh and angry, erupted from outside. Someone else was out there. Trent
froze in place. More heated words were exchanged, but Trent couldn't
make them out.
Then a pistol shot cracked.
Trent jumped and stumbled two steps back into the darkness.
As the blast echoed away, a heavy silence was left in its wake.
Charlie . . . ?
Shaking with fear, Trent retreated down the tunnel, away from the
entrance. His eyes had adjusted enough to allow him to reach the chamber
of mummies without making a sound. He stopped at the edge of the cavern,
trapped between the darkness at his back and whoever was out there.
Silence stretched and time slowed.
Then a scraping and huffing echoed down to him.
Trent clutched his throat. Someone was climbing into the cave. With
his heart hammering, he had no choice but to retreat deeper into the
darknessbut he needed a weapon. He stopped long enough to pry the
knife from a dead man's grip, snapping fingers like dried twigs.
Once armed, he slipped the blade into his belt and picked his way
across the field of bodies. He held his arms ahead of him, blindly brushing
across brittle feathers, leathery skin, and coarse hair. He pictured bony
hands reaching for him, but he refused to stop moving.
He needed a place to hide.
There was only one refuge.
The far tunnel . . .
But that frightened him.
At one point, his foot stepped into open air. He came close to
screamingthen realized it was only the old fire pit dug into the floor.
A quick hop and he was over it. He tried to use the pit's location to orient
himself in the darkness, but it proved unnecessary.
Light grew brighter behind him, bathing the chamber.
Now able to see, he rushed headlong across the cavern. As he reached
the mouth of the tunnel, a thudding, tumbling sounded behind him. He
glanced over his shoulder.
A body came rolling out of the passageway and sprawled facedown on
the floor. The growing light revealed the embroidered feathers on the back
of the body's crimson jacket.
Excerpted from The Devil Colony by James Rollins Copyright © 2011 by James Rollins. Excerpted by permission of William Morrow. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
What People are Saying About This
“From the hidden Indian treasure, to the Fort Knox secrets, to the conspiracy at the beginning of the United States The Devil Colony gives you every reason why you’ll want to be a member of Sigma Force.”
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.
- Sacramento, California
- Date of Birth:
- August 20, 1961
- Place of Birth:
- Chicago, Illinois
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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Over the years, I've written a lot of enthusiastic things about the novels of James Rollins. But until now, I've never written this: THE DEVIL COLONY IS THE BEST NOVEL THAT JAMES ROLLINS HAS EVER WRITTEN! (Yes, in all caps even!) Like many readers, I was disappointed in the two-year wait for this latest installment in the Sigma Force series. Now, I'm thinking perhaps he should take two years on all the novels-I don't know if it was the extra time, but something has paid off huge dividends. As always, summarizing the story is the hardest part. First, because I'd hate to spoil any surprises. And secondly, because it's just really hard to summarize one of Rollins's everything-but-the-kitchen-sink plots. The main action of this book opens in present day Utah. From two boys who can't resist the lure of the forbidden, a great and terrible discovery is made at a sacred Native American site. There are bodies. There is an artifact. And, astonishingly, something that goes to the very core of Mormon theology! Just as the scientists on site are beginning to grasp what they've discovered, there is a huge explosion. The explosion is blamed on a Native American activist, but it's clear that this wasn't your standard bomb. It's something far more dangerous, with implications that spread further and further afield, and which drag Sigma operatives into the story on differing assignments and for different reasons. All the usual suspects are back, including the enigmatic Seichan, who is again paired in an uneasy alliance with Gray Pierce. Painter Crowe is also back in the field this time around. Operatives from the Guild are up to their usual tricks, and even as readers learn more about the shadowy organization in this novel, new questions are raised for the next book. (It's infuriating how he does that.) In provocative messages leading up to the publication of The Devil Colony, James Rollins repeated asked, "Was America founded on a lie?" The plot of this novel does get right to the heart of the formation of this country. What were Lewis and Clark really up to? What was Thomas Jefferson communicating in secret ciphers? It also explains the fate of some of the most mysteriously lost cultures through history. It delves into the not only the most cutting-edge technology, but also some amazingly advanced ancient technology. And, yes, it also explores the foundation of the Mormon Church. Oh, and there's a super-volcano! And killer whales! And the heist of all heists! Seriously, I could go on like this all day. The scope of this novel is breath-taking. What's amazing is that Rollins pulls all of these diverse threads together so plausibly that you'll find yourself wondering if he has indeed solved half the puzzles of the ages in one fell swoop. As always, there's a staggering amount of fact laced throughout his fantastic plot. It's enough to make you go, "Hmmm." The pace starts to race early on, and it just never slows down. The stakes in the book simply get bigger and bigger. Technically, it's a well-structured page-turner. But in the end, it's the story that got me and held me. Every part of it was just so inventive, exciting, and so darn interesting! I entitled this review "Best. Novel. Yet." I don't anticipate Mr. Rollins topping The Devil Colony any time soon, but I hold out hope. He wrote this one. What wonderful tales can we look forward to in the future?
In Utah, teenagers Charlie Reed and Trent Wilder explore a cavern filled with desiccated mummified humans. Amongst the horrid sight, the boys also find a gold-coated skull of a saber-toothed tiger. They report their findings. While Native Americans and scientists argue over the findings, archeologists remove the prehistoric artifact. However, instead of a simple excavation, the removal causes an explosion that leads to the release of a substance that erodes rock on contact. During the blast, an archeologist is murdered; the police suspect Kai Quicheets a teen leader of the Native American protest group at the dig site who tossed the charges that caused the initial explosion. She turns to her Uncle Painter Crowe, leader of the Sigma Special Forces unit. His team uncovers a conspiracy that goes to the roots of the United States. This is a great action-packed Sigma Force thriller (see The Doomsday Key) in which James Rollins ties together Jefferson, Mormonism and Native American lore into a save the world scenario. Fast-paced, Painter has to deal with the ooze released by explosion, his contrite niece and the "war" between the scientists and the Native Americans. Devil Colony is difficult to put down especially when the players converge.
I have read all of James Rollins' books and this is simply the best one. It was well worth the two year wait. Given the detail that he went into, I cannot imagine the research that this book took. All of his characters were definitely expanded upon and left in a dark place. Would highly recommend this book to anyone that likes this genre.
I just finished this book and loved it. It was exciting like all of Rollins's Sigma Force books and this one will not disappoint the reader!! It is about the Guild, a secretive group of people Sigma is trying to find. I found the setting in Yellowstone National Park fascinating. The story has information about Meriwether Lewis. Of course we all studied about the Lewis and Clark Expedition in school, but I found the part of the plot about Lewis interesting. I am going to Barnes and Noble tomorrow and buy a biography about him too. Painter Crow is in the field instead of in his office. He and Gray are trying prevent some major volcanic eruptions. They are also trying to foil a Guild plan too but I can't say anymore without spoiling it for the reader. I liked the Native American theme also. Hank, Kai, and Jordan are good characters. I hope that Hank will be a recurring character in the future. The ending is different in this Sigma book. A tragedy occurs which is so sad for one of the characters. The ending is exciting and kept me up late reading. I like Seichin, and if you are a fan of hers, she is in this book quite a bit. The end scene with Seichin and Gray is really good. If you are a Sigma Force reader, this is one you will really like. If not, you will become a James Rollins fan when you read this book.
I love this book read it and want to read it again. Good if u r into good suspense books.
First, to everyone who did not read this book and gave it a poor rating because of the price, you need to know that James Rollins has no say over the price. That is completely up to his publisher. Ratings and reviews do matter to authors. If you don't like the book after you have read it, you certainly have the right to say so, but it is low class and ignorant to damage an author's rating because you don't like the publisher's price. I LOVED this book. The Devil Colony has the perfect balance of description and action. Rollins' scientific and historical research is solid, and he never once distracted me with unnecessary backstory or mistaken facts. He took me to the edge with tension, but he never made me feel like I'd been fed through a melodramatic wood chipper. Also, his amazing plot twists kept me turning pages, and they were all totally logical. I think my favorite thing about Rollins' writing is his true gift for thinking in opposing points of view, which allows him to produce distinct and dynamic characters, with even "extra crew members" who are as real and alive as the mains. This is the first Sigma Force novel I've read, and I can't wait to read the rest. James Rollins is the master of scientific thrillers. Five stars!
I have read all the Sigma books and love the action and history in each. Great reads. Pick them up in order just cause.
Yeah waiting two years for the next Sigma novel by James Rollins was disappointing, but well worth the wait. I've read all of his books multiple times and he just keeps getting better and better each time out. With his latest effort he takes the Sigma team to new heights and places while basically keeping them at home for this mission. To make it even better he continues to evolve Seichans character while keeping her both complex and mysterious. It's just hard to give Rollins enough credit. In this particular outing he keeps Painter as one of the lead characters in the field which is a throwback to "Sandstorm". Gray, Monk, Kat and Seichan work on the mission from other locations in conjunction with Painters efforts. At the backdrop of this story the Guild organization gets brought back in as a main player and in the end Rollins gives Sigma and us more insight into their organization and background while still leaving plenty of questions going into future novels. Withough giving away specifics I will say that at the end of this book Rollins leaves Gray, Monk and Painter in a pretty dark place. Seichan is still trying to figure things out and is still confused and torn in regards to Gray. I can't wait to see where Rollins takes Sigma next. As great as his storytelling has become and as adept as he is at action and adventure writing he continues to impress on how well he researches his factual subject matter and incorporates it into fiction writing. In addition it is remarkable at how well he has become at developing his characters. He truly is a great writer at the top of his game. I can't recommend him and his books highly enough.
Action packed! It was great to get back to my old friends Painter Crowe, Grayson Pierce, the rest of the Sigma Force and, yes, even Seichen!!
Fans of historical fiction and/or Founding Fathers will love this book. The author does a great job of weaving past and present as well as history and technology. The characters have depth and chemistry.
If there is one Author I can count on to give me a good read it is James Rollins. I've devoured everything he has ever written. I don't usually like serials, so when he began the sigma series I got worried, but each books stories is unique and thoughtful enough to stand on its own, while bringing in characters we love. In Devils Colony, he again blends past facts and scince with ficition seamlessly enough to be beliveable. Please keep em coming ;) PS - buy the Sechein short story and read it first, its not necesary, but worth it.
This is an excellent book. I have enjoyed all the Sigma Force books and this one did not disappoint. It is a perfect combination of adventure, suspense and history. I highly recommend this book. To the people who give a lower rating due to the price, that is not what the rating system is for. It is to rate the content of the book. Also, if you bother to go to the store and check prices, you will find that the Nook prices are cheaper that the actual book.
James Rollins is a must read. His Sigma Force Series is one of the best, along with Steve Berry, Lincoln and Child, and a few other authors out there. I highly recommend the read. and if you the rest of you complain about the cost of books or ebooks go to the Library they are free. as for myself I am a book collector and have the books available for a reread.
I agree with LANDSHARKPILOT'S review! Rate the book, not the price! Nook price is still cheaper than buying the newly released hardcover version!
I have been waiting for this book to come out for a long time and it was worth it!!! There are a lot of personal issues going on w/in the Sigma team during this novel & it gives a better depth to the characters. I loved the way Rollins tied in the Mormons w/the Native Americans and of course I'm fascinated by the geology. Make sure to read the Skeleton Key. Now that I have reviewed, I would like to take the opportunity to say that those who have reviewed the book w/out reading it do a great disservice to James Rollins. Do you expect to read the book for free? If so, then go to the library and reserve a copy. If you don't like the price of the Nookbook, then Get a Kindle; if you don't like the price of the Kindle book, then go to the library, borrow a friend's copy or wait until you find the book in a used bookstore. I know everyone is entitled their 2 cents, but pulling ratings down because of the book price, which is not the author's fault, is not right.
James Rollins continues to deliver. I couldn't put this down and, as with all of his previous books, I can't wait to see what comes next for Sigma! Well researched and entertaining!
Please don't blame BN for the book cost it is out of their control. If your have a problem with the cost, as I do, contact the publisher. If enough of us do we may see FTC step in action.
Why are you people complaining about the price! Buy it for the love of reading, or borrow it from a friend. James Rollins is an amazing writer and you shouldn't be ruining his review because of the price. You people are pathetic.
The long wait for the return of sigma force did not disappoint. I felt the book's focus on Painter Crowe and Gray Pierce simultaneously was terrific. Loved Crowe from the Sandstorm days, and Pierce's character is now really developing. Excellent Read. Can't wait for another.
So alot of people are complaining because the ebook is the same as the hardback books. Well, are you enjoying it any less in ebook form? And you will enjoy this book! The best Rollins so far, and if you've read any of his prior work, you know what a compliment that is! You will not be able to put this book down! The thrills start on page one and will notletup until the end. A must read!
This is one of my favorite Rollins books. Top notch
Wow. It was great the way he can weave history facts with fiction or more so theory. You are entertained while learning something you won't read in history books that is a fact. He does this again and again in all of his sigma books.