The Last Oracle (Sigma Force Series)

The Last Oracle (Sigma Force Series)

4.3 216
by James Rollins

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In Washington, D.C., a homeless man takes an assassin's bullet and dies in Commander Gray Pierce's arms. A bloody coin clutched in the dead man's hand—an ancient relic that can be traced back to the Greek Oracle of Delphi—is the key to a conspiracy that dates back to the Cold War and threatens the very foundation of humanity. For what if it were

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In Washington, D.C., a homeless man takes an assassin's bullet and dies in Commander Gray Pierce's arms. A bloody coin clutched in the dead man's hand—an ancient relic that can be traced back to the Greek Oracle of Delphi—is the key to a conspiracy that dates back to the Cold War and threatens the very foundation of humanity. For what if it were possible to bioengineer the next great prophet—a new Buddha, Muhammad, or even Jesus? Would this Second Coming be a boon . . . or would it initiate a chain reaction that would result in the extinction of humankind?

Vital seconds are ticking rapidly away as Pierce races across the globe in search of answers, one step ahead of ruthless killers determined to reclaim the priceless artifact. Suddenly the future of all things is balanced on the brink between heaven and hell—and salvation or destruction rests in the hands of remarkable children.

Will the past be enough to save the future?

Editorial Reviews

Chicago Sun-Times
“Rollins combines real-world science with high-octane action to create rousing stories of adventure that are as exciting as any movie.”
Knoxville News-Sentinel
“The perfect escape novel, an edge of-your-seat read.”
Sacramento Bee
“Once again, the action is nonstop.”
The Barnstable Patriot
“Go out and buy James Rollins’s latest saga. He just keeps getting better and better.”
Publishers Weekly

SIGMA force returns in Rollins's latest high-tension mystery that plays out in the slums of India, ancient temples in Greece and even the diseased remnants of Chernobyl now in Ukraine, all in search of the Greek Oracle of Delphi. There are plenty of historical references and a plethora of pulse-pounding action, and narrator Peter Jay Fernandez makes good use of it all to create a compelling and fun listening experience. He reads with a solid voice that is straightforward, honest and rich. There is a mysterious, almost foreboding element in his tone that carries the story forward into deeper and darker territory, while bringing listeners to the edge of their seats. Fernandez offers layered characters who engage his audience and ground the far-fetched plot. A Morrow hardcover (Reviews, May 12). (July)

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Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Sigma Force Series, #5
Edition description:
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Product dimensions:
4.20(w) x 7.50(h) x 1.60(d)

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The Last Oracle LP
A Novel

Chapter One

A.D. 398

Mount Parnassus


They had come to slay her. The woman stood at the temple's portico. She shivered in her thin garment, a simple shift of white linen belted at the waist, but it was not the cold of predawn that iced her bones.

Below, a torchlight procession flowed up the slopes of Mount Parnassus like a river of fire. It followed the stone-paved road of the Sacred Way, climbing in switchbacks up toward the temple of Apollo. The beat of sword on shield accompanied their progress, a full cohort of the Roman legion, five hundred strong. The road wound through broken monuments and long ransacked treasuries. Whatever could burn had been set to torch.

As the firelight danced over the ruins, the flames cast a shimmering illusion of better times, a fiery restoration of former glory: treasuries overflowing with gold and jewels, legions of statues carved by the finest artisans, milling crowds gathered to hear the prophetic words of the Oracle. But no more.

Over the past century, Delphi had been brought low by invading Gauls, by plundering Thracians, but most of all, by neglect. Few now came to seek the words of the Oracle: a goat herder questioning a wife's fidelity, or a sailor seeking good omens for a voyage across the Gulf of Corinth. It was the end of times, the end of the Oracle of Delphi. After prophesying for thirty years, she would be the last to bear the name Pythia.

The last Oracle of Delphi.

But with this burden came one final challenge.

Pythia turned toward the east, where the sky had begun to lighten.

Oh, that rosy Eos, goddess of dawn, would hurry Apollo to tether his four horses to his Sun chariot.

One of Pythia's sisters, a young acolyte, stepped out of the temple behind her. "Mistress, come away with us," the younger woman begged. "It is not too late. We can still escape with the others to the high caves." Pythia placed a reassuring hand on the woman's shoulder. Over the past night, the other women had fled to the rugged heights where the caves of Dionysus would keep them safe. But Pythia had a final duty here.

"Mistress, surely there is no time to perform this last prophecy."

"I must."

"Then do it now. Before it is too late."

Pythia turned away. "We must wait for dawn of the seventh day. That is our way."

As the sun had set last night, Pythia had begun her preparations. She had bathed in Castilia's silver spring, drank from the Kassotis spring, and burned bay leaves on an altar of black marble outside the temple. She had followed the ritual precisely, the same as the first Pythia thousands of years ago.

Only this time, the Oracle had not been alone in her purifications.

At her side had been a girl, barely past her twelfth summer.

Such a small creature and of such strange manner.

The child had simply stood naked in the spring waters while the older woman had washed and anointed her. She'd said not a word, merely stood with an arm out, opening and closing her fingers, as if grasping for something only she could see. What god so suffered the child, yet blessed her just the same? Surely not even Apollo. Yet the child's words thirty days ago could come only from the gods. Words that had plainly spread and stoked the fires that now climbed toward Delphi.

Oh, that the child had never been brought here.

Pythia had been content to allow Delphi to fade into obscurity. She remembered the words spoken by one of her predecessors, long dead for centuries, an ominous portent.

Emperor Augustus had asked of her dead sister, "Why has the Oracle grown so silent?"

Her sister had responded, "A Hebrew boy, a god who rules among the blessed, bids me leave this house . . ."

Those words proved to be a true prophecy. The cult of Christ rose to consume the empire and destroyed any hope for a return to the old ways.

Then a moon ago, the strange girl had been brought to her steps.

Pythia glanced away from the flames and toward the adytum, the inner sanctum of Apollo's temple. The girl waited inside.

She was an orphan from the distant township of Chios. Over the ages, many had hauled such children here, seeking to abandon such burdens upon the sisterhood. Most were turned away. Only the most ideal girls were allowed to stay: straight of limb, clear of eye, and unspoiled. Apollo would never accept a vessel of lesser quality for his prophetic spirit.

So when this willow branch of a girl had been presented naked to the steps of Apollo's temple, Pythia had given her hardly a glance. The child was unkempt, her dark hair knotted and tangled, her skin marked with pox scars. But deeper, Pythia had sensed something wrong with the child. The way she rocked back and forth. Even her eyes stared without truly seeing.

Her patrons had claimed the child was touched by the gods. That she could tell the number of olives in a tree with merely a glance, that she could declare when a sheep would lamb with but a touch of her hand.

Upon hearing such stories, Pythia's interest had stirred. She called the girl to join her at the entrance to the temple. The child obeyed, but she moved as if disconnected, as if the winds themselves propelled her upward. Pythia had to draw her by hand to sit on the top step.

"Can you tell me your name?" she asked the thin child.

"Her name is Anthea," one of her patrons declared from below.

Pythia kept her gaze focused on the child. "Anthea, do you know why you've been brought here?"

"Your house is empty," the child finally mumbled to the floor. So at least she can speak. Pythia glanced to the temple's interior. The hearth fire burned in the center of the main hall. It was indeed empty at the moment, but the child's words seemed to whisper at something more.

Maybe it was her manner. So strange, so distant, as if she stood with one leg in this world and the other beyond this realm.

The child glanced up with those clear blue eyes, so full of innocence, so in contrast with what spilled next from her lips.

"You are old. You will die soon."

The Last Oracle LP
A Novel
. Copyright © by James Rollins. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Last Oracle 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 213 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Last Oracle, by James Rollins is an interesting and worthwhile read. While it might be slightly helpful to read Rollins' previous Sigma Series Books, enough tidbits are dropped throughout the book to keep you up to speed without making you feel like you're re-reading his earlier books. For those past readers, all of our favorite cast of characters have returned, Monk, Kat, Gray, Painter, Lisa and crew. The main plot of the book involves a Russian agency who have kidnapped Gypsy children and altered them over the years to become a type of savant oracle. One of the scientists is planning on using their talents to help her and her son gain world dominance after they first wreak havoc on a global level. This book is action filled from beginning to ending, and yet, has a great deal of heart. I even found myself misting up on one occasion. Rollins manages the main plot and many subplots adroitly, keeping the book moving along nicely. Rollins relies upon his own research, and has discovered enough oddity in reality to build an imaginative, yet believable scenario. A book as solidly written and researched as this doesn't depend upon gimmicks and coincidence, as do so many other authors of this genre. Mr. Rollins writes a compelling novel, that causes one to read on after the book has ended. I always figure an author has been successful if I have to hit the internet to read more after I finish the book. Since completing The Last Oracle, I've already googled autism, autistic savants, Chernobyl, etc. Well done, Mr. Rollins! This one is your best so far, and I look forward to reading your future books!
Rambo01 More than 1 year ago
I have read the entire series and once you have read the first few you see a pattern and predictability to the characters and plot sequence. The subject matter is always interesting and unique. I especially like the excert at the end detailing the origin of research and the history behind it. I believe it is a good jumping point for history lovers to explore the mysterious past of history.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Another great Sigma adventure
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Madray More than 1 year ago
Another fast pace, interesting mystery.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I didn't enjoy it as much as the other 4 I've read. It didn't hold togehter as well, but it was a good read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Walks in
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Yes sir" she runs out
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The three quest-takers. You must embark the underworld and retrieve Artmeis's golden bow. Underworld result one. Quick.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Like all the others in this series, this book definitely keeps you on your toes. Loved the ending, even if it was a bit sad.
Armand53 More than 1 year ago
An excellent novel, well written and loaded with intriguing concepts. The story keeps you turning the pages as fast as you can. You want to know what happens next but you can't help but feel a little sad when the story comes to an end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you like Clive Cussler novel or Lee Childs, then you will enjoy James Rollins novels. What set his novels apart from the other is that James Rollins incorporates interesting scientific facts that makes up or is the basis on his stories. Then at the end of each novel, his will separate facts from fantasy with links for further reading on the science involved.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have enjoyed the previous sigma series. This became tedious toward the end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
SHERMSMOM More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Needless to say, this book in the Sigma Series is a hit with me. Founders of Sigma Force: Dr. Archibald Polk and Sean McKnight, you rock! "Pyotr and Marta", you will never be forgotten.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
wgnorman More than 1 year ago
Another Rollins page turner. I recommend this book for those interested in special operations, science, mythology and who enjoy suspense and a good yarn.