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Map of Bones (Sigma Force Series)

Map of Bones (Sigma Force Series)

4.3 389
by James Rollins

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The bestselling master of astonishing adventure James Rollins delivers his most relentlessly exciting page-turner to date-a gripping and explosive novel of an ancient conspiracy to create a terrifying new world order out of the ashes of modern civilization.


The bestselling master of astonishing adventure James Rollins delivers his most relentlessly exciting page-turner to date-a gripping and explosive novel of an ancient conspiracy to create a terrifying new world order out of the ashes of modern civilization.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A mysterious biblical object, nefarious Vatican spies and a deadly centuries-old religious cabal-sound familiar? Sacramento veterinarian Rollins offers more Da Vinci Code-style thrills for the seriously addicted. In this seventh outing, hooded men invade midnight mass at the Cologne Cathedral and slaughter almost everyone present, then break open a gold sarcophagus and steal... the bones of the Three Wise Men. Grayson Pierce, top agent in the Department of Defense's covert Sigma Force, takes a team to Rome, joins up with love-interest Rachel Verona, a carabinieri corps lieutenant, and her Vatican official uncle, Vigot. It seems that the Dragon Court, a medieval alchemical cult-cell that still operates within the Catholic Church, is to blame, and it also seems that the bones of the Magi aren't really bones, but the highly reactive Monatomic gold that the group plans to use to accomplish its ultimate goal-Armegeddon. Rollins has few peers in the research department, which makes the historical material fascinating, and he keeps the dialogue believably colloquial and the incidental elements motivated-and plausible for at least short stretches. Clumsy romance is mostly overcome by lots of action. Dan Brown-ers looking for methadone will add to Rollins's usual solid numbers. (June) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
When a reliquary containing the bones of the Magi vanishes with the burning of a German cathedral, SIGMA force is rushed in to save the day. The start of a new SIGMA adventure series. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Sigma Force Series , #2
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.20(w) x 7.50(h) x 1.70(d)

Read an Excerpt

Map of Bones

Chapter One

Behind the Eight Ball

JULY 24, 4:34 A.M.

The saboteur had arrived.

Grayson Pierce edged his motorcycle between the dark buildings that made up the heart of Fort Detrick. He kept the bike idling. Its electric engine purred no louder than a refrigerator's motor. The black gloves he wore matched the bike's paint, a nickel-phosphorous compound called NPL Super Black. It absorbed more visible light, making ordinary black seem positively shiny. His cloth body suit and rigid helmet were equally shaded.

Hunched over the bike, he neared the end of the alley. A courtyard opened ahead, a dark chasm framed by the brick-and-mortar buildings that composed the National Cancer Institute, an adjunct to USAMRIID, the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases. Here the country's war on bioterrorism was waged across sixty thousand square feet of maximum-containment labs.

Gray cut the engine but stayed seated. His left knee rested against the satchel. It held the seventy thousand dollars. He remained in the alley, avoiding the open courtyard. He preferred the dark. The moon had long set, and the sun would not rise for another twenty-two minutes. Even the stars remained clouded by the shredding tail of last night's summer storm.

Would his ruse hold?

He subvocalized into his throat mike. "Mule to Eagle, I've reached the rendezvous. Proceeding on foot."

"Roger that. We've got you on satellite."

Gray resisted the urge to look up and wave. He hated to be watched, scrutinized, but the deal here was too big. He did manage to gain a concession: to take the meeting alone. His contact was skittish. It had taken six months to groom this contact, brokering connections in Libya and the Sudan. It hadn't been easy. Money did not buy much trust. Especially in this business.

He reached down to the satchel and shouldered the money bag. Wary, he walked his bike over to a shadowed alcove, parked it, and hooked a leg over the seat.

He crossed down the alley.

There were few eyes awake at this hour, and most of those were only electronic. All of his identification had passed inspection at the Old Farm Gate, the service entrance to the base. And now he had to trust that his subterfuge held out long enough to evade electronic surveillance.

He glanced to the glowing dial on his Breitling diver's watch: 4:45. The meeting was set for fifteen minutes from now. So much depended on his success here.

Gray reached his destination. Building 470. It was deserted at this hour, due for demolition next month. Poorly secured, the building was perfect for the rendezvous, yet the choice of venue was also oddly ironic. In the sixties, spores of anthrax had been brewed inside the building, in giant vats and tanks, fermenting strains of bacterial death, until the toxic brewery had been decommissioned back in 1971. Since then, the building had been left fallow, becoming a giant storage closet for the National Cancer Institute.

But once again, the business of anthrax would be conducted under this roof. He glanced up. The windows were all dark. He was to meet the seller on the fourth floor.

Reaching the side door, he swiped the lock with an electronic keycard supplied by his contact at the base. He carried the second half of the man's payment over his shoulder, having wired the first half a month before. Gray also bore a foot-long plastic, carbonized dagger in a concealed wrist sheath.

His only weapon.

He couldn't risk bringing anything else through the security gate.

Gray closed the door and crossed to the stairwell on the right. The only light on the stairs came from the red EXIT sign. He reached to his motorcycle helmet and toggled on the night-vision mode. The world brightened in tones of green and silver. He mounted the stairs and climbed quickly to the fourth floor.

At the top, he pushed through the landing's door.

He had no idea where he was supposed to meet his contact. Only that he was to await the man's signal. He paused for a breath at the door, surveying the space before him. He didn't like it.

The stairwell opened at the corner of the building. One corridor stretched straight ahead; the other ran to the left. Frosted glass office doors lined the inner walls; windows slitted the other. He proceeded directly ahead at a slow pace, alert for any sign of movement.

A flood of light swept through one of the windows, washing over him.

Dazzled through his night-vision, he rolled against one wall, back into darkness. Had he been spotted? The sweep of light pierced the other windows, one after the other, passing down the hall ahead of him. Leaning out, he peered through one of the windows. It faced the wide courtyard that fronted the building. Across the way, he watched a Humvee trundle slowly down the street. Its searchlight swept through the courtyard.

A patrol.

Would the attention spook his contact?

Cursing silently, Gray waited for the truck to finish its round. The patrol vanished momentarily, crossing behind a hulking structure that rose from the middle of the courtyard below. It looked like some rusting spaceship, but was in fact a million-liter steel containment sphere, three stories tall, mounted on a dozen pedestal legs. Ladders and scaffolding surrounded the structure as it underwent a renovation, an attempt to return it to its former glory when it was a Cold War research facility. Even the steel catwalk that had once circumnavigated the globe's equator had been replaced.

Gray knew the giant globe's nickname at the base.

The Eight Ball.

Map of Bones. 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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Map of Bones 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 389 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Excellent book! Rollins comes at you with a dizzying pace and almost overwhelming information. After 20 pages you adjust to his speed and data ... and you enjoy the ride! This is a modern thriller with obvious comparisons to The DaVinci Code. Three American intelligence operatives and two Italians (priest and niece) form an unlikely and tight partnership to thwart an ancient religious order from gaining an ultimate prize. Perhaps this is a perceptive view of our 21st century, a harmonious blend of science and spirituality, history and technology, religion and government agents across borders. A high point is Rollins' use of a loyal team of five very diverse people devoted to one another and their mission. This is a fine read!
TaylaurErin More than 1 year ago
James Rollins is one of my new favorite thriller authors, among the ranks of Michael Crichton, Dan Brown, Douglas Preston, and Lincoln Child. His plots are thrilling and incredibly unique leaving you in suspense and utterly surprised by the twists and turns. The first of his "Sigma Force" series, Map of Bones, is by far one of his best works yet and definitely one of my favorites from this series. Grayson Pierce is an interesting James Bond-esq lead character with whom you instantly fall in love and wish you were more like. His historical references as well as theological and mythological foundation are incredibly intriguing, making outside research on the topics fun and useful. Map of Bones is easily comparable to The Davinci Code, as the setting and religious elements are very similar. However, Rollins' writing style as well as the more thrilling theme makes it, in my opinion, a superior novel. Possibly one of my top ten favorite thrillers, Map of Bones is a must read for any action lover or someone looking for a new interesting author.
Guest More than 1 year ago
James Rollins has always been one of my favorite action/thriller writers, but he seems to have drifted in his last two books, gravitating toward the Matt Reilly-type thriller with lots of shootouts and narrow escapes, and less of the creative bent that characterized such efforts as Amazonia and Subterranean. The plot of 'Map of Bones' has a touch of 'Da-Vinci Code', with Biblical relics pivotal to the plot. Overall, it's a fun, fast-paced read, but wait for the paperback or get it from the library.
SiouxieBoshoff More than 1 year ago
Within the first couple chapters I was hooked! Map of Bones is an archeological thriller that beautifully weaves real life history, mysteries, religious and historical artifacts and secret societies into a thrilling adventure. The characters are developed in a way that you either love them or despise them. Their victories become yours and you can't help but feel a little thrill when the bad guys have difficulty. As a warning, this book is nearly impossible to put down. Rollins has truly mastered the art of keeping the reader engaged. It's one of those "just one more chapter and then I'm going to bed" books that keep you up late into the night.
Ronrose More than 1 year ago
This is the first book I have read by James Rollins. I am sorry I haven't run across his books sooner. The book is full of nonstop action. I loved the tie ins with historical facts and his conjectures on the possible ways these facts might work together to further the plot of the novel. The characters are pretty standard fare, but the action is what we came for and Mr. Rollins does not disappoint.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good book though at times kind of hard to follow.
gfry More than 1 year ago
Very, VERY well written! This is the first, (and only, so far), book I've read by this author and I couldn't put it down! Full of adventure, suspense and thrills, not to mention all the details relative to a wealth of historical details woven in to make this book a fantastic thriller!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I rate this highly if you like action and details.I love these guys .
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of my favorite books ever.
Mongobear More than 1 year ago
I Love the Sigma Force Series. I look forward to the next book in the series.
JeffNewman More than 1 year ago
After being let down by sandstorm I decided to give rollins another shot. It started out strong and I was excited that he got rid of all the horrible characters from the first. These new guys had some promise. BUT half way through the book I couldnt tell what the point of the journey was. Also sigma force is supposed to be the best of the best and they kept getting their butts whooped. By the end of it I kept thinking, "get it over with" and was checking the number of pages left. Low and behold at the end they got to the place they wanted to finally, stopped the chain and then just left on their merry way after 400 pages of riddles and clues.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Highly Recommended - you must check it out!!
karlpov More than 1 year ago
Couldn't anyone tell Rollins that "Magi" is the plural of "Magus"? He uses it interchangeably as singular and plural throughout the book. This is one of those books where the villain is always a step ahead of the good guys not because that makes any sense but because the writer hasn't squeezed out enough words to make the story a novel yet. The characters come from the U.S. Sigma Force (good guys), the Catholic Church (good guys), a bunch of neomonarchist conspirators (bad guys) and your standard ambiguous gorgeous Asian Dragon Lady who unexpectedly (?) saves the hero when necessary. The plot involves nonsense physics and a popular imaginary substance called monoatomic gold (or "m-state" substances in general -- this is all hokum). There's a wise old priest on hand to give the occasional Bible lesson, except check your Bible, as sometimes he seems to be making it up as he goes along (check the references to manna in Exodus). This is a terrible book on many levels, inferior to Lester Dent's most routine Doc Savage, or Warren Murphy's worst Destroyer.
kennyrFL More than 1 year ago
This is one of those books you just can not put down. Good and believable plot. Great characters with a fantastic ending.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Map of Bones was a thrilling novel by James Rollins. If anyone enjoyed reading The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown, they will enjoy this book. It is arguably better than the bestselling DaVinci Code. Definitely a must read!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Okay - I don't get the excitement over this book. The plot is laborious and totally unbelievable (The protagonists somehow accomplish more in one day than any human could hope to do in 2 months). The writing concerning the romantic storyline with Rachel and Gray is nauseating. And is it just me or does anyone else wonder how St. Thomas - a contemporary of Jesus - baptized the three magi? Anyway - I've read worse but I cannot recommend this book.
Anonymous 7 months ago
Mysteries upon mysteries with historical fun and facts. Read the first few pages and you are hooked. Read and enjoy.
theaterofthemind More than 1 year ago
On my recent road trip I listened to Map of Bones by James Rollins on audio cd. This unabridged audio book was performed by L.J. Ganser. At 15.75 hours this book took two days of driving to complete. The story is somewhat reminiscent of Angels & Demons or Da Vinci Code. It is a somewhat grisly adventure pitting fanatic religious orders and government agencies against each other. Built around the Catholic Church history of dispersing the body parts of saints and religious icons to consecrated churches, the story becomes a worldwide hunt for what amounts to a terrorist organization. There was enough intrigue to hold my interest while racking up the miles on my odometer. This was my introduction to James Rollins' work (my wife is a fan and chose the book) and interested me enough to check out more of his work. Map of Bones is apparently somewhat of a departure from Mr. Rollins usual work. I found it entertaining and enjoyable enough for my road trip, although it is a little on the long side. There was of course the romantic interest, but it felt a bit like an add-on. A good read for fans of espionage type stories, some secret technologies but not overly reliant on them. Over all an entertaining accompaniment on a long, long drive. Enjoy! Mike
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read as usual
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Frenetic & fast paced, but jumped the shark a bit too many times.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MRR62 More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed reading this book, but it went a bit into the weird... The writing style was very good, language well-used. Very few editing mistakes that I noticed. The plot moved well, and kept my interest. I would recommend this book with the caveat that one be prepared for things happening that just won't happen, even though the book appears to be set within the real world.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The storyline and characters held my interest. I look forward to reading more books by this author.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago