Sandstorm (Sigma Force Series) Limited Edition

Overview

An inexplicable explosion rocks the antiquities collection of a London museum, setting off alarms in clandestine organizations around the world. And now the search for answers is leading Lady Kara Kensington; her friend Safia al-Maaz, the gallery's brilliant and beautiful curator; and their guide, the international adventurer Omaha Dunn, into a world they never dreamed existed: a lost city buried beneath the Arabian desert. But others are being drawn there as well, some with dark and sinister purposes. And the ...

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Overview

An inexplicable explosion rocks the antiquities collection of a London museum, setting off alarms in clandestine organizations around the world. And now the search for answers is leading Lady Kara Kensington; her friend Safia al-Maaz, the gallery's brilliant and beautiful curator; and their guide, the international adventurer Omaha Dunn, into a world they never dreamed existed: a lost city buried beneath the Arabian desert. But others are being drawn there as well, some with dark and sinister purposes. And the many perils of a death-defying trek deep into the savage heart of the Arabian Peninsula pale before the nightmare waiting to be unearthed at journey's end: an ageless and awesome power that could create a utopia . . . or destroy everything humankind has built over countless millennia.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
If he weren't such a good action writer, Rollins might make a dynamite climatologist. Each of his thrillers has featured as a central character an extreme environment, most recently the Arctic ice (Ice Hunt, 2003) and now the hot sands of Saudi Arabia. But while Rollins writes settings and scenes that sizzle, what's caught in the heat are usually familiar characters grappling with far-fetched threats, and so it is here. That one male lead is a danger-courting archeologist named Omaha Dunn seems less parodic than tired, and the novel's premise of a hoard of antimatter hidden in the legendary city of Ubar is almost as ridiculous as the idea that this cache has been guarded for millennia by an order of women who propagate without men, via parthenogenesis. Rollins writes less like Michael Crichton than Stan Lee. Most of his readers won't care, though, because there's just enough scientific gloss on the nonsense to make it palatable, and anyway, what they want, and what he delivers, is action, as Omaha and an American military agent, Painter, join forces with two Mideastern women, one a scientist, the other a billionaire, to locate the steadily destabilizing antimatter before it's snatched by a villainous cabal, or worse, blows up the planet. And that's why they'll buy this book in numbers big enough to have it flirt with national bestseller lists. Agent, Russell Galen. (July) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Adult/High School-A devastating explosion destroys an entire antiquities section of the British Museum and sets off a search for the source of the antimatter used. Scientist Safia al-Maaz and her closest friend and museum benefactor, Lady Kara Kensington, are joined in the search by Omaha Dunn, another scientist and adventurer, and Painter Crowe and his covert U.S. government team. Together they take on the desert of Arabia and relocate the legendary city of Ubar. As they search for the source of the antimatter, an evil cabal makes plans to use it for nefarious purposes. In the meantime, a tremendous sandstorm releases winds and driven sand with more force than a hurricane, while a rainstorm pushes in toward the site of Ubar and the search teams. The desert setting and the details of its environmental challenges conjure up clear pictures of the harshness of the area. The characters tend to be a bit stereotypical at first, but fit into the plot and support the action. And they evolve. Omaha Dunn, seemingly patterned on Indiana Jones, appears almost as a clone of the typical action/adventure character but becomes more individualized. Rollins mixes science, history, facts, and fiction into a thrilling swirl of an adventure story with a nonstop pace.-Pam Johnson, Fairfax County Public Library, VA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060580674
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/26/2005
  • Series: Sigma Force Series , #1
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Limited Edition-Lenticular Imagery Cover
  • Pages: 608
  • Product dimensions: 4.18 (w) x 6.75 (h) x 1.21 (d)

Meet the Author

James Rollins

James Rollins is the New York Times bestselling author of international thrillers, 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 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

Sandstorm


By Rollins, James

William Morrow & Company

ISBN: 0060580666

Chapter One

Fire and Rain

November 14, 01:33 A.M.
The British Museum
London, England

Harry Masterson would be dead in thirteen minutes.

If he had known this, he would've smoked his last cigarette down to the filter. Instead he stamped out the fag after only three drags and waved the cloud from around his face. If he was caught smoking outside the guards' break room, he would be shit-canned by that bastard Fleming, head of museum security. Harry was already on probation for coming in two hours late for his shift last week.

Harry swore under his breath and pocketed the stubbed cigarette. He'd finish it at his next break ... that is, if they got a break this night.

Thunder echoed through the masonry walls. The winter storm had struck just after midnight, opening with a riotous volley of hail, followed by a deluge that threatened to wash London into the Thames. Lightning danced across the skies in forked displays from one horizon to another. According to the weatherman on the Beeb, it was one of the fiercest electrical storms in over a decade. Half the city had been blacked out, overwhelmed by a spectacular lightning barrage.

And as fortune would have it for Harry, it was his half of the city that went dark, including the British Museum on Great Russell Street. Though they had backup generators, the entire security team had been summoned for additional protection of the museum's property. They would be arriving in the next half hour. But Harry, assigned to the night shift, was already on duty when the regular lights went out. And though the video surveillance cameras were still operational on the emergency grid, he and the shift were ordered by Fleming to proceed with an immediate security sweep of the museum's two and a half miles of halls.

That meant splitting up.

Harry picked up his electric torch and aimed it down the hall. He hated doing rounds at night, when the museum was lost in gloom. The only illumination came from the streetlamps outside the windows. But now, with the blackout, even those lamps had been extinguished. The museum had darkened to macabre shadows broken by pools of crimson from the low-voltage security lamps.

Harry had needed a few hits of nicotine to steel his nerve, but he could put off his duty no longer. Being the low man on the night shift's pecking order, he had been assigned to run the halls of the north wing, the farthest point from their underground security nest. But that didn't mean he couldn't take a shortcut. Turning his back on the long hall ahead, he crossed to the door leading into the Queen Elizabeth II Great Court.

This central two-acre court was surrounded by the four wings of the British Museum. At its heart rose the great copper-domed Round Reading Room, one of the world's finest libraries. Overhead, the entire two-acre courtyard had been enclosed by a gigantic Foster and Partners–designed geodesic roof, creating Europe's largest covered square.

Using his passkey, Harry ducked into the cavernous space. Like the museum proper, the court was lost to darkness. Rain pattered against the glass roof far overhead. Still, Harry's footsteps echoed across the open space. Another lance of lightning shattered across the sky. The roof, divided into a thousand triangular panes, lit up for a blinding moment. Then darkness drowned back over the museum, drumming down with the rain.

Thunder followed, felt deep in the chest. The roof rattled, too. Harry ducked a bit, fearing the entire structure would come crashing down.

With his electric torch pointed forward, he crossed the court, heading for the north wing. He rounded past the central Reading Room. Lightning flashed again, brightening the place for a handful of heartbeats. Giant statues, lost to the darkness, appeared as if from nowhere. The Lion of Cnidos reared beside the massive head of an Easter Island statue. Then darkness swallowed the guardians away as the lightning died out.

Harry felt a chill and pebbling of gooseflesh.

His pace hurried. He swore under his breath with each step, "Bleeding buggered pieces of crap ... " His litany helped calm him.

He reached the doors to the north wing and ducked inside, greeted by the familiar mix of mustiness and ammonia. He was grateful to have solid walls around him again. He played his torch down the long hall. Nothing seemed amiss, but he was required to check each of the wing's galleries. He did a fast calculation. If he hurried, he could complete his circuit with enough time for another fast smoke. With the promise of a nicotine fix luring him, he set off down the hall, the beam of his torch preceding him.

The north wing had become host to the museum's anniversary showcase, an ethnographical collection portraying a complete picture of human achievement down the ages, spanning all cultures. Like the Egyptian gallery with its mummies and sarcophagi. He continued hurriedly, ticking off the various cultural galleries: Celtic, Byzantine, Russian, Chinese. Each suite of rooms was locked down by a security gate. With the loss of power, the gates had dropped automatically.

At last, the hall's end came into sight.

Most of the galleries' collections were only temporarily housed here, transferred from the Museum of Mankind for the anniversary celebration. But the end gallery had always been here, for as far back as Harry could recall. It housed the museum's Arabian display, a priceless collection of antiquity from across the Arabian Peninsula. The gallery had been commissioned and paid for by one family, a family grown rich by its oil ventures in that region. The donations to keep such a gallery in permanent residence at the British Museum was said to top five million pounds per annum.

One had to respect that sort of dedication.

Or not ...

Continues...

Excerpted from Sandstorm by Rollins, James Excerpted by permission.
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.

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First Chapter

Sandstorm

Chapter One

Fire and Rain

November 14, 01:33 A.M.
The British Museum
London, England

Harry Masterson would be dead in thirteen minutes.

If he had known this, he would've smoked his last cigarette down to the filter. Instead he stamped out the fag after only three drags and waved the cloud from around his face. If he was caught smoking outside the guards' break room, he would be shit-canned by that bastard Fleming, head of museum security. Harry was already on probation for coming in two hours late for his shift last week.

Harry swore under his breath and pocketed the stubbed cigarette. He'd finish it at his next break ... that is, if they got a break this night.

Thunder echoed through the masonry walls. The winter storm had struck just after midnight, opening with a riotous volley of hail, followed by a deluge that threatened to wash London into the Thames. Lightning danced across the skies in forked displays from one horizon to another. According to the weatherman on the Beeb, it was one of the fiercest electrical storms in over a decade. Half the city had been blacked out, overwhelmed by a spectacular lightning barrage.

And as fortune would have it for Harry, it was his half of the city that went dark, including the British Museum on Great Russell Street. Though they had backup generators, the entire security team had been summoned for additional protection of the museum's property. They would be arriving in the next half hour. But Harry, assigned to the night shift, was already on duty when the regular lights went out. And though the video surveillance cameras were still operational on the emergency grid, he and the shift were ordered by Fleming to proceed with an immediate security sweep of the museum's two and a half miles of halls.

That meant splitting up.

Harry picked up his electric torch and aimed it down the hall. He hated doing rounds at night, when the museum was lost in gloom. The only illumination came from the streetlamps outside the windows. But now, with the blackout, even those lamps had been extinguished. The museum had darkened to macabre shadows broken by pools of crimson from the low-voltage security lamps.

Harry had needed a few hits of nicotine to steel his nerve, but he could put off his duty no longer. Being the low man on the night shift's pecking order, he had been assigned to run the halls of the north wing, the farthest point from their underground security nest. But that didn't mean he couldn't take a shortcut. Turning his back on the long hall ahead, he crossed to the door leading into the Queen Elizabeth II Great Court.

This central two-acre court was surrounded by the four wings of the British Museum. At its heart rose the great copper-domed Round Reading Room, one of the world's finest libraries. Overhead, the entire two-acre courtyard had been enclosed by a gigantic Foster and Partners–designed geodesic roof, creating Europe's largest covered square.

Using his passkey, Harry ducked into the cavernous space. Like the museum proper, the court was lost to darkness. Rain pattered against the glass roof far overhead. Still, Harry's footsteps echoed across the open space. Another lance of lightning shattered across the sky. The roof, divided into a thousand triangular panes, lit up for a blinding moment. Then darkness drowned back over the museum, drumming down with the rain.

Thunder followed, felt deep in the chest. The roof rattled, too. Harry ducked a bit, fearing the entire structure would come crashing down.

With his electric torch pointed forward, he crossed the court, heading for the north wing. He rounded past the central Reading Room. Lightning flashed again, brightening the place for a handful of heartbeats. Giant statues, lost to the darkness, appeared as if from nowhere. The Lion of Cnidos reared beside the massive head of an Easter Island statue. Then darkness swallowed the guardians away as the lightning died out.

Harry felt a chill and pebbling of gooseflesh.

His pace hurried. He swore under his breath with each step, "Bleeding buggered pieces of crap ... " His litany helped calm him.

He reached the doors to the north wing and ducked inside, greeted by the familiar mix of mustiness and ammonia. He was grateful to have solid walls around him again. He played his torch down the long hall. Nothing seemed amiss, but he was required to check each of the wing's galleries. He did a fast calculation. If he hurried, he could complete his circuit with enough time for another fast smoke. With the promise of a nicotine fix luring him, he set off down the hall, the beam of his torch preceding him.

The north wing had become host to the museum's anniversary showcase, an ethnographical collection portraying a complete picture of human achievement down the ages, spanning all cultures. Like the Egyptian gallery with its mummies and sarcophagi. He continued hurriedly, ticking off the various cultural galleries: Celtic, Byzantine, Russian, Chinese. Each suite of rooms was locked down by a security gate. With the loss of power, the gates had dropped automatically.

At last, the hall's end came into sight.

Most of the galleries' collections were only temporarily housed here, transferred from the Museum of Mankind for the anniversary celebration. But the end gallery had always been here, for as far back as Harry could recall. It housed the museum's Arabian display, a priceless collection of antiquity from across the Arabian Peninsula. The gallery had been commissioned and paid for by one family, a family grown rich by its oil ventures in that region. The donations to keep such a gallery in permanent residence at the British Museum was said to top five million pounds per annum.

One had to respect that sort of dedication.

Or not ...

Sandstorm. Copyright © by James Rollins. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 64 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 23, 2009

    Sandstorm by James Rollins

    This is the 8th James Rollins book I have read in the past year and half. I have enjoyed all the previous ones, 5 star. This one was a difficult read. Way to far fetched and after laboring through the book the end just jumps to a simplistic conclusion. I hope the Black Oracle is more like The rest of his books.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted June 8, 2008

    Wonderful Arabian Adventure!

    1st James Rollin book I have ever read. A book thick w/ surprises and interweaved w/ ancient myth. Full of thrill and excitement that keep you on edge the whole time. I love his style of story-telling and vivid imagination and have just ordered another 5 of his books.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 21, 2010

    Captivating

    while the middle of the book dragged on sometimes, this still made for an exciting and enthralling read. James Rollins has such thrilling plots that just make his books captivating and fun to read. The last 100 pages were so intense I dove in and finished the book right as I got home from school which concluded in a very exciting ending that I hope will carry on to the rest of the series. I look forward to Map of Bones!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted March 3, 2007

    Battle on the Sands

    This is one of my favorites. The action in the very beginning of the book starts it off perfectly and near the end a fascinating scientific concept arises that most readers probably don't recognize

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 11, 2011

    Fantastic Thriller

    This is very creatively done. It is such an interesting book filled with adventure, action, and imagination. I highly recommend this. In my opinion, it is very much in the vain of Indiana Jones.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 2, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Suspenceful

    Love James rollins bookd...This one is NOT a let down!

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  • Posted January 29, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    In-cre-di-ble

    Fast-paced, non stop action. Sandstorm was awesome. I love how Rollins makes mysteries out of ancient history. Some of the most creative story telling I've ever read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 17, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    Good action, awful science, awful realism

    With the cool holographic book cover and action plot, this seemed like it would be a good read, but I was disappointed. The main problem is everything was so far-fetched. There were some extraordinary introductory events that were fascinating--a tremendous explosion in a museum resulting from ball lightning drifting over to an ancient statue, and a strange dust devil in the desert--but when the explanations of these phenomena were finally revealed, they were too scientifically implausible. The main premise was that antimatter could exist in a special, naturally encased form found in a meteorite, but I seriously doubt such a form is even slightly plausible. The ancient order of women guardians with metaphysical powers made the plot even more unrealistic, and the ancient underground city at the end was at least as bad in a B-movie-like way. The snake-in-a-tub and the excessive save-the-world scope at the end were too James Bondish for my taste, as well. Other than that, the action was good and the emergence of mysterious parties competing for the antimatter was also good. So if you're looking for an action book about antimatter, meteorites, and deserts, and if you don't mind lapses in realism, you should enjoy this book, otherwise I'd recommend skipping it.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2006

    Don't Throw Your Time Away

    James Rollins is a great writer, no doubt, but this book is too tediously written. The plot is too complicated, and takes too long to unfold. The overall idea is somewhat fascinating, but it's not worth the effort.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2006

    Non-Stop Read cover to cover

    Fantastic from start to finish. I read this in less than 48 hours ( I could not get anything done at work due to waiting for the nxt time I could pick up the book). The main characters a fantastic mix between James Bond, Indiana Jones, and Houdini. A great adventure read if your in the mood for a fast paced ride through the desert. I have read two books by this author, I am going to purchase the remaining ones I haven't read today.

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

    Posted June 17, 2005

    Arabian Adventure

    You gotta love a novel which begins,'Henry Masterson would be dead in thirteen minutes.'!!! This book dives into adventure, lost love, murder, and a secret city hidden by the sands of Arabia. Sand Storm is a page turner from cover to cover! Can't wait to read another book from James Rollins!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2005

    Not what I Hoped

    Sandstorm began with a bang.Literally.It was intriguing and I read on hoping it would continue to be riveting.However, the plot took a nose dive as the main characters were poorly developed in my opinion.The story gets confusing and I lost interest not even half way through.Weeks later I picked the book up and was able to get into it again.But again I was disappointed because it seemed to me that at least 200 of the pages could have been removed and the story would have benefitted.Only the beginning and the very end of the book are worth reading.Even then it did not deliver.The ending climax was maybe ten pages of the 'discovery' and a tedious battle that is forgettable.If the author had made more of the 'discovery' and less rif raf getting there,it would have been more engaging. I absolutely love adventure tales but this adventure lacked so much that it took me weeks to finish.It seemed like homework.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted September 5, 2009

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    Posted January 26, 2009

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