The Skeleton Key: A Short Story Exclusive [NOOK Book]

Overview

From New York Times bestselling author James Rollins comes a thrilling short story that delves deep beneath the city of Paris to a dark necropolis, where the only means for escape is…The Skeleton Key.

Seichan is ripped out of the Sigma series for an adventure all her own—but can she survive? The beautiful and elusive assassin wakes in a hotel in Paris with a deadly electronic collar fastened to her throat. Joined by a boy who is similarly threatened, she must rescue the son of a...

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The Skeleton Key: A Short Story Exclusive

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Overview

From New York Times bestselling author James Rollins comes a thrilling short story that delves deep beneath the city of Paris to a dark necropolis, where the only means for escape is…The Skeleton Key.

Seichan is ripped out of the Sigma series for an adventure all her own—but can she survive? The beautiful and elusive assassin wakes in a hotel in Paris with a deadly electronic collar fastened to her throat. Joined by a boy who is similarly threatened, she must rescue the son of a hated enemy, who has fallen under the sway of the nefarious leader of an apocalyptic cult. To survive, she must venture into the dark world beneath the City of Lights, into the infamous catacombs of Paris. Caught between two enemies, she must fight for her life…while time ticks down toward a fiery apocalypse. But in the dark, surrounded by the moldering bones of the dead, even success does not equal survival. In the end, the only true hope for the world lies in a stunning act of betrayal.

Included with this short story is a sneak peek at the first 70 pages of The Devil Colony, where a clue unlocked by The Skeleton Key will play a key role.

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  • The Skeleton Key
    The Skeleton Key  

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062113429
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/31/2011
  • Series: Sigma Force Series
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 100
  • Sales rank: 15,006
  • File size: 3 MB

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."

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

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 171 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(63)

4 Star

(54)

3 Star

(31)

2 Star

(8)

1 Star

(15)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 172 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 2, 2011

    The SUPER short story not worth the price....

    Feel kinda robbed paying $1 for something that should have been free. Precursor to Devil Colony followed a mini Seichan adventure, being my favorite Sigma chararcter, she felt drastically out of character. All I ask is that she not be killed off in the new novel, she is too bad ass! Quick read, interesting but too short.

    10 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 31, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Rollins Keeps on Rolling

    No Spoilers!

    I woke up this morning excited to read this. This is the first short story I read with the feel of a novel. Great conflict. Characters the reader can care about. Thrilling plot. James does in 20 pages what most authors can't do in 300. He is at the top of his form. The Skeleton Key is the appetizer whetting your appetite for The Devil Colony, the main entree.

    Also, the first 70 pages of The Devil Colony are included. I can't begin to tell you how excited I am for The Devil Colony. Read The Skeleton Key. You will not be disappointed.

    9 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 2, 2011

    Another Winner

    James Rollins has done it again! I first started reading his work in 2008 when I was in Europe on vacation as a way to pass time on the flight and on the trains. I have been a fan ever since. The Sigma series is a particular favorite of mine and the character of Seichan has always been intriguing to me. She's gone from enemy to a sometimes-friend. She serves herself...always. This story brings to light a few unknowns about Seichan's past along with a new danger. Keeps you turning the pages until you realize it's over with questions still unanswered. This short story precludes the upcoming "Devil's Colony" due out (in America) on 21 June. Just a few short weeks away now.

    With a sneak peek at the latest installment of the Sigma series, the reader is left waiting with baited breath to see what happens. Here's to hoping the time passes fast.

    Stay shiny!

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 16, 2011

    disappointed

    I am 100% sure I would love this book if it was made available to me. The fact that it is not in book form is very disappointing. It's like James did not want to push this book, or he intentionally left certain readers out. I do not, and will not own a kindle. I might read it online, but some of us love the world of BOOKS. If this is how James is going to treat his fans, I might have to find another faavorite author.

    5 out of 23 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2012

    A Seichan short story

    A good side adventure story for Seichan that leads into The Devils colony. Note: both should be read before Bloodline.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Fantastic !!

    This packed a whollop for a short stort !!! All of James Rollins books are exciting and thought provocing

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 31, 2011

    Rollins at His Best!

    For anyone who thought the art of Short Stories was being lost! The Skeleton Key will grab you from the first page and not let up until the end! You will be glued to the screen of your nook begging for more when you finish! A must have!!!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted January 29, 2013

    Great

    This was an awesome read. The full book kept me reading well into the night. A definite page turner!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 24, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Good Short Story

    This is a very short story <40 pages but is an interesting lead to Rollins next Sigma series book, The Devil Colony. I have just begun the Devil Colony and look forward to where this short story intersects with Sigma and the Devil Colony storyline.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 9, 2012

    A must read for Sigma Fans!

    This was a short read but still very good - done in the classic James Rollins style! I couldn't put it down! It is a nice segway between The Doomsday Key and The Devil Colony. A must read for any Sigma fan! I hope that Mr. Rollins puts out more of these short in between stories!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2012

    Great!

    Well I admit it elwas a bit too short although for a short story what do you expect? A full length novel? I highly reccomend this, it is a good read and well worth it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 1, 2012

    A complete ripoff.

    27 pages of thin writing. A seventh grader would only get a C.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted October 24, 2011

    Too short, but definitely all Rollins

    Great short story that fills in some blanks in the series. Can't wait for his next book!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 24, 2011

    More please

    An interesting look at an interesting character. Am glad to see the development of Seichan. I wish there was more. I can't wait for Devil's colony.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 8, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A fun fast read

    A short story (very short) but enough so to make me look into the Sigma Force Series and put the entire series on my wish list.
    Action packed, just how I like it! I've quickly become a James Rollins fan.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 19, 2011

    Steven

    Great short story and a few chapters of upcoming sigma book only problem so good cant wait

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 1, 2011

    Another adventure to keep you on the edge of your seat!

    James Rollins moves our imagination to the dank and moldy depths of the Catacombs in another satisfying addition to the Sigma Force Series. He plays our minds with electronic splendor shocking us into submission as Seichan takes the lead in this too short teaser in preparing us for The Devil Colony arriving around the 21st of June. Merci beaucoup, Mr. James Rollins.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2014

    A major ripoff

    Not a book, very poor way to make a buck.

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

    Posted June 12, 2014

    So so

    Good filler

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

    Posted May 16, 2014

    Wonderful

    Highly recommend this series to anyone

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 172 Customer Reviews

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