The Last Oracle (Sigma Force Series)

The Last Oracle (Sigma Force Series)

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 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?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062018014
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 04/26/2011
Series: Sigma Force Series , #5
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 608
Sales rank: 51,467
Product dimensions: 4.20(w) x 7.50(h) x 1.60(d)

About the Author

James Rollins is the 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 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. He lives in the Sierra Nevada mountains.


Sacramento, California

Date of Birth:

August 20, 1961

Place of Birth:

Chicago, Illinois

Read an Excerpt

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 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 237 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.
JRlibrary on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I love everything Rollins writes just because I thoroughly enjoy the tidbits of true science that gets embedded in the fiction of his creation. If you love the Sigma Force novels, then you'll be happy to see the familiar host of characters back for more; Painter Crowe trying to prevent Sigma from being destroyed, Gray and a female scientist trying to work out what is going on while traveling all over the place, and Monk trying to save some very special children. This wasn't my favourite of his novels, but still, very enjoyable.
burnit99 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An international thriller that has our intrepid government secret agents trying to prevent a nefarious plan by renegade Russian scientist/military types to use the old Soviet Union's radiological wastelands to poison a large part of the world, assassinate most of the free world's leaders, and use children with artificially augmented mental abilities to guide the new Russian messiah in a bid to take over the world. The action ranges from the ancient Oracles of Delphi, Chernobyl, the Smithsonian Castle, India, ancient Egyptians and Gypsy fortunetellers. Sometimes the action and plot jumped around a bit much, but it held my interest, was well-written and even included a bit of occasional comic relief.
amacmillen on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a fiction book based on the Oracle Delphi and the use of modified Savant Children to control the world. The Sigma team travel the world trying to solve a mystery that leads to Russia and a group trying to control the world by releasing nuclear waste to pollute and cause world wide havoc.
tsisler on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I loved the puzzles, adventure, and inter-weaving of facts and fiction in this novel. The suspense of the novel was a bit hindered by the writing style. As there were multiple story lines occurring at one time, Rollins would break narration on one story-line at a very suspenseful moment to continue narration on the other story lines. As the narrations were lengthy and there was multiple scenes occurring at once, by the time Rollins returned to a story-line I had forgotten that it was at a suspenseful moment. I loved that this book was so intricate, but this also meant that it was not an "easy" read and required a lot of back referencing in order to understand and keep up with the overall plot.In general, a very good read. I would be interested in the sequel.
maureen61 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The latest of Rollins' mysteries is again well research and filled with intrigue and excitement. Thetruthful elements of the story are both startling and unnerving. A great read.
johncstark on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
My first exposure to the author James Rollins in "The Last Oracle" was not a disappointment. The fictional novel built upon historical and factual information made the novel both enjoyable and educational.
swkoenig on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Received this as part of the March Early Reviewers. Was hesitant at first to dive right into this book without reading first the earlier works in the SIGMA series. However, I threw caution to the wind and got right into it. I'd only ready one other James Rollings work an that was Subterranean. James Rollins has come a long way since that first work. The characters, dialog, and plot have all gotten much better.I liked this book but, would not say it is one of my favorite books. The plot involving Chernobyl was very interesting. One the strengths of this work is the description of Chernobyl and surrounding Ural Mountain area 20+ years after the meltdown. I found Rolins treatment of this and his descriptions very compelling. Not many authors have tackled this subject and I came away with a better understanding of Chernobyl and the problems associated with the meltdown.As stated above the character development is better in this work but, still not deep. I can't say that as a reader I identified with any of the characters.Overall this was a worthwhile read and it was paced pretty well. I recommend it.
daddygoth on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Last Oracle, the fifth book in Rollins' SIGMA series, continues the storyline from The Judas Strain. While all the elements of Rollins' previous works are here -- non-stop action, scientific background/theme, religious history -- this one seemed to lack something that earlier SIGMA novels had. While Map of Bones is the only SIGMA book I didn't really enjoy, this one was just average, along the lines of The Judas Strain.Rollins seems to want to have some minor shakeups within the team, but only teases serious or long-lasting effects. He should either leave the team as-is or actually follow though on these teases. Also, the new, developing romance could be seen a mile away as soon as a new character was introduced early in the novel. I'd still recommend the book to fans of Rollins, but if you're new to Rollins, I'd definitely suggest reading the SIGMA books in order as they are all part of a continuing storyline and reading them out of sequence could spoil some events in prior books in the series.
bcquinnsmom on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The first thing any reader needs to know about this book is that it is a work of 'escape fiction,' meaning that you have to be prepared for anything and everything, and you have to be ready to enter into a state of suspension of disbelief. That is, you have to tell yourself that you're willing to accept anything and everything, knowing that it's probably a bit far-fetched or over the top -- and in return, you get a few hours of sheer entertainment to take you away from the mundane. So having made that statement, I can say that within that particular context, this was a pretty decent book, well worth the time that it took to read. I have the other Sigma Force series novels, but haven't yet read them all, but you can bet I'll be going back to them as soon as I have a chance. I want to see what I missed in the meantime, which leads to my second bit of advice: I feel like I missed something having not read the complete series up to the time of The Last Oracle and I might have felt a bit better about the action in this novel had I been more up to date on the exploits of Sigma Force. ¿The Last Oracle" refers to the Oracle of Delphi, beginning with the destruction of the temple by the Romans. If you want to know more about the Oracle, take a peek here: Fast forward to the 20th century in the Carpathian mountains, where a group of children are being sought after by some not-so-nice KGB-ish type people; then we finally land in the present, where a scientist's death sparks an incredible adventure story that doesn't let up once it starts. Without trying to summarize the plot (it will give away the whole shebang if I do), I will say that Rollins has an ingenious mind ... there are layers within layers of action between the covers of this novel, some very unexpected twists and turns and some very nasty villains. I would recommend this one to readers who are into escape fiction, to readers who have acquainted themselves with Sigma Force (or other James Rollins novels), and to anyone just wanting something very different to read. It's nonstop action all the way -- never a dull moment.Thanks to LT for the opportunity to read this one as an early reviewer!
drneutron on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Last Oracle is a typical Rollins adventure - part science, part ideas just beyond the boundary pf science, lots of action, and Sigma Force saving the world. If you like the series, you'll love this one. If you haven't tried 'em yet, start with the first and have some fun!
hyunjoo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Gray Pierce needs a steady girlfriend or a wife. Good grief! This guy should be approaching 40 at least. I really loved reading about Monk coming to his senses about Kat and Penelope. That was so sweet it made me weep, a little.
Talbin on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Last Oracle, is the fifth in James Rollins' Sigma Force series. As we start, Gray Pierce is walking along the Mall in Washington DC when a seemingly homeless man spots him. As they meet, the man offers Pierce a coin and then is shot by a sniper. At almost the same time, a little girl disappears from the National Zoo. Sasha is no ordinary little girl - she is the centerpiece of a long-standing Russian experiment into the world of autistic savant children. As the novel progresses, we learn about the connections between some select autistic savant children, the Oracle of Delphi, and the radioactive wasteland around Chernobyl in the Ukraine.As per usual, James Rollins has combined some fantastical ideas into a story that takes the reader on a roller coaster ride. This is true escape fiction - part history, part espionage and part shoot-em-up - The Last Oracle is the perfect book to read when you need to live in a completely different world for awhile. Each time I finish a Rollins novel, I'm surprised by two things: Rollins is able to create a fictional world in which the reader will believe just about anything; and Rollins' characters are pretty darn three-dimensional. I believe this is the second book by this author that has brought tears to my eyes near the end. Over the years, when reading spy/thriller/mystery books, I have come to expect that the characters will usually be pretty one-dimensional. Given the genre, the reader expects a lot of emphasis on plot with a lot less emphasis on characterization. However, Rollins has a knack of keeping the plot moving along quite quickly while also drawing the reader into the emotional lives of some of his characters.If you like escapist reading, give this one a try.
MSWallack on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
While somewhat more enjoyable than The Judas Strain, The Last Oracle suffers from the same "off-the-rails" pseudo-science problems of the last few Sigma Force novels. If you don't buy in to the nearly science fiction elements of the story, then you are, unfortunately, left wanting, as the thriller elements of the story are a bit too straightforward and repetitive. And, for the record, I'm getting a bit tired of Rollins' need to refer to some of his characters by their titles rather than by their names. I'm not sure if I have the interest to read another Sigma Force novel.
January_F on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Another great novel in this series, which I really enjoy! I have fallen behind in my reading of the Sigma Force novels, but now I'm glad I did! I have one more to read to be caught up, and it saddens me a bit.
JoClare on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I really love James Rollin's books. I love how he takes a historical tidbit of information and connects it to a slice of science, mixes it all together with a lot of adventure and a dash of romance and voilà!; I'm ready for an enjoyable read~I also love how he points out the facts and the fiction at the end of his stories; more than once I have gotten lost on the internet satisfying my curiosity regarding the history/science he calls to attention there.I think he does a great job with his protagonists, I find most to be really interesting and fleshed out. Sigma Force is a recurring theme in many of his stories and it adds another layer of interest for me, taking the adventure to the next level.Rollin's novels are every bit as enjoyable to me as a big screen summer blockbuster; think I'll go get some popcorn~
memasmb on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Last OracleBy James RollinsThis book was received from LibraryThing in their Early Reviewers program.My first introduction to James Rollins Sigma Force series was a fast paced, unbelievable story line that keeps you reading all night. With a bit of history, romance, science fiction and secret government agencies of several countries, you are draw into a tale of super heroes, evil villains and ethical questions.Are we really the good people¿sometimes I wonder about the higher powers that float above us ordinary people?Rollins even solves the mystery of the fate of his friend Monk from The Judas Strain. I will definitely pick up the first four books in this series to read.If you want to read a story that holds your attention, makes you yell as well as cry, then by all means read this book.
Lisa042 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
My only real complaint is the overuse of the word "mumble". I wish, for once, the characters would mutter or murmur.
ruggins on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is my third James Rollins, but first Sigma book. I have been reading a lot of military and political thrillers and suspense books lately and this is right up in the top 10 for the last 6 months. I sat right down and ripped through it in only a couple of days.It started out with a bang, literally, and kept up the pace throughout. Characters were pretty well fleshed out and interesting, he built sympathy for them and their plight quickly and I found myself pulling for them until the conclusion.Information about Chernobyl was great, as others have said not many using this as a plot point. I liked the slight paranormal twist as well, it was nicely balanced for those who believe and those who don¿t. Not heavy handed at all.A couple of minor misspellings, but mostly a tight edit.After reading this Sigma I will go right out and get the others in the series. If they are at all comparable I know I will be happy to get them.
eviltammy on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A think tank of world scientists have been experimenting for years on ways to manipulate and enhance the abilities of autistic children with savant talents. But a rogue group within have different experiments going - with the plan of creating a world prophet for the new millennium, which will rise out of a manufactured disaster. SIGMA Force commander Gray Pierce races to stop the disaster and save the children, but to do that he must first solve a mystery that dates back centuries to the Greek Oracle of Delphi. I hadn't read any of the other SIGMA Force books, but will look them up. Reads in the manner of Clive Cussler, Matthew Reilly, and Dan Brown. Nonstop action. The afterword where Rollins points out his research is very interesting.
jrr731 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It has been a few years since I have read a James Rollins book. Now I can't figure out why I stopped. The pace never let up. I enjoyed the mix of fact and fiction, it made me feeln like I should make the time toread about these historical events. If your enjoy thrillers, make this your next read.
caseylondon on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Weaving history, current events, and unusual tidbits of knowledge with his creative storytelling makes any James Rollins book a great read and THE LAST ORACLE continues the tradition. You'll want to get comfy because you may just want to read it in one sitting. The SIGMA Force is back in another thriller complete with savant children, Chernobyl, diabolical scientists, gypsies and lots of action. If you are a reader of Rollins¿ previous works you'll recognize the characters and see their stories brought up to date. Like a spider, Rollins weaves a complex web and the reader has a chance to follow the threads through not only the past and present, but also through India, Russia, Washington, DC and other locations as the various characters tangle themselves in a deep mystery that has the possibility of eradicating mankind.I admit to being a fan of Rollins and have read his previous SIGMA Force books, so I was happy to get an advance reader¿s copy of this book. The book¿s title THE LAST ORACLE, refers to the Oracle of Delphi and the plotline is based on a cabal of scientists who manipulate the brains and talents of autistic-savant children with the goal of world peace. But of course some of the group have other plans for the children and want to use them for evil purposes. Stopping the bad guys is where the SIGMA Force comes in and the worldwide chase begins. Chernobyl plays a key role, psychic abilities are also important to the storyline and SIGMA teams up with gypsies in a rather remarkable way --- (some great historical tidbits here). If you know the SIGMA characters you¿ll appreciate the updates to their stories. Plus you get the drawings that Rollins¿ includes with his novels ¿ always a nice addition.While I lay no claim to psychic talent I do predict that if you read this book you¿ll be fascinated with the historical and scientific information, you¿ll find the storyline thrilling and the book hard to put down.
NovelBookworm on LibraryThing 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. 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 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!
TheAlternativeOne on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Last Oracle by James Rollins (Advance Reader¿s Edition)The Last Oracle is a Sigma Force adventure that combines elements of Theodore Sturgeon¿s More Than Human (the gestalt of remarkable children), Dan Brown¿s The Da Vinci Code (a mystery enveloped in adventure), autistic savants (empaths, sensitives and precognitives) and the history of the Oracle of Delphi.This book relies slightly on the story that preceded it (Judas Strain) but reading the earlier books in the series is not required to enjoy this story. A Russian agency has bred Gypsy children and manipulated their DNA for half a century in an effort to create modern day precognitives (or oracles.) They plan to murder a consortium of world leaders and destroy the earth in a ¿blaze of fire¿ and, with ten mind-controlled and -altered ¿oracle¿ pawns, rule what remains. One precognitive in particular, a little girl named Sasha with undreamed of abilities and potential, is abducted while traveling in the United States and the race to save the world begins. Enter Sigma Force¿ Commander Gray Pierce is a seasoned veteran of this ¿elite team of ex-Special Forces soldiers who had been retrained in scientific fields¿¿ Their quest to avert the apocalypse begins when Pierce witnesses a murder on the Mall in Washington, DC. In an effort to uncover the mystery surrounding the murder Pierce and a cadre of operatives move around the globe from Washington to the Punjab region of India to Chernobyl, Ukraine following clues left behind by the dead man. Sigma Force uncovers the plot and must work to prevent the annihilation of the world and destroy the Russian faction and its cohorts.Monk, a member of the Sigma Force whose memory has been erased by the Russians, helps three of the ¿special¿ children and a chimpanzee escape from the compound known as The Warren in the Ukraine. Chased by soldiers, wolves and tigers the group must survive the radioactive fields and lakes of the Ural Mountains and the pursuit of their captors to help bring a stop to Armageddon.In true Rollins fashion the many diverse characters, groups and sub-plots coalesce and combine together in an astonishing action-filled finale.Inconsistencies in the story:1.On page 330 we find the following sentence: ¿Archibald Polk had died of acute radiation poisoning, possibly exposed here.¿ but on page 21 we are told that Archibald was shot on the Mall in Washington, D.C. We later learn that the radiation levels in his body were so high that they would have killed him within weeks. But Archibald Polk died of gunshot wounds and not radiation. This is a minor inconsistency, but one that should be fixed prior to mass publication.2.On page 335 when Gray is chasing Nicolas he gets pinned down by gunfire from Elena. Then¿ ¿Gray checked his watch. Ten minutes.¿ Since Gray is not part of the conspiracy and arrived on the scene late how would he know that there were ten minutes left? And ten minutes to what? He has no knowledge at this point that any event is going to happen yet he seems to know the time frame. I found these two sentences out of place and used probably only for dramatic purpose.Note: There are also a number of typographical errors in the ARC which usually get fixed before mass publication.The Sigma Force Series1. Sandstorm (2004)2. Map of Bones (2005)3. Black Order (2006)4. Judas Strain (2007)5. The Last Oracle (2008)A word about James Rollins ¿ After reading a number of his other novels (Subterranean, Excavation and Amazonia) I¿ve come to respect Rollin¿s work because of his ability to create stories that contain multiple layers and sub-plots that keep the reader interested in the story until the last word. He has that rare talent of orchestrating three or more story lines and characters that interweave together fluidly. His novels are quick reads ¿ not because their simple but simply because you¿ll relentlessly turn pages in an excited frenzy to find out what happens next. The highest compliment I could pay him is that if