Black Order by James Rollins
I've been reading James Rollins since his very first novel. I look forward to each one with anticipation months ahead of its publication. (Thank God he's prolific!) Truthfully, I like some of them better than others. This latest, Black Order, is an unequivocal slam dunk. I loved everything about it from start to finish.
One thing Rollins has done right is bring back Painter Crowe in a more significant roll. I've had a warm spot for him since Sandstorm. And in his second outing, I feel that I know Gray Pierce better than I did. How wonderful that these individuals have become like friends and I see their characters deepen and grow from book to book. He introduces a new character in this book that has become a favorite. I really hope we get to see her again!
But the best thing about The Black Order is the plot. I couldn't turn pages fast enough! I plowed through the book in two days and was then sad it was over. What a thrill ride! The novel is complex enough that I can't do it justice trying to sum it up in a paragraph. There were several different intertwined stories spanning the globe, from Asia to Europe to Africa to America. Rollins ties in Nazi science projects dating back to WWII to South African mythological beasts. And even though there were Nazi bad guys, this book has a lot of shades of gray and things aren't necessarily what they seem at first glance.
As always, there was fascinating, cutting-edge science. Each book has some bit of factual science that literally makes my jaw drop, and I think: I have to learn more about that! This one was no exception, but there were also major philosophical aspects to the story. Really, it's a book that has everything--non-stop action, terrific characters, a little romance, a little humor, some good scares, and a lot to make you think. I can't recommend it highly enough!