The focus of my blog is to review book series and not individual novels. But writers are going to continue writing novels within a series even after I have done my review, so I plan on reviewing the individual novels as they come into circulation. James Rollins has just recently added book #12, The Seventh Plague to the Sigma Force series.
Before I started reading The Seventh Plague, I thought it was going to be another run-of-the-mill catastrophic pandemic caused by some unusual contagion story, the typical theme for numerous thrillers. At first it seemed that this was the direction The Seventh Plague was heading when missing archeologist Harold McCabe is discovered deliriously wandering around the desert of northern Africa and dies shortly after his rescue. After an autopsy is done on his body, an unusual strain of an archaebacteria infects the autopsy team and ultimately spreads into the surrounding city of Cairo. Sigma Force gets in on the action when Dr. Safia al-Maaz, a character that was introduced in the first Sigma Force novel, Sandstorm, skypes her old time friend Painter Crowe to clue him in on some unusual aspects of this impending epidemic when she was abruptly kidnapped during their conversation. Crowe, of course, takes this personally and takes the lead in finding why someone would abduct Al-Maaz and how this was related to the plague.
From there on the rest of the novel reminded me of quote that I read on a forum about mad scientists:
Signs you’ve become a mad scientist:
– When you stop calling the people who staff your laboratory “grad students” and start calling them “minions” instead.
– Likewise, when you use “base” vs “department”, or “chief of staff” vs “director of human resources”.
– When doing your hair in the morning requires 1000 volts but no conditioner.
– When the number of burn marks or bloodstains on your white coat exceeds the number of coffee stains.
– When your inventions are labelled with any of the prefixes super-, mega-, death-, psychic-, or, with the obvious exceptions, space-.
– When your laboratory is located in any of the following: a cave, a castle, a dungeon, a zeppelin, or a geodesic dome.
– When any part of your equipment requires being struck by lightning to function.
The mad scientist in this case is billionaire Simon Hartnell and the last line in the quote “when any part of your equipment requires being struck by lightning to function” undoubtedly defines Hartnell’s “little project” and is the reason I really liked this particular Sigma Force book. Is it way over the top? You betcha. Which is one of the reasons I love this series.
To learn more about the series check out James Rollins’ Sigma Force series.