Review of James Rollins’ Latest Novel, Crucible

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 recently added book #14, Crucible, to the Sigma Force series.

Crucible is everything that you would expect from a Sigma Force novel, plenty of death defying action, cool technology, and truly evil villains, but this particular addition to the series is a bit different. Witches, artificial intelligence, and a group of religious zealots whose history dates back to the days of the Spanish Inquisition makes up the primary focus of the story but the underlining tone is really about family.

Over the years the Sigma Force team members have gone on high risk assignments knowing full well that they may not survive, accepting that as being part of the job. But a lot has happened to the Sigma Force team since the series first began with Sandstorm and Map of Bones. Painter Crowe married Lisa Cummings, Monk Kokkalis and Kat Bryant are married and now have two young daughters, and even Kowalski has a girlfriend. Also the most surprising coupling is Pierce and Seichan who have historically been lone rebels uncomfortable in becoming too close to anyone. But in Crucible, Pierce and Seichan are not only a couple, but they are about to be parents.  For any parent, the most horrifying thought is the loss of a child and in Crucible, both Monk and Pierce are getting a taste of what that may be like.

Also on the subject of children, one of the best parts of the Crucible is that we get to witness the spectacular birth of an artificial superhuman intelligent (ASI) known as Eve. Rollins does a wonderful job of giving us a glimpse to what it may be like for an ASI in its early development. He also demonstrates that like a child, the manner in which an ASI is treated in its formative phase will ultimately shape it into the ‘adult’ that it will become, which is very important if the human race expects to survive its birth.

Crucible has everything that will please the Sigma Force fan. Most of the Sigma Force novels are overwhelmingly plot driven but I really felt that Crucible focused more on the characters and the bond that holds the Sigma Force family together. I know, it sounds rather mushy, but don’t worry there is still plenty of entertaining thrills.

I would like to thank and William Morrow for my copy of the Crucible.

To learn more about the series check out the Sigma Force series.

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