Book Review: Black Order by James Rollins


I love James Rollins' books the way I love donuts; they taste good going down, even if there is no nutritional value whatsoever. Rollins' has taken the mantel of master of the by-the-seat-of-your-pants thriller, a post formerly held by the likes of Clive Cussler. 

In this episode of the ongoing adventures of the SIGMA force Gray Pierce races to expose a century-old plot that threatens to destroy the current world order and alter the destiny of humankind forever. Along the way the reader can vicariously- live through a sinister fire in a Copenhagen bookstore, reveal an insidious plot to steal a Bible that once belonged to Charles Darwin, dive headlong into a mystery that dates back to Nazi Germany, witness horrific experiments performed in a now-abandoned laboratory in Poland, go to a remote monastery in Nepal, as Buddhist monks turn to cannibalism and torture, and much, much more.

Cheesy dialogue and stereotyped characters abound but the real star of the book is the far reaching "sci-fiesque" concepts that Rollins always spins his yarns around. This time it is the idea of quantum evolution. While the novel goes into a farily detailed explanation of the idea, for our purposes here a simple definition will suffice. Quantum evolution deals with the comparatively rapid transition from one stable type of biological adaptation to another distinctly different type under the influence of some strong selection pressure. What that selective pressure is, is exactly what Black Order is really all about. And for my money this is what is worth the price of admission.

For the past few years, James Rollins' novels have been my go to summer beach books, and with Black Order he has maintained his place on my ever-eclectic bookshelf.