Friday, September 17, 2010


Sandstorm is the fifth book I've read by James Rollins. It's a stand-alone adventure novel although it does set up the "Sigma Force" novels featuring the recurring character Commander Gray Pierce. James Rollins writes in a page-turning style, mixing action sequences with exotic locations and cutting-edge technology. Sandstorm is no exception as we follow a good mix of characters, including Painter Crowe, the future director of Sigma Force, traveling from London to the Arabian Peninsula in search of the lost city of Ubar. Along the way we get to experience the British Museum in London and several archeological sites such as the Crypt of Nabi Imran, the Tomb of Ayoub (Job from the Bible), and the town of Shisur. We also get to learn more about anti-matter, buckyballs (having to do with ball lightning), molten glass, and one hellacious sandstorm.

I find reading James Rollins books to be the closest thing to an Indiana Jones movie I've yet to experience. In fact, he was even selected to adapt the screenplay from the last movie into book form. I found this book to be an interesting read although at over 550 pages, it did seem about 75 pages too long. The author is adept at bringing his characters to the edge of a cliff and then finding creative ways to push them off but it seemed to happen a bit too much in this one. The bad guy character, a female, was competent, which I like in a bad guy, and displayed some truly evil aspects, but somehow was not all she could be. Pretty good characterization for this kind of book, and a sort of love triangle aspect that worked nicely.

Onr other note: my copy is a limited edition mass market paperback and came with a hard "lenticular" front cover, giving it a 3D effect.  I suppose that looks nice in a book store and might well entice a customer to pick it up, but it makes for difficult reading/handling, especially in the first few chapters.  Maybe I'm old fashioned but I prefer to stick to the regular paper covers.

So, a good novel overall with just some minor annoyances. Definitely a worthwhile read and will keep me reading James Rollins in the future.

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