Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Books of James Rollin

My latest favourite author is James Rollins. Since discovering his books on a shelf of a local MPH bookstore, I have read almost all of his published novels except for Map of Bones and The Judas Strain in the last three months. His books are:

Subterranean (1999),
Excavation (2000),
Deep Fathom (2001),
Amazonia (2002),
Ice Hunt (2003),
Sandstorm (2004),
Map of Bones (2005),
Black Order (2006),
The Judas Strain (2007),
and The Last Oracle (2008)
He also wrote the novelisation of the movie, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

James Rollins has a doctorate in veterinary medicine and is an amateur spelunker and certified scuba diver. Thus he brings to his books a realistic sense of the great outdoor-underground or underwater, and a scientific basis for his story telling. He writes like Michael Crichton (author of Jurassic Park, Next, The Andromeda Strain). Both are very talented in stretching the scientific "what if" into a storyline that their readers are led to ask where the truth ends and science fiction begins. It also helps that their story telling is fast moving and action packed like an Alister MacLean or a Jack Higgins novel.

Each of his novel has a historical link to the present with a specific theme. This is what makes his writings so fascinating.

The Last Oracle (2008) is his latest offering. Its historical link is the great oracle at Delphi, ancient Greek. Whether we acknowledge it or not, the oracles given from Delphi had significantly changed Greek civilisation, and in a sense modern civilisation. What if there is a genetic basis to the women called Pythias who gave the oracles? And what if it is possible to harness the same genetic potential in certain individuals? Could someone use these oracle sayers as a means to power? Intriguing thoughts and a sound basis for a thriller. Along the way, I learned something about India and the gypsies. So much so that I am buying one or two books that he recommends in his author's notes.


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