Essjayar.Com Rotating Header Image

November, 2008:

The Last Oracle by James Rollinson

James Rollinson is another favourite author of mine. His books tend to cover the genres of techno thriller, adventure thriller, and conspiracy theory. A heady mixture!

Most of his books, apart from the first few, have covered the Sigma Force – his fictional team of soldiers cum scientists.

In “The Last Oracle” we have an adventure spanning the millenia from the original Oracle of Delphi right though to present day Russia.

The story starts when Cmdr Gray Pierce (whom fans will remember from previous novels) comes across a supposed tramp who collapses in his arms. He hands Gray a mysterious coin, and this sparks an international search and a race against time to save the world.

Eventually Gray finds himself in India, helping the Gypsies, uncovering secret government black-ops, and fighting Russians. While in Russia itself another important character is helping some very talented children race across a polluted nuclear landscape to stop a heinous plan to destroy the world and bring a new world order into power.

The book includes selective breeding, gene manipulation, bio-engineering, historical intrigue, extra sensory abilities, nuclear disaster, and more in spades. The best thing about Rollins is his well researched material, always based in fact.

This is a terrific read and a real page turner. There are many memorable scenes, including battles with genetically enhanced tigers, a fight in Sigma Force’s secret base beneath the Smithstonian Castle, and a race through a crowded Indian city. And at the end of his book, Rollins reveals the truth behind his creation – and if you’re like me you’ll be hitting Wikipedia to read about Lake Karachay, Pripyat, Project Stargate, The Jasons, and Autism 🙂

8.5 / 10 : Rollins is the King of the “Science Adventure”

P.S. If you’re not familiar with James Rollinson’s work but have read his novelisation of “India Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull” (or maybe a read a review) please don’t let that cloud your judgement. His own creations are much, much better.

Michael Crichton, RIP.

One of my favourite authors, Michael Crichton, has passed away aged just 66 from cancer. He had kept his illness private between him and his family.

Crichton was the author of such novels as Jurassic Park, Eaters Of The Dead, The Great Train Robbery, Westworld, The Andromeda Strain, Sphere, Prey, and many more. He was also the creator and first writer of the award winning ER TV series. In recent times he courted controversy with his novel State Of Fear and with it’s alternate view of global warming.

He will be missed.

Interestingly, it seems he had at least one more novel in the pipeline that has been postponed, so perhaps we will see another work from him posthumously.

Six Sacred Stones by Matthew Reilly

Matthew Reilly is a “guilty pleasure” of mine. He’s a young Australian author who self-published his first novel before finding success.

His writing won’t win any awards and his plotting and characterisation are – to be kind – simplistic. But his books are fast paced, action packed, and if you’re like me you’ll pretty much find yourself reading them in just a sitting or two.

In Six Sacred Stones, Reilly continues the story that started in “Seven Ancient Secrets”. Jack West Jr, and his ragtag group of international scientific action heroes, find themselves racing against time to save the earth from the menace of the Dark Sun. To do this, they need to reawaken an ancient machine by finding six ancient artifacts, charging them before placing them in historical sites around the globe.

My one big gripe about this novel is that it became pretty apparent that Reilly was padding out the story to increase it’s length in a very unimaginitive way. And by the time I was 3/4 of the way through, it also became apparent that the story would not finish in this novel. Yep, there has to be sequel. Be forewarned – the novel is not structured in a way that a traditional two-novel would be, there’s no logical conclusion. It just… stops.

I’m not trying to be too hard on Reilly or too disparaging – after all, he’s a published author with a fan base, but Reillys stories are good for some brainless easy reading. And from time to time it’s nice to get caught up in an exciting story without having to think too much!