Friday, July 22, 2016

Review: Map of Bones by James Rollins

Map of Bones (Sigma Force, #2)Title: Map of Bones
Author: James Rollins
Publisher/Publication Date: Avon; January 1, 2005
Genre: Mystery; Thriller
Source/Format: Purchased; ebook

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Synopsis from Goodreads...

"During a crowded service at a cathedral in Germany, armed intruders in monks' robes unleash a nightmare of blood and destruction. But the killers have not come for gold; they seek a more valuable prize: the bones of the Magi who once paid homage to a newborn savior . . . a treasure that could reshape the world."

With the Vatican in turmoil, SIGMA Force leaps into action. An elite team of scientific and Special Forces operatives under the command of Grayson Pierce and accompanied by Lieutenant Rachel Verona of Rome's "carabinieri," they are pursuing a deadly mystery that weaves through sites of the Seven Wonders of the World and ends at the doorstep of an ancient, mystical, and terrifying secret order. For there are those with dark plans for the stolen sacred remains that will alter the future of humankind . . . when science and religion unite to unleash a horror not seen since the beginning of time...

My Thoughts:

Well, that was interesting…

I was ready to give thriller/mysteries another try since I needed something different to read—my last endeavor was a little lacking; I didn’t end up enjoying the book. My mom is the one who mentioned James Rollins novels to me, and under her recommendation I gave Map of Bones a try. And well, it was entertaining.

Map of Bones was probably one of the most thrilling books I’ve read this year. It started out at a break-neck pace, and kept up the momentum as the characters were sent across the world, hot on the heels of a mystery that’s steeped in history and religion. Rollins managed to blend science and religion in a way that really worked. There were a lot of religious aspects—beliefs, practices, history, and traditions that were discussed at length—but it was balanced out by the scientific elements that stood as an equally important part of the plot. 

I liked the idea of Sigma—an organization that consisted of special force operatives who doubled as scientist. It was a cool setup, and the themes were spread consistently throughout the book, but there were also limitations. The limitations are what made the characters seem more real—it proved that they weren’t totally perfect, and even as smart as they were the knowledge they knew still had its limitations. They had to actually seek out the answers to their questions, discuss the issues at hand before coming to a conclusion. That was half the fun of Map of Bones: getting to read about the characters' experiences.

There was lots of action, but there were slower moments too. Everything really worked to further the plot. I felt that with each scene something new was added, or another piece became clearer. Amongst the action, the mystery aspect was pretty awesome too. Plus, Rollins did an excellent job with crafting his villains. There was no need to be told that they were evil, it was shown.

Now, the operatives from Sigma were among some of my favorite parts of the story. I liked seeing how Grayson Pierce—a usual loner—got along with his team. There was also Rachel Verona, who was fantastic. She was on par with the rest of the team, smart, and also brought her own methods of handling investigations to the table as well.

Map of Bones tangled the past with the present, and the end effect was cool. I’m definitely going to check out some of the other books in this series.

Rating 4/5

(Thanks mom, you were right about this one! :-D)


  1. Sounds like this one had a really nice balance. I love that when things slowed, it was used to further the plot and the scenes weren't just filler. Sounds like a good one, great review!

    1. Since the book was so long, I almost expected some filler scenes, but Map of Bones had really solid storytelling. Rollins definitely managed to create a good balance that worked well with the different elements of the story. Thanks for stopping by! :-)


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