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by James Rollins
William Morrow, July 2007
464 pages
ISBN: 0060763892

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

When a bacteriological plague pops up in the Indian Sea by Christmas Island killing animals, fish, and humans, Gray Pierce, Lisa Cummings, and Monk Kokkalis from America's ultra-secret Sigma Force are sent in two different directions to discover what is happening and how to stop it.

All of Christmas Island has been evacuated due this disease, which is soon discovered to be the Judas Strain, something that changes a person's good bacteria to bad bacteria, thus killing them. The inhabitants of the island are dying but not before they are covered in blisters and turn into cannibals. They are sent to stay on a cruise ship that is anchored near the island where Lisa Cummings and Monk Kokkalis and other doctors and scientists are trying to figure out a cure for this gruesome plague that might be the end to all life on earth.

While Lisa and Monk study the strain on the cruise ship, Gray Pierce is trying to discover the historical aspect of it. He was pulled into the search when Seichan, a member of the Guild, a secret force from another country, tells Gray that she needs his help to stop the Guild from destroying the world.

Gray, Seichan, and Vigor Verona, the Church Prefect who found a secret buried in the catacombs of the Vatican's hidden archives, are searching the historical background of this plague. Verona discovers that the Judas Strain is the same strain that killed off most of Marco Polo's crew hundreds of years earlier.

Meanwhile, the Guild is also following the medical and historical path of this deadly strain and they are determined to kill the members of Sigma and learn how to control and use the Judas Strain for their own means.

THE JUDAS STRAIN is author James Rollins' newest installment in his Sigma series. But don't worry if you haven't read the previous books, this book is fine as a standalone.

Rollins takes the readers on a terrifying journey showing how this plague could kill all life on earth. It all sounds realistic and very credible. In fact, there is some truth to some of what the author has written. The strain starts up in a frothy sea that seems to glow and there actually have been sightings of something like that. Rollins has just taken that fact and gone one step further with it.

Most of Marco Polo's crew did not return with him and THE JUDAS STRAIN give us a possible explanation as to why that happened.

With over 400 pages, THE JUDAS STRAIN is a massive book, loaded with history and biology. The novel does a good job in explaining all the scientific jargon but some of it is pretty explicit and maybe a tad boring, but the book is not harmed by it.

Mixing a bit of Indiana Jones, Night Of The Living Dead, and historical fiction, THE JUDAS STRAIN is an adventure novel not to be missed.

Reviewed by Sharon Katz, April 2007

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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