The Judas Strain Summary and Review
James Rollins: The Judas Strain - Synopsis and Review
The Judas Strain is the third book in James Rollins Sigma series. The whole gang is back in this high action race to save mankind from biologic Armageddon. Monk Kokkalis with the help of Dr. Lisa Cummings are sent to investigate a new plague that has wiped out an entire island and the surrounding eco system with no signs of stopping. The cruise ship that was being used as a makeshift hospital (the only space large enough to accommodate all the victims) is high-jacked by The Guild, who want to study this new virus as a possible means for biological warfare. Monk escapes and works covertly to try to free the captured scientists who The Guild are forcing to experiment with the deadly virus and work on creating a cure. After all, what good is a biological weapon that can destroy its maker as easily as their enemies?
While his parents are being held hostage, Commander Gray Pierce is forced to work with Guild operative and long time enemy Seichan to follow the historical background of this new plague to its beginning in hopes of finding a way to stop it from spreading. Pierce enlists the help of Monsignor Vigor Verona of the Vatican and military man Kowalski and the four set off across the Mediterranean following clues that lead back to the voyage of Marco Polo and the Language of the Angels.
Like all of Rollins books he blurs the line between science and religion and makes you question what is and is not real. He blends fact and fiction and creates a story so plausible the reader will want to do more research to see how much of it can actually be real. His ability to weave history, myth, religion and science while not offending anyone’s beliefs makes him one of the greatest writers of the generation. The lightening pace keeps the reader on the edge of their seat right from the beginning with hidden messages, murders and former enemies literally crashing on your doorstep, this book has everything a historic and scientific adventurer could want from a literary work.
At first I was disappointed that Monk and Gray were not teaming up on this adventure, however Rollins quickly made up for the split by introducing Kowalski to the fun. Acting as an armored guard for Sigma he does not have the scientific and educational background that the other members of the group possess. However he proves that ‘all things being equal it is often the simples answer that is the correct one’. His simple-minded approach often saves the day from the “brains” of the operation over-thinking things into the ground. His almost childlike humor is a nice distraction from the dire situations the group find themselves in, making it impossible for the reader to not instantly fall in love with him.
This book can be read as a stand alone however you will get much more from the story if you begin with the first Sigma book, Map of Bones. The journey continues with bestseller Black Order and the characters are further tested within the pages of The Judas Strain. The characters in the book have history and depth that you cannot truly appreciate unless you catch it form the beginning, especially the interactions between Gray and Seichan who have been on and off enemies and tentative allies from the very beginning. The next book in the saga is The Last Oracle. Make sure you have this book ready because the way Rollins leaves you is definitely going to make you want to jump right into the next adventure.