Thursday, August 18, 2011

James Rollins Uncovers A Devil Colony

The Devil ColonyWith most of the action taking place in the United States as opposed to more exotic locations on a global stage, The Devil Colony by James Rollins has a decidedly different feel than other installments of his Sigma series. It contains more exposition, explanations that link together bits of real history into an interesting, convincing, and sometimes controversial fictional tapestry.

Like the exceptional techno-thriller Black Order, The Devil Colony stands on its own from the series. There is no need to pick up any other Sigma book to enjoy the self-contained story with an exceptional hook immediately following its historical prologue.

The prologue also offers up its own hook, one that links the first of several founding fathers — namely Thomas Jefferson — into the context of a historical conspiracy thriller. Perhaps there was more to the expedition of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark to find a direct and practicable water communication across the continent or declare sovereignty over the Pacific Northwest.

Ancient Americans, Mormons, And Nanotechnology.

The present-day action opens with the discovery of a Native American burial site, with hundreds of mummified bodies and ancient golden artifacts, in the Rocky Mountains. The artifacts themselves — primarily gold plates — aren't ordinary. They are made using the same techniques as Damascus steel, an ancient and lost sword-making skill used between 300 BC and 1700 AD.

The existence of Damascus steel technology and pale-skinned Native Americans in a remote corner of Utah would solidify the story of Joseph Smith, Jr., who was directed by divine intervention to find and translate the writings of indigenous American prophets who had buried a book made of golden plates. In The Devil Colony, the language is alluded to be written in Proto-Hebrew (which Smith had called reformed Egyptian).

The writings describe a people led from Jerusalem to the Western Hemisphere, 600 years before Jesus’ birth. There, they coexisted with the Native American tribes, bringing with them technologies considered magical for their time. It is these technologies that the founding fathers like Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin sought to acquire or perhaps protect from falling into the wrong hands.

Knowledge of these technologies and lost people by Chief Castasatego, sometimes called the forgotten founding father, might have been leveraged to broker a deal for the United States to accept a 14th colony, one made up of Indian nations. The deal, however, never came to fruition and the technologies were lost once again but not before changing Franklin's views on Native Americans forever.

In The Devil Colony, the nanotechnology is rediscovered but is no less magical or any less dangerous. When exposed to the wrong environmental conditions, the metal and nano elixir has a tendency to explode, unleashing a nest of nanos that begin to deconstruct all matter that comes into contact with them.

The secret technology and the desire to own this power pits protagonists Painter Crowe and Grayson Pierce against a cunning and ruthless European adversary in a race to acquire them first. Also in the balance is the potential of a cataclysmic disaster that immediately threatens the western United States and then the world.

The Devil Colony By James Rollins Shakes Up 5.8 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale.

It's great to see Rollins tap his personal experience as a spelunker in The Devil Colony. While he never captures the sense of claustrophobia that many equate with tight spaces underground, he consistently makes such archaeological discoveries as exciting for readers as it is for the people who do it.

The fact and fictional mashup is enough to make heads spin, sometimes in curiosity and other times in controversy. For whatever reason, there are always people who would like to dispute early Native American influence on the United States and, of course, those who prefer to discredit the Morman faith. Rollins, who was raised Catholic, gives all of it a fair shake (despite accidentally misstating Joseph Smith's name as John). Although sometimes more informative than intense, the blending of fact and fiction will drive many people to look deeper into the history and forming of America.

The Devil Colony: A Sigma Force Novel is available on Amazon. The Devil Colony is also available on Barnes & Noble or the book can be downloaded from iBooks. The audiobook is delivered by Peter Jay Fernandez.
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