Sunday, 23 September 2012

"Bloodline," by James Rollins

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Stuff and Nonsense by Amy Cockram is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.

My decision to borrow less from the library this year and catch up on my own shelves - and my review pile - has been going pathetically badly.  I'm trying to justify this to myself because my local library is due for redevelopment soon, and I'm making the most of the services before they become more restricted during building work.  My latest library temptation was the new James Rollins novel, as I have read and enjoyed other books in his SIGMA Force series.

In this novel, SIGMA are called in to rescue the pregnant daughter of the American president, who has been kidnapped from a yacht in the Seychelles.  She was travelling incognito with her husband - who was brutally killed - and Painter Crowe, the Director of SIGMA, suspects that there is more to the situation than they are being told.  Why were they travelling in secret?  Is there something nefarious going on in the elite fertility clinic in which Amanda was given the IVF treatment that resulted in her pregnancy?  And is The Guild, the secretive organisation that is the recurring enemy of SIGMA, involved in the kidnapping, as Painter suspects? 

The idea of dirty deeds in a fertility clinic exclusively casts women as its victims, and the plight of pregnant and vulnerable Amanda is effectively realised.  In my opinion, this is probably the darkest and most disturbing novel that James Rollins has written - but this feeling might be due to my gender, given the victimhood and powerlessness of some of the women in "Bloodline." However, it has to be said, that this is counterbalanced by Rollins in depicting Amanda, although physically vulnerable, as psychologically resilient and determined.  In addition to this, there are three strong women within SIGMA who resolutely refuse to become victims and are instrumental in bringing this storyline to its conclusion.  Nevertheless, I wouldn't recommend this novel to a woman contemplating fertility treatment.

James Rollins' novels never fail to be exciting, involving and achieve the goal of being effective thrillers.  In the SIGMA team he has created a well-developed collection of characters and, if he does ever decide to kill one off, every one would feel like a loss to the group.   On Goodreads I have given this 4 stars.  This might seem odd in comparison when I have given other, outwardly more literary, novels a lower star rating.  My justification for this is quite simple: within his chosen genre of writing - adventure with a semi / pseudo scientific or religious hook - James Rollins is one of the best writers around...

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