|Map of Bones
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The bestselling master of astonishing adventure James Rollins delivers his most relentlessly exciting page-turner to date -- a gripping and explosive novel of an ancient conspiracy to create a terrifying new world order out of the ashes of modern civilization.
The crime is inhumanly cruel with horrific consequences both unthinkable and inevitable. During a service at a cathedral in Cologne, Germany, a band of armed intruders dressed in monks' robes unleash a nightmare of blood and terror, ruthlessly gunning down worshippers and clergy alike. The killers haven't come for the church's gold and valuable artwork, but for a priceless treasure secreted within: the preserved bones of the Three Magi who once came to pay homage to a newborn savior. As they flee the carnage they have wrought, they carry a prize that could reshape the world.
The Vatican is in turmoil, and Lieutenant Rachel Verona of Rome's carabinieri is assigned to lead the investigation. But no ordinary police organization alone can deal with the bizarre theft and massacre, and SIGMA Force -- an elite covert arm of the U.S. Defense Department -- is called in under the command of Grayson Pierce. New to SIGMA, Pierce assembles a crack team of scientific and Special Forces operatives to unravel the mystery of the stolen bones, and together they set out on a twisting trail through a labyrinth of clues and dark revelations that carry them to the sites of the Seven Wonders of the World -- and to the doorstep of the mystical and terrifying Dragon Court.
An ancient, secret fraternity of alchemists and assassins, the master-adepts of the Dragon Court have plans for the sacred remains that will alter the future of humankind in devastating ways that only the maddest of zealots could desire -- and they will let nothing and no one stand in their way. Suddenly Pierce, Verona, and the SIGMA team are the hunted as well as the hunters, forced to use every skill they possess to survive as they follow the bones to the ultimate confrontation between darkness and light -- in a lost place of history where science and religion will unite to unleash a horror not seen since the beginning of time.
A masterful novel that combines the exhilarating mysticism of The Da Vinci Code with the pulse-pounding action of a Tom Clancy thriller, James Rollins's Map of Bones is destined to be a modern classic that will stand among the very best adventure tales ever written.
- Bond with greater intellect
This was my first Rollins Novel. I started well and continued but somewhere the story slowed my reading. In the last 100 pages I had to work to finish it. I don't know. It was interesting and seemed to flow well with the action parts but maybe the mumbo jumbo parts went overboard and if that is the case I can say thats what happened to me, I have never read or got envolved with science fiction and probably will not. I will read another of his novels to see if this was just a fluk, if not I will be looking for another Author. ...more info
- tantilizing and tenatious
Rachel Verona is a venturous and bold woman. She is young, pretty, and looks for the perfect man, but has mixed feelings about her family. She is brilliant beyond her years, and makes for a strong character.
Gray is a strong, and cunning man who is a special agent of a police organization. He is not afraid to act under pressure and may has an eye for Rachel.
Vigor is Rachel's uncle and mentor. He loves her daugter more than life itself and is her "guardian angel". He proves to be loving and whitty
and essential to the group's success.
Seichan is a shifty and mysterious woman from an organization that is the brutal enemy of SIGMA. She seems both against and intrigued by Gray. She proves to be one of the most controversial characters of the book and you can never be too sure what side she's on.
Nonna is not the loving grandma that bakes you cookies on christmas. She no doubt shows affection towards he daughter, Rachel, but seems controling over Rachel's life.
Raoul is the main antagonist of the story. This is about as maliciouse as villains get. Completely convinced of his own superiority, Raoul, a member of an ancient society, is a ruthless man who desires nothing more than raw power for the sake of dominating all life.
When a murder from an invisible weapon kills dozens at a service, investigators are left baffled until they discover the one surviving whiteness and the theft of a relic, bones of three ancient kings. Soon, through investigating, hands are pointed at the Vatican, and Lieutenant Rachel Verona uncovers signs of a twisted organization serving as spies in the Pope's very home. The plot thickens when a woman from a criminal organization gets involved dragging a police organization, SIGMA into the mess. An operative from SIGMA accompanies the lieutenant and her team and proves vital to their success at tracking down the spies and stopping a plot that mixes religion and science into a blood curdling secret that could very well decide the fate of man. There is more to the bones than meets the eye, and it's "cloak-and-daggar" is about to be revealed, weather they like it or not.
Map of Bones is a wonderfully written novel that has a cliffhanger around every corner. Though some events, i found unrealistic (such as how all characters escape predicaments unschathed), the constant back-stabbing of characters, and the malevolence of the villains makes for a nightmarish plot that thickens as the story goes on. By the height of the story, you expect to find the barrel of a gun waiting around every corner. The factual history and the creative scientific liberties are intertwined to create an exciting piece not unlike The DaVinci Code. A mysterious but powerful substance, an ancient society in its struggle for power, and a murder in a church by an invisible and deadly weapon reveals the greed of man for the sake of raw power and the will to dominate all life. You will desperately want to put this book down in fear, but you may find that you can't.
I recomend this book to all who love The DaVinci Code and find the pages of a thriller glued to your fingers until the last page is turned....more info
- This is sooo bad......
Map of Bones is just plain boring and horrible. Everyone said a lot of thing re Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code and Matthew Reilly's the Seven Ancient Wonder but at least they are entertaining and believable and they know how to keep the pace.
This book is action-packed, yes, but that's it. It is using Reilly's and Brown's chasing clues and mysteries and so on but the way Rollins write it is like he is forcing it - I have to just drop the book a few times and keep on hoping that he will get it right in the next chapter.....
This book is about a team of chosen people, people who are supposedly near geniuses, are deadly killers, who then found clues, discuss the clues to death in the places where they should just come, get the data and GET AWAY. In this book, the heroes only realize they should have gone away or at least hide when the bad guys come and nearly kills them all. And they do this several times in the book, manage not to get killed every time, but never realize it - come on, people! These are supposedly the elite of the US intel!
Just by listening to the monsignor explaining things in detail, over and over, every time there is a clue, even underwater would make Reilly's Scarecrow punch him in the guts and send him straight to Vatican to be kept in jail so he won't bother the hero anymore. And then there is Kat who never seem to realize or at least count that there is one more bad guy hiding in the shadow before she can rejoice on having killed them all. And so on and so forth. This book is just plainly a mess of everything the author thought of to make it a selling book.
Reading this book is a lengthy and painful experience. ...more info
- Rollins well-researched novel delights in almost every way!
James Rollins' Map of Bones is another novel in the vein of The Da Vinci Code. It is very well researched, with realistic characters, and an almost, but not quite believable premise.
If you're reading this review, then you have already read about the basic plot. And it is, in fact, quite fascinating. I guarantee that you will learn something about the beginnings of the Catholic church and of Christianity in general. But, push the religious stuff aside, this is a roller-coaster of a ride in James Rollins fashion across Europe and the Middle East as Sigma Force chases down clues as to why the bones of one of the original Wise Men was stolen.
My only two caveats about this novel are: how in the middle of all the chaos, with the bad guys close on their tail, can the members of Sigma Force stop in the middle and have a ten minute discussion about the history of the Catholic Church for example? I know that Rollins wants for us to know how much research he put in to this, but there were times when it got to be a little ridiculous. My other hangup with this novel was that the action sequences weren't quite up to Rollins' standards.
With all that said and done, this was a very fun read!...more info
- A Fun, Escapist Sort of Read ...
I've noticed a lot of comparisons between "Map of Bones" and Dan Brown's "The Da Vinci Code," but I read this as a "virgin" reader, so to speak -- in other words, I'm one of those few folks who haven't read "The Da Vinci Code."
To sum things up, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. What follows are some observations:
1. The mixture of good storytelling with scientific concepts. Yes, the novel did go beyond that toward the end (into pseudo-scientific/religious/faith territory), but by then I was hooked and didn't mind it one bit.
2. Characterization. When I found out "Map" was a continuation of a series (after I had purchased the book), I was afraid I'd get shortchanged when it came to characters. I was wrong. I thought Rollins did a good job, and I especially found myself "caring" for Grayson Pierce, Monk and Rachael Verona.
3. Some plot twists took me by surprise. Looking back on it, they seem a little more obvious now, but more than once I was "thrown off the trail," so to speak, especially with regard to some characters. All I can say is, just about every character has a critical role in the story.
4. "Map of Bones" had excellent copy editing! I found very few errors, and that's a rarity in today's publishing world.
1. The ending left a wee bit to be desired. Oh, well. I guess the spiritual journey is never meant to end, so on and on we shall go....more info
- Good fun....but a few touches could have made it really great
Pros: Good adventure, a bit of mystery interleaved with historical details. Reasonable character development. The technical details appeared reasonable...I only googled liquid body armor and npl super black, but those turned up.
Cons: Character development could have been better. I think the book crossed the point of too much adventure without enough introspection in between. I found the continual hostage crisis annoying. How many times do you have to be held hostage by the same guy before you get a clue? Hmmmm....we need some more drama...how about another hostage crisis. Some parts of the plot could have been supported better...just don't think too deeply about it.
The bottom line: It's a good entertaining read and well worth it...just don't expect perfection.
- Dan Brown He Ain't
I cannot believe all the positive reviews of this book. This is one of the dumbest, most painfully will-it-ever-end stories I have read.
This book is chock full of predictable plot points, boring characters and ridiculous dialogue.
Here's an example -- delivered by a mid-60's Vatican monsignor, hilariously named "Vigor...."
"This ancient society of mages must have known the location of Alexander's tomb after Septimus Severus hid it in the third century. They left it undisturbed, letting it safeguard the most valuable scrolls from the lost library. Then perhaps the quake in 1303 not only brought down the lighthouse, but exposed the tomb. They took the opportunity to hide more down there, using the chaotic time after the earthquake to plant their next clue, bury it, and allow the centuries to cover it up again."
Here's the punchline. "Vigor" delivers this soliloquy under water USING SCUBA GEAR!
I would be remiss if I did not also mention the grammatical errors which are too numerous to count. Is this bad writing or just bad editing?
The biggest dummy here, I must confess, is ME -- for buying this book on the recommendations of many who compare James Rollins with Dan Brown and declare James Rollins the better writer. (And on top of that I paid 20 bucks for this thing so that I could read it in eBook form.) Well, my friends, Dan Brown may not be a scholar, but at least he is entertaining and creates interesting characters and semi-plausible situations. The same can't be said for Jimmy Rollins. Dan Brown he ain't.
Map of Bones? Bag of Rocks says I....more info
- Good Read
Enjoyed the book, if you like to learn while reading fiction. Give it a try....more info
- Monatomic Mayhem
Action packed mystery with more Vatican villains. Sort of a Da Vinci Code spin off with an alchemical cult (Imperial Dragon Court) plotting armageddon. Those who enjoyed this secret society conspiracy novel may also like Foucault's Pendulum. As far as uncovering the real science (& superstition) behind religion, consider Brotherhood of the Sun and Christ Conspiracy....more info
- Awesome book
Exciting, page turner - James Rollins is an expert in getting you involved with the plot and loving every minute of it!...more info
- Death defying Map of Bones...
My feelings about this book are mixed. It was fast paced, I never lost interest, and there were unexpected twists. Some characters were both good and bad, instead of every character being either lily white or evil. The trouble I had with this book is that the main characters appeared to be bulletproof. And explosive proof, and fire proof, etc. So they would face a situation with no possible way out, and then they would escape unscathed, over and over again, with a couple of injury exceptions. This book takes death defying to all new levels. Read the first twenty or thirty pages, and if you enjoy them, keep reading. If you don't, lay the book aside before you invest any more time in it. In my opinion, the book is solidly three stars....more info
- Ignore Parts of the Book and Enjoy the Others
If you need something to take your mind off of your worries, then I might recommend this book. The important word here is "might." The characters of this tale are mostly one-dimensional, the action is fast and Hollywoodesque, and the villans are, well, very villanous. So it can be a fun read.
However, you may find yourself occassionally annoyed at Rollins' lack of background research.According to Rollins, the Apostle John of the New Testament was a jealous, self-defensive follower of Christ. He states that John characterized the Apostle Thomas as dull-witted and faithless, which never occurred in the real world.
Rollins also misrepresents Mithrasim as being uncannily similar to Christianity. The truth to his errors: Mithraism did not predate Christianity, this "religion" did not include the ritual of baptism, did not have a sacred meal of bread and wine, did not have 12 disciples, Mithra was not buried in a tomb to rise again, etc. The only connection between these two is the date of December 25.
Throughout the book, he continuously misquotes and misrepresents other facts. If you can ignore all of this, you may enjoy the book....more info
- Biblical history with suspense
A surprise attack on a German cathedral leaves hundreds dead, giving new meaning to the term "mass murder." The only survivor describes a scene that leaves investigators puzzled enough to involve Sigma, an elite and highly secretive black ops unit, dedicated to defending America from its most hidden enemies. The investigating team is led by Grayson Pierce, a stony, charismatic warrior scientist considered to be one of the unit's best field agents.
His team discovers that the Dragon Court, a rogue Gnostic sect devoted to the teachings of Saint Thomas, utilized the hidden properties of one of the world's precious resources to carry out the attack and unleash a power dating back to the time of Moses. However, this attack was only a preview of much bigger things to come. Grayson and his team soon find themselves immersed in a race across Europe, riddled with as much danger as action, and the security of the world waiting at the finish line.
This book can be accurately described as Indiana Jones meets Dan Brown, but with more action than the former and more depth than the latter. The author clearly showed his knack for researching his subject matter and utilized his characters well to convey that research. The main character is almost instantly familiar for anyone who is a fan of the archeologist made famous by Harrison Ford and George Lucas, which increases the hero's likeability factor. The supporting cast is equally familiar and well-utilized. There are the wise-cracking yet capable teammates, the sultry yet tough heroine, and the well-versed Uncle Vigor, a Vatican intelligence operative used by the author to convey information to the reader.
The action is quite fast-paced and seemingly non-stop through the first third of the book. Such a pace threatens to leave the reader behind in confusion, but the overall story doesn't suffer. All in all, the book may not be of "read-again" material, but is well worth reading the first time, especially for those who enjoy action/adventure and Biblical history.
Reviewed on behalf of MyShelf.com...more info
- Worth The Price of Admission !
If you thought THE DA VINCI CODE was good, MAP OF BONES is far better. Yes, the secrets and revelations of CODE might run a little deeper, but BONES has story, action and characters with at least some originality to them. I thought CODE was one of the worst thrillers ever written, a cardboard plot with full of cliche B-movie characters (but a great idea and great research). With BONES, Rollins has done his own fascinating historical and religious research and he delivers a complete package. BONES is a fast, gripping read full of rollercoaster surprises, twists and turns....more info
- The bones lead to ancient mysteries...
Having never bothered to read the vastly overhyped "Da Vinci Code" by Dan Brown, I can't honestly compare this novel to it, other than that they both appear to involve the Catholic Church and secret societies. Gray Piece, leader of the Sigma Force, meets Seichan, a mercenary working for the mysterious Guild, at Fort Detrick, where she's (supposedly) planted an anthrax bomb.
The opening scenes at the fort are great: Seichan and Gray are equally matched and while she plays a minor role in this book, she also appears in "The Judas Strain".
The Sigma team is called to Italy, where a massacre at a Catholic Mass has the police puzzled: the only deaths were those who partook of the wafers at communion. Rachel Verona, a lieutenant with the Italian carabineri, and niece to Monsignor Vigor Verona, works with Gray's team in trying to figure out why the only items missing from the church massacre are the bones of the Magi.
The novel spans several countries, as clues regarding the "map of bones" are placed at the seven wonders of the ancient world. The story is long-winded in places, but the plot moves along fairly rapidly and you do find yourself rooting for Gray's team from the outset. I've read a few of his other Sigma novels and have yet to be disappointed. ...more info
- One of the BEST books I've read!
After I read this book, I immediately ordered every book James Rollins has written. The combination of science, history, and action-adventure is genious. This book is the second in a series of books with the same characters. If you enjoyed Angels and Demons or The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown, you will LOVE James Rollins books! I highly recommend this book to everyone!!
*The books in this series (in order) are 1)Sandstorm 2)Map of Bones 3)Black Order and his new one 4)The Judas Strain....more info
- Much Better Than The DaVinci Code
Although Map of Bones has been toughted as being in the same vein as The DaVinci Code, I'd have to say it's in a league way beyond it. The characters are better written, the story is more scientifically-oriented than The DaVinci Code making it that much more interesting, and the ending leaves you wanting so much more. Way to go Mr. Rollins!...more info
- Top-notch thriller!
Full of puzzles, twists and turns. Great interesting historical details. Wonderful team of characters. My complaint is the grandmother's role - how ridiculous and what a strange turn it gave the tone of the novel. It was too jarring....more info
- Suspenseful but not much more
Apparently this book is widely compared to Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code. This book is perfect for a summer read if you're looking for something with an intense plot and not much else.
I was annoyed with the author's attempt to make the book more authentic by using sentences in foreign languages (German, Italian, French, Portuguese). If you do that, at least do it right. Apart from German which I don't speak, there were mistakes in the other languages, the sentences were direct translations from English etc.
Even in English, the language is sometimes very stilted and awkward.
The flow of the novel is bearable when it comes to the action parts, all the rest sounds unnatural and awkward. The dialogs are huge info dumps and are annoying to read because you constantly try to pretend they sound like real life dialogs. They don't.
And if you want a realistic story, this one is not for you. The implausible premise is hard to swallow if you don't have a very vivid imagination....more info
- A Little Too Much Going On
This is the third James Rollins book I have read and probably my least favorite so far. I am not sure if a book can be action packed and boring at the same time, but this book seemed to accomplish this task. The fact that this story put its main characters in one stressful, life- threatening situation after another eventually made this book predictable and annoying. I knew that every time the "good guys" were doing ok, it was only a matter of time before they found themselves being pummeled by the "bad guys" -- which leads to the other problem with this book. It was hard to believe that a group of military/police trained individuals would go from one precarious situation after another without learning from their previous mistakes. If this was real life, they would have died fairly quickly because of their stupidity. I was baffled by the fact that even though the "good guys" had continuously witnessed the strength and determination of the "bad guys", they never seemed to adequately protect themselves from further attacks. In the end, I found myself wanting to get to the end of the book, not because I was interested in how it ended, but because I knew it was the only time the "good guys" were ever going to catch a break. ...more info