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Nationally bestselling author James Rollins has transported readers to the dark heart of the Amazon, the bowels of the earth, far below the ocean, and the top of the world. Now he embarks upon his most gripping and terrifying adventure yet: to a nightmare buried beneath a treacherous desert wasteland.

An inexplicable explosion rocks the antiquities collection of a London museum -- a devastating blast that sets off alarms in clandestine organizations around the world, as the race begins to determine how it happened, why it happened, and what it means.

Lady Kara Kensington's family paid a high price in money and blood to found the gallery that now lies in ruins. And her search for answers is about to lead Kara and her friend Safia al-Maaz, the gallery's brilliant and beautiful curator, into a world they never dreamed actually existed. For new evidence exposed by the tragedy suggests that Ubar, a lost city buried beneath the Arabian desert, is more than mere legend ... and that something astonishing is waiting there.

Two extraordinary women and their guide, the international adventurer Omaha Dunn, are not the only ones being drawn to the desert. Former U.S. Navy SEAL Painter Crowe, a covert government operative and head of an elite counterespionage team, is hunting down a dangerous turncoat, Crowe's onetime partner, to retrieve the vital information she has stolen. And the trail is pointing him toward Ubar.

But the many perils inherent in a death-defying trek deep into the savage heart of the Arabian Peninsula pale before the nightmarish secrets to be unearthed at journey's end. What is hidden below the sand is more than a valuable relic of ancient history. It is an ageless power that lives and breathes -- an awesome force that could create a utopia or tear down everything humankind has built during millennia of civilization. Many lives have already been destroyed by ruthless agencies dedicated to guarding its mysteries and harnessing its might. And now the end may be at hand for Safia, for Kara, for Crowe, and for all the interlopers who wish to expose its mysteries, as it prepares to unleash the most terrible storm of all ...

Customer Reviews:

  • roller coaster ride
    elways exciting always hard to put down and always based on fact
    fantastic read...more info
  • Exciting and Fast Paced
    James Rollins is an excellent writer of adventure fiction. As other reviewers have remarked, this book is basically Indiana Jones meets A Perfect Storm. The story begins in the Near Eastern wing of the British Museum. During an electrical storm, an ancient iron camel attracts a ball of lightning, and explodes. A wealthy oil baroness had bankrolled the exhibit. Her best friend Safia Al-Maaz was the curator. Enter Painter Crowe from Sigma force - the black ops arm of DARPA (think Navy SEALS with PhDs) - to investigate. Thus, begins the hunt for a new power source based on stabilized antimatter in the Omani desert. Along comes Al-Maaz's ex-boyfriend Omaha Dunn (complete with Indiana Jones jokes) a treasure hunter. They are confonted by a secret society bent on obtaining this power source for themselves...

    The story culminates with the discovery of an ancient lost city - from which the Queen of Sheba hailed - during the worst sandstorm to hit South Arabia in centuries...

    The story is faced paced. James Rollins is one of the best writers of action sequences in the business. I rate him up there with David Morrell. However, techno-thrillers need to get the details right. Minor details that could have been caught with 5 minutes on the web by Rollins or his editor mar the book. The high-end aviation watchmaker is Breitling, not Breitlinger; the LANDSAT satellite doesn't have synthetic aperture radar to see through sand; LANDSAT data isn't obtained from NASA JPL, but from EROS Data Center; glass is an insulator not a conductor; etc.

    The technical details aside, I recommend this book to fans of adventure stories in exotic places. ...more info
  • Not nearly as good as I expected
    I read & loved Map of Bones, Rollins most recent release, so I picked up this book thinking it would be just as good. I moved backwards to this predecessor because I had not heard of Rollins before. Mistake!
    I cannot start a book & not finish it & I don't like to read more than one book at a time; personal quirks I live with. Usually I read a book a week, because I usually find good reads based on reviews, research & sales. There was nothing to suggest that I wouldn't like this. Reviews of the book were good, sales were good, & the story seemed enthralling. My formula did not work. This was a month long marathon of torture. I felt like I was back in high school or college reading a book that I hated but had to read to complete a report or take a test to pass the course.
    What a disaster of a novel. The book is over 500 pages long for 1 very simple reason: this guy can drag out the description of a piece of dirt for at least a page. It would also appear that Rollins pulled out a thesaurus the day he started writing this book, picked out five to ten words that are not often used in conversation, & regurgitated those five to ten words over and over again. Why? I don't know.
    The story and the facts supporting it are promising, intriguing. It involves anti-matter (yes, the same stuff in "Angels & Demons"), the lost city of Ubar (the queen of Sheba and the Garden of Eden), & the potential for world domination based on some long-buried secret. A good formula for a scientific & historical thriller. Right? Wrong!
    To top it off, Rollins attempts to add a love story (you could call it a love triangle) to this train wreck of a novel, which only further bogs down the story.
    Some of the characters (described in full as if they will be a major player) exist for no apparent reason other than to add a line of dialogue, and the dialogue is bad throughout. One character, who appears in the first chapter & is described with enough detail that you can assume he will be a key character, never returns. Why? It's a muddled mess.
    The main characters are unemotional & unresponsive, almost lifeless, considering that they are facing life-and-death situations.
    The dialogue is ridiculous: calm conversations about scientific realities & falsehoods in the midst of a gunfight taking place under the so-called sand-storm of the century; attempted witty banter between two characters that have not had an ounce of chemistry; run-on, endless dialogue about scientific facts without a pause or interruption.
    I was thoroughly disappointed in this book & I won't be reading any of Rollins' earlier works. I may attempt the follow up to "Map of Bones", if one is released. Maybe that was the turning point for Rollins, the place where he found his writing niche. I'm not sure if I will, but I might.

    I am sure that there are many people who truly enjoyed this novel, but I found it to be trite & cliche, a drudgery. I hope anyone who buys this book enjoys it, I just want to let you know that you may want to think twice before believing the great reviews.

    For the sake of relativity, I will provide a list of some of my favorite books in this genre so you can decide whether or not my opinion matters to you: The Last Templar by Khoury, The Third Secret & The Romanov Prophecy by Berry, Obsessed by Dekker, Brethren by Young, Labyrinth by Mosse, and The First Horseman & The Genesis Code by Case

    Enjoy!...more info
  • Slow Read
    I bought the books weeks ago and still haven't gotten through it. I keep waiting for the story to start. Not one of the authors best works....more info
  • Sandstorm throws off too much dust
    See coachtim's review because I had exactly the same reaction to this new Rollins novel. Moreover, most of the horses die - and that is never acceptable to me....more info
  • Wordy and disjointed...this Sandstorm was tough to get through
    Having read all of James Rollins' previous novels, I couldn't wait to get my hands on "Sandstorm" and dive in. While Rollins did a good job setting the stage for the plot, I found myself soon losing interest in the story as I got 100 or so pages into it.

    Rather than waste your time with another plot synopsis of this book, let me just suffice to say that there are plenty of well-developed characters (a Rollins strength), but his over-wordy style took a book of about 300 pages and turned it into a 500+ page novel.

    If you're new to Rollins, start with any of his earlier works to get a better feel for his talent (and he is a talented writer).
    This reviewer's recommendations are in this order:
    1. Subterranean (his first and still best IMHO)
    2. Amazonia
    3. Deep Fathom
    4. Ice Hunt
    5. Excavation
    6. Map of Bones (to be read yet)...more info
  • Super Duper
    If you like this author, then you'll love this book. If you like fun, cliff-hanger, thought provoking, and pretty well written adventure tales, you'll love this book....more info
  • good book
    it's a good book. kind of like james bond meets national treasure. i am already reading the next book in the series!!!...more info
  • Review
    I still havent received the item purchased. Will submit a review as soon as i receive it.
    Thank you...more info
  • Sandstorm
    This is my first reading of a James Rollins book....well I could not even finish it so that should tell you something. I managed to slog through about 400 hundred pages but when you keep asking yourself why you are reading a book there is definitely something missing. Was it the ridiculous plot?...Was it the poor characterization?....Was it just the total absurd premise of the book? I have read alot of great reviews of his books so maybe I missed something with this one but it will be awhile before I try another one....more info
  • Good story, but poor character development and very error prone
    I thought that the storyline for this book was very good. Unlike Deep Fathom, the science in this book was well thought out and could be appreciated by both science fiction and non-science fiction readers. He also has a interesting, but subtle, sub-plot in the story, which kind of explains the Virgin Mary, although not everyone will care for that.

    Unfortunately, there are a couple of serious problems with the book. The first is something that James Rollins has a lot of problems with. This is his errors when dealing with the US Government and Military. The explanations for this are as follows:

    1) DARPA, as he did explain, is the Research & Development branch of the DoD. While they may have agents and such, they do not have a standing field force. This isn't that big of a deal, because they could always have a black ops force. However, DARPA generally works behind the scenes, funding highly secretive research and such (a good example of this is the movie Chain Reaction).

    2) Early on in the book, the head of DARPA contacts the Director of the CIA and tells him, doesn't ask, but tells him to cover for him. This is a no-no. The Director of the CIA has another title, which is simple Chief of National Intelligence. What this means is that the Director of the CIA would be the supervisor of the Director of Sigma. That being said, if Sigma contacts the CNI, then he'd need to ask for permission to deploy. Would have been better not even to contact the CNI.

    3) What is it about Rollins and American Indians? He seems to like to have them in every book. In Ice Hunt, they were an important part of the story, and there was only cursory discussion of them. Unfortunately, in this book, the main character is half American Indian. The problem is, is that is pretty much nearly impossible. The reason is Security Clearances. To get into a position that Crowe was in, he'd need a very high level clearance. Unfortunately, the US Government is very picky about who gets a clearance, and they generally do not provide them to American Indians. It is a shame that there is still two acceptable forms of discrimination in this country (the other is fat discrimination). I apologize if this offends. I am not trying to offend, but just relating known fact.

    The second serious problem in the book is poor character development. This is unusual for Rollins, as he's normally very good in this regard. Unfortunately, the character development in this one is VERY boring in the beginning, and doesn't really tell you anything.

    The other problem with the character development is the main character, Painter Crowe. I'm sorry, but he is probably the absolute worst secret agent I've ever met. He's never prepared, he seems to fall in love with every woman he meets, and he's too kind hearted. It may have been that Rollins wanted a secret agent with feelings. Well he got one, and he can have him back. He did everything wrong, and succeeded by blind luck and sheer chance more than anything else.

    Well, that's my vent for this book. Sorry about it being so long. I'm off to read Map of Bones to see if this storyline improves.

    Toodles....more info
  • Nothing Short of Outstanding!!!
    Sandstorm is my first James Rollins novel. He can be placed onto the same class with Clive Cussler, Robert Ludlum, Katherine Neville and Dan Brown.

    Lots of actions, adventure, history and scientific stuffs. All great ingredients adds up to make an excellent soup, in this case in a Novel form. If you read Dan Brown's novels, the buckyball was mentioned somewhere. Voila! There goes again with this "bucky guy" in this novel. Actually, it is responsible for the cohesion of a volatile matter, keeping it from annihilating the world. Rollins is the only author I have read so far that has taken buckyballs into the next level, where no others has done so. Very exciting!

    After finishing reading this outstanding novel, I started downloading all of his current novel excerpts. So far my next novel will be Deep Fathom and Map of Bones.

    Readers are better off reading Sandstorm first, prior to reading Map of Bones, cause the organization he created in Sandstorm reappears in Map of Bones. Twisting Arabian peninsular history, mixing it with Indiana Jones-Western style adventure, plus Jason Bourne-like characters at its best.

    One thing I noticed came up too many times, that is there are too many PhDs in this novel. I lost count now, but, not less than 5-10 PhDs. Nothing against them, but, you don't need to be a PhD to be a smart one...

    Nevertheless, Rollins has just gotten one fanatic member in me. A highly recommended book for this genre fans....more info
  • Better than average but nothing exceptional
    I had read James Rollin's earlier book "Amazonia" and found it to be quite entertaining. So naturally, I had high hopes for this book. In this book, he tackles the subject of "antimatter," in a way thats not at all in the "Star Trek" fashion. But instead, he grounds it within the main characters and story line - something most people can relate to (assuming you are familiar with the subject of antimatter). Overall, this book is quite entertaining, with the ending especially well done. However, the set up could use some more originality (Da Vinci Code flashbacks) and some more scientific conjectures (perhaps Mr. Rollin's physics background is not as strong as his biology background.) I reconmmend this book for a casual read... just don't expect this to blow you away. ...more info
  • fun read, but corny at best
    This is a pretty typical action/thriller that has all the usual ingredients. There's the treasure hunt, historical and mystical intrigue, technology/weapons, and young good looking people with ample sexual tension. The story's pacing is good and kept my interest, but the cheesy characters every so often slapped me out of the book. Characters named Omaha and Tony the Tiger? Are you kidding me? While I don't regret reading the book, I certainly wouldn't recommend it to anyone either. Rollins just isn't quite as good as top tier authors like Clancy, Crichton, Preston, and Child. ...more info
  • Please! No more mumbling!
    This is another of Rollins's Sigma Force novels, though I've found you don't need to read them in the order they were published in to be able to relate to the characters. As in 'Black Order' he's done a masterful job of painting in the characters such that you can care about and relate to them in short order. He juggles a vast canvas of names and faces without ever allowing them to blend one into another. His villains are definitely more interesting here than in 'Deep Fathom'; they have more than one note to them (or at least, the major one does), although I wouldn't call them three-dimensional.

    The science in this book borders on the edge of mysticism at times, but Rollins does his best to put forward possible scientific explanations for everything; one thing he includes at the end that I appreciate and enjoy reading is a brief section detailing the reality behind the theories he works with in his book.

    I enjoy Rollins's writing. Sandstorm definitely has better (i.e. less trite) dialogue than Deep Fathom--you can see how Rollins has improved over time. The characters stuck with me even after I finished reading, and there are some truly delightful turns of phrase in this book. One of Rollins's greatest talents, as always, is his pacing; I got sucked into the plot quite quickly.

    I only have one request for Rollins: Please, please, in the name of all that's holy, set your word processor to ferret out each and every use of the word `mumbled' and force you to replace 99% of them in future books. I was about ready to scream halfway through the book because that word showed up absolutely everywhere. Could someone please just mutter for once? Or murmur? Or... anything?!

    Anyway, apart from all the mumbling this is a fun book and well worth the price of admission....more info
  • A great thriller I didn't want to end!
    Oh baby, was this a fantastic action/adventure/thriller. I am a huge archaeology/Indiana Jones fan and this book 'had me at hello' (so to speak!)
    It starts off with a bang, laden in mystery & intrigue & keeps zooming along to ever greater, more mysterious fascinating places, with a cast of characters you will really grow fond of. These characters really have lives of their own and you'll find yourself rooting for various outcomes in their relationships, all while dying to know the secret of the story. My imagination was zooming along through the pages, and still it surprised the heck out of me. Every time I thought, ok, we must be at the climax, the tension, the drama grew & grew. James Rollins is in his element, you can almost feel the raging sandstorm. I loved this book and have recommended it to my avid reader friends. You will not be disappointed, this book delivers, then delivers more, then still more...

    Rai Aren...more info
  • Another fun thriller
    Saffia is startled when she hears an explosion outside of her apartment. She is soon horrified to realize that the explosion took place in the wing of the London museum where she works and where she has a strong emotional connection. But the explosion is only the beginning. Many people, both good and bad, are interested in what caused the explosion. It becomes a race to the Arabian Desert looking for treasure and answers. Saffia sets off on this expedition with her best friend Kara, ex-fiance, Omaha, and others that are all interested in the trip for various reasons. But they are being tracked by a secret militant group that will stop at nothing to get to the prize first. Saffia and friends are constantly under attack and must use their brains and wits to keep them alive and keep the power and riches at the end of their quest out of the wrong hands.

    Along for the ride is Painter Crowe and his partner Coral Novak. They are part of an elite US government group that is known to only a few - SIGMA. He suspects that the person that has them under fire and is racing them to the finish line is his former partner, Cassandra, who has left SIGMA to work for the enemy. Painter must use his knoweledge of Cassandra to out think and out wit her before she does the same to him. It is complicated by the fact that she knows him so well and is doing the same. But who at SIGMA can he trust? It seems as though Cassandra has always been one step ahead and must have an inside source of information.

    James Rollins consistently delivers a fast paced thriller full of mystery and plot turns. This one is no different. A bit slow for the first half, the book really gears up for the second. True of all of his books, science and legend are wrapped into the plot. The scientific aspects of the book are, for the most part, based on real principles of physics and make for a more plausible explanation for the wild environmental phenomenons that the group must face. Another wild ride and entertaining novel. This is the first of Rollins' books that are a part of the SIGMA Series....more info
  • Solid Rollins Work
    I did not like it quite as much as Black Order because it was a little harder to believe, but it was still an excellent read. Full of great action, unique environments, and some solid characters, it is a very good read. It is good to read to get some good background info on Painter Crowe and Sigma Force....more info
  • What an incredible book
    What an incredible book. Once you start reading it, you won't be able to set it down. I even got yelled at by my boss for reading the book on company time. I've read it 4 times and each time is like the first time. There is alot of information to process so get ready be blown away. It's awsome. Also, if you missed reading Tino Georgiou's masterpiece--The Fates, go and read it. ...more info
  • Sandstorm
    I sat spellbound while reading this wonderful book by James Rollins, who is fast becomming one of my "must read" authors. I've always had a fascination for that part of the world, and to have an entire book dedicated to the rich history, plausible theories, and downright great action, was a total enjoyment for me.

    I would, without hesitation, recommend this book to anyone who loves stories with a 'hook' into the past history of ancient times. I applaud Mr. Rollins for yet another wild ride through literature....more info
  • Romantic Dribble & Poorly Written
    I just finished this audiobook. I love action books and don't mind a little romantic interlude with the story line. This is the first James Rollins books I've listened too.It's gong to definatly be my last.

    First the plot is so transparent a five year old knows exactly where the author is going throughout. Second the continous ramantic 2nd class dribble is beyond endurence for the listener. Old five cent love novels have better dialog. The over the top lines and the constant need to present contrived romance is stupid. If you have half a brain buy a comic book, it'll be better written. Also the abridged audio is only 6hrs long. The unabridged version is 15hrs. BUYER BE WARE. This is not worth your time or money. ...more info
  • Great Start, Overlong Ending
    Anyone who's read James Rollins knows what they're going to get: a rollicking adventure tale set in an intriguing environment with lots of action, lots of characters, and a peek into alternative history. Once again, Rollins delivers exactly that.

    Sandstorm starts off like all great thrillers do, it introduces all of the main characters and then brings them together at the end of Act One. In Act Two the characters band together to achieve their goal, but bad things happen, and the characters get separated. Act Three has the characters merging together in an effort to beat the enemy and the the elements. You know how it'll turn out, but it's so enjoyable you'll keep reading it anyway.

    The only thing keeping me from giving this book five stars is that Act Three goes on way too long. The final fight is overlong and could have been condensed by fifty or so pages.

    On to his next book!...more info
  • Omaha Dunn??
    Okay, if you'd like a stew of old movie serials, Clive Cussler without the charm, Dean Koontz without the intelligence, and comic book characters and dialog, here you go. This is the second in this series I've read and my last. The heroes are ridiculous and the plots fantastic and completely beyond belief. These might be distracting, however, if you're awaiting open-heart surgery and this is all they have in the hospital gift shop....more info
  • Excellent Read!!!! You won't be disappointed!
    I picked up this book after reading one of James Rollins' novels and I must say that it was one of the best fiction books I have read in a long, long time!

    It's not often that I post a review but I felt I simply had to pass on my positive opinion about this novel after reading it.

    The plot and storyline are well developed. The action is fast and the characters are three-dimensional. Rollins' suspension of disbelief is artfully done and his research paid off as the book is filled with accurate scientific facts. If you like Dan Brown, Clive Cussler, Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child novels then you will simply love this! I cannot recommend it highly enough for any fiction reader!

    ...more info
  • Fun read!
    I enjoy James Rollin's books. They are action packed! Although I do find them a tad far fetched, that's the fun of them. This one lived up to my expectations....more info
  • High Adventure, Science, and Romantic Tension
    If you are a fan of Dan Brown's books (Da Vinci Code author), you will love James Rollins' books! In a similar style, in "Sandstorm," Rollins rolls exotic locations, high adventure, romantic tension, science, and a touch of religious history involving modern-day guardians into a spy thriller starring government agents, physicists, a businesswoman, and an archeologist. All the action takes place, minute-to-minute, over just a few days. I really enjoyed this book, and had great trouble putting it down, at each sitting! I finished it in three days.

    "Sandstorm" begins with an explosion in the British Museum, which sets the action in motion among different factions. Some are searching for the ancient lost city of Ubar, on the Arabian peninsula, while government/terrorist factions are searching for the source of the antimatter which caused the explosion. The action takes us from the United States, into the Arabian peninsula, where two-thirds of the book takes place. All of the action is infused with tension between the woman archeologist, and the two heroes-both of whom we are rooting for at the same time. I was kept on the edge of my seat, wondering until the end which man she would choose!

    Fact and fiction are well-mixed in this tale. Upon finishing the book, I could hardly wait to check out all these things and places mentioned in the book on the internet. Then I got to the last page, and found a two-page "Author's Note" section. In a few paragraphs, Rollins informs us about the latest research in antimatter, and of the historical basis for the lost city of Ubar, as well as about the actual tombs of Nabi Imran (the Virgin Mary's father) and Ayoub (Job). He gives us good sources about all of the above to follow up on, if we are interested. He also informs us at this point about a few things in the book which are fiction. I really appreciated this section.

    "Sandstorm" is the first of Rollins' books that I decided to try. I am so delighted with this author that I now intend to go out and buy, in one fell swoop, EVERY book that he has published!...more info
  • Once through and done
    Some books just stick in your memory and invite you to keep, treasure, and reread them again and again. Others grab you for the moment and entertain, but don't quite capture your imagination. Finally, some books are just plain forgettable.
    Sandstorm is an excellent example of the middle kind. The kind of book that's perfect for a summer vacation day or a plane ride but one that you leave in the hotel room or pass on to a friend when you've finished.
    All in all well worth the read.

    ...more info