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Bloodline by James Rollins
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Bloodline

by James Rollins

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***2014 Reread of Sigma Force***
The eighth in the Sigma Force series. This book focuses on immortality. Topics include immortals since biblical times, triple helix DNA with PNA, automatons and neurotechnology. As before this review will be broken into the three categories mentioned in previous reviews and hidden due to spoilers. Links to all of the reviews so far are here:

Sandstorm
Map of Bones
Black Order
The Judas Strain
The Last Oracle
The Doomsday Key
The Devil Colony
Bloodline
The Eye of God

Synopsis:Prologue: 1134 the founding of the Templars had 9 people, yet history only knows about 8. The ninth was a female, and on this battlefield she approaches a very old man, ~525 years old. She kills him and takes his staff, which is alluded to have great powers.

Present day, the President's daughter is kidnapped off the coast of the Seychelles by Somali pirates. Sigma is sent in as a request of the POTUS. Gray, Seichan, and Kowalski also meet up with a new set of partners in Tanzania: Tucker Wayne and his war dog, Kane.

They travel to Boosaaso, Somalia and meet a CIA contact to gather intel. Although the contact plans to betray them, they overhear some intel that the girl was taken up near the mountains. Shortly after, Seichan is captured by what turns out to be MI6 agents. Gray & Co track her down and take down the agents only to discover their identity. They form up together and locate a good pace to start the search for the POTUS's daughter, Amanda Gant-Bennet: a UNICEF medical camp near the mountains.

The team heads to the camp, but then is attacked and flee in dune buggies. They find a new camp and stage an attack themselves. They eliminate all enemies, destroy some vehicles. They break in to the cabin and discover a female body, dead and cut open. It is not Amanda, but POTUS et al believe it to be Amanda. Gray tells Painter the truth and Painter decides to keep it hidden for now. From a child soldier captured, Gray learns they may have taken Amanda to Dubai. They head out, leaving the Brit SRR team behind.

Meanwhile, Lisa and Kat devise a plan to investigate the fertilization clinic Amanda went to. They split up, Kat as a rundown woman looking to sell her eggs and plant surveillance stuff while in the back; Lisa as a well to do doctor looking to refer her patients and thus be able to plant her stuff in the higher end office. The clinic exposes Lisa after she leaves and tracks her down and eventually captures her. Kat's disguise is too good and she is taken prisoner to be used at the Lodge (where big experiments are done). Kat breaks free and eventually sets fire to the complex and kills the head doctor. Once outside, she is intercepted by the men holding Lisa and she too is captured. Destination: the Lodge.

Back to Gray's team: they get in to Dubai and from Sigma learn about an artificial island mostly owned by the Gant family. They head out under cover of darkness and with help from Jack Kirkland (from Deep Fathom and Lisa's ex). They infiltrate the center-most tower and find where they are keeping Amanda. They break in, get Amanda, but not before the researchers evacuate with Amanda's newborn baby. The support structures are blown up causing Gray and his team to race to the lobby and into a firefight, all while the tower is sinking around them. Gray and Seichan split from the group and lead the pursuers on a chase and eventually go to the lead ship and allow themselves to be captured and brought back to the states. The rest of the team is surprised and rescued by Jack and his submersible. They transport Amanda back to Sigma where she begins her recovery.

Gray wakes and is instructed to assassinate the president. Painter learns of this plot due to some nifty recording done by Gray before he and Seichan are drugged in Dubai. They stage the president's death, Gray finds out Robert L Gant is the Guild operative of the Bloodline, and Sigma learns this from Gray as well. However, Gray is taken back to the Lodge before he can be rescued where Dr Cummings is being held and forced to save Amanda's baby on pain of Kat. Seichan is also being held at the Lodge. Painter heads a rescue team and also enlists the help of Monk, with a new hand. Everyone converges on the Lodge as Gray meets Robert Gant and is shown the truth about the Bloodline.

Lisa is let out of the cell to help bring back the infant. Kat is sent out into the wild to face off against wave after wave of the hexapods/automatons. Lisa finds a way to escape and ends up on a ledge just outside an emergency door. She waits for the rescue that eventually comes to find her. Kat survives the first wave and makes a run from the second wave sending many over a cliff and scurrying up a tree where she too waits to be rescued. Gray is told all about the Bloodline and the Lineage that comprises the true power. The truth is revealed by Robert Gant who turns out to be just another puppet. When one of the Lineage tries to kill Gray and Robert they escape, find Seichan just in time to save her: Robert taking bullets and dying in the process. He reveals he is actually Seichan's father, her mother may still be alive, and he was the one who brought her into the Guild as a way of protecting her. Gray and Seichan escape out of the research lab. Meanwhile, Painter and Monk parachute towards the Lodge/Research Lab. Together with Tucker and Kane, they rescue Lisa and Kat and link up with Gray who has commandeered a helicopter. They all escape from the Lodge and make it safe.

Back at Sigma, it is revealed that the true Lineage actually follows the females in the Bloodline. It is also revealed that the First Lady is the true mastermind and attempts to take out the POTUS once again. Jason Carter helps save the day, and First Lady is left in a vegetative state and the POTUS vows to keep her alive as long as possible to suffer.

As a way to wrap things up Painter proposes to Lisa who accepts, Kat decides to go back into fieldwork and Monk decides to also come back to watch after Kat. Gray and Seichan appear to be moving forward as a couple, but now Seichan has a submission in life: to find her mother. As a side note: Kowalski has not mentioned his girlfriend from Last Oracle and Doomsday Key in a few novels now. In the true epilogue, it is revealed at least one of the automatons survives and its main function is simply to survive.

Sigma Characters:
DARPA Director: General Gregory Metcalf
SIGMA Director: Painter Crowe
SIGMA Admin: Brant Millford, secretary and aid
Agent: Grayson Pierce, team leader
Agent: Monk Kokkalis
Agent: Kathryn Bryant, second in command
Agent: Joe Kowalksi
Chief Analyst: Jason Carter
Analyst: Renny Quinn
Analyst: Linus
Asset: Tucker Wayne
Asset: Kane
Doctor: Lisa Cummings

Sigma Locations
Republic of Tanzania
Boosaaso, Somalia
Utopia/Burj Abaadi, Dubai, UAE
Fertility Clinic, Charleston, South Carolina, USA
Lodge/Research Lab, South Carolina, USA

Map of Horn of Africa


From 2012 Initial Reading
Another top notch Sigma story. this one dealing with nanotechnology and immortality as the team goes from Somalia off shore to the mountains to Dubai back to Charleston to cap the adventure. Important revelations about the Guild are discovered and new relationships are formed. The new weapons being developed by the baddies are based on truth as Rollins tends to do, but also were conceived way back with Philip k Dick's short story, Second Variety. Uncanny how spot on these weapons are nowadays.

Pacing of this book is just as fast as any other of Rollins and once i finished it i was left with an odd feeling of being satisfied with the story outcome and demanding there to be more story. Guess I will have to wait until next year... ( )
  T4NK | Sep 30, 2014 |
Another wild ride with the Sigma team. Loved the character moments, especially at the end.

( )
  kevbayer | Jun 20, 2014 |
Bloodline is my first James Rollins novel, but I don't think it will be the last. This fast paced thriller features the Sigma Force, an elite military-type unit which one can always count on when it is Mission Impossible time. In this case, the president's pregnant daughter is kidnapped from a yacht by no less than Somali pirates. They may or may not know just who their hostage is, but a team from Sigma Force is hurriedly assembled and shipped out to Africa to begin a search and rescue mission.

Additions to the team give Commander Gray Pierce an extra edge in this harrowing rescue mission. Captain Tucker Wayne and his trained war dog Kane are able to track and to communicate in situations that only a trained dog like Kane could pull off, utilizing his extraordinary sense of smell and his ability to get beyond the enemy lines. To me, the relationship between the trainer and his extraordinary dog may be the sweetest part of the story.

It doesn't take long to figure out that the captors know exactly who their captive is, and that what they really want is not the president's daughter, but her unborn child. The baby apparently has a unique DNA strand that just may hold the key to immortality...and how did they know? Amanda and her husband chose artificial insemination at a prestigious clinic with no idea that it was the face of a research center that apparently experiments on vulnerable clients in an attempt to create a human being that is also immortal. Could that clinic be yet another arm of the Guild, a powerful but shadowy enemy which the Sigma Force has encountered in the past?

Researchers in secret labs run by folks who see their mission as greater than any archaic limits set by a sense of morality, create a horrifying yet believable scenario that includes melding human cells into robot circuitry. Among other things, they are experimenting with weaponry using human brain cells, allowing insect or crab-like robots to communicate between themselves and learn from their environment in the midst of battles.

The bad guys stay one step ahead of the Sigma Force, as the action moves from the mountains of Somalia to the magnificent architecture and reclaimed islands of Dubai to Washington DC to the Blue Ridge Mountains of South Carolina. There are plenty of action scenes replete with guns, knives, and occasional hand to hand combat. Even a couple of catastrophic explosions keep the momentum going as the plot twists and turns toward a satisfying conclusion.

Rollins is great at weaving in history, science and technology to create an action/adventure story that keeps the reader turning pages to see what is in store for both the likable and multifaceted protagonists and the evil villains they work to overcome. ( )
  vcg610 | May 5, 2014 |
Rollins' stories get more and more exciting! The addition of Tucker and Kane to this one certainly fleshes out the Sigma Force. Good reading! ( )
  GTTexas | Feb 9, 2014 |
To be quantitative or be qualitative that is the question.

This seems to be the issue these days with SIGMA novels. I am glad we have the novella to have Tucker and Kane's character development and background. But it should have been an extension, a fan extra and not depend as a writer for the fans to read.

Don't get me wrong, as usual its a great book but I'm wondering if James should not give SIGMA's team a rest for a bit. We, your fans love your microscopic attention to detail but there is WAY too much! The tech swallows up all of it..the characters we love fighting the new tech, Grant ..Kat..Lisa..Senchian are crammed amidst the plethera of bio, fringe, future, old, new, conspiratorial ... heck even Painter is barely "sketched" here where we used to at least feel the presense of those characters we love. Again there is just TOO much this time.

Even so for a fan its a great wrap up ...or is it. Read Tracked for Tucker and Kane's back story. I loved it but was just let down and feel a bit bloated. Am looking toward to his new collabritve story with Rebecca Cantrell which takes us back to the desert with a brush and a trowel .. Sneak Peak in City of Screams!! ( )
  AKMamma | Nov 25, 2013 |
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Epigraph
We are opposed around the world bay a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies primarily on covert means for expanding its sphere of influence ... building a tightly knit, highly efficient machine that combines military, diplomatic, intelligence, economic, scientific and political operations.

   ~John F Kennedy,
      from a speech given at the Walford-Astroia Hotel on April 27, 1961
Surely God would not have created such a being as man, with an ability to grasp the infinite, to exist only for a day! No, no, man was made for immortality.
    ~Abraham Lincoln
Dedication
To 
Three brothers and three sisters
Cheryl, Doug, Laurie, Chuck, Billy and Carrie,
After being in the trenches this past year, it seemed fitting for us to be together here too. 

Love you all.
First words
Summer 1134
Holy Lands

They once called her a witch and a whore.
June 30, 11:44 AM EST
Takoma park, Maryland

Gray Pierce pulled into the driveway with a coughing grow of the 1960 Thunderbird's V-8 engine.
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Book description
    LEE CHILD

Galilee, 1025: A Templar knight uncovers a holy treasure in an ancient citadel - a priceless icon that holds a mysterious and terrifying power.

A millennium later, Commander Gray Pierce of Sigma Force is dispatched to the African jungle, teaming up with former Army Ranger Capt Tucker Wayne and his military war dog, Kane, on a covert mission to rescue the US President pregnant daughter form Somali pirates. But Pierce fears the kidnapping masks a far more terrible terrorist agenda - a suspicion proven turn in a fiery ambush and a deadly act of betrayal. ... and by the firebombing of a South Carolina fertility clinic half a world away.

Suddenly Gray Pierce and Sigma Force are in a frantic race to save an innocent unborn baby whose very existence raises questions about the nature of humanity. And behind it all is a deadly cabal. that has been manipulating events from the shadows throughout history .... and a devastating conspiracy rooted in human genetic code that Pierce must expose before it alters humanity forever.
    ---------------------------------

In his first-ever collaboration, New York Times bestselling author James Rollins combines his skill for cutting-edge science and historical mystery with award-winning novelist Rebecca Cantrell’s talent for haunting suspense and sensual atmosphere in a gothic tale about an ancient order and the hunt for a miraculous book known only as...
    THE BLOOD GOSPEL
An earthquake in Masada, Israel, kills hundreds and reveals a tomb buried in the heart of the mountain. A trio of investigators—Sergeant Jordan Stone, a military forensic expert; Father Rhun Korza, a Vatican priest; and Dr. Erin Granger, a brilliant but disillusioned archaeologist—are sent to explore the macabre discovery, a subterranean temple holding the crucified body of a mummified girl.

But a brutal attack at the site sets the three on the run, thrusting them into a race to recover what was once preserved in the tomb’s sarcophagus: a book rumored to have been written by Christ’s own hand, a tome that is said to hold the secrets to His divinity. But the enemy who hounds them is like not other, a force of ancient evil directed by a leader of impossible ambitions and incalculable cunning.

From crumbling tombs to splendorous churches, Erin and her two companions must confront a past that traces back thousands of years, to a time when ungodly beasts hunted the dark spaces of the world, to a moment in history when Christ made a miraculous offer, a pact of salvation for those who were damned for eternity.

Here is a novel that is explosive in its revelation of a secret history. Why do Catholic priests wear pectoral crosses? Why are they sworn to celibacy? Why do the monks hide their countenances under hoods? And why does Catholicism insist that the consecration of wine during Mass results in its transformation to Christ’s own blood? The answers to all go back to a secret sect within the Vatican, one whispered as rumor but whose very existence was painted for all to see by Rembrandt himself, a shadowy order known simply as the Sanguines.

In the end, be warned: some books should never be found, never opened—until now.
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A yacht bearing a young American couple is attacked by Somali pirates, leading to bloodshed and the violent kidnapping of the pregnant woman on board. To aid in her rescue from the lawless and war-torn jungles of coastal Africa, Sigma Force enlists the aid of a unique search team.… (more)

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