Prologue: In 1271 young
17 year old Marco Polo left Venice on a voyage to the palace of
Kublai Khan in China. After serving 17 years in the court of Kublai
Khan Marco is returning to Venice. In 1295 when Marco left China
Kublai Khan granted him 14 ships and 600 men. After 2 years at sea
Marco finally reached Venice with only 2 ships and 18 men. A pestilence
had come on the men in Kaffa on the Black Sea. Finally Marco with
his father and uncle was forced to burn the ships and the dead and
dying men to avoid spreading any more of the pestilence. Marco would
never speak of this.
The present Day: A toxic
virus has infected the waters off the Christmas Island. The World
Health Organization has commandeered a luxury cruise ship to evacuate
the stricken inhabitants of the island. Sigma Force has installed
a forensic lab suite on board with two of its expert scientists.
(Sigma Force is a covert field arm for the Department of Defense
to safeguard and neutralize technologies vital to United States'
Guild members, who wish
to use the plague victims as experimental objects for weapons, hijack
the ship. (The Guild hunts and steals emerging technologies, military,
biological, chemical or nuclear, and sells them to the highest bidder.
It operates through cells around the world with moles in government
and research facilities.)
Seichan, an assassin
and member of the Guild, has defected and implores Gray Pierce,
a Sigma operative, to help her stop the Guild's plan to take over
the world. Pierce and Seichan begin a torturous journey to try to
determine the nature of the plague. It takes them to the Vatican,
Istanbul (where they are involved in a fiery shootout), to Marco
Polo's tomb (the ancient plague had infected his crews) and to Cambodia.
It is a race against time to deflect the Guild's nefarious purpose.
The Judas Strain
is filled with action, intrigue, and suspense. It entertains as
well as informs. Science and history are well blended. The recounting
of Marco Polo's voyage is very intriguing. The action proceeds at
breakneck speed. The descriptions of the effects of the toxic virus
(or plague) are very graphic and not for the faint hearted. There
is a message to the world about the potential of an occurrence such
as this because of our abuse of nature.
The Judas Strain
is very reminiscent of Clive Cussler adventures. So if you like
Cussler, you will like James Rollins.
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