Another Review at MyShelf.Com

The Last Oracle
Sigma Force series #5

by James Rollins


The Last Oracle is one of the most fascinating books I have read. It stands right up there with The Alexander Cipher (also reviewed on Myshelf), The Da Vinci Code and several other really good books. The story starts with a quote from Socrates: "The greatest blessings granted to mankind come by way of madness, which is a divine gift." The author then takes you on a visit to the past, specifically to the area where the ancient Greeks lived and died and where their power came from, the Temple of the Oracle of Delphi at the foot of Mount Parnassus, where they are under attack from their own people, the ones they have counseled for ages.

The Oracle has a plan. She disappears to an unknown place where she thrives and prospers for a few hundred years or more, until once more being turned out by the very people she has cared for. The Oracle is a sort of future seer who has a way of making people not want her around. But why?

Next we jump to present day Washington, DC. CMDR Gray Pierce is missing his friend, (who was recently lost in a horrible mishap while at sea) and an old man stumbles into him as he is walking to Sigma Force Headquarters, where he works. The old man is killed right in front of CMDR Pierce and dies in his arms. He appears to have been killed with a rifle, but the actual thing that killed him was radiation.

How did an old man get radiated beyond being able to live, and where did it happen? It turns out that the "old man" wasn't that horribly old, nor should he have been irradiated. Just before he died he was trying to give Pierce a gift of a very old coin. But why?

The chase is on, and it leads CMDR Pierce and his team to India, where Dr. Polk (the man who was killed in Pierce’s arms) was working on his last hunt for the "Special People" who Dr. Polk had spent his life studying. Dr. Polk has a daughter who became a researcher in one of the Museums in India at the behest of her father. The two stumble into the Taj Mahal and from there up to the Punjab Region and all the while they are being sought by another agency of our own government, whose rogue agents have been building a master race in conjunction with the Russians.

But the Russians want to bring the world to a halt with their created "Master Race" and they’re willing to use leftover radiation poison from Chernobyl to help things along. The world is on the brink. There are evil people who are willing to do horrible things to millions of people in order to achieve their goals and it is up to CMDR Pierce and his team to stop them. Against all odds, and working with and alongside a small select set of children and a very wonderful Chimpanzee named Marta, The Last Oracle and his twin sister Sascha are saved from becoming tools or extinct.

The most wonderful thing about this book is that it is believable. There are a lot of very explicit references that cite the truth and facts of the story, so that whenever readers wants to know if a thing is possible, they can find out. Rollins has done his homework and it shows. He believes that these things can be real, and indeed, they somehow are. Even though they are not totally happening right now, they can...

Rollins has written a book that takes you on a special journey and makes you part of the action. All the time I was reading, I was rooting to have a wonderful child— who in some cases would be called mad— live; and it brought me to tears when Marta willingly gave her life for this special child, and all the others who were being led to slaughter.

Truly a great read, and I will have to get his next book, The Doomsday Key (coming out in about a month or so and also reviewed on Myshelf) to follow up on CMDR Gray Pierce and Monk and the rest of the team. They all have a place in my mind now. I have also reviewed Black Order by Rollins and loved it, and continue to be totally enthralled by his knowledge, perceptions and truly great writing.

Previous reviews for this series:

Sandstorm #1
Map of Bones #2
Black Order, #3
The Judas Strain,
The Last Oracle, #5
The Doomsday Key,
The Devil Colony
, #7
#8 [review 1] [review 2]
The Eye of God #9
The Sixth Extinction #10
Seventh Plague #11
The Demon Crown #12

The Book

Harper, an Imprint of Harper Collins
May 26, 2009
Mass Market Paperback
0061230952 / 978-0061230950
More at

The Reviewer

Claudia Turner VanLydegraf
Reviewed 2009
© 2009