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Book Review: The Eye of God by James Rollins

The following is a special provided by Elise Cooper for BlackFive readers.  You can read all of our book reviews by clicking on the Books category on the far right sidebar.

9780061784804_p0_v1_s260x420James Rollins latest book, The Eye of God, is part thriller, part science fiction, and part fantasy.  He combined these storylines by making sure they merged in the climax of the book.  There were a number of messages presented in the novel, ranging from questioning how much of the world is real, to the relationships between family members.

The book’s early chapters are action packed as the main character, Seichen, searches for her mother with the help of other SIGMA members, Gray and Kowalski.  It is during these scenes that Rollins draws a realistic picture of the Triad gang’s ruthless and cutthroat behavior in Macau, the brutality of the North Korean regime, and the steam tunnels of the Mongolia capital where a sub-culture of children lives.

Rollins told, “I went to Macau ten years ago and was fascinated by it.  There is this weird Las Vegas glitz; yet, it is very colonial Portuguese mixed with some Chinese history.  Triads, Mafia types that will stop at almost nothing to achieve power, run the casinos.  Regarding Korea, I always wanted to put that setting into a story. To get some information I was able to interview someone who escaped from North Korea.  What I put in the book is just scratching the surface, especially the part about the prisons.  The life expectancy of someone put in the penal system is three years.  I am hoping I showed the tyranny and the suffering, how the atrocities are beyond the pale.” 

The storyline also delves into the importance of the family unit. Rollins does this well through the relationships between characters.  There is Seichen trying to find her mother and coming to grips as to how their family dynamics changed; Grey who constantly lives with the guilt of losing his mother; The scientist Dr. Jada Shaw who was inspired by her mother on the mysteries of the universe; and how two other characters, Rachel and her Uncle Vigor, are constantly looking out for each other. The author noted, “I lost my mother about a year ago and then my family found out my sister had breast cancer.  These tragic events in my life definitely echo in this book.  Writers pull things out of their life, and I did it by sharing through this story.  I am hoping to elicit emotions out of the readers. This plot deals with the issue of mortality, and how a family member handles the loss of a loved one.” This is very evident in the quote he ends the book with, “Live it now…who knows what will come tomorrow.”

The science fiction plot explores how human consciousness fits into the universe. Rollins acknowledges that at times the reader will think this sub-plot fits more into the fantasy realm, but that is because physics seems like such a complicated subject.  He opens the book with the Einstein quote, “The distinction between the past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.” Rollins is hoping his readers will understand how he attempts to walk the line between reality and what is going to come next. 

He conceived this sub-plot while being given a personal tour at Fermilab, and speaking with some of the physicists there.  “One scientist told me that the latest mathematical projection is that we are all living in a hologram, that everything occurring to us is fabricated.  This year there is going to be the construction of a Holometer to physically test if we are indeed living in a hologram.   That got me thinking, how much of the world is real? Likewise, theories of multiple universes are being considered, with many different conjectures about how they function, interact, and relate to one another. I speak of multiple universes at the end of the book.  Maybe we don’t actually die but shift into one of these universes where we don’t get that flip of the coin that kills us.”  He actually used this theory with a few of the characters, but wants readers to know that those characters will not be coming back in future books.

This next year he will be very busy because he will have three books coming out.  In October, the sequel to the Blood Gospel, Innocent Blood, will be published. He gave a heads up, that there will be a search for the First Angel with Judas trying to bring about the end of the world.  In April he will re-introduce the characters, Tucker and his dog Kane, in a stand-alone book.  In this novel he delves into flashbacks, PTSD for both handler and dog, around a fast-paced plot that has them trying to extricate a Russian scientist.  A year from now there will be another Sigma Series book with many of the returning characters just discussed.  This novel delves into the real threat of people having biological labs in their homes, the bio-punk movement.  The plot explores how the attempt to create synthetic life could bring the world close to extinction.

While promoting this Sigma Series book, The Eye of God, this July, Rollins will also be raising awareness and funds for USA Cares.  He is a huge advocate for those in the military and has organized twenty-two authors, Authors United for Veterans, under the auspices of USA Cares. The bus tour, with the cover of the book displayed, will be ending at Fort Knox and Fort Campbell Kentucky on July 1st.  Before that Rollins will be close to the Navy base when he does a book signing in San Diego on June 26th. He is hoping the troops come out to say hello and receive a free book.