During a crowded service at a cathedral in Germany, armed intruders in monks' robes unleash a nightmare of blood and destruction. But the killers have not come for gold; they seek a more valuable prize: the bones of the Magi who once paid homage to a newborn savior...a treasure that could reshape the world.
With the Vatican in turmoil, SIGMA Force leaps into action. An elite team of scientific and Special Forces operatives under the command of Grayson Pierce and accompanied by Lieutenant Rachel Verona of Rome's carabinieri, they are pursuing a deadly mystery that weaves through the sites of the Seven Wonders of the World and ends at the doorstep of an ancient, mystical, and terrifying secret order. For there are those with dark plans for the stolen sacred remains that will alter the future of humankind...when science and religion unite to unleash a horror not seen since the beginning of time.
©2005 Jim Czajkowski; (P)2009 HarperCollins Publishers
"This novel about an ancient secret society and the race to find priceless antiquities is sure to be compared to Dan Brown's i>Da Vinci Code, but, in every way, it's a much better book....even those who found Brown's opus unpalatable will thoroughly enjoy the taste of this one." (Booklist)
If you enjoy history, adventure, and international intrigue, then you would enjoy this book. If this is your first James Rollins book, then beware- lost of characters to follow, frequent scene to scene leaps and lost and lots of history.
It might take some time getting used to the narrator, but once you do, you will definitely enjoy the book. I guarantee you will have very little difficulty differentiating characters.
I also suggest reading the Sigma series in the following order: Sandstorm, Map of Bones, Black Order, The Judas Strain, The Last Oracle and Doomsday Key.
Though I prefer audiobooks because they seem to bring the story to life for me, this is a hard question to answer, because John Meagher's narration isn't up to the story.
There were quite a few and if I answer the question it would take away some of the cliff hanging suspense of the story from future listeners.
As many James Rollins fans know, John Meager is no longer narrating the current books. However, he did read several of the early ones, which were some of James Rollins best Sigma Force novels. He seems like a very young and fairly new narrator that needed to hone his skills a lot more. His voice would be more appropriate for young adult books or kids books, because he sounds like an excited teenager. His pronounciation of most of the Italian words and other (just plain English) words is very poor and he needs to receive a little coaching. Because his voice is so high in timbre, he actually does the women's voices quite well. I actually bought this book early on when I joined Audible and then returned it because of the narration. However, recently I was going through some of my early James Rollins books and decided I wanted this one for my collection. The story is so good that I was pretty much able to overlook the mediocre narration.
Modern science meets ancient mysteries
In my opinion, the early Sigma Force novels were the best. The only thing I don't care for is the graphic sexual depravity It would have been just fine without it and certainly wasn't necessary to make a good story. Also, some of the violence was a bit over the top. The country to country chasing of the clues, the characters, and the mysteries of the story are wonderful, though. This is one of my favorite Sigma Force novels.
Map of Bones, like Amazonia and Ice Hunt before it (in an audio book sense), follows a bit of a formula. Many of the story elements are the same but the setting and the subject matter are very different. As a result I enjoyed this book as much as those others.
The narrator continues to do a fantastic job of making the characters distinct and making the action come alive.
With all audiobooks, the reader can make it or break it. An expectation of a reader is that he/she does enough homework to be able to pronounce words correctly. This one hasn't done that. It isn't an error that will cause me never to listen again, but it takes attention from the story and puts it on the reader. The book is pretty good. A different reader would have brought it to life more, I think.
I like classic sf/fantasy best, but urban fantasy a'la Butcher & The Hollows hits a place, too. I own 4 cats, 3 Bengals & a stray I adopted.
The writing is chock full of clichés, and a book that it seems I've already read in one form or another several times already. Overall, Map of Bones is elementary, amateurish, and requires way too much suspension of disbelief, even considering the genre. Perhaps the situation would have improved with a better choice of narrator. Sorry, Mr. Meagher, but I just don't think you're meant to narrate this type of book.
I give this book an OK, but it has two big faults. First, the story line is very repetitious and it starts to drag. Still, it is entertaining as a summer read.
The biggest fault of the audiobook is the reading. The reader has a voice completely lacking in ability to add tension and nuance to high energy scenes. In terms of pitch, there is no gravitas; it is as if the author is trying to read the story as quickly as possible. Perhaps he is paid by the word? I am not sure that Steve Berry’s stories are any better, but he at least has a top-notch reader in Scott Brick that adds to the fun. Finally, as others have mentioned, the reader's Italian is poor. When a book takes place in Italy, the reader should be know Italian better.
The story, as expected from James Rollins, is very thrilling and quite excellent. My objection is to the narrator. If someone has been selected to narrate a story, part of which takes place in Italy, I would expect him to learn how to pronounce the names of the places correctly. I have never before heard Italian name places murdered like they were by this narrator. I was glad to read the reviews of others to find out that this narrator is not the one who narrates other books by this author. Otherwise, I had decided I would just get the books and read them myself.
There is some truth woven into this interesting fictional thriller. The characters are easy to relate to. Surprises through out! I couldn't stop listening!
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