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Publisher's Summary

ju-das strain, n. A scientific term for an organism that drives an entire species to extinction

New York Times best-selling author James Rollins returns with a terrifying story of an ancient menace reborn to plague the modern world...and of an impossible hope that lies hidden in the most shocking place imaginable: within the language of angels.

From the depths of the Indian Ocean, a horrific plague has arisen to devastate humankind - a disease that's unknown, unstoppable, and deadly. But it is merely a harbinger of the doom that is to follow. Aboard a cruise liner transformed into a makeshift hospital, Dr. Lisa Cummings and Monk Kokkalis, operatives of SIGMA Force, search for answers to the bizarre affliction. But there are others with far less altruistic intentions. In a savage and sudden coup, terrorists hijack the vessel, turning a mercy ship into a floating bio-weapons lab.

A world away, SIGMA's commander, Gray Pierce, thwarts the murderous schemes of a beautiful would-be killer who holds the first clue to the discovery of a possible cure. Pierce joins forces with the woman who wanted him dead, and together they embark upon an astonishing quest following the trail of the most fabled explorer in history: Marco Polo. But time is an enemy as a worldwide pandemic grows rapidly out of control. As a relentless madman dogs their every step, Gray and his unlikely ally are being pulled into an astonishing mystery buried deep in antiquity and in humanity's genetic code. And as the seconds tick closer to doomsday, Gray Pierce will realize he can truly trust no one, for any one of them could be...a Judas.

©2007 Jim Czajkowski; (P)2006 HarperCollins Publishers

Critic Reviews

"Action abounds...as the characters from the previous novel range over the globe. There are murders, disfiguring diseases, pirates, cannibals, and, oh yes, people who glow in the dark....this book is great good fun, if readers suspend their disbelief." (Library Journal)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall

A fun book

This is a great book - 24 meets The DaVinci code with a good dose of Gilligan's Island. Of course, the whole overall idea is preposterous but you enjoy listening to it.

14 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Great !!!!!

This was the first book of this writer's I had heard and it was just great.Good detail,good dialog and fast paced.It gives a lot of bang for your money.

24 of 26 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Too complicated?

For the most part, this was a very good book. It is well written and the characters are interesting. Terrific action scenes keep the pace high at times.

The story, however, was simply over-the-top complicated. There are too many characters and some have similar personalities. The twists and turns are thrown together rapidly and are sometimes difficult to straighten out before another is on top of you.

And, there are parts of the book that come across as pre-set movie scenes ... characters portrayed as ruthless that hesitate just long enough for intervention to save the good guys.

In the end, I was relieved that the book ended, not wishing there was more.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Jerry
  • Ashburn, VA, USA
  • 08-13-07

I wanted to be engaged...

but I found myself constantly having to rewind my iPod to catch narrative that was too easily unregistered by daydreaming about what brand food my cat would accept or reject or what various and sundry chores I had on my to-do list.

A good book grabs and keeps your attention - sadly, this one did not. I liked the premise, and really wanted to enjoy this story, but the cliched characters and sometimes hackneyed style (her eyes narrowed, his steely gaze spoke, her look conveyed, bla bla bla, etc) gets tiring and rings false.

I'm 2/3s through so I'm gonna finish listening but I hope the ending justifies my time. Otherwise, James Rollins, you're outta my library:)




6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Relentless

This story just kept relentlessly delivering "punches" to the listener. Whether it be in the form of punishing physical abuse to the protagonists (that would have killed mortal humans 10 times over), to forced "scientific" explanations about the Judas strain, to weird mystical reasons for the Judas strain, to inexplicable ties to Marco Polo and his priest. This book is about 3 to 4 hours too long, and its ending(s) are preposterous and confusing.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

A great listen

I enjoy James Rollins. I've read several of his other books and chose to listen to this one--I wasn't disappointed.

If you're looking for Daniel Silva or Robert Ludlum like development and characters skip this book! Rollins style is more of Ted Bell (though I like Rollins better), Clive Cussler or Mathew Reilly. Larger than life heros. This is the type of book that is a fun way to forget reality and just try to keep up with the fast flow (and leave your reality analyzer turned off). Think 007.

For those that have read/listened to Rollins before this does have some similarity in characters (as I've found most authors do). Listen or read several other authors in between Rollins books and this will be a fun blast.



4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Michael
  • Riverview, FL, USA
  • 01-03-08

fun yet somewhat predictible

The Judas Strain is very similar to the author's other books. If you enjoy his work, you will enjoy this book. The trick is to never think too much about the action or plot line, but just enjoy drama and clues. I enjoyed listening to this book and how the plot was moved forward. The author has three different plot lines going on at once so you are always moving from story to story. In the end, the story is fun and entertaining, even if the plot line is somewhat far fetched...but that is the whole point to all the "save the world" books! Just enjoy it.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Yes, a Never Ending Story

Have to agree. This was hokey. It's like, okay, when are these people going to die. When is this cure going to show itself and help those poor people who are eating themselves going to be discovered. And of course, the creatures from the Black Lagoon! I had a hard time listening to this one. It took me forever. Hope the other books in the series are better.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Patroo
  • the High Desert
  • 10-24-07

The never-ending story

I had high hopes for this book, as the first few chapters were fascinating, but by the time I reached the third portion of the book, I was bored and wishing it would end already.

I like long books, and I like well-crafted stories. Sometimes the two occur in the same book. They didn't do it in this one. The only part of the story line I still cared about by the end of the book was what was happening to Mom and Dad. If you read the book, you'll recognize this storyline. The rest of it is strictly thriller, and not enthralling enough to keep me thrilled. Some of the Rollins books are excellent. Some are not.

When I saw the hardback edition at Costco, I was fascinated, and a light skim made it seem just as wondrous as the cover promised. The delight of a good audiobook makes long trips go quickly, and this looked like a good travel book. Nope. It's too dull and drawn out. By the time the disease reappears, you are rooting for everyone to get it and die. If several hours of editing had occurred the book might be better. In fact this one might be better abridged, though I normally want nothing to do with an abridged edition. I want the entire story as the author wrote it, not as some editor recrafted it.

Future Rollins reads will wait for used paperbacks to appear on the bookstore shelves. I won't go out of my way to pounce on the fresh meat.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Mannequins have adventures

While the book is fast paced, it bored me to death. Rollins has three characters: heroes, villians and extras. While he gives them different names and backgrounds, none of them has any distinguishable personality. As a consequence, there is no depth to any of the relationships and it is unclear what the motivations really are for these characters. He describes them as angry, excited, curious, etc., but one doesn't feel it on their behalf because there is no depth to the characters. It felt like a movie script waiting for actors to come along to supply the emotion and the characterization that the author didn't bother to fill in himself.

If you want a frivilous roller-coaster, hop on board, but don't expect anything more.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful