The Judas Strain by James Rollins

The Judas Strain, James Rollins, Fiction, Novel

5 / 10

Okay, this is what I get for being lazy in reading book previews or plot synopsis at the back cover of a book. The Judas Strain totally deceived me, of it I thought of being a book about Judas Iscariot, the infamous traitor of the Catholic religion. It seems like I have been the one who received a betrayal after reading it and finding out that the Judas Strain word here is about a doom-bringing disease to the human race not a mess to the modern day to be brought by a Bible antagonist.

This is my first of a James Rollins novel and I already can associate this story to the likes of the usual American action stories or plots. Only, the Judas Strain is mixed of well-researched facts necessary in incorporating Marco Polo’s expedition and scientific studies of micro-organisms that is affecting the human anatomy to the story. The latter twist to the story is a bit too much for the layman though, or the likes of me, who just can’t stop the weight of my eyelids come Science 101 class. Readers like me will need a day in researching for the scientific terminologies and another day in memorizing its complex names being tackled in the Judas Strain.

The book is not a stand alone title; I only became conscious of it while reading it as it turned out to be conspicuous in the early chapters. There are a lot of scenes and characters in the book where you will have to relate to the previous titles of the Sigma Series. This I think affected my assessment of The Judas Strain since I haven’t read the first three series.

The Judas Strain being the fourth of the six and mentioned by many James Rollins fans as the finest yet, seems to be not so fine at all for me. One of the many reason is that, author failed to establish the characters’ personality in the story, particularly the main protagonist, Gray Pierce. Commander Pierce of the Sigma Forces stumbled through several riddles in solving the cure for the Judas Strain and to save his parents and his ass. Most of this puzzles relating to Marco Polo and other archeological stuff. Gray Pierce solved them of course as the main man, but why? I really find it tough he knew such things about Marco Polo and other historical things of some places they’ve been to. From what the author described of him, he is an agent not an archeologist or historian. It made me raise a brow every solving of puzzles by Gray Pierce, though the author tried to explain how, it was not just that convincing. Not convincing as well was how Susan suddenly knew everything when they arrived at the Angkom Thor secret chamber. Maybe it was the bacteria inside her brain but still it was just not believable.

A positive note for The Judas Strain though is its informative facts and rumors of Marco Polo’s expedition and the vulnerability imposed by James Rollins to the protagonists. It made them not so commanding over the villains, adding unpredictability to the story. But still, as what Hollywood heroes always do, in the end acquiring victory and surviving the bullets and explosions from the evil doers.

The Judas Strain is an action-packed title from James Rollins mixed with riddle solving and other historical fact mix. Excitement factors that can make readers turn the pages for more. 3.5 stars is I think fair to bestow to the latest title of the Sigma Force Series, though it didn’t persuade me enough to buy the other five series of it.

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