James Rollins's latest Sigma Force novel literally opens with a bang. An explosion deep within the Rocky Mountains causes an anthropologist to burn to death in full view of live television cameras. This alleged act of terrorism is blamed on a radical group of Native Americans. The young woman who is taken into custody and initially blamed for the incident is known only as Kai. To Painter Crowe, leader of Sigma Force, he knows her by another name: niece!
"...a whirlwind ride into the face of American and Native American history..."
The cause of the spectacle made within the Rockies is due to the discovery of hundreds of mummified bodies. The local Native American Heritage Society lays claim to them and the land on which they are located, in addition to the ancient artifacts and symbols found with the bodies --- specifically, several gold plates with an unintelligible script. A professor of Native American history is brought in to try and decipher the artifacts, and is joined by none other than Painter Crowe and members of his Sigma Force.
While trying to protect Kai and keep the various intelligence groups at bay, Crowe and his team uncover a much larger problem. Apparently, a form of nanotechnology dating back to a time prior to the Founding Fathers of America lies hidden beneath this underground chamber and may have been the actual cause of the explosion that rocked the area. When a team of scientists from the Kamioka Observatory in Japan warn that there are other locations showing even larger areas of volatile nanotech particles, Sigma Force immediately moves into action.
Crowe calls on his best agent, Commander Gray Pierce, to lead a team to an island off of Iceland and inspect what is feared to be the next explosion site. When the explosion is not averted, Pierce and his team barely make it off the island in one piece. Sigma Force becomes aware of a rival international team that is tracking their every move and seems hell-bent on getting their hands on some of the ancient artifacts now in the possession of Crowe and company. This mysterious group of what appears to be Belgian nationals may very well be part of the rival group known as The Guild.
Pierce and his team learn an interesting lesson in American history. Apparently, there may have been an ancient tribe of exiled Israelites who were banished to the indigenous parts of uncharted North America. It seems that both Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson were not only aware of this tribe but, in some way, were obsessed with them and their history. This group dressed in Native American garb that earned them nicknames such as "Pale Warriors," and Jefferson hoped they would be a Fourteenth Colony --- later referred to as the Devil Colony. Their existence may have been a primary motive for Jefferson's Louisiana Purchase. But was this interest based solely on curiosity, or was there some other secret the Devil Colony held that was the impetus for the Founding Father's allegiance with them?
From the Rocky Mountains to Iceland to Fort Knox to the grave of Meriwether Lewis and ending at Yellowstone National Park, THE DEVIL COLONY takes readers on a whirlwind ride into the face of American and Native American history while providing perils for the modern world that Sigma Force may not be able to stop. I was at a book reading for author Brad Thor some years back. He indicated that his good friend, James Rollins, kept a box of ideas that contained various news clippings and magazine articles, and that Rollins would turn to this whenever inspiration was needed for a new novel. With THE DEVIL COLONY, Rollins must have dipped into this box several times, because the resulting book is a veritable cornucopia of history, science and nerve-wracking thrills that will keep readers breathlessly turning the pages.
Reviewed by Ray Palen on June 21, 2011
The Devil Colony: A Sigma Force Novel