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The Demon Crown: A Sigma Force Novel

Review

The Demon Crown: A Sigma Force Novel

There are many possible ways and means purported to reveal how mankind will be wiped off the earth. Some are realistic and come from the prophecies of literal geniuses like Carl Sagan and Stephen Hawking. Many emerge from the extremely fertile and occasionally overactive minds of fiction writers.

If you were to name insects as being the primary cause for the demise of mankind, you would be on a very plausible track. After all, insects do greatly outnumber humans --- and make up over 80% of life --- on planet Earth. On this account, bestselling author James Rollins suggests that an ancient breed of insects that have always been on the planet may be our grim reapers. In fact, they have never died out and may very well be immortal.

The latest novel in the terrifically entertaining Sigma Force series, THE DEMON CROWN, speaks to death by insect --- but not in an oversimplified way. Rollins has always been an expert researcher, a fact that is displayed in the Truth or Fiction section he typically adds to the end of his books, and the most frightening thing about his thrillers is that there is more truth than fiction involved in his storytelling.

The “Notes from the Historical Record” section that opens the book immediately sets the credibility meter on this tale of fiction. We are catapulted back to the year 1903, and the historical figures of note are James Smithson, for whom the Smithsonian Institution is named after, and our telephone creator, Alexander Graham Bell. In fact, it is an alleged criminal act on the part of Bell that is the focus here. He allegedly flew to Genoa, Italy, where he dug up and took the remains of Smithson and brought them back to the U.S. where he buried them underneath the Smithsonian Castle. Why did he do this? You will need to continue reading this terrific thriller for those clues.

"Things move quickly here, and Rollins puts his literary foot on readers’ throats, forcing them to read on no matter how horrific the subject matter is."

Now, as we jump back to the present, the current threat to humanity is allegedly detailed in Smithson's diary and journals. Within those pages, you can find reference to something called the Demon Crown, an ominous phrase that will be explained in the coming early chapters. Bell stated, “Be warned, what the Demon Crown holds is very much alive and ready to unleash the very hordes of Hell upon this world.”

Literally, the Demon Crown referred to the bones of an ancient insect that came together to form a ghastly halo above the skull bone. This globe-trotting novel takes us to Tokyo, Japan, where a 94-year-old named Takashi Ito has long harbored a plot to put Japan back on top of the world and bring the other nations of the globe to their knees. His revenge is also spurred, in part, as a final tip of the hat to his long-deceased love, Miu.

We then are laid on a private beach on the island Hana, part of Maui, Hawaii. The commander of Sigma Force, Grayson "Gray" Pierce, is there with his love, Seichen. After their last adventure, they wanted to take some time for themselves. Instead, they had watched three months go by in their self-imposed isolation and still felt no inkling towards returning to Sigma and that life. That is, however, until a deadly mass of killer wasps came at them, surrounding their island and attacking. Regrettably, Seichen is stung and has no idea what insect did it or how deadly the sting actually was.

Gray gets a message to his boss, Painter Crowe, in Washington D.C., alerting him about this mysterious insect swarm. The rest of Sigma Force are brought up to speed, and they all begin to do what they can to get answers. The challenge is that the team is scattered around the globe, and none of them realize the extremely short window of time they have to understand and prevent a potential life-ending cataclysm from burying the earth in death from above.

Kat and Monk, two other Sigma Force members, hook up with a professor from Cornell University, Ken Matsui, who is an expert on various venomous life on the planet, among other things. Matsui calls the insect swarm, which has now been determined to be wasps, the Odokuro, a term that refers to a Japanese demon named Gashadokuro. He is shrewd enough to know that the Odokuro must be stopped and prevented from mating and multiplying lest they quickly gain enough momentum to threaten all life on the planet in a matter of days. The most frightening fact about these ancient insects is that they are supposedly immortal.

Sigma Force begins to work at breakneck speed to save the world. Gray is especially determined because the stings Seichen received give her just a few days before the poisonous toxins do unspeakable damage to her body and ultimately claim her life. What is even more horrible is that she has revealed to all that she is with child.

Things move quickly here, and Rollins puts his literary foot on readers’ throats, forcing them to read on no matter how horrific the subject matter is. It's not so much recognizing that the Sigma Force team will probably live to fight another day as it is marveling at what they need to accomplish to defeat this threat, which may be the most daunting of their careers. THE DEMON CROWN is another fine Sigma Force novel that once again will leave readers in awe while giving them the impetus for many future nightmares.

Reviewed by Ray Palen on December 14, 2017

The Demon Crown: A Sigma Force Novel
by James Rollins

  • Publication Date: December 5, 2017
  • Genres: Adventure, Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow
  • ISBN-10: 0062381733
  • ISBN-13: 9780062381736