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    Review of MAP OF BONES by James Rollins (see his website)

    William Morrow, May 2005

    Why would a well-organized group of men disguise themselves as monks, kill virtuallyl everyone attending Mass, and make off with the bones of the famous Three Kings from the Bible? When the Vatican calls in America's elite Sigma force for help, Commander Gray Pierce knows that time is running short. That the killers took the bones and left millions of dollars worth of gold, jewels, and other relics must make the bones important. That they chose to kill most of their victims in a peculiar way--electrocuting them from inside--must also mean something. The strange composition of the powder remaining behind from the stolen bones provides a first clue. But could the ancients really have discovered the secret to creating super-conducting monatomic gold?

    Gray and his team, accompanied by pretty Italian police officer Rachel Verona and Rachel's uncle, Monsignor Vigor, travel first to Cologne from which the relics were stolen, then to Rome--center of the Catholic Church, then to Alexandria--where so many secrets remain hidden, and finally to the fortress of Avignon--where the Catholic Popes hid during the great schism that split the (Western) Church in the 14th and 15th centuries. They discover that they face a mysterious group from 'The Royal Dragons Court,' a secret organization dedicated to racial purity and the return to control of the royal families of Europe. With the power of the secrets preserved by the ancient Magi, the Court just might be able to bring this result about.

    Author James Rollins keeps the adrenaline flowing as Gray and his team try to catch up with the Court, learn the long-hidden location of the Magi's great secrets, and stay alive--a task made more challenging both because they face betrayal from within and because the Court has hired Gray's nemesis, Seichan, a mercenary from a high-tech criminal organization to help defeat him.

    MAP OF BONES will definitely appeal to fans of THE DA VINCI CODE (see our review) and similar thrillers. It mixes hidden religious secrets with high-technology in ways that will satisfy the most avid seeker of conspiracies. Rollins should probably stick to action because the romance between Gray and Rachel seems a bit forced (and Rachel goes from being competent to being in constant need of rescue), and the writing is occasionally clunky, but the story is compelling, the action fast, and the book hard to put down

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 4/04/05

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