Very Quick Review: THE 6TH EXTINCTION by James Rollins (William Morrow)

RollinsJ-SF10-6thExtinctionUSPBThe tenth Sigma Force novel

A remote military research station broadcasts a frantic distress call that ends with a chilling message: Kill us all. When soldiers arrive to investigate, they discover everyone in the lab is dead — not just the scientists, but every living thing for fifty square miles is annihilated: every animal, plant, and insect, even bacteria. The land is completely sterile — and the blight is spreading.

To prevent the inevitable, Commander Gray Pierce and Sigma must decipher a threat that rises out of the distant past, a time when Antarctica was green and Earth’s life balanced on a knife edge. Following clues from an ancient map rescued from the lost Library of Alexandria, Sigma will make a shocking discovery involving a prehistoric continent, and a new form of death buried under miles of ice.

From millennia-old secrets out of the frozen past to mysteries buried deep in the darkest jungles of today, Sigma will face its greatest challenge yet: stopping the coming extinction of mankind.

But is it already too late?

I’ve been a long-time fan of James Rollins’s Sigma Force novels. I fell behind for a bit, though, and recently decided that it was time for me to get caught up. And so, I eagerly dove in to The 6th Extinction, hoping for some action-packed mystery and globe-trotting adventure. I was not at all disappointed.

The novel opens with quite the bang and rarely lets up. From the devastating moments at the start, as a voracious natural disaster is unleashed, to the globe-trotting race-against-time to find a solution, Rollins keeps the story moving. Gray Pierce and Sigma Force are called in to help out with the rampaging blight, and they find themselves delving into the past: Darwin’s voyage and World War exploration, in particular. Not only that, they once again find themselves working on the edges and forefront of science and technology.

RollinsJ-SF10-6thExtinctionUKPBNew characters are introduced, and Rollins does a very good job of making them all feel well-rounded and familiar. Strangely, it felt like the Sigma characters weren’t as prominent as in past novels — the author spends a bit more time with new characters (and, as it turned out, some returning characters from other Rollins novels), which perhaps helped the novel feel a bit fresher. I think there’s a clear influence from the Bond movies (not least because the antagonists are always superbly villainous), only Rollins’s series has more science and technology at the heart of the story and mystery.

If you’re looking for an action-packed, enjoyable read, then I would certainly recommend this series — I’m not sure this is the best place to start with the Sigma Force story, but if you’ve read others in the series, then I think you’ll know what you’re going to get from The 6th Extinction, and won’t be disappointed. If you’ve not read any of the Sigma Force novels, yet, I’d recommend them — perfect escapism, with some interesting and engaging sci-fi and secret history elements.

As is often the case, Rollins includes some supplementary material explaining and describing the science and technology that he used for inspiration in the book. His enthusiasm for it is clear, and it helped me add a few more books to my ever-growing TBR mountain. I will, however, have to put off reading those until I’ve caught up with the rest of the Sigma Force series. (Next up: The Bone Labyrinth.)


James Rollins’s The 6th Extinction is out now, published by William Morrow in North America and Orion in the UK.

Also on CR: Reviews of The Judas Strain, The Last Oracle, The Doomsday Key, and The Devil Colony

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter
Review copy received via Edelweiss

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