Saturday, January 23, 2010

ALTAR OF EDEN by James Rollins

Publication Date: February 2010
Publisher William Morrow – Harper Collins
ISBN: 978-0-06-123142-1
Thriller, Suspense
Reviewer by Gina
Obtained: Via Publisher

The adult Lorna Polk has long felt that aside from a few scars, both emotional and physical, she put the tragedy of her youth behind her. She is a successful veterinarian, working in an amazing facility with wonderful people. What more can she want, except to keep the past at bay?

Following the death of his younger brother, as part of a back door plea bargain, Jack Menard joined the Marines and then moved on to become a Border Patrol agent. Growing up in the Mississippi bayou gave him a unique sense of nature and how to survive. He still aches for the loss of his brother, but not so much as when he comes once again face to face with Lorna Polk, the woman who played a part in the younger Menard's death. Called out to investigate a trawler run aground, because of the cargo, Jack has no choice but to bring Lorna with him. What they find and the subsequent aftermath not only shakes them to the core, but may well alter the world as we know it.

Inside the trawler they find a baffling array of animals. While at first glance they look like your average monkey, cat or pony, on closer look there is something very wrong. Tragically so. Before Lorna can begin to examine the creatures the trawler explodes. The race is on to find a missing cat and who is behind an experiment obviously gone wrong.

It took me a few minutes to catch my breath as I read the last words of James Rollins' newest book ALTAR OF EDEN. Where to begin describing this story and everything I liked about it is one of the hardest decisions I've had to make about a book in a long time. I am an animal lover, especially cats having two of my own. I was near tears as the mother cat tried to protect her cub as well as the little one Lorna was able to rescue. While one would think all veterinarians know immediately how animals will react to given circumstances that is not entirely true. Mr. Rollins knows and more importantly shows the behaviors and nuances of the different animals in the story. What's more, when some of the genetically altered creatures enter into the story, he creates plausible behaviors and actions. What happens, especially to the one called Eve, is heart wrenching.

The processes Jack and Lorna go through coming to terms with Tommy's death on top of fighting for their lives is well done. Their story is so well told that even though the book covers approximately 48 hours in time, the steps they take, the thoughts and feelings they have are credible.

I've never been to Louisiana or the bayou, but after reading ALTAR OF EDEN I have a strong sense of what it would be like. Mr. Rollins words don't just come off the page; they encompass the reader and make him or her part of the adventure.

I highly recommend ALTAR OF EDEN to both men and women. It truly has something for everyone. I truly hope he considers continuing Jack and Lorna in a series.


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