Bloodline by James Rollins
review copy provided by William Morrow/HarperCollins
Description from Goodreads:
In a thrilling masterwork that will make you rethink your perceptions of life and death, New York Times bestselling author James Rollins takes you to the edge of medicine, genetics, and technology, revealing the next evolutionary leap forward: immortality.

Galilee, 1025. Infiltrating an ancient citadel, a Templar knight uncovers a holy treasure long hidden within the fortress's labyrinth: the Bachal Isu -- the staff of Jesus Christ -- a priceless icon that holds a mysterious and terrifying power that promises to change humankind forever.

A millennium later, Somali pirates hijack a yacht off the coast of the Horn of Africa, kidnapping a young pregnant American woman. Commander Gray Pierce is enlisted for a covert rescue mission into the African jungle. The woman is no rich tourist: she's Amanda Gant-Bennett, daughter of the U.S. president.

Suspicious that the kidnapping masks a far more nefarious plot, Gray must confront a shadowy cabal which has been manipulating events throughout history...and now challenges the current presidency.

For this unique mission, SIGMA is aided by a pair of special operatives with unique talents: former Army Ranger Captain Tucker Wayne and his military war dog, Kane. But what should be a straightforward rescue turns into a fiery ambush and a deadly act of betrayal, as Gray and his team discover that the hostage is a pawn in a shattering act of terrorism with dark repercussions. And the danger is only beginning...

Halfway around the world, a firebombing at a fertility clinic in South Carolina exposes a conspiracy that goes back centuries...a scheme that lies within our genetic code. With time against them, SIGMA must race to save an innocent unborn baby whose very existence raises questions about the nature of humanity, asking:

Could you live forever?

Would you live forever?

My take:

Until Bloodline, I had never read any of James Rollins books. I'm not sure exactly why that is, now. I had so much fun reading this book! First of all, who doesn't love a good conspiracy? I mean, really? And I absolutely love a good Knights Templar conspiracy, so it also had that going for it. This book kept me on the edge of my seat from very early on. The story is very fast paced and exciting. I don't like to explain too much about conspiracy books -- I always end up giving too much away.

Apparently, this is Sigma Force novel #8, so I will have to go back and read the other books. However, this did not diminish my enjoyment of the book or my ability to follow the story. I would classify Bloodline as a definite Thriller but with a whole lot of science as well. I might have said science fiction instead of science, but after reading the Author's Note to Readers: Truth or Fiction at the end of the book, I have to just go with science. And that is actually more disturbing. The robotics in the book are quite fascinating and fun to read about, the DNA work and some of the experiments described are disturbing and very unsettling. 

One of my favorite parts of the book was everything pertaining to Captain Tucker Wayne and his military dog Kane. I loved the descriptions of their bond and the way they worked together as a team. The characters in Bloodline are well drawn and there is obviously much more to their relationships that has been built over their time together.  I would like to read the previous books so I can get to know these characters better. 

Rollins can definitely write a conspiracy novel - I loved the way things twist and turn and keep the reader just on the edge of figuring it all out and then there is another twist and everything is uncertain again. Nothing is quite what it seems. Everyone is suspect. This is one of the better conspiracies I've read in a long while.


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