Author Interview:James Rollins on his Blockbuster “Sigma Force Series”

There must be very few readers in the universal booklovers community who are not familiar to the name of James Rollins and fame of his Sigma Force Series. James Rollins is the record- breaking name in the genre of mystery and adventure novels- a complete package of action, suspense and fantasy. Apart from his very successful stand alone novels like Amazonia and Ice Hunt, he touched the peak of unfathomable success with his bestselling Sigma Force series, The Devil Colony being the latest release in the same. Here in this interview we are glad to have a very prolific discussion with the author on the making and journey of his entire series so far.

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Tell us some basic facts about your Sigma Force Series. How did you mix science, religion, adventure and history throughout the series?

Sigma Force is a group of former Special Forces soldiers who were recruited by the Defense Department’s research-and-development group and retrained in various scientific disciplines (biology, physics, and chemistry).  They are sent around the world to investigate and thwart world threats.  Each book centers on a historical mystery and some field of cutting-edge science.  One of my earliest reviews said the books are a cross between Dan Brown and Michael Crichton—and I’m not about to argue about that.

How do you describe the different aspects of the main character- Painter Crowe in Sandstorm?

Sandstorm is the unofficial prequel to the Sigma series.  It’s where readers first get exposed to them via a young Painter Crowe, a field operative for the organization.  I loved writing him (and still do) as his wry humor, keen intellect, and his Native American heritage all merge to form a dynamic character.  He’s one of the reasons I began the Sigma series—in order to write more about him.  He’s presently the head and director of Sigma (though he still occasionally does get his hands dirty in the field).

How do you see Map of Bones? – Is it an ultimate confrontation between darkness and light or an ultimate unity of science and religion?

Good question.  In response to the growing division between religion and science across the world, I sought in Map of Bones to show the common ground between the two, that the two are not mutually exclusive of one another This unity is encompassed in the book by a Catholic monsignor who is also a Vatican archaeologist.

Revealing humankind’s greatest mystery, the origin of life- how much successful is Black Order in its revelations?

There are some shocking revelations in this novel—but revelations that are based on sound scientific theory.  At the back of each of my novels, I include a section title “What’s True and What’s Not,” where I strip the fiction from the nonfiction so readers can discover how much of the story is actually factual.  It also allows readers to explore the controversial and/or illuminating aspects of the books on their own.

Can you summarize the main concepts of The Judas Strain that makes it a non- stop read for our readers?

That book more than any other is a rollercoaster ride. The title itself is a scientific term for an organism that wipes out an entire species—in this novel’s case, that species is us.  The novel also delves back to a true historical mystery, namely the fate of Marco Polo.  When the explorer Marco Polo left China in 1295, he set off for Europe with an immense fleet of fourteen ships and six hundred men, but when he reached Venice, he was down to two ships and eighteen men. The fate of the other ships and men remain a mystery to this day.  Was it shipwreck, storms, piracy?  He never told.  In fact, on his deathbed, when asked to elaborate or recant his story, Marco answered cryptically:  “I have not told half of what I saw.”

How far The Last Oracle is linked to The Judas Strain? How do you keep your readers hooked to the “lost world” adventure of the Greek Oracle of Delphi?

While each book of the Sigma stands on its own and the series can be read in any order, these two books in particular should be read back-to-back—first The Judas Strain, then The Last Oracle That first book ends with a shocking twist, whose resolution is not revealed until that next book.  But beyond that twist, even The Last Oracle is a wholly self-contained adventure:  one that starts back in ancient Greek history and the mystery surrounding the cryptic prophecies of a group of women, the Oracles of Delphi.  The book also tackles such subject matters as autistic children with amazing savant talents and with the radioactive ruins of the former Soviet Union.

If someone describes The Doomsday Key as a beautiful blend of fast- paced action and history how much will you agree? What else is The Doomsday Key to you?

Well, first and foremost, as a writer I want to entertain, to have readers turning pages late into the night.  And from readers’ reactions and emails, this book had people burning candles until the wee hours of the morning.  But I also hope that after turning that last page that readers are left with something to think about.  This book tackles the controversy surrounding genetically modified foods and some true and frightening aspects to this industry.  You won’t look at those corn chips on your lunch plate the same way after reading this book.  And like the other Sigma novel, this book tackles a historical mystery going back to the ancient roots of Irish Catholicism and the pagan rituals of the ancient Druids.

Nanotechnology and action- adventure thriller- how do you blend them so meticulously in one single book- The Devil Colony?

First, I make sure I get my facts correct, especially regarding this new exploding industry of nanotechnology—manufacturing at the atomic level.  Most people are unaware of the strides already reached by this industry, and of the dark side to some of its research.  Likewise, I wanted to make sure I got my historical details correct as Sigma investigates a mystery going back to the founding of America—and a huge lie taught to every schoolchild about our Founding Fathers.  Once I had my facts correct, it was just a matter of crafting an exciting story that deals with Native American history and a huge and true extinction-level threat brewing in our own backyard.

Which book in the entire Sigma Force Series has been your own favorite and why?

That’s a tough one.  Each book is unique and special in its own way.  Ultimately I think as a writer I’ve grown stronger as the series has progressed, so I would say The Devil Colony is certainly the most accomplished professionally.  But I have to admit that the first book, Sandstorm, the novel that launched the series, will always hold a special place in my heart.  From that book, a whole world opened, full of adventure and exploration.

Our last question- What wonderful tales from you can we look forward in the recent future? Any hints please?

I’m currently finishing up the next Sigma blockbuster.  It picks up where The Devil Colony ended—and introduces a brand-new Sigma character, who I absolutely love, writing.  Hint:  he’s not human.  And that’s all I’ll say about him or I’ll ruin the fun!

Browse all James Rollins books and the entire Sigma Force Series at- http://www.printsasia.com/books/James-Rollins

 

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