Book #14
Crucible: A Sigma Force Novel
Released On: Jan 22, 2019

In the race to save one of their own, Sigma Force must wrestle with the deepest spiritual mysteries of mankind in this mind-expanding adventure from the #1 New York Times bestselling author, told with his trademark blend of cutting edge science, historical mystery, and pulse-pounding action.

Arriving home on Christmas Eve, Commander Gray Pierce discovers his house ransacked, his pregnant lover missing, and his best friend’s wife, Kat, unconscious on the kitchen floor. With no shred of evidence to follow, his one hope to find the woman he loves and his unborn child is Kat, the only witness to what happened. But the injured woman is in a semi-comatose state and cannot speak—until a brilliant neurologist offers a radical approach to “unlock” her mind long enough to ask a few questions.

What Pierce learns from Kat sets Sigma Force on a frantic quest for answers that are connected to mysteries reaching back to the Spanish Inquisition and to one of the most reviled and blood-soaked books in human history—a Medieval text known as the Malleus Maleficarum, the Hammer of Witches. What they uncover hidden deep in the past will reveal a frightening truth in the present and a future on the brink of annihilation, and force them to confront the ultimate question: What does it mean to have a soul?

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Critical Acclaim

  • “[Crucible] is a gripping story about science’s future that is rooted in history…. As usual, Rollins knows about strong storytelling.”

    South Florida Sun Sentinel (Reader Review)
  • “One of his most exciting and most terrifying books to date….Rollins has truly secured his claim as heir to the best of Michael Crichton..”
    —Booklist (*starred* review)

    Book list (Reader Review)
  • "[Crucible] is a wild ride...a rollercoaster of raucous events...from a technothriller to a medical suspense story to a shoot-'em-up adventure..."

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Reader Review)
  • “Superb and scintillating…Rollins shades Crucible with equal measures of science and speculation, mixed in typically brilliant fashion and propelling him past the likes of Wilbur Smith and Alistair MacLean to claim the mantle of the greatest action-adventure writer of this or any generation.”

    Providence Journal (Reader Review)
  • “With his latest Sigma Force adventure, James Rollins shows yet again why he’s the heir apparent to the throne previously held by Michael Crichton . . . Crucible is a riveting thriller that’ll stay with readers for a very long time.”

    TheRealBookSpy (Reader Review)


  • Q. CRUCIBLE is the 14TH Sigma Force novel. Can you tell us a little about the heroes of this series?
    A. Sigma Force is a team of former special forces soldiers who have been drummed out of the service for ... Read More
  • Q. What’s this latest Sigma thriller about?
    A. It starts when the hero of my books, Commander Gray Pierce, arrives home on Christmas Eve to find hi ... Read More
  • Q. In your past novels, you’ve folded intriguing bits of history into your stories. In CRUCIBLE, you deal with the persecution of witches, highlighting an ancient text described as the “most blood-soaked book in human history.” What is this infamous book?
    A. Everyone knows about the famous Salem Witch Trials, where twenty people—fourteen of them women—w ... Read More
  • Q. But you also reveal that the relationship between witches and the Catholic Church was not as straightforward as it might appear. You tell about a Catholic patron saint—a patron saint of witches. That seems like such a contradiction. Is there really such a person?
    A. There is indeed. Her name was Saint Columba and a cult grew around her in northern Spain during the ... Read More
  • Q. Likewise, during the bloody time of the Spanish Inquisition, you shine a light on one of the inquisitors who became known as the Witches’ Advocate. Who was he?
    A. His name was Alonso de Salazar Frías. He earned the name “The Witches’ Advocate” due to his ... Read More
  • Q. CRUCIBLE also reveals that this persecution of women continues to this day, a topic that is very much in the news of late.
    A. Back during the witch trials, many of the women accused of witchcraft were healers who used their lo ... Read More
  • Q. CRUCIBLE deals with witches. I understand you live in a haunted house. Is that true?
    A. Well, I just moved into a new house that dates back to 1936. Now I’m not that superstitious, but a ... Read More
  • Q. CRUCIBLE also tackles the threat of modern witchcraft. What do you mean by that?
    A. Arthur C. Clarke once wrote that “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from m ... Read More
  • Q. How soon might we reach that point?
    A. A recent poll of computer experts revealed that 42% of them believe this creation will happen within ... Read More
  • Q. But why is the creation of a self-aware AI such a crisis? Why did Stephen Hawking describe it as the “worst event in the history of civilization”?
    A. It’s because the first human-like intelligence will not be idle. Instead, it will prove to be very ... Read More
  • Q. You also claim in the foreword to your novel that those who read your book risk dooming themselves forever? Is that true?
    A. Yes. Buried in the heart of the novel is a curse—a curse not cast by any witch but from a danger i ... Read More
  • Q. Speaking of reading, this is the 14th novel in this exciting Sigma Force series. Does a new reader have to have read the earlier books?
    A. Not at all. I tailor each story so a new reader could jump into the series at any point. In fact, on ... Read More


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