Book #2
Map of Bones: A Sigma Force Novel
Released On: Apr 26, 2005

The bestselling master of astonishing adventure, James Rollins delivers his most relentlessly exciting page-turner to date – a gripping and explosive novel of an ancient conspiracy to create a terrifying new world order out of the ashes of modern civilization.

The crime is inhumanly cruel with horrific consequences both unthinkable and inevitable. During a service at a cathedral in Cologne, Germany, a band of armed intruders dressed in monk’s robes unleashes a nightmare of blood and terror, ruthlessly gunning down worshippers and clergy alike. The killers haven’t come for the church’s gold and valuable artwork, but for a priceless treasure secreted within: the preserved bones of the Three Magi who once came to pay homage to a newborn savior. As they flee the carnage they have wrought, they carry a prize that could reshape the world.

The Vatican is in turmoil, and Lieutenant Rachel Verona of Rome’s carabinieri is assigned to lead the investigation. But no ordinary police organization alone can deal with the bizarre theft and massacre. Sigma Force – an elite covert arm of the U.S. Defense Department – is called in under the command of Grayson Pierce. New to Sigma, Pierce assembles a crack team of scientific and Special Forces operatives to unravel the mystery of the stolen bones, and together they set out on a twisting trail through a labyrinth of clues and dark revelations that carry them to the sites of the Seven Wonders of the World – and to the doorstep of the mystical and terrifying Dragon Court.

An ancient, secret fraternity of alchemists and assassins, the master-adepts of the Dragon Court have plans for the sacred remains that will alter the future of humankind in devastating ways that only the maddest of zealots could desire – and they will let nothing and no one stand in their way. Suddenly Pierce, Verona, and the Sigma team are the hunted as well as the hunters, forced to use every skill they possess to survive as they follow the bones to the ultimate confrontation between darkness and light – in a lost place of history where science and religion will unite to unleash a horror not seen since the beginning of time.

A masterful novel that combines the exhilarating mysticism of The Da Vinci Code with the pulse-pounding action of a Tom Clancy thriller, James Rollins’s Map of Bones is destined to be a modern classic that will stand among the very best adventure tales ever written.

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Critical Acclaim

  • "A spiralling, high-octane adventure, loaded with cutting-edge technology and jam-packed with action and mayhem. This pulse-pounding thriller moves at mach speed. James Rollins is clearly at the top of his game."

    Steve Berry, Nationally Bestselling Author of The Third Secret and The Romanov Prophecy
  • "Rollins has few peers in the research department, which makes the historical material fascinating....Dan Brown-ers looking for methadone will add to Rollins's usual solid numbers."

    Publishers Weekly
  • "Rollins combines the mystery and research of Dan Brown with the adrenaline-charged action of Clive Cussler into a slick thriller that you can't put down."

    Jack Du Brul, Nationally Bestselling Author of Deep Fire Rising
  • "This novel about an ancient secret society and the race to find priceless antiquities is sure to be compared to Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code, but, in every way, it's a much better book. Where Brown's best-seller was predictable despite its compelling premise, this tale is clever and suspenseful."

    Booklist [2006 Barry Award nominee for Best Thriller]


  • Q. Does Sigma Force really exist?
    A. Sigma Force is an ultra-secret cadre of ex-Special Forces soldiers recruited into DARPA (the R&D arm ... Read More
  • Q. How did you learn of this?
    A. Despite the Vatican's code of silence on this matter, painstaking research by David Alvarez resulted ... Read More
  • Q. If a fan of Da Vinci Code picked up your novel, what similarities and differences should the reader expect?
    A. Any thriller involving religious history and mysteries is going to be compared and contrasted with D ... Read More
  • Q. Is Map of Bones the genesis of a genre, a new kind of thriller? What sets this book apart from the works of your literary counterparts, such as Brown, Crichton, and Carr?
    A. I think you've tapped the perfect trio of writers to illustrate my goal. Michael Crichton is a maste ... Read More
  • Q. Is Map of Bones the religious man's answer to The Da Vinci Code?
    A. Map of Bones was my attempt to tell a historical thriller set against a backdrop of mythology, Catho ... Read More
  • Q. Map of Bones is laced with items of interest about holy relics. How did you research the origin of items, and what importance do they hold to believers?
    A. Raised a Roman Catholic, I was well versed in the trials and tortures of the many saints throughout ... Read More
  • Q. This book launched a new series, based upon the SIGMA Force introduced inSandstorm:. Why the move to linked novels from your compellingly readable stand-alone thrillers of the past?
    A. For years, readers have contacted me and asked questions about various cast members from my earlier ... Read More
  • Q. Truth or Supposition: the Vatican employs an elite cadre of spies around the globe?
    A. That would be true. Like any government, the Vatican does indeed maintain a sophisticated intelligen ... Read More
  • Q. What triggered the concept for Map of Bones? Do the Bones of the Magi really exist?
    A. The bones or relics of the Biblical Magi are indeed housed in a golden reliquary inside the cathedra ... Read More
  • Q. Your books often weave high-concept scientific theory within the pages of your novels. While not wanting to spill any secrets about the plot of Map of Bones, can you give us the scoop on some of the breaking-news scientific concepts in the book?
    A. Ah, a peak behind the curtain. Suffice it to say that the science behind this story is not fiction, ... Read More


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