William Morrow | 2017 (5 December) | 624p | Review copy | Buy the book
When a team of scientists lands on an island off the coast of Brazil they discover a scene of horror. But only one of the scientists, Professor Ken Matsui, a specialist in venomous animals, will leave the island alive. Weeks later, a plane is seen crashing out of the skies on the Hawaii island of Maui. But before it’s destroyed, two people watch the plane release a black cloud. Gray and Seichan, members of the elite and secretive American agency Sigma, are most definitely in the wrong place at the wrong time and they must run for their lives. As news of the attack spreads to the Sigma headquarters in Washington DC, a trail is discovered that leads back through history to the tunnels hidden underneath the National Mall, the capital of America.
And so begins the thirteenth Sigma novel. Few people write thrillers with the skill and pace of James Rollins, a true master of the genre whose books I have read for many years, and each new addition to the series is to be longed for. I have no hesitation in calling The Demon Crown my favourite of the Sigma novels. It has the most fantastic premise – it’s scientifically and historically fascinating (how I love books that combine history, thrills and science) and it never lets up its pace. This is a thoroughly exciting novel.
The Demon Crown moves backwards and forwards between Hawaii and other stunning parts of the world. I’m going to say nothing about them – as you should come into this book not knowing where it will take you – but Rollins brings these incredible places to life, describing them vividly. I really enjoyed the Hawaii setting but I loved the other places we’re taken to just as much.
I love these Sigma characters – Painter, Gray, Seichan, Monk, Kat and the inimitable Kowalski. After all these years their relationships have grown complicated and this makes them even more of a joy to spend time with. Not that I’d want to spend time with them in reality – I don’t think my chances of survival would be high… If you’ve read all of the novels then you’d have more of an idea of how their individual stories have developed over the years, but that isn’t necessary to enjoy The Demon Crown. It’s a self-contained novel and it grips like a vice. What some of these characters must endure in this novel is utterly and spellbindingly horrible.
Thrillers don’t get much more exciting than The Demon Crown. I had my issues with the previous novel in the series, The Seventh Plague, which felt a little formulaic, but I had no such problem with The Demon Crown. My difficulty here is that I don’t want to tell you anything about it! I can only assure you that it marks a clear return to form and, if you enjoy scientific historical action thrillers half as much as I do, then you are in for a treat!
The Devil Colony
The Eye of God
The Bone Labyrinth
The Seventh Plague
With Grant Blackwood – War Hawk
With Rebecca Cantrell – The Blood Gospel (The Order of the Sanguines 1)
With Rebecca Cantrell – Innocent Blood (The Order of the Sanguines 2)
With Rebecca Cantrell – Blood Infernal (The Order of the Sanguines 3)