Mash up Lovecraft and Ludlum, stir in exotic geography and lashings of mad science, and you’ve got the latest from the Rollins (Bloodline, 2012, etc.) pop-thriller factory.
Given that half of adult Americans reportedly don’t believe in evolution, it’s daring to open in the chart room of the HMS Beagle, with Charles Darwin pondering an “ancient Fuegian map” redolent of dark, unsettling mysteries. Move forward a couple of centuries, and we’re with the steely-jawed Painter Crowe, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency commando par excellence (and who knew DARPA had commandos?), who takes time out from protecting the world from technological mayhem only long enough to ogle his whip-smart fiancee, “to appreciate the curve of her backside, the angle of her hip, the length of her leg.” She may be the captain of the chess club we’d all like to join, but she’s got the right stuff, like all of Sigma Force, to protect us from evil—until, that is, supreme bad guy Cutter Elwes returns from the grave where he’s presumably been, well, not living for a dozen-odd years to do that voodoo that he does so well. He’s very, very bad—we know because he's “French on his father’s side”—but he’s not the only scientist to be tinkering with the innermost workings of nature, attempting to undo all that we know of the laws of Darwinian evolution by, say, bringing extremely irritable creatures back from extinction and unleashing biological mayhem on an unsuspecting world. Cutting-edge science and mad dashes to D.C., Antarctica and highland Brazil notwithstanding, this is a good old-fashioned dust-up, the cliffhanging question being always whether the good guys of the public sector will prevail over the bad guys of the private.
Tune in to find out. Literature it’s not—more like an industrial product that sort of looks like it, in the same way that a fast-food burger resembles food. Still, it’s plenty tasty, if not very nutritious.