The Sixth Extinction by James Rollins

Pub date: August 12th, 2014
William Morrow

The Sixth Extinction by James Rollins is another winner. On the tenth anniversary of this series Rollins is able to look into his crystal ball and see the future; although not too distant a future. Consider the current outbreak of the Ebola virus that is spreading faster than it can be controlled spurring New York City to conduct a massive bioweapons drill. On the tails of the Ebola reality, this novel combines pure science with a very believable storyline that can easily be played out on the world stage, showing the dangers of bio-labs that are attempting to create life-threatening viruses.


The plot is intense from the very beginning. After receiving a distress call from a bioresearch scientific lab in California, Park Ranger Jenna Beck and her partner Nikko, a Siberian Husky, investigate only to find a dark cloud of fire and smoke engulfing them. This cloud brings death and destruction, through a bio-engineered virus, to anything in its path. If this unknown force is not stopped the sixth extinction, the elimination of the human race, would prevail. Sigma Force is called in to prevent this from happening, and find the key to destroying this threat, which lies beneath the Antarctic ice. While the government’s point person, Dr. Raymond Lindahl, leans heavily into using a nuclear option to destroy this organism Jenna and the Sigma team race to the Brazilian Amazon to find an eco terrorist, Elwes Cutter, that is at the root of the problem. He initiated this terrorist act to advance his cause of creating new life through death of existing life. Sigma races the clock to stop Cutter and save not only their teammates, but all of mankind.


Although Rollins classifies his novel as a scientific thriller it is much more. By blending science, technology, and history with a fast action plot he has created a very riveting, realistic, and gripping story. With great character development, including the newly introduced Jenna and Nikko, Rollins is able to warn readers of the dangers of these scientific labs. A quote from the book hammers the point home, “Right now there are fifteen thousand scientists authorized to work with deadly pathogens, but there are zero federal agencies charged with accessing the risks… there’ve been countless reports of mishandling of contagious pathogens, of vials gone missing, of poor records. So when it comes to an accident like this one, it was not a matter of if but of when it would happen.”


As with all his recent novels Rollins includes amongst the characters man’s best friend. Rollins, who used to practice as a full-time veterinarian, writes great dog characters, Nikko included. The author uses his past experiences to create heart-wrenching likeable animals that play an intricate part to the story.


He also always gives a shout out to those in the military since many of his characters are former and current military personnel. This year he will also be helping those defending America through his charitable actions. Anyone who buys this book between August 1st and August 16th at a Barnes and Noble and gives this code “11412806” will help support veterans, since 20% of the proceeds will go to USA Cares. In addition on November 8th he will be attending the Military Book Fair ( held on the USS Midway in San Diego California.


Besides a new novel, on the eve of his tenth anniversary of the Sigma Series, Rollins has just signed a new book deal with William Morrow. Fans can look forward to more stories like The 6th Extinction where Rollins takes truth and stretches it to create an intense and believable plot, combining pulsating adventure, intriguing history, and cutting-edge advances in science and technology.

Elise Cooper