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Altar of Eden

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  16,943 ratings  ·  905 reviews
Baghdad falls . . . and armed men are seen looting the city zoo. Amid a hail of bullets, a concealed underground lab is ransacked--and something horrific is set loose upon the world.

Seven years later, Louisiana state veterinarian Lorna Polk investigates an abandoned shipwrecked fishing trawler carrying exotic caged animals, part of a black market smuggling ring. But there
Hardcover, 398 pages
Published December 29th 2009 by William Morrow (first published 2009)
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Trent Gillespie It is a stand alone story, not part of his Sigma Force series. It isn’t written in an Indiana Jones style, per se,, more modern science thriller with …moreIt is a stand alone story, not part of his Sigma Force series. It isn’t written in an Indiana Jones style, per se,, more modern science thriller with some action. Lots of science talk to establish the plot. I didn’t enjoy the pace of the plot or the characters, but others have. (less)

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Average rating 4.01  · 
Rating details
 ·  16,943 ratings  ·  905 reviews

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WHY are people rating this book so highly???

The characters were cardboard cutouts, the plot was obviously manipulated, the scenarios were so unlikely...the story was more like a series of explosions and gunfights loosely linked together until it finally expired. Having survived to the end, I know a lot more about weaponry and am reassured that one-dimensional good guys can only get wounded no matter how many rounds are fired per minute, while no-dimensional bad guys inevitably get something she
Mar 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was absolute trash and I loved every second of it.
Nov 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Lorna is innocently driving to work in Louisiana one morning after a strong storm thinking of how her day is going to go. However, once she gets to work, she finds that she has been told that she is going out to inspect a ship-wrecked boat. What??? She is a vet, what do they need her for? Once she gets there however, she not only has to deal with Jack, a dark and sexy Border Patrol agent from her deep and painful past, she also has to deal with some animals on the ship. Not just any animals mind ...more
Dec 31, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: giveaways
I really liked this book! It is a quick read. I picked it up just to take a look and read seven chapters before I put it back down. I highly recommend all of James Rollins books, but "Altar of Eden" is definitely my favorite.
Jul 31, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
As far as airport novels go, this book was a sleeper...the kind that literally puts you to sleep. That's an odd thing to say about a book that has some of the loudest prose I've ever read, the kind that shouts, shoots, and explodes on every page. But I found it rather dull. I liked the premise and there was a nice amount of science-babble in it. Yet Rollin's cardboard characters with their TV formula problems bored me. This is the first Rollins novel I've read. I know a number of people who like ...more
Feb 06, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
My first glimpse into James Rollins occurred around 2006. I was managing an overstock bookstore at the time—Book Gallery—and a customer came in asking if we had any of Rollins's works. We had two—Amazonia and Ice Hunt—that he already had read, and so I personally picked them up and brought them home to drop on my never ending and ephemerally conceptualized to-read list. Why? Because he had used such phrases as "like Michael Crichton but way more exciting" and "seriously the best novels!" Phrases ...more
Aug 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Another great book by James Rollins . I love how in his books there are always adventure but a little romance as well. And facts, for example how the brain can produce enough electricity all the time to feed a flashlight.
Lorna and Jack were very strong character, but I liked all the side ones too.

When you read you enjoy the book, you feel what the characters feels, you learn new things and it's like you are there. The author is that good.
Feb 04, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’ve heard many good things about James Rollins and have had his books recommended to me on numerous occasions, but it took me a while before I finally picked one up. After reading Altar of Eden, I’ll certainly be devouring many of his other books.

With Altar of Eden, we have a thriller with a science-fiction edge, something I adore. It was not perfect – there were some elements I saw coming from early on and there were some aspects that were a bit too farfetched – but the action had me powering
Suspense Magazine
Writing plots and intricate characters that virtually reach out to snare like tentacles, Rollins continues to stagger us with his mind-blowing style in the introduction of his stand-alone thriller, “Altar of Eden”. Beautifully crafted and set in the backcountry of Louisiana, it only takes a small squint of the eyes to see the landscape unfurl as Rollins words progress.

When veterinarian Lorna Polk is summoned to the scene of an abandoned shipwreck, she couldn’t have been prepared for the shock w
Mar 01, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: library
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
I have mentioned many times that novels with themes of technology and science rock my world and James Rollins is one of my absolute favorite action/adventure authors who incorporates these themes. Normally I'm enraptured by the scientific theories Rollins includes in his novels, but in Altar of Eden I felt I was at times being lectured to about the science rather the than the story evolving from the science (this was even more apparent after comparing Altar of Eden to Awakening by S. J. Bolton, ...more
Alexa Whitewolf
Sep 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Entertaining from start to finish!! Couldn't put it down.
Patrick Gibson
Jan 06, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: testosterone
Our favorite veterinarian follow-up writer (he followed-up numerous Cussler novels with ‘Subterranean’ and ‘Sahara;’ and followed-up Dan Brown with ‘Map of Bones’) has now chosen to ride the coattails of Crichton (it’s okay this time, since ‘Next’ wasn’t very good). At least his take on genetic engineering doesn’t include dinosaurs. Although—there is one nasty saber-tooth pussycat keeping the first act moving along. Yes, our theater-challenged author has titled his sections ‘Acts.’ In deference ...more
Amy Rogers
Apr 19, 2012 rated it really liked it review: Altar of Eden is a stand-alone novel, not part of Rollins’ popular Sigma Force series. It bears his signature strengths: a strong, believable female character, and best-in-the-business action sequences. Altar of Eden adds two things to the Rollins repertoire: a veterinarian protagonist and vivid scenes + characters in the Louisiana bayou.

But overall, in my opinion Altar of Eden is not James Rollins’ finest work. His weaker books are still better than most writers’ be
Oct 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
ALTAR OF EDEN by James Rollins is a science thriller. And it's a good one. That's because the science is based on reality even while the story is fiction.

Do you remember back when the war in Iraq began, and animals at the Baghdad Zoo escaped and suffered? That's where ALTAR OF EDEN begins. It seems that something is going on there, something hidden. Rollins only hints, and other readers can surmise what they want, but my immediate suspicion was the suspicion at the time: biological warfare.

The b
Rollins was one of the authors I found as I waited for Dan Brown to write another book. I LOVE this paced, almost plausible, with characters I care about.

This one is not about the Sigma Team but the setting of New Orleans and the swamps made up for the loss of my team. Lorna is a vet working to clone endangered animals and is brought in as a consultant to examine some strange 'wrong' animals left abandoned from a supposed animal smuggling parrots with no feathers, a
Gloria Piper
Jul 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Someone is playing God, creating throwbacks of super intelligence. To what purpose? To fight wars?

The Polks and the Menards don't get along because of something that happened between them several years earlier. Nevertheless Lorna Polk, state veterinarian, must join Border Patrol Agent Jack Menard to stop the invasion of deadly mutants and to discover the source of their origin.

The rift between the Polks and Menards mends, which is no surprise. What surprises us is the outcome of the investigat
Fred Rayworth
May 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was happy when his new book came out and not at all disappointed that it wasn't part of his previous series. He started out in the business with individual stories, and for Altar of Eden, he returned to his roots. Being a veterinarian, it is not surprising he wrote a story about animals. What I liked about his earlier books was that he incorporated weird animals (or as I call them, "icky bugs") into the story. In this case, the icky bugs are genetically modified mutant animals (of various spec ...more
Dina Rodrigues
Jan 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
James Rollins never fails to satisfy..
Martin Pingree
Dec 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was a lot of fun to read. Jurassic Park story line with a lot more violence but an outstanding cast of characters keeps you reading to the end.
Brett Thomasson
San Diego veterinarian James Paul Czajkowski sold his first manuscript when fantasy mainstay Terry Brooks was one of the judges in a writing contest he won. But an obvious problem loomed, so he wrote under the pen name James Clemens. As Clemens, Czajkowski wrote a fantasy series called The Banned and the Banished.

He adopted another pen name for some standalone techno-thrillers and the SIGMA Force series, and it's under that name of James Rollins that we meet him here with 2010's Altar of Eden. H
Matt Schiariti
Nov 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Wow. It amazes me how much work James Rollins turns out in such a short period of time and each effort it just fantastic. I didn't even realize this one was coming out so short after The Doomsday Key was released and it's scary how he can write such high quality novels in such short order.

The plot of the book has been summarized by many reviewers before me so I'll spare reiterating what's already been said. What I WILL say though is that this is about as good as thriller/mystery as you're likely
Jul 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: re-reads
Oh, really fantastic book! Loved these characters, this story, and how it all came together! Great, and really enjoyed it!

*First read July 9th 2011*
These books, wow. I just loved them! They were just awesome!!! They had Rollin's typical blend of history, science, and jam-packed adventure, and it was just the perfect blend to make them easy, fast, and fun reads that were suspenseful to the very last word.

These books had the trademarks of Rollin's work, and the anticipation for the books to come o
Dec 31, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, first-reads
I won this book through first-reads, and although it is not the typical type of book I would usually read, I really enjoyed it.

It has non-stop action, science, a bit of romance, and very real characters, both human and animals. Also, the main character is very likable, even with her flaws, (she had an abortion when she was a teenager).

Veterinarian Lorna Polk receives some strange news regarding animals involved in a ship wreck near New Orleans. When she goes to investigate, she finds a featherle
Thomas Edmund
Mar 01, 2010 rated it did not like it
Despite injecting biblical quote and reference, this novel fails to reach such proportions. Instead the storyline kinda is an elaborate Lake Placid.

I shouldn’t be quite so harsh, the attempts at good science fiction are noteworthy and perhaps as my undergraduate degree is in genetics I am too sceptical.

The basic storyline is: The government is conducting genetic engineering experiments and creating intelligent monsters. A vet (animal doctor) and a vet (Iraq) team up to stop this evil experimen
May 03, 2013 rated it liked it
[Updated review] 3.5/5 The second reading for me was less enjoyable than the first. Although still a fun novel jam-packed with action and adventure, I think it’s a lot easier to love when you don’t have a molecular biology background. In ways this is a bit like a modern version of the Island of Doctor Moreau and likewise parts of it haven’t aged well even it the book is less than 10 years old. That being said the idea behind the story remains intriguing and the book is extremely hard to put down ...more
Jun 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
While "Altar of Eden" isn't on the same level of interest and/or quality for this reviewer as the earliest novels (i.e. "Amazonia", "Ice Hunt", and "Subterranean") written by author James Rollins, his fans will enjoy this imaginative and action-filled book, nonetheless.

The novel creates an interesting plot that's connected to reality in a few ways (which Rollins carefully points out at the end of the book). The premise revolves around experimentation on animals and humans in order to create the
Nov 03, 2012 rated it it was ok
I enjoyed most of the book: How the author uses the theme of genetic engineering is intriguing and held my interest throughout the book. I'm a great animal lover, and I needed to know how those well-traveled and endearing little critters ended up. I also liked the view into how life is lived in Cajun country -- or how the author imagines it's lived. The feuding families with two people who gradually fall in love through trials and tribulations was predictable from the moment they clap eyes on ea ...more
Cindy Meilink
Oct 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
I enjoy books that have one foot planted in reality and the other in the "this could potentially happen" camp.

Altar of Eden begins with the bombing of a zoo in Baghdad that houses a secretive facility beneath it--a laboratory undergoing genetic research.

The destruction of the zoo creates a need to transfer the surviving laboratory animals in order for the research to continue.

When the trawler carrying the animals runs aground freeing some of the animals on a small island, Dr. Lorna Polk, a vete
Dec 31, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: firstreads, 2010, benicia
I am suffering from an irritated anticipation. I've been keeping the house free of library books as I've been expecting this one in the mail. I'm down to reading Russian novels, for goodness' sake! Maybe I can sneak that copy of Morbid Curiosity away from my friend. It must have been lost in the mail, I will read it when and if I get it, I also put it on hold at the library and am annoyed at being held up. I've taken a peek at the first few pages and am eager to start in on it. Okay, finally got ...more
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James Rollins is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of international thrillers. His writing has been translated into more than forty languages and has sold more than 20 million books. The New York Times says, “Rollins is what you might wind up with if you tossed Michael Crichton and Dan Brown into a particle accelerator together.” NPR calls his work, “Adventurous and enormously engrossing.” ...more

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“If you don't talk about it, it didn't happen.” 6 likes
“God had banished man from the Garden of Eden for daring to trespass upon the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.
- But What if man learned to grow his own Tree? Where might it end?
- She didn't knew the answer. She knew only one thing for certain.
Someone had to stop Them”
More quotes…