Lewis's Reviews > The Last Oracle

The Last Oracle by James Rollins
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's review
Dec 31, 2009

it was amazing
Read in May, 2009

Exploiting savant talents for military purposes is a fascinating yet horrifying prospect, which makes for a novel story. Kick up the intensity by making it exploiting the talents of autistic savant children who have been biologically altered to heighten their abilities, and you get Rollins' The Last Oracle. This fresh topic appealed to me from the very beginning and kept me turning pages quickly to see how things would turn out.

As you would expect with a Sigma novel, there is ample government secret agency involvement, espionage, and double crossing. The involvement of The Jasons was very intriguing. There is also a threat of radiation poisoning on a global scale. The reasoning behind the threat is even more interesting than the threat itself.

While The Last Oracle is a book in the Sigma Force series, you won't need any knowledge of the preceding books to enjoy and understand all that's going on. Rollins does an excellent job of giving the reader all he/she needs to follow the characters and the story without ever getting bogged down. A perfect example of this is a character named Monk, who was in an accident and presumed to be dead in a previous novel, appears in this book. The mystery surrounding his accident is integral to this plot, but you need no prior info to follow it.

The story offers much more complexity than having a single villain or even all the villains on one side or even in the same country. Fanaticism beyond reason is displayed on many sides. I enjoyed the varying levels of "bad" in the opposition in this book. While the story moves rapidly from one front to another (Washington D.C., India, Greece, Chernobyl), we do get to see the background and motivation that turns someone from being an ambitiously well-meaning patriot into a dangerous zealot, the road to believing that the ends justify the means. And, people do die, including some characters that you might not expect.

WARNING spoilers ahead. Linking the mythology of The Oracle of Delphi in Greece through the "untouchables" at the bottom of the caste system in India to the fabled mystic abilities of the Roma (Gypsies) made for some interesting reading. The way the story is presented also provides genetic reasons for the special abilities; one needs not believe in any mysticism to buy into the story. This next part won't make any sense unless you've read the book, but I also thought it was a nice touch that the epsilon was included in the mythology of the Oracle which provided a link to Sigma itself.

The ending is satisfying with just the right amount of closure and mystery that will continue into the next book.

Some of my favorite lines and descriptions are:
"...Nicholas had seen piles of discarded gas masks, lying in limp heaps like the scalped faces of the dead."
"Roots tangled out of the sandstone walls, like the gnarled faces of old men..."
"...windows shattered into broken fangs..."
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