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Tides of Fire

Review

Tides of Fire

What I especially love about a James Rollins novel is the full disclosure he provides about both the impetus and the research for what he is about to unveil in his latest book.

In the case of TIDES OF FIRE, his 17th Sigma Force thriller, Rollins informs readers in “Notes From The Scientific Record” of the steps that NASA has documented to validate proof of other life in the universe. This gets the blood rushing in anticipation of what’s to come. He also includes a witty and funny dedication to his old buddy, Steve Berry. They are indeed two of a kind, and no one can touch them in their genre.

"TIDES OF FIRE is an outstanding, high-octane read that will make you look at the world around you from a different point of view and should be treated as a cautionary tale about what our planet is capable of."

In the next section, “Notes From The Historical Record,” Rollins emphasizes that we live on a volatile planet. He references mass extinction events that have changed the face of life on Earth and points to the volcanic eruption of the Toba supervolcano in Indonesia approximately 74,000 years ago, which serves as background for the story he is about to tell.

And what a story it is! We witness an incident at sea in 1815 in the Dutch East Indies involving unexplained fires on the ocean itself. This is followed by a bizarre case in the same year on the island of Java where victims of some explosions seem to have had their bodies turned into coral. Rollins is always great at tying anything of historical significance to the narrative involving Commander Gray Pierce and his Sigma Force team, and that is certainly the case here.

The Titan Project, a uniquely constructed research facility off the coast of Australia, uncovers a thriving zone within a part of the sea that was determined to be dead. Odd, bioluminescent coral appears to be growing there and is acting quite erratically. Here we begin to see a bit of that connection to one of the 1815 events already described. The situation turns serious rather quickly when a submarine gets lost and sets off an ecological occurrence that destabilizes the entire region. What follows is biblical in scope --- fires, volcanoes, earthquakes and deadly tsunamis that threaten the entire planet.

With the seas burning up fast and toxicity levels rising, Sigma Force is sent in to try to analyze what is going on and offer some sort of rapid solution. Little do they realize that miles beneath the ocean, an unknown power has been released the likes of which they have never seen before that poses a threat of untold magnitude if not deciphered. To say that TIDES OF FIRE is intense and suspenseful would be a gross understatement. This is thriller/adventure writing of the highest order.

Meanwhile, an old foe of Pierce and Sigma Force steps in to capitalize on this global misfortune and prevent them from setting things straight. It is a race to the finish that will leave readers gripping their chairs with white knuckles and held breath in the hopes that Sigma Force will get the job done before time runs out for all of us. TIDES OF FIRE is an outstanding, high-octane read that will make you look at the world around you from a different point of view and should be treated as a cautionary tale about what our planet is capable of.

Reviewed by Ray Palen on August 18, 2023

Tides of Fire
by James Rollins

  • Publication Date: August 15, 2023
  • Genres: Adventure, Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow
  • ISBN-10: 0062893076
  • ISBN-13: 9780062893079