The Black Order is one of the Sigma Force series of books written by James Rollins. These books mainly deal with the adventures of an elite American special operations team called Sigma Force. This team generally fights to protect America from all kinds of subversive activities targeting it.
In this book, there is a series of alarming incidents occurring in various parts of the world – South Africa, Europe, and the Himalayas. And the Sigma Force team get into action to investigate and tackle the cause of these incidents.
The basic premise of the plot – neo-Nazis using some advanced technology (some weird form of genetic engineering) developed during Hitler’s time want to create a new world populated with super men and super women, is definitely not the most innovative. However, the handling of the story is first-class.
The book is a page turner from the very first page. The author provides a brief but effective sketch of the main characters without slowing down the pace of the story. This is something I really appreciate. I have read so many novels, where in each book of the series, a full character sketch is provided of the main protagonists. I really liked James Rollins’ brevity here.
I also liked the fact that the bad guys are not all dark. Most of them showed some humane traits, and in fact a couple were quite likable. I also liked that the members of Sigma Force were nice, quiet, good guys who quietly went about their mission without mouthing jingoistic utterly nonsensical, sometimes offensive dialogues (if you have read Brad Thor or Tom Clancy, you know what I am talking about).
What took away from the book, was the somewhat implausible (and utterly predictable) plot. Apparently, a Nazi scientist has hidden a scientific secret in a copy of The Bible. The bad guys want to get to this secret, so that they can use it to their own evil ends. The good guys race against the bad guys to get hold of this Bible. These modern day researchers (who don’t seem to have a very solid historical or scientific background) are able to break this code in a matter of days, which is very unbelievable. Once revealed, the secret is also a huge let down. In fact, I think I am reading too many stories dealing with hidden secrets, codes, and so on. So, these parts of the book were very boring and predictable for me.
The climax of the book is also a little hackneyed – desperately trying to tie all loose ends together, and everything rushing towards the climax.
However, in spite of all these flaws, I still found myself liking this book. It is a good, solid thriller, which delivered exactly what it promised.