by James Rollins

William Morrow, July, 2004.
Hardcover, 464 pages.
ISBN: 0060580666

Sandstorm by James Rollins After taking readers to the depths of the South American jungles in Amazonia and to the frozen arctic in Ice Hunt, James Rollins heads for the hot, windy Arabian deserts in his best novel yet. When a mysterious explosion destroys most of the Kensington Gallery of the British Museum, covert governement agencies as well as other interested parties converge on the scene to investigate. One of the artifacts brought to the museum from Oman appears to harbor a stable form of antimatter, which if de-stabilized, will cause a catastrophic explosion. Immediately connecting the explosion with her father's mysterious death in the deserts of Oman years ago, Lady Kara Kensington organizes an expedition to find the legendary lost city of Ubar, which may hold the key to the world's energy needs and a cataclysmic weapon. The expedition group is a mixed one which includes Kara's childhood friend, museum curator Safia al-Maaz, Safia's graudate student, Safia's former fiance, explorer Omaha Dunn, and undercover DARPA agents Painter Crowe and his partner Coral are also along for the ride. Kara's expedition is not the only group determined to discover the secrets of Ubar for themselves; there are two other shadowy groups who are trailing the expedition's every move.

Reading one of James Rollins' novels is like being seated on a runaway horse: you just hang on for the ride and enjoy the scenery as it goes whizzing by. He shows particular skill at taking meticulously researched science and then extrapolating and stretching the facts to create a fantastic backdrop against which his characters have incredible adventures. Sanstorm has some of Rollins' most interesting and layered characters, and he writes interesting and believable women characters particularly well. If there is one author whose name you must remember when you're about to get stuck on a long plane flight, it's James Rollins.

--Claire E. White

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This review was published in the July-August, 2004 of The Internet Writing Journal.

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