For eons, the city of Troy—whose legendary fall was detailed in Homer’s Iliad—was believed to be myth, until archaeologists in the nineteenth century uncovered its ancient walls buried beneath the sands. If Troy was real, how much of Homer’s twin tales of gods and monsters, curses and miracles—The Iliad and The Odyssey—could also be true and awaiting discovery?
In the frozen tundra of Greenland, a group of modern-day climatologists and archaeologists stumble on a shocking find: a medieval ship buried a half mile below the ice. The ship’s hold contains a collection of even older artifacts—tools of war—dating back to the Bronze Age. Inside the captain’s cabin is a magnificent treasure that is as priceless as it is miraculous: a clockwork gold atlas encircled by an intricate silver astrolabe. The mechanism is signed with the name of its creator, Ismail al-Jazari, a famous Muslim inventor considered to be the Da Vinci of the Arab world—a brilliant scientist who inspired Leonardo’s own work.
Once activated, the moving globe traces the path of Odysseus’ famous ship as it sailed away from Troy. But the route detours as the map opens to reveal an underground river leading to a hidden realm underneath the Mediterranean Sea. The map indicates that this subterranean world is called Tartarus, the Greek name for Hell. In mythology, Tartarus was where the wicked were punished and the monstrous Titans of old, imprisoned.
When word of Tartarus spreads—and of the cache of miraculous weapons said to be hidden there—tensions explode in this volatile region where Turks battle Kurds, terrorists wage war, and civilians suffer untold horrors. The phantasmagoric horrors found in Homer’s tales are all too real—and could be unleashed upon the world. Whoever possesses them can use their awesome power to control the future of humanity.
Now, Sigma Force must go where humans fear to tread. To prevent a tyrant from igniting a global war, they must cross the very gates of Hell.
You can always count on James Rollins for a rollicking good “save the world” adventure, but he has outdone himself with The Last Odyssey. Imagine that all those horrible monsters from Greek mythology were real AND they’ve been biding their time in an underground world, awaiting release. Then add deceitful senators & priests, smart scientists & brawny heroes and you‘ve got a winner.
Rollins has gradually filled out the stories of several characters in the Sigma series, and continues to do so here. Watching Gray and Seichan comes to terms with parenthood was very touching, but the growing relationship between Kowalski and Maria was emotional *and* heartbreaking.
The story here is unbelievably imaginative and meticulously researched. I especially appreciated the notes at the end. Highly recommended.
Publication Date: March 24, 2020
Published By: William Morrow
Thanks to Edelweiss for the review copy