Bloodline by James Rollins

First time mothers are supposed to spend the nine months before birth in a blissful state of anticipatory preparation. With only a few weeks before the arrival of her newborn, Amanda is feeling anything but bliss. After discovering her husband's infertility, Amanda undergoes the grueling process of in vitro fertilization. A couple miscarriages later, she finally carries a healthy child. Despite all of this, she and her husband are fleeing for their lives. A few weeks ago, she received anonymous notification, indicating that the life of her child was threatened. Now, off the coast of Africa, the couple is aboard a yacht, fleeing for the safety of their child. Under the cover of darkness, a group of Somali pirates hijacks the ship, killing the crew, her husband, and kidnapping the pregnant Amanda. This story alone would be enough to capture American headlines, but there is one more detail that makes this an even bigger story. Amanda is the daughter of the President of the United States!

In "Bloodline", the latest installment in the popular Sigma Force series by author James Rollins, Sigma, a secretive US military group, is tasked with finding the kidnapped Amanda. Gray Pierce, field leader of the covert team, is dealing with problems of his own. His mother was caught in the crossfire of his previous mission, in which his pursuit of the elusive organization, The Guild, led to her murder, leaving his father, who is slowly declining into dementia, to live alone.  By straddling his protagonist with the guilt of his mother's death, Rollins turns what could have been a mindless super-human warrior into an everyman with genuine emotions.

Sigma enlists the help of a highly trained, army dog, Kane, and trainer, Tucker, to assist with the search. The sequences featuring the dog allow Rollins to flex his creative muscles, as he narrates entire passages from the perspective of the dog. Through this inventive method, Rollins successfully portrays the authentic relationship of trust between man and animal where the lives of both completely rests in the hands of the other.

As the investigation continues, the team uncovers a shocking connection between the kidnapping and the elusive Guild. Coming closer to discovering the motivation behind the abduction, Gray is fueled by both a desire to return the missing woman and unborn child safely to their family and by an urge to seek revenge for the brutal killing of his mother.

Despite being the eighth novel in the series, "Bloodline" has enough back-story to stand on its own. Writing with an authoritative confidence, Rollins provides the perfect combination of thrills, emotion, and fact. With an abundance of characters and story lines, he keeps the story sailing in the right direction, never allowing the focus to shift from the impending conclusion. His accessible language allows for a quick pace and an easy read that packs action, science, and intrigue into a smart and entertaining novel.

For more information, visit the author's website,

(week 26, book 30)

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