The Doomsday Key: A Sigma Force Novel
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James Rollins, the New York Times bestselling master of nail-biting suspense and historical mystery, combines cutting-edge biotechnology with a centuries-old secret in an apocalyptic story that reveals where humankind is truly headed
The Doomsday Key
At Princeton University, a famed geneticist dies inside a biohazard lab. In Rome, a Vatican archaeologist is found dead in St. Peter's Basilica. In Africa, a U.S. senator's son is slain outside a Red Cross camp. The three murders on three continents bear a horrifying connection: all the victims are marked by a Druidic pagan cross burned into their flesh.
The bizarre murders thrust Commander Gray Pierce and Sigma Force into a race against time to solve a riddle going back centuries, to a ghastly crime against humanity hidden within a cryptic medieval codex. The first clue is discovered inside a mummified corpse buried in an English peat bog--a gruesome secret that threatens America and the world.
Aided by two women from his past--one his exlover, the other his new partner--Gray must piece together the horrifying truth. But the revelations come at a high cost, and to save the future, Gray will have to sacrifice one of the women at his side. That alone might not be enough, as the true path to salvation is revealed in a dark prophecy of doom.
Sigma Force confronts humankind's greatest threat in an adventure that races from the Roman Coliseum to the icy peaks of Norway, from the ruins of medieval abbeys to the lost tombs of Celtic kings. The ultimate nightmare is locked within a talisman buried by a dead saint--an ancient artifact known as the Doomsday Key.
keep me both honest and productive: Penny Hill, Judy Prey, Dave Murray, Caroline Williams, Chris Crowe, Lee Garrett, Jane O’Riva, Sally Barnes, Denny Grayson, Leonard Little, Kathy L’Ecluse, and Scott Smith. And an extra big thanks to Steve Prey for all his great help with the introductory maps and schematics. Beyond the group, Carolyn McCray and David Sylvian keep me moving forward through the best of times and the worst. And for all the many years of help with stories and articles and things
slices of his knife, the Frenchman freed the section of gut and dropped it on the table. Another whispery slip of blade and the stomach was laid open. A rich green mix of undigested bread and grain spilled over the board, like some foul horn of plenty. A fetid smell rolled out, ripe and potent. Martin covered his mouth and nose—not against the stench, but against the horrible certainty. “Starved to death, that is plain,” Girard said. “But the boy starved with a full belly.” Martin stepped
full responsibility.” Metcalf remained silent. He again fixed Painter with that steely gaze. Painter matched it, as firm and unyielding. A slight nod and the man stood up. He held out his hand this time. Painter shook it across his desk. Before Metcalf let go, he squeezed a notch harder. “Tread lightly over there, Director Crowe. And speak just as softly.” “Don’t worry. It’s what my ancestors are known for. We’re very light-footed.” This earned a small crooked smile as Metcalf let go and
back into his SUV; Monk joined his partner by the two snowmobiles. Creed sat atop one, outfitted like Monk in a snowsuit and helmet. Monk crossed to his machine and hiked a leg over it. As Painter spun out of the parking lot, Monk checked the assault rifle secured beside his seat. Creed had a matching weapon. They didn’t bother hiding the guns. Here in Spitsbergen, where polar bears outnumbered humans, such firepower was a requirement. Even the glossy tourist brochure Monk had picked up at the
shared the space with Painter and Monk. On the screen shone a digital map. It traced a crooked red line from Thailand to Italy. The path of the assassin ended in Venice. Sigma had been tracking her for over a year. Her location was marked by a small red triangle on a computer monitor. It glowed in the middle of a satellite map of Venice. Buildings, crooked streets, and winding canals were depicted in precise gray-scale detail, down to the tiny gondolas frozen in place, capturing a moment in