Amazonia is all the proof anyone could need that James Rollins can hold a reader riveted to a book. He creates rich characters with discernable motivations and personalities in a setting which is as fascinating as it is oppressive. Rollins spins a yarn which enthralls you from the first page to the last.

From the start of the tale the reader is presented with two intriguing developments. A green beret stumbles out of the jungle with the mark of a legendary though never actually seen Ban-ali tribe inscribed on his torso. To make matters even more interesting the man seems to have grown back an arm he had lost years previously. It is a medical mystery needing to be solved.

It is currently popular to have multinational corporations as the bad guys in movies and books – a portrayal which has been earned with all dishonesty and is well portrayed in Amazonia. The behavior of the corporations involved is completely believable as is the conduct of those in their employ. In keeping with the modern approach to story telling out hero Nathan Rand is a flawed deeply hurt man who only wants to do good but does not always succeed. Essentially this is a modern day Ponce de Leon storyline with adventurers of various backgrounds (some clearly just cannon fodder for later conflicts in the story) coming together to seek out the mysterious Ban-ali tribe.

The less than subtle, but no less meaningful, subtext of Amazonia is the value of the Amazon rainforest to the future of mankind. The cornucopia of undiscovered species of flora and fauna which we are destroying by the minute could be the last great storehouse of natural remedies for all of our ills. Amazonia makes the point that instead of preserving this wealth we are ridding our selves of it to create grazing land for cattle and lumber for building supplies.

Amazonia by James Rollins is a great read.

James Rollins
Paperback: 544 pages
Publisher: Avon

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