#BookReview: Crucible by James Rollins

Can Even Sigma Defeat This Threat? Honestly, the best thing about this book is that Rollins ups the stakes *so much* that the threat feels *all too real* – even moreso than during the events of The Demon Crown. And yes, in part this is because I’m reading this book – where the science involved is fully realized Artificial General Intelligence – in 2023, when it seems we hear every day that this is truly just days away from actually being real. But also because of Rollins’ writing and what he is willing to put the characters we’ve come to love so much through. The team is actually split in *three* ways here, rather than the more typical two, and with each feeding on the other (as usual)… pulse pounding at its finest. Rollins truly makes you feel that even Sigma is actually being gravely threatened – and that is a true talent, after spending so many books showing them to be almost a John Cena type of organization, able to take any beating that comes their way and ultimately win anyway. Combining the science of AI with the history of the witch purges and in particular the Spanish Inquisition – which was still raging as recently as just 200 yrs ago – was truly inspired here, and works quite well – even moreso with the particularly shocking revelation in the end that ties all the way back to the very first words of the book. Truly one of the better Sigma books, but absolutely one that needs to be read at minimum in order as a trilogy with this being Book Three and The Seventh Plague and The Demon Crown being books 1 and 2, respectively. (Even if you don’t go back and re-read the *entire* Sigma story before coming into this one.) Very much recommended.

This review of Crucible by James Rollins was originally written on June 23, 2023.