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Altar of Eden    by James Rollins order for
Altar of Eden
by James Rollins
Order:  USA  Can
William Morrow, 2010 (2010)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

At the fall of Baghdad, the zoo was ransacked. Many animals were left to roam the streets. Others - exotic animals - were stolen to be sold to collectors. Highly illegal trafficking.

In the Everglades, State Veterinarian Lorna Polk comes upon a shipwrecked trawler full of animal cages. These are filled with animals suffering strange deformities - a parrot with no feathers; a pair of Capuchin monkeys joined at the hip; a jaguar cub with the promise of teeth to rival a saber-toothed tiger. They all also seem to have heightened intelligence.

To discover what is behind this strange cargo, Lorna teams up with Jack Menard, a member of the U.S. Border Patrol. Not a happy circumstance as far as she is concerned. The two have some unpleasant unresolved history together.

A beast has escaped from the trawler and must be found before it does harm. Altar of Eden tells of Lorna and Jack's desperate search for this creature. This novel is James Rollins' twelfth. And it is just as thrilling and suspenseful as the other eleven he has written.

Fast-paced, the plot has twists and unexpected turns that keep the reader rushing from one page to the next. The characters are also tightly written and the scenario is one we must all hope would never happen. Rollins' take is that who knows? It could. And if not, it sure is thrilling to read about. Altar of Eden is not to be missed for those of us who thrive on the unusual and the frightening.

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