Monday, August 1, 2011

The Devil Colony

by James Rollins
(Sigma series #7)

I look forward to reading all of James Rollins's books once he announces them. But when I read on his blog that his latest was going to reveal a secret about the founding of our country, a secret tied to the Book of Mormon, the anticipation level went up a few notches for me. As an LDS person, and one who has read the Book of Mormon numerous times, I couldn't help but smile at the thought of what Rollins might try to do.

The adventure begins in the Uintah Mountains of Eastern Utah, where two Native American teenagers are searching for a cave, a cave they've been warned against entering by the elders of their tribe. What they find in that cave sets off an explosion, but it's a unique explosion, one that gets the attention of Painter Crowe and the others working for Sigma - a covert division of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and one that sets off a chain reaction that could end life on earth as we know it.

Now, let me give my opinion about the ties to the Book of Mormon and the beliefs of the LDS church that are described in the book. The belief of members of the LDS Church is that the Book of Mormon is a record of the ancestors of the Native Americans who were themselves descendants of one of the lost ten tribes of Israel and who left Jerusalem approximately 600 B.C.. In The Devil Colony, part of the historical aspect of the book centers around a tribe of "pale skinned" Indians who came from the East, who kept records on golden plates in a writing that has its roots in the Hebrew language, and who possessed some sort of magical power that scared the other tribes and ultimately led to their being killed off.

In the book, Rollins explains that there are two different sets of beliefs within the LDS church. One is the belief that all those currently referred to as Native Americans are descendants of those Israelites whose history is contained in the Book of Mormon. He tells how DNA testing of these tribes has thus far shown that that isn't the case, instead tying their lineage to Asia. But he also describes the more current set of beliefs among many, including myself, and that is that the people and events contained in the Book of Mormon, represent only a small and possibly isolated portion of the Americas.

To his credit, Rollins obviously did his research on the what the Book of Mormon is and how it came about. He did mess up in one paragraph when he referred to Joseph Smith as John Smith a couple of times, but I forgive him for that since he got it right everywhere else.

Bottom line is it was a lot of fun to read. His stories are always fast-paced rides that I devour quickly, but this one was even more enjoyable because of the Mormon angle and because a lot of it takes place here in Utah, on the campus of BYU, and other places I know well.

★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

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