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3.4 out of 5 stars
3.4 out of 5 stars
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on August 1, 2011
I'm a big fan of the stand alone books of James Rollins (I really don't like his Sigma series) and I've read them all including this latest one.
I was only slightly disappointed with Altar of Eden. The intrigue wasn't quite up to par with his other stories. It also lacked the "adventure" I'm used to with his other books.
As always the characters are really nicely defined and you get the usual big bang stressful ending that Rollins is known for.
All in all, it's not a bad book, but it's probably not in the top 5 of Rollins die hard fans.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon March 13, 2010
Multi talented actress Paula Christensen gives a stunning voice performance of James Rollins's latest thriller - a startlingly imagined tale of genetic engineering. From the initial moment when protagonist Lorna Polk makes an incredible discovery to the denouement Christensen perfectly captures each characters' shock, fear, resolution. ALTAR OF EDEN is a spellbinder, albeit a scary one.

The tale begins at the Baghdad Zoo where two young boys are poking around where they shouldn't be - they find a storeroom filled with strange equipment and come face to face with an enormous monster, the likes of which they've never seen.

Action segues quickly to veterinarian Lorna Polk in Louisiana who is summoned to see a cage of animals in a shipwrecked vessel. Odd things may have been found in the Mississippi River but never anything like this - the animals have been mutated, horribly so yet they are all highly intelligent. However, one beast is missing - a mammoth jaguar escaped and is killing in order to eat.

Not only must the jaguar be found, but what or who could possibly be behind such nefarious doings, and for what reason? Lorna, with the help of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Jack Menard, must find the answers to these questions and quickly. It's a gasp producing hunt as the two eventually uncover a secret they never could have imagined.

- Gail Cooke
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on July 10, 2014
I do not like stories of animal cruelty. Of course I am being a bit unfair because I only read the first few chapters and I have put it aside to read my second order Map of Bones. I am reading that book as fast as I can because I am enjoying it so much. When I have finished I will, in all probability, begin rereading it. Maybe later I will give Alter of Eden another try but... Well we'll see.
Thank you for your query. Jean Parr.
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on April 6, 2016
Genetically enhanced animals. Super-human soldiers. Science fiction? Or is it currently happening now in clandestine labs around the world? In this James Rollins thriller, there is a fascinating look at the repercussions of a what might lurk in our junk DNA, dormant for the moment, waiting to be reactivated. The possibilities of hivemind, of genetic throwbacks, of corporate greed versus biomedical ethics, are unnerving.
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on March 8, 2010

I have found "Alter of Eden" by James Rollins Altar Of Eden Intl to be a good read.

Different in form from the "Sigma" series of the same author, it maintains the "factual/fiction" combination that appeals to me.

Nothing fancy ... just good entertainment!

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on May 16, 2013
I love James Rollins' books and this one was no disappointment. He consistently keeps the reader attached to the plot and the characters. I consider his books a "quick read" because I can't put them down until they're finished.
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It must be stated upfront that I am a Rollins fan. I like the thriller genre as an escape and have made my way through all of his work along with many from Preston & Child, Glenn Meade, Jeff Long, Brendan DuBois, Grant Blackwood, David Morrell, Christopher Reich, and others. They are fun escapes that are not to be taken too seriously. Indeed, I listen to many of them on my iPod because they lend themselves to dramatization.

And while Alter of Eden was an escape of sorts, as I read it I could not help but become critical as the formula is getting stale. This critique is not of Rollins solely but to many of the current batch of writers who ply the thriller trade and who appeal to a large market who gobble up these now repetitious and lazy efforts. I am a frequent traveler and see these books being bought in airports by the masses just before they go to Sbarro's or Starbuck's and order the equivalent predictable food and drink.

Alter of Eden is a mix of The Island of Dr. Moreau and Jurassic Park with plenty of shoot 'em up action and overdoses of lectures on fractal science. Writers of this genre should note that 99% of the readers do not care about substantiating the science in this genre - think of the flux capacitor and the Millennium Falcon - they just want to be entertained.

In terms of the story it included animals with heightened intelligence, Blackwater-like evil military contractors, and scientists with and without hearts. The attempt to make Saddam's regime seem like the prolific Nazi's of so many fictional books is a real stretch. The characters are so ludicrous and their back stories so unbelievable that it makes the book hard to finish. Especially the bizarre story about Lorna Polk and her past connection to the Menard family - it is treacle, a distraction, weird, and worst of all, unnecessary. The whole book is choppy and a disappointment but maybe I am taking it too seriously or perhaps Rollins' audience is growing tired of the same old formula.
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on March 1, 2016
Fun book. Great action. This book is good for anyone into biology. Definitely worth reading
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on July 8, 2016
great reading. Hard to put the book down.
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on June 3, 2011
I'm halfway through this book, and have just decided to give up. I've been forcing myself to keep going for the last 30 pages or so, but it's just gotten too silly, so I'm not wasting any more time on it.

My main complaints :

1. The author does not give depth to his events. So when something major happens, such as a boat blowing up, the characters have dealt with it and moved on by the end of the next page. It feels amateurish and rushed, as if the author has not yet learned how to pace or structure his stories to provide the right balance between authenticity and progress.

2. The characters are horribly, horribly 1 dimensional. By the middle of the book, I still couldn't care less whether any of them lived or died. I was actually rooting for the 'monster'.

3. The author attempts to add some depth or mystery by adding a ridiculous backstory between the male and female lead. It adds absolutely nothing whatsoever to the story, and eventually becomes an extremely annoying distraction. These 'connections' gradually fan out to include some other characters as well. I read the Big Reveal in the scene at the Alligator Farm, rolled my eyes in boredom / surrender / embarassment / disgust, and closed the book for good.

4. Non-stop 'action', most of which is very tedious and will make you skim or skip pages. Things blow up, things get shot down, things catch fire, things get chased or do the chasing. Blah, blah, blah, blah. Maybe the author wrote the novel in the hope that Michael Bay would buy the rights and turn it into a summer blockbuster. One of the other reviews mentions over-usage of fractal science. I'm assuming the science stuff is all in the second half of the novel. But it probably still blows up or catches on fire.

I have nothing against this genre of book. I enjoy what my mum would call 'a book for the beach' and what my dad would call 'a ripping yarn' as much as the next guy. I don't need them to be scientifically credible or historically accurate. But I do need them to be well written. And this is not.

Don't waste your time or money.
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