The Judas Strain, by James Rollins. I picked it out right away, though it was just one of many books. The word “Judas” led me to think it might be religious. Religion is mentioned, but not really Christianity.
I thought this book was good, until Rollins started forcing the main male protagonist, Gray, and the main female protagonist, Seichan, into a romantic plot that just felt forced and honestly like I was reading a bad romance novel, the kind I read as a junior in high school during that brief period of my life where I got curious about sex, and didn’t feel I got enough education from the Academy.
Basically, the premise of this book is that this disease shows up, and while the CDC is trying to help people and quarantine it, these terrorists are trying to make it into a bio weapon.
While these 2 groups are duking it out on a cruise ship turned hospital ward then turned battle field, Seichan, Gray, Kowalski, and this priest guy whatshisname are traveling in search of the mystery of Marco Polo. Basically, Marco Polo and his father and uncle sailed out with like, a fuckton of ships, and then later returned to Italy with only 2. Or was it 3… Marco Polo never told anyone what happened on that voyage, not even on his death bed. So the Intrepid Explorers follow the clues to this cave and… then I honestly just lose track of the plot. The ending was a tad disappointing.
I’m knocking it down one star for the ending, because it didn’t make much sense (they’ve got to take this woman to a cave to become the cure for the virus because that is supposed to happen… how… I’m confused.) and because of the forced romance in the plot.
And also because the US secret agents in this story are truly horrifying.
Kowalski, the body guard, was probably my favorite character, even though Gray spent A LOT of time telling us how unlikeable he was, and how it was likely no one else could stand him either, which made me want to punch Gray in the nose.
Despite my complaints, I really liked this book. I enjoyed the speculation of what Marco Polo and his crew ran into out there (my money’s on the missing ships being abducted by aliens, haha). In the book it turns out that they ran into this really deadly super virus and ended up having to burn all those ships with the infected people still alive. Which actually might have been the best method in the 1300s ish when Marco Polo’s story takes place.
And honestly? Before I read this book, I had no idea Marco Polo was an actual person. I thought that was just the name of a game kids play at the pool. Did any of you ever play that game? You know, where one person closes their eyes and yells “Marco!” and everybody else has to call out “polo!” and the blind person tries to catch the seeing people? Yeah, I was always Marco. I could never catch anybody, and I always got caught. I was one of those children.
Anyway, it turns out that, surprise surprise, Marco Polo’s deadly virus is the same one we are dealing with now, and he knows the cure, which apparently was to eat the body of a dead person who survived the disease. Which kinda makes a sorta sense, since they’d have the immunity and the 1300s people didn’t know about blood transfusions.
Back to the present, This lady named Susan has survived the virus, but they can’t just use the antibodies in her blood to stop the virus which could easily kill the whole world because Susan is crazily ranting (and glowing in the dark) that she has to get to this cave, where there is a pool of the bacteria that caused the virus in the first place. She gets burned by the bacteria, then gets magically resurrected somehow and… the world is saved.
Everybody lives happily ever after, in the hospital, except Seichan, who runs away, but not before the US agents put a tracker in her belly when they did surgery on her and then sewed it shut inside her. Which has gotta be the stuff horror movies are made of.
This book will definitely keep you entertained, especially if you liked The DaVinci Code, which I read to pieces in High School to see what all the fuss was about. After reading the book, I still didn’t understand what all the fuss was about. The Anti Christian fuss I mean, not the book’s popularity.
Stay tuned for my next entry, which will either be on Frozen or The Help.