Altar of Eden Author:James Rollins Following the fall of Baghdad, two Iraqi boys stumble upon armed men looting the city zoo. The floodgates have been opened for the smuggling of hundreds of exotic birds, mammals, and reptiles to Western nations, but this crime hides a deeper secret. Amid a hail of bullets, a concealed underground weapons lab is ransacked?and something even more ... more »horrific is set free. Seven years later, Louisiana state veterinarian Lorna Polk stumbles upon a fishing trawler shipwrecked on a barrier island. The crew is missing or dead, but the boat holds a frightening cargo: a caged group of exotic animals, clearly part of a black market smuggling ring. Yet, something is wrong with these beasts, disturbing deformities that make no sense: a parrot with no feathers, a pair of Capuchin monkeys conjoined at the hip, a jaguar cub with the dentition of a saber-toothed tiger. They also all share one uncanny trait?a disturbingly heightened intelligence. To uncover the truth about the origin of this strange cargo and the terrorist threat it poses, Lorna must team up with a man who shares a dark and bloody past with her and is now an agent with the U.S. Border Patrol, Jack Menard. Together, the two must hunt for a beast that escaped the shipwreck while uncovering a mystery tied to fractal science and genetic engineering, all to expose a horrifying secret that traces back to humankind's earliest roots. But can Lorna stop what is about to be born upon the altar of Eden before it threatens not only the world but also the very foundation of what it means to be human?« less
This book is almost Jurassic Park-like. It's definitely a page turner and quite thrilling! I can't say very much without giving away the plot, but take my word for it, it's worth it for those who enjoy a fast-paced mystery.
Another good page-turner from Rollins about the nefarious genetic manipulation of DNA in animals and humans! This one reminded me a lot of some of Michael Crichton's novels such as "Next" which was also about genetic engineering and intelligent animals. I was also reminded a lot of H.G. Wells classic "Island of Dr. Moreau" - one of my Wells favorites. I really enjoyed the setting of the first part of the story in the bayous of Louisiana and would give this one a very favorable recommendation.