James Rollins



For eons, the city of Troy—whose legendary fall was detailed in Homer’s Iliad—was believed to be
myth, until archaeologists in the nineteenth century uncovered its ancient walls buried beneath the
sands. If Troy was real, how much of Homer’s twin tales of gods and monsters, curses and miracles—
The Iliad and The Odyssey—could also be true and awaiting discovery?
In the frozen tundra of Greenland, a group of modern-day researchers stumble on a shocking find: a
medieval ship buried a half-mile below the ice. The ship’s hold contains a collection of even older
artifacts—tools of war—dating back to the Bronze Age. Inside the captain’s cabin is a magnificent
treasure that is as priceless as it is miraculous: a clockwork gold map embedded with an intricate
silver astrolabe. The mechanism was crafted by a group of Muslim inventors—the Banū Mūsā
brothers—considered by many to be the Da Vincis of the Arab world—brilliant scientists who inspired
Leonardo’s own work.


ON SALE MARCH 24, 2020
ISBN: 9780062892898; $28.99

“Bestseller Rollins’s excellent 15th Sigma Force novel marries nail-biting action with a
highly imaginative premise. … This is a thoughtful, nonstop thrill ride that’s an
exemplar of an escapist page-turner.” – Starred Review, Publishers Weekly
“Rollins spins an entertaining thriller out of a long string of what-ifs.” – Kirkus

Advance Praise for THE LAST ODYSSEY

JAMES ROLLINS is the #1 New York
Times bestselling author of international
thrillers that have been translated into more
than forty languages. His Sigma series has been
lauded as one of the “top crowd pleasers” (New
York Times) and one of the “hottest summer
reads” (People magazine). In each novel,
acclaimed for its originality, Rollins unveils
unseen worlds, scientific breakthroughs, and
historical secrets-and he does it all at
breakneck speed and with stunning insight. He
lives in the Sierra Nevada mountains.
Once activated, the moving map traces the path of Odysseus’s famous ship as it sailed away from
Troy. But the route detours as the map opens to reveal a fiery river leading to a hidden realm
underneath the Mediterranean Sea. It is the subterranean world of Tartarus, the Greek name for Hell.
In mythology, Tartarus was where the wicked were punished and the monstrous Titans of old,
When word of Tartarus spreads—and of the cache of miraculous weapons said to be hidden there—
tensions explode in this volatile region where Turks battle Kurds, terrorists wage war, and civilians
suffer untold horrors. The phantasmagoric horrors found in Homer’s tales are all too real—and could
be unleashed upon the world. Whoever possesses them can use their awesome power to control the
future of humanity.
Now, Sigma Force must go where humans fear to tread. To prevent a tyrant from igniting a global
war, they must cross the very gates of Hell.

# # #


Q & A with James Rollins on


THE LAST ODYSSEY is the 15th Sigma Force novel. Can you tell us a little about the heroes of this
Sigma Force is a team of former special forces soldiers who have been drummed out of the service for
various reasons. But because of superior aptitudes and abilities, they’ve been recruited in secret by
DARPA—the Defense Department’s research-and-development agency—and retrained in various
scientific disciplines to act as field agents for DARPA. Their mission is to protect the globe against
various emerging threats. Basically, they’re scientists with guns.

As this is the 15th novel in this series. Does a new reader have to have read the earlier books?
Not at all. I tailor each story so a new reader could jump into the series at any point. In fact, only a
small fraction of my readership have read my series in order. For anyone interested in this unique set of
heroes and the troubles they face, THE LAST ODYSSEY is a perfect place to jump on in.
What’s this latest Sigma thriller about?
The story starts when a group of researchers stumble upon a shocking find: a centuries-old medieval
ship buried a half-mile below the melting ice. The ship holds a collection—both wondrous and horrific
—dating back to the Bronze Age. Including a clockwork gold map crafted by a group of
Muslim inventors, considered to be the Leonardo Da Vincis of their time. It is a map rumored to lead to
Tartarus, the Greek version of Hell featured in Homer’s Iliad and the Odyssey. And in order to stop
zealots from breaking those gates open and unleashing an apocalypse, Sigma Force must go where
humans fear to tread—to cross through the very gates of Hell to save the world.
From the title, it sounds like this novel is connected to Homer’s Odyssey.
Definitely. The novel is my attempt to expose the dark truths hidden in our mythologies. For eons, the
city of Troy—whose fall was detailed in Homer’s Iliad—was believed to be myth, until archaeologists in
the nineteenth century uncovered its ancient walls buried beneath the sands. And just like that, myth
became history. And if Troy was a real place, how much of Homer’s twin tales of gods and monsters,
curses and miracles—The Iliad and the Odyssey—could also be true and awaiting discovery? That’s
what this book explores, crossing from one end of the Mediterranean to the other, revealing how
history and mythology blend to reveal the hidden truths of our past.
It sounds like a daunting task. How did you go about researching such an epic tale?
To accomplish this, I did extensive research. I traveled from the melting glaciers in Iceland to ancient
ruins in Sardinia to museums in Athens and Olympia and Rome. I pestered historians and
archaeologists and anyone else willing to answer questions. Across the Mediterranean, I studied
artifacts and ancient writings dating back to a mysterious era known as the Greek Dark Ages, a
shadowy time of the Bronze Age when three civilizations were laid low during a massive war, a war
many historians have dubbed “World War Zero.” One of the only accounts of this war-torn time come
from those twin epics of Homer. But THE LAST ODYSSEY sheds an even greater light into that dark
time—and what it means for us today.
THE LAST ODYSSEY also opens with a prologue from the point of view of Leonardo da Vinci. What
does he have to do with this story?
During my research, I discovered a tantalizing connection between Leonardo da Vinci and a school of
Arab inventors from many centuries earlier, a school called the House of Wisdom which has a
fascinating and bloody connection the Greek Dark Ages. From the eighth to the fourteenth century—
known as the Islamic Golden Age—Arab scientists proved themselves to be masters of design and
innovation. By his own admission, Da Vinci was influenced—even borrowed—from these earlier Muslim
inventors. Moreover, the Arab influence over Leonardo’s work has proven to be far greater than anyone
imagined. In fact, many of the startling revelations you’ll find in the book’s prologue are indeed true.
Q & A continued

During all of your research for this book, what surprised you the most?
I think what surprised me was how much we underestimate the technology of ancient peoples. I had
a chance to study the Antikythera Mechanism at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens, a
Greek device from the first century B.C. Most archaeologists now accept that the device was the first
known analogue computer. Still, the list of amazing Greek automated designs is much more
extensive. Historians and archaeologists have documented countless designs of self-operating
mechanisms, cunning automatons, and ingenious mechanical devices. And in THE LAST ODYSSEY,
readers will get a better look at the astounding extent and breadth of their inventions—many will be
shocking, but also true.
Your book also touches upon apocalyptic cults. What did you learn about such groups?
During my research for this book, I became fascinated by all the ways various cultures view the end
of the world. Especially in regard to the visions that are common among them. That said, it is
worrisome that there appears to be a growing zealous view that not only are the End Times near—
but that we should do everything politically and militarily possible to make sure it happens in our
lifetime. That trend is growing in support both here among Western nations, but also across the
Islamic world. Even the current Supreme Leader and president of Iran are believers that the End
Times are upon us. So, while such apocalyptic cults featured in my novel are fiction, their existential
threat is very real.
Before we finish, I also understand, you are active in your support of American veterans, even
earning the Silver Bullet Award for charitable work from the International Thriller Writers.
Could you tell us a little bit about your efforts with veterans?
Sure. My support for veterans first came about after I participated in a USO tour of authors to Iraq
and Kuwait in the winter of 2010. Upon coming home, I knew I wanted to do more. First, I worked
with USA Cares, which raises emergency funds for vets in need, then most recently I joined US 4
Warriors as an advisory board member. The new charity started as a grassroots effort in San Diego
and has since expanded nationwide. Besides helping to promote the social welfare of vets in a wide
spectrum of activities, the latest endeavor also involves helping veterans tell their stories…and get
published! So as a writer, I’m especially excited as US 4 Warriors expands into this adventure.
Lastly, what are you working on now?
I have an anthology of short stories coming out next September, which includes a brand-new
hundred-page novella featuring a pair of characters from the Sigma universe, Tucker and Kane, an
army ranger and his military war dog. They’re a dynamic duo who were inspired from a USO trip to
Iraq that I took during the last war, where I saw men and women working with their dogs in the field.
I love trying to capture that unique bond in print. And, of course, I’m also finishing up next year’s
Sigma novel, tentatively titled The Savage Zone—but further details are presently classified.

# # #

Q & A continued



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