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 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 sabertoothed 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?
About the Author
James Rollins and James Clemens are two of the pen names of American veterinarian Jim Czajkowski (born 1961), author of bestselling fantasy and action-packed adventure-thrillers. He sold his veterinary practice in Sacramento, California, to concentrate full-time on writing.
James is an amateur spelunker and a certified scuba diver. These pastimes provide much fodder for his novels, which are often set in underground or underwater locations.
Among those who have inspired him, James cites the authors of the Doc Savage series. As a youth, James had acquired an extensive collection of Doc Savage novels, but, he says, he remained oblivious to their influence on him as a novelist until one of his fans brought this matter to his attention.
Under the pen name James Clemens, James also writes fantasy novels including Wit'ch Fire, Wit'ch Storm, Wit'ch War, Wit'ch Gate, Wit'ch Star, Shadowfall (2005), and Hinterland (2006).