While on vacation in Europe, I brought along quite a few books–including a 2008 thriller by James Rollins called The Last Oracle. It’s been a while since I’ve read pure, popcorn-level suspense fiction, somewhat ironic given that that’s the genre that my own book most easily falls under.
And I have to say it was a fun read, even if it gets a little absurd in scope toward the end.
The book is part of a series, but I didn’t know that going in. Thankfully the story, about a special military unit that encounters a plot involving autistic savants that have special powers (as the title suggests, one can see glimpses of the future), is self-contained. The characters are generally likable, though again it’s been a while since I’ve read a book where almost all of the protagonists are 100% “good,” and the story is fast-paced and exciting, even though you are pretty certain none of the major players are going to get axed.
This is established early on because one of the main characters, a dude named Monk, was apparently killed off in the previous books, only to be “brought back to life” with full amnesia. Ugh. I am usually not a fan of these kinds of character developments, though I acknowledge I may be being a bit hypocritical as The Trojan Conspiracy involves a main character suffering from partial amnesia.
All in all, The Last Oracle is fun, though Rollins probably would have been better off not trying to go so big in the third act. The villains and their motivations are not particularly well fleshed out, and it’s hard to understand how their “insidious” plot would have worked even if they did manage to pull it off. Rollins could have kept things much more grounded and small scale, and both the book and readers would have benefited.