The Judas Strain - Sigma Force 4 By James Rollins

The Judas Strain - Sigma Force 4 By James Rollins
James' next novel was The Judas Strain, published July 2007. The members of SIGMA Force seek to prevent an outbreak that could threaten the entire planet. It is based on the Hindu temple complex of Angkor Wat. The book also marks the death of Dr. Monk Kokkalis and the introduction to Sigma Force of the character Joe Kowalski, who appeared in Ice Hunt. He acts as Gray Pierce's sidekick in this and following stories. Gray's parents are captured and held hostage by sadistic Guild operative, Annishen, and Amen Nasser.

From the book

He was being hunted.
Stefano Gallo hurried across the open plaza square. The morning sun already
baked the stones of the piazza, and the usual throng of tourists sought
shady spots or crowded the gelato shop that lay within the shadow of St. Mark’s
Basilica. But this most lofty of all of Venice’s landmarks, with its towering Byzantine
facade, massive bronze horses, and domed cupolas, was not his goal.
Not even such a blessed sanctuary could offer him protection.
There was only one hope.
His steps became more rushed as he passed by the basilica. The piazza’s pigeons
scattered from his path as he stumbled through them, heedless of their
flapping flight. He was beyond stealth. He had already been discovered. He
had spotted the young Egyptian with the black eyes and trimmed beard as
he’d entered the far side of the square. Their gazes had locked. The man was
now dressed in a dark suit that flowed like oil from his wide, sharp shoulders.
The first time the man had approached Stefano he had claimed to be an archaeology
student out of Budapest, representing an old friend and colleague
from the University of Athens.
The Egyptian had come to the Museo Archeologico searching for a specific
bit of antiquity. A minor treasure. An obelisk from his country. The
Egyptian, financed by his government, wished it returned to his homeland.
He had come with a sizable payment, bonded cashier notes. Stefano, one of
the museum’s curators, was not above accepting such a bribe; his wife’s escalating
medical bills threatened to evict them from their small apartment. To
collect such secret payment was not untoward; for the past two decades the
Egyptian government had been buying back national treasures out of private
collections and pressuring museums to return what rightfully belonged in

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