Book Review — James Rollins’s “Amazonia”

A couple of weeks ago I finished reading Amazonia, a thrilling adventure novel written by James Rollins.  Amazonia takes readers into the heart of the Amazon jungle, and a wide assortment of threats including some of the deadliest creatures that you can imagine.

Amazonia begins with the sudden appearance of U.S. Army Ranger Agent Clark in a small village deep in Brazil.  The man is barely alive and unable to speak as his tongue is missing.  He’s also covered in strange markings that cause local people to run away in panic.  Clark dies during the night, and soon a deadly disease begins affecting children and the elderly in that same village.

The U.S. government is fascinated by the reappearance of Agent Clark because he was lost and presumed to be dead as he was part of an expedition that vanished in the Amazon some four years ago.  What makes the government even more interested is that before joining the expedition, Clark had lost one of his arms from a combat injury.  When he reappeared in the village, Clark had both of his arms.

James Rollins — Amazonia

The brunt of Amazonia follows a new expedition into the Amazon led by Nathan Rand.  Nathan is an expert when it comes to biology and the jungle, and it was his father who led the ill-fated expedition four years ago.  With the emergence of Agent Clark, there’s new hope that other members of the expedition might also still be alive, somewhere deep in the jungle.  Experts are brought together, and another team of special forces soldiers provides the security.  They quickly enter the jungle and try to follow Clark’s path before the monsoon rains wash away the trail.

The expedition not only has to deal with the brutal jungle itself, but they’re being followed by a gang of hired mercenaries accompanied by a female witch doctor who takes pleasure in sadistically torturing her victims and making shrunken heads.  On top of that, the expedition’s destination is going to bring them face to face with a band of natives called the Blood Jaguars.  These natives are so remote and deadly that just merely mentioning the name can cause people fleeing for cover.

While the expedition is trekking through the jungle, the body of Agent Clark continues to bring disease and death to each city that it passes through, all the way to a laboratory in Virginia.  Soon, a deadly outbreak begins to spread across not only Brazil, but the southern U.S. as well as scientists race to find a cure.  It seems that the only hope for stopping the spread of the disease lies at the end of the expedition’s trail in the Amazon.

It’s literally one thrill after another as Amazonia takes its readers into one of the most fascinating yet hostile environments in the world.  As if the journey itself wasn’t remarkable enough, James Rollins also treats us to several new species of animals that are very efficient at killing people without the slightest hesitation.

Just when you think that you’ve got it all figured out, the book throws you a curve when we finally meet the Blood Jaguars and learn just how they’re able to survive and maintain their way of life.


Is James Rollins’s Amazonia any good?


This was a fantastic adventure book that had a few elements of cryptozoology thrown in as well.  As far as the “tree of life” at the end, that element is literally in its own world as well.

Overall, most of the characters were interesting, and there were plenty of action scenes throughout the book.  It was very easy to keep turning the pages and reading late into the night, though at some points I was wondering if the horrific scenes were going to give me nightmares.  Thankfully that didn’t happen, but I was on edge at some points.

If you enjoy adventurous and thrilling stories, then you cannot go wrong with Amazonia.  Do yourself a favor and put this on your summer reading list.