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Summary

A master at combining heart-stopping suspense and scientific intrigue, New York Times best-selling author James Rollins returns with a thrilling adventure like no other--a shocking story of cruel genetic experiments done in the name of national security and, most disturbing of all, tied to a secret history of the Book of Genesis.

Following the fall of Baghdad, two Iraqi boys stumble upon armed men looting the city zoo, opening the floodgates 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, an underground secret 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 saber-tooth 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, now an agent of 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 mankind'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?

©2010 Jim Czajkowski (P)2009 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about Altar of Eden

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

A different kind of James Rollins

As an avid reader/listener of James Rollins I was excited by this new novel. However I nearly abandoned it at the start. It took a few chapters to get into but after that I was hooked. Prefer his Sigma series but still a good author

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Top Quality Story - Gripping & Interesting

Brilliant Book - Interesting & Gripping Story. The background & plot is pushing the boundaries of believability - but all the better for it. Likeable & interesting characters. Definitely recommend this book.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Dawitski
  • 24-01-10

Very Enjoyable

This was the first audiobook I listened to after the dissapointing "The Lost Symbol" and my second ever female narrated book.

I will give Paula Christensen a 3.5 star for her crisp voice, engaging narration and not so bad attempt at the Cajun accent. Despite there being more male characters than female, I was able to follow all characters with little to no confusion.

This books seems to have a two part story, which I would classify as "The Hunt" and "The survival". Its adventurous, action packed, and scientific. This book is more like a 3.5 than a 3.

I also recommed the "Enhanced" audio version!!!!!

11 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Julie
  • 03-03-10

Narrarator makes listening difficult

The story while attention grabbing, is lost in the reading. Christensen attempts various southern dialects and unfortunately misses the mark with most. I can usually forgive the voice and get lost in the story, but this time I am forcing myself to listen.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Nancy
  • 12-02-10

Poor Reader

The story was typical Rollins and enjoyable. However, the reader has an odd cadence and I found myself re-reading lines in my head because the inflection sounded off. Was I the only one who noticed the lisp? As others have said, be prepared to be occasionally distracted by the reader, but otherwise it's good.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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  • RGB
  • 22-01-10

I wanted to like it

The narration was such a hodge podge of incredibly bad New Orleans, southern, and cajun accents that it made the experience of the book probably seem worse that it actually was.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Don
  • 02-03-10

Another Solid job from Rollins

I've read most of the James Rollins books and was thinking this was another Sigma Force book. The female narrator threw me at first, but one I got into it I realized that Christensen was a good choice, since the book is told mainly through the eyes of the primary female chacter, Lorna Polk. While the characters were all new to me, the story had alot of that feel you come to expect from Rollins, action, mystery, unusual situations. I really enjoyed this read.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Tom McNulty
  • 03-03-10

Great Book...Tough Listen

I'm a big fan of Rollins and especially enjoy the Sigma series. This novels story line was gripping but I found it extremely difficult to follow because of the lisp of the narrator. I found myself focusing on all of the mispronounced S's as oppose to the storyline.

4 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • William
  • 26-08-14

Eden has been altered!

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

I spent a few months trying to decide whether to purchase this book or to let be one of Rollins books that just slide by due to the mixed reviews. I was again put off listening to the narrator, but finally gave in and purchased the book. While it as difficult listening past the voice of the narrator, I did enjoy the story line. If not for the narrator I would listen to it again.

What did you like best about this story?

Living in Acadiana I enjoyed the setting of the story being in my back yard so to speak. I also enjoyed the authors wonderful embellishment on reality. It is fascinating to explore in a fictional setting what our so called junk DNA can lead and fractals as well. Being an animal lover as well, I like how he explored the animal human bond. Anyone who has had a pet knows they know more and understand more that what they are given credit for.

Would you be willing to try another one of Paula Christensen’s performances?

She is probably one of the worst possible choices for reading this book. One would think that if a narrator would attempt a Cajun it would not sound Scottish. A little research into the local pronunciation of words would have made her reading less distracting as well. There were many points where the tension of the scene was just lost because of her delivery. With the authors professed love of the swamp and New Orleans, she certainly did him a disservice. I will definitely try to avoid her performances in the future!

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

This would make an exciting movie and I definitely would see it.

Any additional comments?

Get past the narration and just enjoy the book. It could have been fleshed out a bit in places, but it is a relaxing listen.

3 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 19-04-14

Good story...terrible narration

What did you like best about Altar of Eden? What did you like least?

The story was interesting and well-written, but the narration was pretty poor -- to the extent that it was distracting.

Would you be willing to try another one of Paula Christensen’s performances?

No. If a narrator is going to attempt to recreate regional accents, he or she should do them properly (or not do them at all). The book is set largely in Louisiana, but most of the character sounded like they were from Appalachia rather than from Louisiana.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Autumn
  • 16-02-10

Good Enough

I liked it. I felt the idea was better than the execution. The excecution, complete with the cinematic ending and explosions was a bit "made for tv movie" silly. I also feel the plot had a lot of potential. Too much potential to entirely wrap up in one book. A great exercise book, though. I couldn't wait to find out what happened next.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Jeremy
  • 26-01-10

Good story bad narrator

Her male speaking voice is so horrible you'll laugh. She sounds like a robotic parrot, which one of the characters is a talking parrot, so I guess in that case she's spot on! Her spoken male voices were so distracting I found it very difficult to finish the novel.

3 people found this helpful