The Sigma Protocol Fiction Review : 2004/10/02
The Sigma Protocol
by Robert Ludlum
New York: St. Martin's Press, 2001, 535 pp., $27.95, hardcover.
I was an avid Ludlum reader back in the 70s and 80s before Tom Clancy came along, but hadn't paid much attention since until the Jason Bourne movies appeared. Soon after watching The Bourne Supremacy, I spotted The Sigma Protocol
in a store. Being cheap, I then went to the library and checked it out last weekend. Despite a busy schedule, I made it through the 535 pages in less than a week by reading at stop lights while driving and by staying up a little too late most nights. That should prove that it held my attention. Ludlum veterans know what to expect--intrigue, a brave loner standing up to incredibly powerful forces of evil (often with Nazi ties), and an attractive but tough woman figuring into the mix at some point. The Sigma Protocol
continues the formula, but does it well enough to be a fun escape into a story of flying bullets, wild car chases and unimaginable wealth and power.
Ben Hartman comes to Switzerland on business, but is instantly plunged into a terrifying world where assassins are after him even though he has no idea why. A beautiful but unattached (naturally) investigator with the Justice Department named Anna Navarro is the other protagonist, and no one will be stunned that their paths finally cross. I won't give away any of the plot twists, but rest assured that there are several. Medical experiments, Nazi influence, international finance--it's all here in a fast-paced thriller that serves as a fitting epitaph to Ludlum's career--he died before the book came out.
The Sigma Protocol
delivers what Ludlum fans expect; my only complaint from a Christian standpoint is that the only happy couples in the book are unmarried--one gay couple plays a very minor role, and the happy heterosexual couples all do without benefit of matrimony. The violence can get fairly graphic, but there are no graphic sex scenes in the book (one "after they made love..." is about it) and the language is PG at worst with very few exceptions. I would allow my 8th grade son to read it, and I'm more protective than most fathers on media issues. The Sigma Protocol
would make a good action movie. If that happens, I imagine they'll coarsen the language and romance and release it with a PG-13 rating.