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What Does Attila The Hun Have to Do with Deep Space Exploration?

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon for KUT News

What do you get when you mix Attila the Hun, deep space exploration and a the space-time continuum? For that answer you’d have to ask author James Rollins – whose new book, the Eye of God, has elements of all three.

Rollins isn’t your everyday retired veterinarian. For one thing, he’s written more than 26 mystery-thrillers. He admits that he gets some vicarious thrills from his own stories. See, The Eye of God is a Sigma Force novel. Sigma Force is a secret team of nearly super-human government operatives. “I call them scientists with guns,” says Rollins.

Rollins is also an avid researcher. He loves to explore cutting edge science. He loves to explore history and even theorize how to solve historical mysteries within the covers of his books. He says he’s always looking for ways to link both science and history to everyday life.

And he never strays far from stories of animals.


Take his experience on a USO trip a few years ago with some other authors (aptly titled Operation Thriller) to visit troops in Iraq and Kuwait. (Rollins works with USA Cares, a group that provides post-9/11 military families with financial and advocacy support). Rollins arrived at one base just after it had been attacked. As he got his bearings on the ground, he saw soldiers being med-evac’d, he saw the high-tech response and securing of the base. And he met some military dog teams.

“They eat together, they train together, they sleep together,” says Rollins. “They form very significant bonds. To the point they can read each other without needing a verbal command or gesture. They even have a phrase to describe that gesture, the phrase is ‘runs down the lead.’ Over time, the emotions between the handler and the dog flow up and down that leash between them, binding them tighter and tighter together. I was fascinated by that and I thought this is an intriguing set of characters. So I folded… a handler and his dog into [his previous Sigma Force novel] Bloodline."


Fans of that team will be eager to know that Tucker and Kane will be featured in a solo adventure called, “Kill Switch” in April 2014.

Emily Donahue is a former grants writer for KUT. She previously served as news director and helped launch KUT’s news department in 2001.