Q: In Bloodline, you introduce two new characters, Tucker and Kane, a pair unlike any your readers have seen before. Tell us about them, and why you decided to write about them?
James Rollins: First of all, I wanted to honor these unique American heroes. Tucker Wayne is a former captain with the Army Rangers. After two tours of duty in Afghanistan, he leaves the service disillusioned after a bloody battle. Aided by members of his own unit, Tucker steals his war dog, Kane.
What I liked best about exploring this pair's unique relationship is a phrase commonly used by military war dog handlers--It runs down the lead--describing how the emotions of the pair became shared over time, binding them together as firmly as any leash. And it's that bond and ability for the two to operate as one that I wanted to explore in this novel.
Q: Can you tell us about your research into military dogs?
JR: About a year and half ago, I was lucky enough to participate in a USO tour of authors to military bases in Iraq and Kuwait. There, I saw several of these war dogs in action. I was also able to meet and talk to a veterinary school classmate of mine who works with the veterinary corps out in Iraq. After that encounter, it got me thinking about writing this book, of honoring these unique war heroes on the page.
Q: Women play a large role in Bloodline. How are you able to write from the point of view of women so well?
JR: I have three sisters who make sure I get those details correct, but also during my USO tour to Iraq and Kuwait, I got a chance to talk at length to women in the field--to hear what it's like to be a female in the armed services. And that'[s something I tried to capture accurately.
Q: Your novels always delve into the cutting edge of science. What is the scientific basis behind Bloodline?
JR: The root of this book came from a recent article in Time magazine. The cover declared: 2045, the Year Man Becomes Immortal. I read that and wondered how that could become true. Could immortality be achievable in our lifetime? It sent me into a yearlong and chilling investigation into the frontiers of life extension.
Q: What are some of these new discoveries involving immortality?
JR: I've learned that there are actually two competing schools of study when it comes to the search for immortality. On one side, scientists are looking at moving man into machines, moving our consciousness into a synthetic arena. Scientists in Switzerland right now are working with IBM to create the first virtual human brain and say they are about a decade off from achieving this goal.
On the other side of the scientific fence, researchers are also looking at moving machines into us: basically replacing our failing parts with artificial organs. We already have synthetic pancreases and mechanical hearts, and these scientific advancements continue to accelerate, especially with the explosive growth of nanotechnology, which involves engineering at the atomic level.
Q: Now to the last and most pressing question: How close are we to achieving immortality?
JR: That's a good question--and the answer is the most startling revelation I discovered while researching this story, something I share within the pages of this book. In Bloodline, readers will learn a shocking scientific truth about the nature of mankind: That immortal beings already walk among us today.
If you want to know who they are, if you want to learn how to live forever--read Bloodline.