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Seven Ancient Wonders [Paperback] [Dec 02, 2010]

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It is the biggest treasure hunt in history with contesting nations involved in a headlong race to locate the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. 4500 years ago, a magnificent golden capstone sat at the peak of the Great Pyramid of Giza. It was a source of immense power, reputedly capable of bestowing upon its holder absolute global power. But then it was divided into seven It is the biggest treasure hunt in history with contesting nations involved in a headlong race to locate the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. 4500 years ago, a magnificent golden capstone sat at the peak of the Great Pyramid of Giza. It was a source of immense power, reputedly capable of bestowing upon its holder absolute global power. But then it was divided into seven pieces and hidden, each piece separately, within the seven greatest structures of the age. Now it's 2006 and the coming of a rare solar event means it's time to locate the seven pieces and rebuild the capstone. Everyone wants it - from the most powerful countries on Earth to gangs of terrorists . . . and one daring coalition of eight small nations. Led by the mysterious Captain Jack West Jr, this determined group enters a global battlefield filled with booby-trapped mines, crocodile-infested swamps, evil forces and an adventure beyond imagining. 'More action, hair-raising stunts and lethal hardware than you'd find in four Bond movies. Reilly is the hottest action writer around' "Evening Telegraph"


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It is the biggest treasure hunt in history with contesting nations involved in a headlong race to locate the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. 4500 years ago, a magnificent golden capstone sat at the peak of the Great Pyramid of Giza. It was a source of immense power, reputedly capable of bestowing upon its holder absolute global power. But then it was divided into seven It is the biggest treasure hunt in history with contesting nations involved in a headlong race to locate the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. 4500 years ago, a magnificent golden capstone sat at the peak of the Great Pyramid of Giza. It was a source of immense power, reputedly capable of bestowing upon its holder absolute global power. But then it was divided into seven pieces and hidden, each piece separately, within the seven greatest structures of the age. Now it's 2006 and the coming of a rare solar event means it's time to locate the seven pieces and rebuild the capstone. Everyone wants it - from the most powerful countries on Earth to gangs of terrorists . . . and one daring coalition of eight small nations. Led by the mysterious Captain Jack West Jr, this determined group enters a global battlefield filled with booby-trapped mines, crocodile-infested swamps, evil forces and an adventure beyond imagining. 'More action, hair-raising stunts and lethal hardware than you'd find in four Bond movies. Reilly is the hottest action writer around' "Evening Telegraph"

30 review for Seven Ancient Wonders [Paperback] [Dec 02, 2010]

  1. 4 out of 5

    Mike (the Paladin)

    OH - GOOD - GRIEF. That's all I can say here. I started out with an open mind, I was looking forward to this book, I like action adventure and I'll forgive a lot if the book has a good action feel. Also, I'm a fantasy fan so I'm practiced at "suspending disbelief", I'll swallow a lot with a shrug and an "oh well" if it makes a good story. This time...it didn't. I've never read anything by Mr. Reilly before. Here he seems to have taken a page from Bullwinkle J. Moose's book. He combined Peabody's Im OH - GOOD - GRIEF. That's all I can say here. I started out with an open mind, I was looking forward to this book, I like action adventure and I'll forgive a lot if the book has a good action feel. Also, I'm a fantasy fan so I'm practiced at "suspending disbelief", I'll swallow a lot with a shrug and an "oh well" if it makes a good story. This time...it didn't. I've never read anything by Mr. Reilly before. Here he seems to have taken a page from Bullwinkle J. Moose's book. He combined Peabody's Improbable History and Fractured Fairy Tales and got some seriously fractured history. Interestingly if this had been the only problem, I think (again) I could have shrugged it off and gone on, but it was just "one bridge too far". Most of the reasons this book ended on the "discard" pile I'll put under a spoiler warning, but a couple of things show up as the book opens. The book begins with a "portentous" opening concerning the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, primarily the capstone of the Great Pyramid. From there we launch into the book with what is obviously an expedition to obtain (view spoiler)[ a part of the capstone of the Great Pyramid (hide spoiler)] . The first "huh" moment is quick in coming. These tough, seasoned, experienced adventurers have brought along as a member of their crew...a little girl. You see there's something she can do and they "couldn't come up with any way to handle it", that didn't involve bringing a little girl into a "place" rife with death traps, crocodiles and other humans who will stop at nothing to get to "the item" before them...killers. Okay, right. I had a "bad movie flashback moment" there. I flashed on the Schwarzenegger movie, Last Action Hero, in which a "kid" keeps trying to convince the "action hero" that they're really in a movie. When the police captain assigns the boy to the cop as a "punishment" the "kid" (Austin O'Brien) shouts that in "real life" they'd never assign a kid as his partner they'd call Social Services. It doesn't make a dent. Same here. Okay we brought a small child into deadly danger, cool. I'll grin and move on. Next we get the silly. Since we have a little girl on the team, we can't have nasty threatening call or code names for the other team members, no they're called things like Big Ears and Pooh Bear... Okay, again I could live with it, but things went from bad to worse. From here I go under a spoiler warning. So, bottom line for you who don't want a spoiler, I hope you like it better than me. I was disappointed and finally put it aside as I have a lot of books waiting to be read and this isn't one I want to put my time into nor can I recommend it. (view spoiler)[ Okay, just us now. From the above let us proceed. Getting through the "death traps" is fairly straight forward as their "team genius" has been able to study and find the keys to getting through (of course only a couple of children in all the world can read the language of Thoth, so they always have to get the little girl with them to the front when something has to be read, like which key hole won't kill them). Okay, we get through the traps...mostly unscathed. Yeah, we lost one guy, but he showed back up later un-crushed by the huge stone that had been set to kill as an intricate and sly deathtrap. Whew, good thing it didn't work even though they set it off. Well, it worked but they guy survived the death trap...some how...oh well. Then we "meet" one of the two (other) groups who are competing for the capstone. You see if "we" (that is humanity) don't set the capstone back on the pyramid within 7 days a sunspot will cause horrible weather, floods etc. and destroy the entire world...or at least civilization. (It would be like if they hadn't made people realize how BAD it is to drive SUVs, smoke [in public], use incandescent light-bulbs, eat Whopper Burgers, candy bars, drink sugared soft drinks or for that matter if they can't outlaw Big-Gulps and other drinks over sixteen ounces.) Our heroes (of course) want to replace the stone for "noble reasons" the other two groups (basically the Freemasons and the Catholic Church) want to save the world for "selfish nefarious" reasons (You know like THRUSH in the man from U.N.C.L.E. or KAOS from Get Smart who wanted to destroy the world for personal gain [don't ask me I didn't write it]). Anyway, the bad guys have guns. (Isn't everyone who has a gun a bad guy? It seems so here at times)(This by the way gives me pause because I'm not only a shooter but have a goatee [or possibly a Van Dyke, I have a mustache and I'm never sure which one has a mustache and which one doesn't]. Based on my gun ownership I may be a bad guy. Based on my facial hair and Star Trek I may be the evil twin of someone in an alternate universe somewhere?)Anyway, back to the guns... LUCKILY, our resident genius once designed a special "bullet like object" (it can't be an actual type of bullet itself as he [being a good guy would never invent a bullet)that can be fired (don't ask me, again. I would assume it's fired from a gun but that seems so...you know unlikely) and it sets up a sort of magnetic field that causes all "bullets" to go haywire and just fall down. For some reason this apparently works on ALL bullets (or almost all as we'll see in a second), even those with copper jackets and those that are totally unjacketed lead projectiles (even though copper and lead are nonmagnetic). I mean I can see it effecting bullets jacketed and half jacked in steel...but lead? Later one of the "good guys" shoots someone with a rubber bullet (of course, what other kind would a good guy have?) and that bullet works fine...okay, fine I could live with it, again. We find in the course of the book that a large part of the US Military are now subverted by the Freemasons, so one group of bad guys is largely "basically" made up of American Military. (Our genius sold his magic magnetic bullet stopper to the U.S. Military some years before this...but they broke it and can't make it work). The main assumption here seems to me to be that the U.S. Military is made up almost entirely of idiots and psychopaths. (We meet one of the psychopaths as we're escaping...see West knew him, before he [that is west] became a good guy apparently.)(Another thought...can you be an idiot AND a psychopath?) The other Bad Guy Group are Europeans. They are "basically" (again) the Catholic Church...I'm not sure if it's the same bunch that was after Robert Langdon however. Maybe you can watch for that?????? You know...let me know if you find out. WE also find out (from our resident genius) that Alexander the Great and Ptolemy are apparently at least in some sense responsible for the construction of all the seven ancient wonders (and hiding the seven pieces of the capstone you see). See, Alexander was the last person to have the stone. He broke it up, so no one could have all that power. Good ol' Alexander. What a guy, huh? By the time I got through all this I was turning the tolerance filter up, up and up again on my suspension of disbelief-o-meter (or is that suspension of "belief", oh well [again][I seem to be saying "oh well" a lot])...but when we also find that many organizations including the Knights of Saint John and much of the Catholic Church are nothing more than continuations of the Cult of Amun-Ra...well somewhere in here my crap filter completely failed and the solid-waste-o-meter red-lined.... I'm sorry, I have a limited amount of time on this earth and there are a lot of books I want to fit into that time. This one gets put aside, discarded, pitched, thrown away.... In other words I stopped and put it aside unfinished. (hide spoiler)] So as noted if it's your cup of tea, enjoy, I'm happy for you. Again really, I mean it, enjoy. To each their own. There's no accounting for taste AND any and all other cliches that are applicable. I'll just move on. Thank you.... Allow me to add a quote attributed Dorthy Parker which I've used before: "This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force."

  2. 4 out of 5

    ✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans)

    To the person who wrote this PoC™ slightly not very good story: who the fish are you, and what have you done with the guy who wrote Ice Station?! You cannot be Matthew Reilly. That is just impossible. Because, seriously, this book here? It feels like it was written 30 years ago. By my 13-year-old niece. Who doesn't speak a word of English. Yep, that's right. This ain't no Pulitzer prize material, my Little Barnacles. Wait. Before I roll out my Deadly Arguments of Mass Book Destruction (DAoMBD™), To the person who wrote this PoC™ slightly not very good story: who the fish are you, and what have you done with the guy who wrote Ice Station?! You cannot be Matthew Reilly. That is just impossible. Because, seriously, this book here? It feels like it was written 30 years ago. By my 13-year-old niece. Who doesn't speak a word of English. Yep, that's right. This ain't no Pulitzer prize material, my Little Barnacles. Wait. Before I roll out my Deadly Arguments of Mass Book Destruction (DAoMBD™), I have a message for the lovely person who was hilarious enough to suggest I read this book: my dear Trish anonymous friend, I love you, but send me another rec similar to this one and you're dead meat. Then again, you might not like me a great deal after reading my DAoMBD™, so I guess I shouldn't worry too much about you contacting me. Ever. Again. Oh well. It was nice knowing you, anyway! (view spoiler)[ (hide spoiler)] Soooooo. Where were we? Oh yes, I-can't-believe-you're-Matthew-Reilly's high-quality writing. Such awesomeness there. It's bloody brilliant. I love it. Which loosely translates to mean: it's outdated. It's simplistic. It's repetitive. It's crappy. It's OTT. It's an insult to the Grammar Gods. It's slightly (if only a little bit) subpar. Kind of. Somewhat. And it makes me wonder if anyone bothered to edit the freaking book. I mean, what editor in their right mind would let an author get away with such a deadly onslaught of exclamation points? I'm telling you, my Little Barnacles, this is the stuff of legends. I'm a pretty open-minded girl (sometimes) and I've never had anything against these poor, innocent punctuation marks, but there is only so much forced excitement the little heart I don't have can take. And no matter how super uber tough and nefarious I am, I could barely survive some of the paragraphs in this book. I kid you not. Don't believe me? Very well. Read this and try not to choke (this is not for the faint of heart, people, so I'll use spoiler tags to spare the feeble and the weak): (view spoiler)[ ‘Pooh Bear! Get out of here!’ West called. ‘What about you!’ Pooh yelled back. West nodded back down his aqueduct tunnel. ‘No other option! I have to go this way!’ ‘Jack!’ Wizard called. ‘What!’ ‘Judah used a tunnel-boring vehicle to drill through the old filled-in excavation tunnel! They must be planning to take the Pieces out that way! Check your sketch! You may still be able to get a look at the Pieces! All may not be lost!’ ‘I’ll do my best!’ West nodded at the expanding mud pool. ‘Now get out of here! Call Sky Monster! Get to the Halicarnassus! I’ll catch up somehow!’ (hide spoiler)] Multiply this ↑↑↑ by the 544 pages in this book and you get mass punctuation-induced suicides. So tragic. Please, person-who-is-supposed-to-be-Matthew-Reilly, listen to Marky Mark here, the guy knows his stuff. It's high time for you to stop mistreating exclamation marks in such a shameful way. What did they ever do to you, anyway? And what about these poor italics? Did you really need to brutalize them like that? AND don't get me started about the italicized interjections with built-in exclamation points *shakes head in utter desperation* Whoosh! Whap! Boom! Ahhhh! Zing-smack! (my personal favourite) Whump! Such clever, resourceful writing. Come to think of it, reading this book kind of feels like reading a bad comic. Without the graphics. And that's pretty cool, if you ask me ← this might or might not be a slightly sarcastic comment on my part. And I may or may not have felt like this while reading this book: I ain't naught but a crappy, harebrained reviewer. Yes, I am sadly aware of that very unfortunate fact. And yet, I shall be so bold as to give you a friendly piece of crustacean advice, person-who-is-supposed-to-be-Matthew-Reilly: your readers are not stupid (well most of them, anyway). You DO NOT need to use freaking exclamation marks and freaking italics every two freaking seconds to make sure they get how they are supposed to feel. They might be nothing more than lowly barnacles, but they have one or two grey cells, and they WILL eventually get the point all by their little selves. So. Now that I've brilliantly established how delightfully written this book is, let me tell you about the fascinating story itself. Wait. Have I already told how fascinating this story is? I have? Oops, sorry about that. It's just that the exquisitely intricate plot made such a big impression on me that I need to rehash a bit to make sure you realize how awesome it was. I could use exclamation marks to get my point across, too! But I'm not like that! Oh no! Not me! You're so lucky, my Little Barnacles! No OD'ing on punctuation today! But I digress. This book? Let's see…Take the worst Indiana Jones rip-offs you've ever seen/read/whatever, throw in a bunch of slightly clichéd and a tinsy bit stereotyped military types, make them go through the very same quests/trials/adventures every other chapter (same shit, different location. It's all delightfully refreshing), add a dash of never-before-seen-and-oh-so-suspenseful scenes (think ceiling-coming-down-on-the-good-guys, rolling boulder booby traps and the like), a bunch of beautifully complex ☢ sarcasm alert ☢ characters, and you get this gem of a captivating story. It's all pretty glorious, if you ask me. And now for the icing on the cake! Presenting the one and only, the invincible, the mostest awesomest {cue drum roll} Jack West! He is pretty much perfect! He can do no wrong! He is superiorly clever (well not quite as Einsteinian as I am, but almost)! He has mysterious secrets! His all-encompassing knowledge about ancient stuff is seriously all-encompassing! And he kicks major ass, too! I'm telling you, my Little Barnacles, Superman and Spiderman combined are useless, brainless wimps compared to this guy. Damn. Why didn't I lock him up in my harem when I had the chance?! I should know a HOT, BADASS DUDE when I see one! I think I might be losing my legendary touch. Double damn. » And the moral of this Most of my Friends Loved this Book They Must Therefore Be Slightly Insane Review (MomFLtBTMTBSIR™) is: death by exclamation point is horrific, slow and abominably painful. So stay away from the murderous punctuation marks, my Little Barnacles, for they are treacherous and up to no good.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Bradley

    I say it's SF, but that's only because I haven't bothered to add an Action/Adventure category. For this is what it is! Yeah, robot arms and flying suits and all, but best of all, and adventure to pick up your 5000 year old Legos or Amon Ra is gonna smite you! Say what? Is that even in this book? Well, sortof. What we do have is a rollicking adventure that aims for the sort of pure WOW and AWE factor that is generally missing from today's literature, taking us on a tour through all the Seven Wonder I say it's SF, but that's only because I haven't bothered to add an Action/Adventure category. For this is what it is! Yeah, robot arms and flying suits and all, but best of all, and adventure to pick up your 5000 year old Legos or Amon Ra is gonna smite you! Say what? Is that even in this book? Well, sortof. What we do have is a rollicking adventure that aims for the sort of pure WOW and AWE factor that is generally missing from today's literature, taking us on a tour through all the Seven Wonders of the World, or whatever is left of them, and doing it without much care in the world for little things like logic. Who needs it? The book is BIG and Wild and Emotional and best of all, it's full of ancient traps. I'm not kidding. It almost overwhelms the page. As I read this I might as well have been watching Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom on steroids. There's even a little kid. All these burly men in the midst of gun-porn have no problems laying their lives down for her. It's odd but it resolves itself because she's mystically special. Hell, the whole book is mystically special. :) Add heavy Dan Brown-ish conspiracy theories, wild ancient stories, the Giza Pyramid's capstone, and you'll have a wild feel like the original GI Joe cartoon when they were all on that mystical quest stuff. Don't get me wrong. I like a good and kooky comic book feel culminating with evil Masonic Americans and evil Catholic Amon Ra worshipers in Europe. I especially love being transported into great pacing, almost non-stop action, and never-ending tests of skill, capture, and pathos. It's kinda perfect for any action movie fan. :) Just turn off the brain and flow with it. This is the definition of popcorn fiction. And I thought that UF's had it going, lol. I swear I saw Chuck Norris in here.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Tracy

    This book was so completely terrible, so absolutely lacking in anything resembling worth, that I simply had to talk about it. It is so bad that I couldn't believe it, and kept reading with the sole purpose to find out how bad it could really get, and so I could tell everybody I knew how totally, completely, wholly bad it was. The only other books I have ever even started to read that were this bad were a few cheesy romance novels, and I wondered how even those could get published. Where to begin? This book was so completely terrible, so absolutely lacking in anything resembling worth, that I simply had to talk about it. It is so bad that I couldn't believe it, and kept reading with the sole purpose to find out how bad it could really get, and so I could tell everybody I knew how totally, completely, wholly bad it was. The only other books I have ever even started to read that were this bad were a few cheesy romance novels, and I wondered how even those could get published. Where to begin? I suppose if I had to explain why this book was so amazingly awful in a few words, I could simply point out that the characters were flat, uninteresting stereotypes, the plot was a sad, lame attempt at copying an Indiana Jones movie smashed together with a Dan Brown novel, and the writing itself was so incompetent that a seventh grade teacher would be hard-pressed to give it a good grade. Then there's the fact that the motivations of characters and events are told to us with embarrassing clumsiness, major plot points are illogical to the point of absurdity (even beyond the suspension of disbelief you need for a story that revolves around the magical power of the Great Pyramid), and sweeping generalizations based on nationality are made at every turn, with the Evil Americans heading the pack. But there's so much more to the horrific tragedy that is this book! The plot is basically this: the missing top of the Great Pyramid of Giza has magical powers that will give one country on Earth supreme power if they put some dirt in it on a certain date. But of course, the missing pieces are missing, aren't they? They have been cleverly hidden in the seven wonders of the ancient world, to prevent some a-hole nation from gaining too much power. Guess which a-hole nation is trying to steal power a week before the special day? Also, if the missing pieces aren't put back on top of the Pyramid by noon on the special day, a big sunspot will melt everybody on the planet. Or something. The heros of our story are trying to stop all the bad stuff from happening, naturally. We're given an awkward alliance of nations that the rest of the world doesn't seem to think are important - Ireland, Canada, Spain, New Zealand, Israel (Israel? really?), Jamaica, the United Arab Emirates, and Australia. Oh, and there's a little girl, on whom everything rests. The bad guys are the Americans, who stomp around killing people, stealing things, and being uniformly evil, and the European Union, with an evil Italian priest, the little girl's evil twin, and a whole bunch of French guys who are also uniformly evil, if devoid of distinction. And that's about it for depth of story. Everything is cobbled together directly from Indiana Jones, with a healthy dose of Dan Brown conspiracy (complete with Freemason US Presidents and Catholic Church sun-worship) and the Australian version of Dirk Pitt from Clive Cussler's adventure novels. We're given a load of ancient wonders which have been hidden for millennia but which are easily found thanks to some ancient documents and scrolls. Each one has a load of "traps" which are always easily and quickly neutralized by our heroes, but which kill hordes of faceless bad guys. There's plenty of action all over the globe, from robbing the Louvre to cave-diving in Egypt to breaking into Guantanamo Bay to trekking across the Iraqi desert to murder on the plains of Kenya, but all of it takes place within a week and requires a private plane with unlimited fuel (stolen from Saddam Hussein) and a cheeky Kiwi pilot who apparently never needs to sleep. The characters are so poorly drawn that the soullessly wicked Americans aren't even the worst offense (although the main evil one is named Judah - come on!). A couple of chapters in to the book, convinced that Reilly must hate Americans with an unholy passion, I skipped to the Q & A with the author at the back of the book, where he says that he doesn't hate Americans - heck, he's even met some and a few of them are actually quite intelligent! - but that he just needed a villain and they were so convenient. I then realized that Reilly is just totally incapable of characterization. Our main hero is presented as cool, detached, and lethal, but with a soft spot for the little girl - but this all has to be told to us (over and over) because the character's actions are completely inconsistent. The other characters have no distinction whatsoever, and are only delineated by goofy nicknames given to them by the little girl and by their adherence to the stereotypes of their given nationality. By far the worst insult to the intelligence of the reader, however, is the extremely atrocious writing. There is an excessive use of demonstrative punctuation: exclamation points, italics, random paragraph and sentence breaks, the hyphen trail-off followed by a combination of all of the above. There is the recurrent use of sound-effect words, too, so one is constantly left with the feeling that the author is trying to describe a movie he saw once, but is too drunk to command an adequate vocabulary. I could go on and on about how truly abysmal this book is (and yes, I did have to check the thesaurus for more ways to say "bad"), but really, I've already spent too much time on it already. Please, for the love of God, don't read this book.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)

    Seven Deadly Wonders introduces a new character by Matthew Reilly to me, Jack West Jr. It's very hard to follow in the footsteps of Shane 'Scarecrow' Schofield, because, well, he's the man! But I have to say I really do like Jack. What's not to like about him? He's a fun character. Honorable, intelligent, athletic, dedicated, daring, and lethal to the bad guys. And being a girl who grew up on Indiana Jones, and wanted to be her own version of the adventurer, Jack has an Indiana Jones in a modern Seven Deadly Wonders introduces a new character by Matthew Reilly to me, Jack West Jr. It's very hard to follow in the footsteps of Shane 'Scarecrow' Schofield, because, well, he's the man! But I have to say I really do like Jack. What's not to like about him? He's a fun character. Honorable, intelligent, athletic, dedicated, daring, and lethal to the bad guys. And being a girl who grew up on Indiana Jones, and wanted to be her own version of the adventurer, Jack has an Indiana Jones in a modern setting appeal. I thought this story was a clever idea. I had watched a documentary on The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and they inspired a great awe in this history buff. To read a story in which our intrepid heroes track down these wonders, not for selfish reasons, but to save the world, was both interesting and exciting. This is one of those books I could not read quietly, which makes me happy I wasn't trying to read it in mixed company. It is full of scenes where I gasped out loud regularly, verbally and under my breath yelled insults at the bad guys, cheered and laughed. This is the brilliance of Matt Reilly. He is one of those writers that engages you and gives you a fun read that takes you out of your regular world and into danger and adventure. It's not always without loss or risk, because sometimes you lose characters you grew fond of along the way. In the end though, I know that good will win out. If it didn't in these books, I wouldn't be a Matt Reilly fan anymore. I liked the found family that I met with Jack and his team. I am a tremendous sucker for a father figure hero. Even though Jack isn't the touchy-feely type, you can tell he loves young Lily like crazy, not as a mere means to an end or a mission. (view spoiler)[ I almost cried when she called him Daddy and it shocked him in a good way. Yes, I am a sap, which you probably know already! (hide spoiler)] I have to say, I liked that Reilly wasn't afraid to make the Americans the bad guys. In his Q&A, he explained his reasonings and made it clear he has nothing against Americans. I wasn't mad at him anyway, but I tell you, I was hating on the bad guys something fierce. But honestly, he spread some of the bad guy yuck around evenly. Warning: If you are a Christian, don't take some of the stuff about the Catholic church and the so called origins of some of the tenets of the church (indirectly Christianity) seriously. Before I started getting annoyed, I just rolled my eyes. It's a fiction book, and I am not trying to take offense at that stuff, and I don't think Reilly was trying to criticize or devalue Christianity itself. He has bit of the Illuminati thing going on, but doesn't call them that. Suffice it so say, if you have any conspiracy theory leanings, you will appreciate some of the elements about secret societies in this book. The writing style isn't erudite or lofty. It's serviceable and casual. I just went with it, and I have to say that it fits the story. I like that Reilly writes fun books. He's not worried about being a member of the literary elite (which is fine with me because I hate book snobbery). At the same time, I felt like he worked hard to deliver a good quality read, and a lot of plotting went into this story. I appreciate the diagrams and illustrations, because I would have given myself an aneurysm trying to visualize a lot of it. If you have any ancient history geek leanings like myself, here is a writeup on the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. It's exciting stuff, if you're a nerd, anyway. As usual, there is some blood and violence. That's sort of Reilly's thing, but he doesn't focus as much on it in this book as in the others I read by him because this is more adventure than action. There are a lot thrills as they navigate dangerous ancient traps and pitfalls to get to the artifacts. Good stuff! I don't like gore much, I did the excitement of the over-the-top action scenes. Some parts had me laughing because they were so crazy! Final Thoughts: If you want a fun and educational in a 'doesn't take itself to seriously kind of way' read, with a lovable, larger than life (but rather humble) hero, and a great ensemble, with a cute but highly intelligent little girl thrown in, look no further! (Warning: Run on sentence!) If you like ancient history but want to have fun at the same time, this book is for you. If you watched Indiana Jones a lot and still haven't moved on, check out Seven Deadly Wonders! Overall rating: 4.5/5.0 stars

  6. 5 out of 5

    Lee

    A few weeks ago someone in my apartment building left a bunch of old magazines and recipe books in the lobby on a shelf that acts as a kind of internal charity shop. Amongst the 2008 editions of Marie Claire magazines was this book. Judging the book by its cover I assumed it would be god-awful pop fiction riding the Dan Brown bandwagon, so I of course picked it up and read it today on a return trip to Oxford. I confess, the book isn't terrible. I'm used to suspending my sense of disbelief when re A few weeks ago someone in my apartment building left a bunch of old magazines and recipe books in the lobby on a shelf that acts as a kind of internal charity shop. Amongst the 2008 editions of Marie Claire magazines was this book. Judging the book by its cover I assumed it would be god-awful pop fiction riding the Dan Brown bandwagon, so I of course picked it up and read it today on a return trip to Oxford. I confess, the book isn't terrible. I'm used to suspending my sense of disbelief when reading, but I wasn't aware when I started it that Matthew Reilly books require the reader to completely disregard the physical rules of our universe, maybe if I'd been forewarned I'd have enjoyed the book more. But like I said: it wasn't terrible. There are some issues with the book and I'll get them out of the way quickly. First, Matthew Reilly loves italics. I got the distinct impression he read his first draft and decided there just weren't enough slanty letters, so dropped italic dust all over each page, oftentimes on words that don't even need emphasis. He also has a thing for exclamation marks. I'm honestly not used to seeing these outside of speech. If something dramatic happens in a book I assume I'll notice, I don't really need an exclamation mark to tell me. Another punctuation mark of choice is the ellipsis. Far too many times something dramatic started happeneing… … and then was resolved on the next line. If this were a tv series and those dots represented seven days between broadcasts then they would invoke a lot of tension, but when they involve dropping my eyes to the next line, something they have to do every dozen words anyway, all it does is irk. The three issues above are infused in a sentence of comedic genius about half way into the book. I present my favourite sentence in Seven Ancient Wonders: They were being attacked… …from the golf course! A perhaps misplaced issue I had with the book is the presence of schematic diagrams of the various places visited in the text. They kind of give the impression that the author doesn't quite trust in his ability to describe the current location, or the reader's ability to imagine it. Finally, and most anally, there's a lot of Egyptian writing mentioned in the book. At their first appearance Reilly called the symbols hieroglyphs, and I rejoiced. Then the next time he said hieroglyphics, and I died a little. He couldn't seem to figure out which one he should use so did what I used to do on French exams and used them both alternately, figuring he'd get at least half of them right. On a similarly pedantic note, at one point he describes a cross shaped room as being "cross shaped", then later describes an identically shaped room as being "†-shaped". Why? Despite all that the book zips along at such a pace that by the time any of these things annoyed me it was already a few pages passed. It's sillier than Da Vinci Code but, as the author says in an interview at the end of the book, the book is more Indiana Jones than Robert Langdon. Which I'd guessed the nineteenth time the heroes triggered a trap that sent a massive boulder chasing them down a slope… … and then they dived out of the way just in time!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Allan Fisher

    You either love it or hate it... Reilly's writing style is reminiscent of the fight scenes in the TV Batman series of the sixties... Bam- He leapt onto the helicopter from the tree -Zoom Relentless, totally implausible high octane scene followed by well, ditto... and then once more and just when you need a breather you are plunged headlong into a crocodile infested pit on your way to saving the world from mysterious shadow organisations operating within governments... oh and of course the President i You either love it or hate it... Reilly's writing style is reminiscent of the fight scenes in the TV Batman series of the sixties... Bam- He leapt onto the helicopter from the tree -Zoom Relentless, totally implausible high octane scene followed by well, ditto... and then once more and just when you need a breather you are plunged headlong into a crocodile infested pit on your way to saving the world from mysterious shadow organisations operating within governments... oh and of course the President is always one of these Freemasons who got to power solely to further his agenda... okay you get the picture. Having said all that when I read, I occasionally like to be transported to a totally inane world full of aligators, missing Wonders of the World, treasures lost in antiquity discovered within minutes of said hero decipering parchments which have baffled experts for millennia, bullet evading technology, children who can deciper any language or text, impossible heists, breaking into impenetrable fortresses as easy as walking into a Wal-Mart and buying the next book in the series... Great rollicking fun but leave your IQ and sense of reality at the door to the tomb of a thousand snakes...

  8. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn

    What do you suppose would happen if an adventure novel got viciously mugged by a big fish tale? Probably something a lot like this. Now listen, if you want paeans to technology, stick to Clancy. Odes to science? Crichton's your man (Miss you already, Michael). But for sheer exuberance, not to mention all the momentum of a monster avalanche, Matthew Reilly is definitely your go-to guy. He's not afraid to use mutant walruses, mutant jaguars, hell, mutant children. But there are rules here: throw l What do you suppose would happen if an adventure novel got viciously mugged by a big fish tale? Probably something a lot like this. Now listen, if you want paeans to technology, stick to Clancy. Odes to science? Crichton's your man (Miss you already, Michael). But for sheer exuberance, not to mention all the momentum of a monster avalanche, Matthew Reilly is definitely your go-to guy. He's not afraid to use mutant walruses, mutant jaguars, hell, mutant children. But there are rules here: throw logic out the window, along with anything you may know about military training, basic psychology, or the physical laws of our local universe. None of that truly matters because what we have here is a smorgasborg of myth, conspiracy theory(my favorite), and Indiana Jones-style schlepping- think Temple of Doom, not Raiders- a confusion of kidnappings, sneakthievery, deaths, almost deaths, etc, etc. In short, possibly the tastiest, most addictive junk food you may ever be privileged to eat. Buy it quick before someone figures out the red dye could kill you.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Baz MW

    The adventure of Indiana Jones The exotic locations of The Bourne Identity The underworlds of The Da Vinci Code The action of James Bond The mystery of Tomb Raider The terror of The Mummy An easy 5 stars.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lizzie

    I couldn't cope with the appalling writing style. He writes a line - - and carries it on. And I could have played bingo with the sheer number of the word 'suddenly.' Worst crime? Ending one chapter with: "Jack had made a terrible mistake" And starting the next one with "No, he hadn't" WHAT?!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Rob

    Executive Summary: This book is ridiculous. I'm torn between a 2 and 3 star rating because it's a solid 2.5. I have to round down because what started off pretty fun got so over the top by the end that I was constantly rolling my eyes. Audiobook: William Dufris is a pretty good narrator that I've enjoyed from John Scalzi's Old Man War series. He does some voices and is easy to listen to. However, I kept waiting for the characters to start using their Brain Pals. It was a bit hard to separate Mr. Executive Summary: This book is ridiculous. I'm torn between a 2 and 3 star rating because it's a solid 2.5. I have to round down because what started off pretty fun got so over the top by the end that I was constantly rolling my eyes. Audiobook: William Dufris is a pretty good narrator that I've enjoyed from John Scalzi's Old Man War series. He does some voices and is easy to listen to. However, I kept waiting for the characters to start using their Brain Pals. It was a bit hard to separate Mr. Dufris from that series as I listened. Full Review As 2015 came to a close, I realized just how much fantasy I read last year. Now that's not unusual for me but I used to read a lot more mysteries and thrillers and didn't really get too heavy into fantasy until college. I solicited some recommendations for non-SFF books to check out with the main criteria being light and fun. Apparently I picked the most ridiculous book to start with first. For me the main attraction was the Indiana Jones vibe/the mentions of Ancient Egypt. I loved Ancient Egypt as a kid. One of the main reasons I got in Stargate was its basis in Ancient Egypt. This book is fun, don't get me wrong. However the writing was pretty bad. I also had believability issues. Not only in the "military" actions of some of the characters, but the politics. I get America is not everyone's favorite country. It's totally understandable. Still I have a really hard time believing that Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and Ireland (not the UK) will team up with Spain and the United Arab Emirates against the US. First off that seems a bit random. Second it shows a lack of understanding on the author's part about the nature of the relationship between the major English speaking nations. Even that aside, I have a really hard time believing any nation, will just casually use soldiers as expendable test subjects for ancient traps. It just seemed silly. It wasn't just the Americans either. There was also the evil Europeans made up of France, Germany and the Vatican. What!? I know this is fiction, but seriously..did this guy not learn any world history growing up? I feel like he made his factions by using darts on a map or something. Anyways in addition to the bad writing/unbelievable parts, most of the characters felt paper-thin and cartoonish. By the end I just wanted to be done. It's probably why after long thought I'm rounding my rating down. That said, I did enjoy good chunks of this book. I liked the general premise of the plot, the exploration of ancient tombs/wonders and the various traps they encountered and had to overcome. I bet a better author could have made a really good story out of it. It's too bad because I had pretty high hopes for this one, and since it's book 1 in a series, I figured I'd have a few to read. I just can't though. This author just apparently isn't for me. Still I'm glad I read the book. It's definitely the type of book I was looking to read. Hopefully the next non-SFF pick will go a little better.

  12. 5 out of 5

    April (Aprilius Maximus)

    SO awesome! Like seriously. BAM

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    Some time ago, I gave this book to a friend as a gift. Said friend is a big fan of the archaeological-mystery genre, and this looked to be right up her alley. Then, last weekend, I visited her home and found myself with a few hours to kill. I picked this up and started reading. I owe my friend an apology. Wow, what dreck. Or should I say, Wow! What dreck! The author's ridiculously breathless writing style, obviously intended to tell us that This! Story! Is supposed to be! Exciting! in case it sl Some time ago, I gave this book to a friend as a gift. Said friend is a big fan of the archaeological-mystery genre, and this looked to be right up her alley. Then, last weekend, I visited her home and found myself with a few hours to kill. I picked this up and started reading. I owe my friend an apology. Wow, what dreck. Or should I say, Wow! What dreck! The author's ridiculously breathless writing style, obviously intended to tell us that This! Story! Is supposed to be! Exciting! in case it slipped our minds, is rivaled only by the implausibility of the plot. The characters go around nearly-dying in nasty traps, complete with choppy exclamatory prose, only to breeze through other traps whenever the author wants to take the easy way out. The thing that finally made me shout audibly at the book was when a torch was falling toward a pool of oil, about to flambe the hero, and his freaking BIRD swooped in and carried the torch away. Unless the bird, whose name is Horus, is ACTUALLY THE GOD HORUS, I don't think so! Good grief. I didn't make it much further than that. So, I must confess, I only followed Gary Stu--I mean Jack--to the first of the seven wonders. I don't think I can take six more wonders' worth of exclamation marks.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Alli

    What a Ride! Matthew Reilly always brings an exciting thrill ride of a tale to the pages of his book, this was no exception. I love how he obviously does his research so the theories etc become more believable. In this book we are taken on a mythological ride with Jack West Jr an ex-SAS army dude with a bunch of international team mates trying to get ahead of the larger competition in collecting all the pieces of the famed 'Golden cap-stone' of the Great Pyramid. There is non stop action, a bit of What a Ride! Matthew Reilly always brings an exciting thrill ride of a tale to the pages of his book, this was no exception. I love how he obviously does his research so the theories etc become more believable. In this book we are taken on a mythological ride with Jack West Jr an ex-SAS army dude with a bunch of international team mates trying to get ahead of the larger competition in collecting all the pieces of the famed 'Golden cap-stone' of the Great Pyramid. There is non stop action, a bit of history, some characters to love and hate, blood and guts, amazing wonders. I really don't know why I didn't pick this book up earlier to read! I am giving it 4.5 stars & I cant wait to read the next tale of Jack West Jr in The Six Sacred Stones

  15. 5 out of 5

    Tim The Enchanter

    3.5 Stars This review is for the Audiobook version of the book. What do you get if Laura Croft and Indiana Jones were to mate, have a child, and appoint the terminator as the child's Godfather? You get Jack West Jr., the Hero of the 7 Deadly Wonders. A brilliant yet deadly, tomb raiding, treasure hunting soldier with one mechanical arm. Please pass this book by if you are looking for intellectual stimulation. This is not a thinking mans book. This was Die Hard for your reading (or listening) pleasu 3.5 Stars This review is for the Audiobook version of the book. What do you get if Laura Croft and Indiana Jones were to mate, have a child, and appoint the terminator as the child's Godfather? You get Jack West Jr., the Hero of the 7 Deadly Wonders. A brilliant yet deadly, tomb raiding, treasure hunting soldier with one mechanical arm. Please pass this book by if you are looking for intellectual stimulation. This is not a thinking mans book. This was Die Hard for your reading (or listening) pleasure. This is precisly the type of audiobook I like. I cannot read these action novels. I feel stupid reading them and somehow feel justified in listen to them. Full of riduculous action and impossible escape and more than a few people hacked or killed by some ancient trap in a pyramid or ancient cave. Pure escapism. 7 Wonders is sure to keep you listening, if not to see what treasure they find next, to see who is the next to die and by what ancient and deadly trap.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Nicola

    I really enjoyed this book - so much so that I finished it in about a day and a half. I haven't read a book that was so fast paced in a while, the characters were engaging and the storyline was really interesting. I also thought that the illustrations were a good idea, helping to imagine the places described and adding to the story. The only problem I had with the book was the author's extensive use of italics for emphasis. It fitted well in some instances, but for me it was over-used, becoming d I really enjoyed this book - so much so that I finished it in about a day and a half. I haven't read a book that was so fast paced in a while, the characters were engaging and the storyline was really interesting. I also thought that the illustrations were a good idea, helping to imagine the places described and adding to the story. The only problem I had with the book was the author's extensive use of italics for emphasis. It fitted well in some instances, but for me it was over-used, becoming distracting and even a little annoying. It seems a little patronising to the reader to italicise a sentence whenever a dangerous trap was triggered or something unusual happened, which was quite a lot. However, overall I REALLY enjoyed it! I'm not usually one to re-read books, but I'll definitely be going back to this one.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Soo

    Notes: Has potential to be a lot of fun. Too much "telling" vs drawing the reader into the story by having the characters experience the events. Cool ideas, lots of action but a bit rough around the edges.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Tony

    The most fun I had with this book was finding the disconnects and there are plenty to keep you going "huh? what?" Here's a few for you: West and his team are looking for a 2500 year old underground entrance. His buddy, carrying the ancient scroll which reveals the secret entrance, consults the scroll and discovers the entrance is marked by 4 lotus trees. And wouldn't ya know, there are the trees! 2500 years later, and still standing! Pooh Bear gets trapped behind a sliding boulder with no way out e The most fun I had with this book was finding the disconnects and there are plenty to keep you going "huh? what?" Here's a few for you: West and his team are looking for a 2500 year old underground entrance. His buddy, carrying the ancient scroll which reveals the secret entrance, consults the scroll and discovers the entrance is marked by 4 lotus trees. And wouldn't ya know, there are the trees! 2500 years later, and still standing! Pooh Bear gets trapped behind a sliding boulder with no way out except to jump into a spiked pit or another pit so deep there is no way out. But he manages to show up later. Near the end, West throws a punch at a bad guy with his metal fist: "the best punch he'd ever thrown with his all-metal left hand- The blow connected...and had no effect on Kallis at all." A few seconds later West throws another punch at Kallis with the same hand and this punch caves his nose into his face 3 inches, a soon to be fatal blow. But the best punch he ever connected with had no effect. Ya, this was a "huh? what?" moment for me. There was too many unnecessary F-bombs and motherF-bombs in the book. I don't recall Indiana Jones using language like that. It adds nothing to the story and only tells me the author is looking to find some kind of shock value in language where he couldn't add it by the story itself. Reilly even takes a poke at George Bush by calling him an imperialist in the questions section at the back. This seemed to be a popular pass-time back in 2006 but I don't care much for it so that cost Reilly another star rating. Isn't imperialism when a country tries to expand its authority over other countries? Like England over (ahem) Australia. Not a good idea to use your fiction books as a platform for your politics, Matt, old buddy. It could blow up in your face.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Angie ☯

    What can I say - I am officially a die-hard Matt Reilly fan! This was my second book by Reilly and it was as great as the first one! I look forward to reading many more. This is an action packed adventure tale that doesn't slow down. With rough and tough soldiers and a 10 year old girl that has them all wrapped around her little finger - she changes their call-signs from the tough-guy names to cute, childlike names (Pooh Bear, Stretch, Big Ears) - and still this doesn't make the story any less of What can I say - I am officially a die-hard Matt Reilly fan! This was my second book by Reilly and it was as great as the first one! I look forward to reading many more. This is an action packed adventure tale that doesn't slow down. With rough and tough soldiers and a 10 year old girl that has them all wrapped around her little finger - she changes their call-signs from the tough-guy names to cute, childlike names (Pooh Bear, Stretch, Big Ears) - and still this doesn't make the story any less of a thriller. It actually makes the team seem more like a wierd family and makes you care even more about the character. At least that was the case for me! It's a great story, with an Indiana Jones type flair and maybe a bit of Tomb Raider and a touch of James Bond action/inventions..... Is it realistic or turn to history probably not, but it's fiction! Was Indiana Jones believable, nope!, but I still love him and his adventures! :-)

  20. 4 out of 5

    Tanja Berg

    Not my cup of tea. Action is all well and good, but it should contain some heart. I did not care for any of these characters and the story was unbelievable to say the least. I had trouble with the text too. The variation of sentence length down to the one-word sentences were vexing. I know it's supposed to keep your interest and make story flow, but there were too many other problems for that to happen. Too many italics and exlamation marks as well. The world could have just gone under by the en Not my cup of tea. Action is all well and good, but it should contain some heart. I did not care for any of these characters and the story was unbelievable to say the least. I had trouble with the text too. The variation of sentence length down to the one-word sentences were vexing. I know it's supposed to keep your interest and make story flow, but there were too many other problems for that to happen. Too many italics and exlamation marks as well. The world could have just gone under by the end for all I cared.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Vikas

    It was the book that hooked me to the writing of Matthew Reilly. I mean WOW!! what a story and more than the story the pace and details with all those nifty little diagrams and all. As the description says it about 2 teams to find Seven ancient wonders before other so that they can rule the world for next millennium. Fast pace, totally over the top and above all great fun, recommended for all who love to read.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Paulo "paper books always" Carvalho

    Ahhh... Finally it's over. I am undecided on how many stars I am going to give. After making my review I will decide. So, what have we got here... A action-slash-adventure thriller book sure reads like a movie script. First of all I nearly gave up after reading 78 pages and after my second, third and each attempt I read but I don't want to leave any unfinish book. I have so many critics that I don't know how to begin. I know this is FICTION novel but at the same time I know this is not fantasy and n Ahhh... Finally it's over. I am undecided on how many stars I am going to give. After making my review I will decide. So, what have we got here... A action-slash-adventure thriller book sure reads like a movie script. First of all I nearly gave up after reading 78 pages and after my second, third and each attempt I read but I don't want to leave any unfinish book. I have so many critics that I don't know how to begin. I know this is FICTION novel but at the same time I know this is not fantasy and neither SF so there are some things that I sure accept as "writer's liberty". First of all are the characters. The main character is a uber character near invicible. No matter how many times they try to kill him he will escape. No harm can befall him. So I didn't care about him. Second his partners in adventure are what they are. Muslism are muslims, israelites are what you expect from one of them. And so on. Third The Enemies. Oh my god! The story goes like this... The europeans task force is something something invicible awesome but then a couple chapters after they die like a vietnamese in a Rambo movie. Then come the americans. They are the best of the best and bang come the vietnamese. Then come the isralites... oh no, they are the best of the best of the best and vietnamese become... They sure look like Stormtroopers in a Stars Wars movies. They are the best of all galaxy but sure don't hit a damn thing in all movies. In this case change bond's villains to West's villains. It's the same thing. Four How in the name of Amun-Ra they could make all their travels in under 7 days? How in name of God could they find all those hidden wonders in such short time. You know Iraq is sure big enough and the Tunisian's Coast to cover in just couple of hours. Five If only was that easy to take someone from the Guantanamo bay. Six Oh my god... the hawk. I want it. I really want it because he is a smart as a person and can fly. Seven Then you've got all those traps with crocodiles... What the heck do they eat inside a mountain closed for 4 thousand years? Maybe they are cannibals... Really man.. I am going to type here this sentence "He leapt from the walkay onto the stepping-stone -- and immediately heard a rush of water from up inside the wall-hole, accompained by a low crocodilian growl -- -at which point he jammed his titanium X-bar into the wall-hole and hit a switchon the bar. Thwack! The x-shaped bar expanded with a powerful springloaded motion, so that suddenly it was wedhed tightly in the mouth of the circular wall-hole. Not a second too soon. An instant later, a burst of water gushed out of the wall-hole, immedately followed by the jaws of a massive crocodile that slammed at tremendous speed into the X-Bar! The croc roared angrily but its jaws were caught against the X-bar unable to get past. The rush of water sprayed all around Fuzzy, but didn't knock him over." So the water fall followed by a crocodile.... Where was this crocodile? It was there awaiting patiently for 4000 years to the trap sprang? Talk about epic fail... both of the croc and the writer. Just to finish. This main character twist the neck of a crocodile. AWESOME!!! Eight The ending. (view spoiler)[ So the Australians are invicible now. Ok, good. So the next two books Jack West is even more amazing than this one right? I like the part when Jack and Wizard talk about not saying anything to the Australians. So Australia will rule. How? Militaristic of economic? What will happen when one australian tries to kill another? Their weapon will fail as Judah did? What?? Sorry. Weak Ending. (hide spoiler)] Now the positive parts One The history bit. All the stories behind it. The connection between the egyptians and the catholic church and the free masons. The connection between nowadays buildings and the ancient wonders. That part I liked. It's another way of seeing things. Two The americans are evil militaristic nation with the old european nations. The rest of the world must join and battle them. It was another change of setting. Usually the americans are the good guys. Three All the drawings and pictures inside the book really gave the book another feeling. Sometimes when I am reading a book with a detail information about something I sure would like to see a picture to make it easier. This book help me a lot. I really enjoy that. And For that I will give you a bonus star. In the end my conclusion is this: You wanna read a fast paced thriller in a plane or a train under 5/6/7 hours? Then I advice it to you. You wanna read a book alike Da Vinci Code, Go for it. Other person read at your own peril. I would give one star. But the historic part and the drawings and pictures deserve a second star. Will I read the next one (that I bought after enjoying a lot Contest and thinking it would be similar)? Maybe. If I would want to read a fast paced book but soft on the mind.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Patrick Gibson

    If you took all the action scenes from the Indiana Jones movies and edited them together, skipping all those pesky talkie parts, you would have something akin to this Matthew Reilly book: a thrilling thriller thrilled by its own exuberance. It’s a book that literally flies along—kind of the way it flew off the used book table at the church flea market and into my hands, which in turn forced me to part with fifty cents. I tend to judge books in the Cussler/Rollins/Preston genre by the number of ti If you took all the action scenes from the Indiana Jones movies and edited them together, skipping all those pesky talkie parts, you would have something akin to this Matthew Reilly book: a thrilling thriller thrilled by its own exuberance. It’s a book that literally flies along—kind of the way it flew off the used book table at the church flea market and into my hands, which in turn forced me to part with fifty cents. I tend to judge books in the Cussler/Rollins/Preston genre by the number of times I tear my eyes from the page so I can roll them. This made me dizzy. So preposterous is the plot (and I use the work expeditiously so you won’t think there is one) I gave up on trying to figure out if there was anything even slightly believable and simply went for the sheer bravura of it all. Once you do that—a good time will be had by all. The first 127 pages are pure action--one sequence after another. There are three factions searching a lost tomb built by Imhotep V (how many more where there?). The tomb is carved inside a mountain and loaded with traps: crocodiles (how did they live underground for four hundred years?), pits with poisonous spears (if the spears don’t get you the poison…), rivers of flaming oil (apparently ok for crocodiles to live in), massive boulders crashing towards the ever-inventive raiders (does anyone know, or care, Spielberg borrowed the rolling boulder in the first Indy movie from a 1960’s adventure film staring Pat Boone?), and on and on. There are high tech gadgets galore, creative pitfalls and imaginative escapes. Somewhere in the midst of chaos, the reader is allowed to glean a couple clues as to what the hell is going on: Kufu’s pyramid had a gold capstone. Alexander the Great carved it into seven pieces and hid them in the Seven Ancient Wonders—even though two were built after the time of Alexander and only one still exists (that we know of). Don’t worry. It doesn’t matter. If they can’t be found and reassembled on top of the pyramid, the world of 2006 will come to an end . . . or, something like that. Along the way the band of merry raiders knock over the Winged Victory of Samothrace (in the Louvre) climb the Paris Obelisk at the Place de la Concorde, free a prisoner from Guantanamo Bay, destroy the Hanging Gardens of Babylon and pretty much demolish every artifact they come in contact with. Again, no matter . . . it’s all for the testosterone high. The average chapter length is two or three pages. There is no sexy female protagonist gushing over the Dirk Pitt type alpha male which is a good thing—avoiding at least one cliché. The situations are inventive—and, of course, preposterous—and when the author includes copious diagrams because his descriptions are inadequate, or at least way too confusing, you know the world just might have collapsed in 2006. We just weren’t told.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Michael Chrobak

    First of all, I didn't finish the book. I simply couldn't. It started off on a positive note, like a lot of first dates I've been on. Unfortunately it ended with a fake phone call, sudden emergency, gotta run - it's not you it's me kind of ending. I'm actually surprised I made it to page 70. I read this book because the author was recommended to me by a friend. Unfortunately the public library (which is also the high school library in my town) only had three of the authors books - none of which First of all, I didn't finish the book. I simply couldn't. It started off on a positive note, like a lot of first dates I've been on. Unfortunately it ended with a fake phone call, sudden emergency, gotta run - it's not you it's me kind of ending. I'm actually surprised I made it to page 70. I read this book because the author was recommended to me by a friend. Unfortunately the public library (which is also the high school library in my town) only had three of the authors books - none of which were ones my friend recommended. Still, I thought, heck - if the author wrote a couple other really good books, then this one is probably good too. Oops...wrong! First, let's look at the writing style, which is choppy and fragmented and appears to be something the author had started when he was in 5th grade, and it sat in a drawer for a few years. Perhaps under duress from his publisher to push out another book that year, he just wrote a few final chapters to this 'masterpiece', when what it really needed was a complete rewrite - or to be re-filed in the round, grey circular bin under the desk. Next, let's look at the genre. This is not High Fantasy, it's more of a Seal Team 6 meets Professor Landon meets Indiana Jones type novel set on this little planet called Earth - where unfortunately we understand and know the way physical objects are supposed to respond within the known dynamics of our universe. Had the author inserted two words early in the first chapter - Alternate Dimension - I would have overlooked the completely unbelievable way things (and people) behave. I do want to honor my friends recommendation, so I will take another trip to the Little Library the Could and ask the frail, diminutive woman behind the counter if they can perhaps order a copy of the two books that were recommended. I can only pray they are better.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    About 100 pages into this and I'm not sure I can finish it. This is the fourth Reilly book I've read and though I've enjoyed them all, they keep getting more and more ridiculous. My biggest pet peeve from earlier works has already reared its head: You cannot possibly do anything (jump out of the way of a falling boulder; jump off of a crumbling bridge; dodge a flying arrow) in a NANOSECOND. It is one billionth of a second for god's sake. Why stop at nanosecond? How about having someone scale up About 100 pages into this and I'm not sure I can finish it. This is the fourth Reilly book I've read and though I've enjoyed them all, they keep getting more and more ridiculous. My biggest pet peeve from earlier works has already reared its head: You cannot possibly do anything (jump out of the way of a falling boulder; jump off of a crumbling bridge; dodge a flying arrow) in a NANOSECOND. It is one billionth of a second for god's sake. Why stop at nanosecond? How about having someone scale up a smooth rock face in a picosecond? Or jumpstart a 747 in a femtosecond? Which makes me laugh all the harder at the review here which ridicules American audiences for not being able to pick up on subtlety. Subtlety? Matthew Reilly? Are you #$#@$%ing serious? C'mon, the sentences that aren't italicized all end in exclamation points. Really subtle. And all of the pictures? Seriously, if you can't use language to describe your story, just write a screenplay and get it over with. Like I said, I have really enjoyed the other Reilly books I've read, but if this one gets any sillier, I'm dropping it. In a nanosecond.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Neil M

    I'm a huge fan of Matthew Reilly's books. Even with it's total lack of characterization and plot, it's insane over-abundance of exclamation points!!!, and the fact that it reads like something that came from the mind of a sugar-fed fourth grader with ADHD, Ice Station is still one of my very favorite books of all time. It was fun! And exciting!, and in a weird way, the fact that it was written rather poorly, kind of fit it , and added to the overall reading experience. This book, however, was a I'm a huge fan of Matthew Reilly's books. Even with it's total lack of characterization and plot, it's insane over-abundance of exclamation points!!!, and the fact that it reads like something that came from the mind of a sugar-fed fourth grader with ADHD, Ice Station is still one of my very favorite books of all time. It was fun! And exciting!, and in a weird way, the fact that it was written rather poorly, kind of fit it , and added to the overall reading experience. This book, however, was a piece of crap. I think. I never got past the first 50 pages. Horribly, horribly written, and not in a good way. Unlike Ice Station, this book had a plot, but it sucked. It made a play at characterization, but the characters sucked. The overblown action scenes in Reilly's other books, which were long and ridiculous, and unbelievable (but fun!), were way too overblown in this one, and just ended up being stupid nonsense. I love Reilly's stuff, but this book sucked ass. But not in a good, "hey baby, we're gonna try something different tonight. I wanna toss your salad" way. Boo on this book.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Cathy

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I loved all of his previous books - well, with exception of Hover Car Racer, which was ok, but not for me, i.e. it was Young Readers and showed. But this was just silly. Lots of action as usual, which I like. But otherwise it felt like reading a comic or playing a first person shooter. The heroes were endlessly going through the same chapter over and over again. Problem of getting through a maze without getting killed by the traps, neat little sketch that gets repeated several times and everythi I loved all of his previous books - well, with exception of Hover Car Racer, which was ok, but not for me, i.e. it was Young Readers and showed. But this was just silly. Lots of action as usual, which I like. But otherwise it felt like reading a comic or playing a first person shooter. The heroes were endlessly going through the same chapter over and over again. Problem of getting through a maze without getting killed by the traps, neat little sketch that gets repeated several times and everything neatly pointed out with exclamation marks and highlighted in Italics, so you really do not miss when you are supposed to be excited and dying from the suspense - in case you are too thick to get it by yourself. Was he still writing for 12 year olds? I almost did not finish it, it was so shallow and the plot so simplistic, I couldn't decide if I should feel insulted or just throw it in the bin. Sorry Mr Reilly, you lost me.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Tricia

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Well this was pretty action packed. I did enjoy it. In this book Jack West Jr, a crack team smaller nations and a 10 year old girl try to solve clues to uncover the pieces of the capstone of the great pyramid hidden inside the seven wonders of the ancient world. They need to complete this before a sunspot aligns with the earth. They are competing against two other teams - one from the US and one from the EU. I find Matthew Reilly's books very fast and the story keeps moving, which is why I enjoy Well this was pretty action packed. I did enjoy it. In this book Jack West Jr, a crack team smaller nations and a 10 year old girl try to solve clues to uncover the pieces of the capstone of the great pyramid hidden inside the seven wonders of the ancient world. They need to complete this before a sunspot aligns with the earth. They are competing against two other teams - one from the US and one from the EU. I find Matthew Reilly's books very fast and the story keeps moving, which is why I enjoy his writing. One issue I did have with the book was that I couldn't understand how Jack West Jr didn't understand how they were being tracked. I worked it out pretty early so I don't know how he didn't realise it. The other thing I didn't really get was the "willingness" concept to survive. I didn't get the impression that the technology was that far advanced to test willingness. Despite this I found it to be a good read.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    Just look at all the other 1-star reviews. I couldn't even get past 50 pages. This book was stupidly written, bad plot, flat characters, tropes EVERYWHERE and why did he need to use... italics everywhere? It just breaks- The Flow!!! of the story. And the diagrams. Really? You describe something in the book, about 5 times, but then for good measure, add a crappy diagram in case I still didn't get it. Bear in mind people, I actually didn't get past the first 50 pages, so all this happens at once. And Just look at all the other 1-star reviews. I couldn't even get past 50 pages. This book was stupidly written, bad plot, flat characters, tropes EVERYWHERE and why did he need to use... italics everywhere? It just breaks- The Flow!!! of the story. And the diagrams. Really? You describe something in the book, about 5 times, but then for good measure, add a crappy diagram in case I still didn't get it. Bear in mind people, I actually didn't get past the first 50 pages, so all this happens at once. And it just gets worse. I gave up after one session. Sad because it's not my first Matthew Reilly. I enjoyed Ice Station and Temple. What happened, dude?

  30. 5 out of 5

    Janey

    There isn't a Matthew Reilly book that I haven't read yet that I haven't enjoyed. If you like fast-paced, oh-my-God-I-can't-believe-this-is-happening type of books that are full of the literally unbelievable, then you'll also enjoy this book. The described locations, such as Giza pyramid was just one of the amazing settings as a massive puzzle must be solved in order for our hero to save the world. Jack West is one of my favorite characters by Matthew Reilly.

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