Matthew o Reilly’s ‘7 Ancient wonders’ a wonder of its own

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When a friend who never reads recommends a book to you, you instantly think it could be the most amazing thing ever scripted or it must have been commercial crap for your illiterate friends to rave about it.

But I have to thank Mr. S for opening my eyes to the world of Matthew O’ Reilly.

From the moment you turn the first page you are sucked in Jumanji-style to the quick, fast-paced, action-packed story.

You see every now and then an astonishingly, underrated book is published and the ‘7 Ancient wonders’ will jolt you out of your routinal life.

The plot revolves around teams from various countries who are racing against time to find the golden capstone that once stood on top of the great pyramid of Giza. Alexander the Great broke the capstone into seven pieces and hid each piece in one of the seven ancient wonders around the world. A rare solar event called the tartarus rotation is scheduled to occur and whoever assembles all 7 pieces of the capstone first and under specific conditions, will gain absolute power for 1000 years.

The American faction is lead by a ruthless soldier called Marshall Judah who is cold, cruel and totally frightening, while the European faction is lead by a fanatical Jesuit priest-Fransisco Del Pierro.

Trying to stop these two formidable groups is a group called 9, representing countries like Australia, Ireland and Israel. The leader is Australian born Jack West and the group consists of seven soldiers, 1 elderly professor and a ten year old child.

If you want to read a book that focuses more on plot, less on character development and the monotony of descriptions then this is it. Its full of evil spells, complex codes, bloody chases, sophisticated gadgets and tons of thrilling chase scenes that’d put ‘The Amazing Race’ to shame.

As the teams set out to find the capstones they’re beset by numerous obstacles that are reminiscent of ‘Indian Jones’/ ‘National Treasure’ films. Spiked boulders running down inclines, crocodiles, lava, quicksand, descending ceilings all add to the excitement of the chase.

Sure it’s similar to Dan Brown’s ‘The Da Vinci code’, where complex clues are dished out and you feel like the most ignorant human being but Reilly even gets his characters to point out this similarity. But it has more breathless action in it and is more explosive than ‘The Da Vinci Code’.

Critics argue that Reilly is a poor writer as he uses too much onomatopoeia, exclamation points, capital letters and italics to indicate exciting events but I spit on these negative criticisms. Who wants to sit with their nose in a book for hours deciphering mundane descriptions and arty-farty writing? I don’t have the time or patience for such pompous writers, which is why I loved Reilly’s ‘7 deadly wonders’ (Yes it is sometimes referred to as this).

The only aspect didn’t enjoy in the book was the over-use of diagrams. Yes I appreciated that they’d been put there to explain the routes and traps but they over-complicated them leaving me more confused than I was in the beginning.

However Reilly has the rare talent of writing a story where after a short time you no longer consciously read and see the words as the images are painted into your mind. And I could not wait to turn the page to see how they got themselves out of the sticky conditions.

Overall it is the perfect book if you want to switch off and enjoy an intelligent action packed novel, plus I highly recommend it for anyone wanting to be entertained. Now if only they’d make this into a blockbuster film.

Get it at Simply Books-ABC place


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