Matthew Reilly






Pan Macmillan, November, 2007
Reviewed by Sunnie Gill

Ex-special forces officer Jack West junior is no stranger to danger. In his previous adventure, THE SEVEN ANCIENT WONDERS (published in the U.S.A. under the title THE SEVEN DEADLY WONDERS), Jack saved the world from destruction by finding seven pieces of the golden capstone of the Pyramid of Giza. If he thought he could retire to his outback property in Western Australia with his adopted daughter Lily, Jack was terribly mistaken.

THE SIX SACRED STONES opens with Jack and Lily enjoying the school holidays on their property with Lily’s best friend Albie. Their peace is shattered when they see a Chinese parachute regiment descending from the skies. Thus begins Jack’s next whirlwind adventure.

It turns out the Chinese are after the Golden Capstone because the world is facing another crisis. This time to avert the end of the world, six sacred stones have to be placed in a “machine”. Not only do Jack and his team have to find the stones, they also have to figure out where this machine is located.

The Chinese aren’t the only ones after the capstone, the stones and the various ancient artefacts needed to complete the task. A small, fanatical group of Japanese out to avenge their loss of honour after World War II are also on the trail.

Matthew Reilly was born in 1974. He is of a generation who grew up on a diet of action blockbuster movies. Reading THE SIX SACRED STONES is like reading a screenplay for one of these movies. The characters careen from one life-threatening situation to another at a breakneck speed. There is an incredibly high body count as West’s friends and foes alike succumb to the danger of this latest quest. They die in all manner of grisly fashions. Fortunately the reader is spared too many details.

Character development isn’t really Reilly’s thing. Why waste the words when you can have another life-threatening situation from which Jack can extricate himself? The characters all seem to have the same voice: from the learned elderly academic to Jack’s twelve-year-old daughter – they all talk in exactly the same manner.

If asked to describe THE SIX SACRED STONES, I would say it is Indiana Jones meets the Da Vinci Code on steroids. A fan of action movies looking for something to keep them entertained over the Christmas holidays will probably love THE SIX SACRED STONES. For this ageing baby boomer who prefers her plots much more sedate and with distinctive characters, it was all just a little too exhausting.

Dec Review originally posted on Murder & Mayhem


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