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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