Sunday, August 20, 2006

Seven Ancient Wonders - Matthew Reilly

Seven Ancient Wonders (Amazon Link)

Like I said here, Matthew reilly is my guilty secret author. His work is incredibly fast, undeniably trashy, deliberately designed to be read as a blockbuster movie rather than a book. His plots are always pretty easy to layout.
Hero (or small team) vs Villains (lots of them, usually French, but in this one they're American or European). Hero is either trapped somewhere and has to get out or looking for something and has to travel the globe to find it. And it always takes place in a sealed environment (Antarctic base, Ancient Temple, Sealed Building etc etc).
Indeed he even goes so far as to put loads of maps and diagrams in so the reader can follow exactly where the hero and bad guys are in the latest high velocity running battle.
And I just lap them up.
In Seven Ancient Wonders the hero is a rugged, Indiana Jones type with a small multinational team, fighting on behalf of a group of smaller nations to save the world from the massed ranks of the Americans and the Europeans by stopping the secret of the seven ancient wonders falling into the wrong hands. The ancient capstone of the great pyramid was secretly removed and split into seven pieces by the ancients and hidden in the Seven Wonders of the Modern World.
Cue round the world dash, lots of racing through caverns, tombs and catacombs (all with little diagrams and maps for us readers), lots of action, the occasional attempt at dialogue, action, guns, lots of traps, action, fast vehicles, chases, a teensy bit of characterisation and then more and more impossible scenarios and action.

Seven Ancient Wonders did test my patience slightly. Normally he really just throws you in straight away, no bother with characterisation or any of that nonsense, straight into the chase and get the guns blazing.
But it was over a hundred pages before he really got going and over 300 pages before he did the thing that all of his books do at some point. He always writes something in his books that is so impossible, so unbelievable that you have to just give in to it, laugh at the wonder of the set-up and go with it all the way to the end (often in one sitting from this point on).
In Seven Ancient Wonders it was the part where the hero, on the run in Paris, manages to roll the bus he and his team are escaping on, through 360 degrees and continue their escape.
I know.
Fantastically unlikely isn't it.

Like I said, guilty secret author, I make no defense for it, except that it's fun for a while.


  1. Anonymous8:49 AM

    Matthew Reilly FTW!

  2. Anonymous6:15 AM

    I don't care that the critics said his novels are trashy and there's lack of character development. I'd rather read a fun, entertaining, adrenaline-filled and super-charged book and ENJOY it tremendously than lug around a tome of bored-me-to-death book and take months forcing myself to finish it just because people expect me to.