Sunday, June 13, 2010

Seven Ancient Wonders- Matthew Reilly

One of my friends recommended this book to me so I gave it a try. Well, I wasn't disappointed. This book really packs a punch. Not to mention a gripping story line with interesting puzzles and fast-paced action.

The story is about a team of 9 soldiers assembled by various nations, led by Jack West Jr., an Australian soldier.
Their job is to protect a 9 year old girl, Lily, who is the daughter of the Oracle. Then, when she is old enough, they hunt around the world for the long lost seven wonders of the ancient world. Hidden in each of these wonders is a piece of the golden capstone of the Great Pyramid of Giza. But the United States as well as the European nations are also, separately, on the hunt for the seven missing pieces.

Why? Because of a rare solar event which is about to take place. The capstone, when assembled on top of the Pyramid, can grant any nation ultimate power for the next one thousand years. Pretty tempting. Which is why the Americans and Europeans are after it. But there is a group of nations who don't want this type of power to be with anybody. These nations are Canada,AustraliaIrelandUnited Arab EmiratesSpainJamaicaNew Zealand, and later Israel. Each of them volunteer soldiers to their cause. 

When Jack West Jr. of Australia and Professor Maximilian T. Epper of Canada rescue Lily from a volcano, their first job is to protect and raise her. Lily is important because is is the daughter of the Oracle which means than when she comes to the right age, she can read the "Word of Thoth", an ancient language in which the inscriptions containing clues to the location of each wonder is written. 

After Lily is able to read the clues, the the team sets out to find each wonder and recover all the pieces of the capstone. But each piece is protected by a series of challenging, and not to mention, deadly booby traps. And if that wasn't enough, the Americans and Europeans both want the pieces at any cost and are prepared to do anything to get them. Even if it means destroying these ancient wonders, sacrificing their own men, and annihilating West and his team.

After the first few pages, something popped up in my mind- Indiana Jones. With all the 'running from boulders' types of booby traps to cryptic clues to deadly enemies, this book struck me as how an Indiana Jones book would  look like. It has the same suspense and the same action. The clues and codes seem a little Da Vinci Code-ish. But they still have their own unique flair. 

I can tell this book wouldn't have made Reilly popular with many people around the world considering the way he portrays certain nations as murderous, brutal and not trust worthy. But the descriptions add the necessary flair to the story which builds up the suspense towards the end. 

I also noticed that towards the end of the book, things started becoming predictable. I was able to picture the end of the book with amazing clarity about 60-70 pages before I got there . That kind of ruined it for me. This was mainly because I've already read a few Reilly books like Contest and Ice Station, and his way of plotting each book is pretty much the same. 

Overall, Seven Ancient Wonders is a better book than most in its genre and was absolutely thrilling to read. 

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