Rating: 3.5 Water Towers
Matthew Reilly is anything but boring.
The one or two sentences in the “Temple” that are calm are an oasis from the relentless, gory, death defying, and beyond belief, did I say R-E-L-E-N-T-L-E-S-S, action. “Temple” is an incredible thrill ride. Hmmmm, typical Reilly.
“Temple” is two stories rolled into one. One, a story of Incan love, friendship, and heroism takes place 500 years ago while the modern day story of love, friendship, and heroism intersects with the old story as the translation of a 500 year old manuscript (written in Latin) detailing the quest to hide a precious Incan idol from the Spanish Conquistadores proceeds.
Back in Time
In the 500 year old story, an Incan Nobleman, Renco, with the help of a criminal, Bassario, and a Spanish Monk, Alberto Luis Santiago, save the Incas most prized possession from the Spanish Conquistadores. The idol is in the shape of a monstrous feline mythological animal called the Rapa and it exhibits almost magical properties including the fact that, when wet, it calms the real Rapa (no myth here, these cats are real and deadly) when they appear.
After weeks of running, and defeating multiple enemies, including the Rapa and Caiman; Renco, Alberto, and Bassario finally succeed in slipping away from their enemies and hiding the Idol. They did such a good job, it has remained hidden for 500 years. After the task was complete, Alberto Santiago wrote a story about their adventure. In this story he tells where the Idol is hidden.
Fast Forward to the Present Day
Alberto’s manuscript was thought to have been lost, until a hidden sect of Monks in Europe reveals to the world that they have a copy of Alberto’s manuscript. Bad move. Shortly after this announcement, a brutal theft by a highly trained military force kills all the Monks and steals the manuscript. Luckily for the world before the manuscript was stolen, a copy was made.
Background: Unbeknownst to the Inca, the Idol was sculpted from a very rare (only found in meteorites that survive earth entry) metal called Thyrium. Thyrium has a half life that makes it inert after a few millennia and only one active sample of Thyrium is known to exist. Yup…the Idol. The reason why Thyrium is so popular in modern times is it’s nuclear explosive power. A secret DARPA project has developed a device called the “SuperNova”. When Thyrium is used in the core of the SuperNova and ignited, the resulting explosion will tear off one-third of the earth’s surface, and send it spinning uselessly into space. Imagine the bargaining power that can be yielded by the person or persons who possess BOTH the “Supernova” and Thyrium.
Here is the scoop: Someone has the manuscript that details the location of the Incan Idol. These same people also attacked DARPA and stolen the “SuperNova”. Now the race begins for the Thyrium. Whoever gets there first can either save the world or destroy it.
Let the action begin!
Our hero, William Race (who has an upside down triangle birth mark below his left eye) is a Professor of Ancient Language at New York University and has been tapped by the Army to translate the Army’s copy of the 500 year old manuscript. One glitch is that this copy is not quite complete, but, it will get them to the general location.
Politics: The Army (in competition with the Navy, Air Force, and several foreign governments, and those enterprising folks who already have the SuperNova and the original manuscript) are on a quest to find the Thyrium first. The reason that the Military Services are competing is that the U.S Gov’t, in 2010, will eliminate one or more branches of the military. To prove their worth, the Army, Navy, Air Force, et al are fighting to show that they are the most valuable service. They all believe that whatever branch finds and controls the Thyrium will be spared.
Motive: The killers who are smarter than everyone and already have two out of the three pieces of the puzzle have a simpler, less political, motive: they want to destroy earth.
As the modern day adventurers and killers set off on the race to find the Idol; death and destruction follow. Our timid Professor, with his ever present Yankee hat, shows his true worth and the reader learns that, when all is said and done, Professor Race alone is worthy of possessing the Incan Idol (it has something to do with his birthmark). But does he die in the process? Who dies, or easier, who lives? Who is deceiving who? Who is good and who is bad? You will just have to read “Temple” to find out.
But….be warned, there is a massive amount of violence and gore and a complete disregard for reality in the action (it is a Novel after all….Fiction, and Reilly takes that to the limit). For example, William pops out of an airplane travelling at 200 mph and his Yankee cap stays on his head. (I lose my hat running, slowly, to first base!). But, this is Mathew Reilly, and the more you read him, the more you come to love his action sequences.
“Temple” actually takes a bit of time (in between the action) to develop some likeable, and hated, characters and includes many many twists and turns that will keep you guessing and interested until the very last word on the very last page: sky…
I highly recommend any Mathew Reilly book. Start with “Contest”, which is a 5 Watertower book.
Just make sure you are ready for the ride.