20 January 2009

Review: SEVEN ANCIENT WONDERS, Matthew Reilly

Unabridged audio, Bolinda Publishing, 12 hours 15 minutes on 11 CDs. ISBN 1-74093-885-2. Read by Sean Mangan.

Originally published in 2005 by Pan Macmillan Australia.

I wasn't at all sure that I would like this book. A thriller in the Indiana Jones mode rather than my usual crime fiction diet, and I was a bit daunted by the length of time I would have to listen. At 15-20 minutes a journey, I calculated it would take me at least a month of travelling to and from work.

The story quickly: At one time, the Great Pyramid at Giza had a golden capstone with remarkable powers. And then it was broken into seven pieces and hidden for over 4,000 years. Each of the pieces is located with one of the lost seven ancient wonders of the world. The cataclysm that the capstone was originally created to prevent is about to happen again, and teams of ruthless men race around the world trying to find and take possession of the seven pieces, so becoming the most powerful men in the world. The only clues are some ancient documents written in an almost untranslatable language, which only a child can read. The hiding places are booby trapped, created by one of Egypt's cleverest builders. The nation that retrieves and replaces the capstone on the Great Pyramid will, according to legend, rule for 1,000 years.

So, did I enjoy this? Well yes I did! The start was a bit gruesome and it did take a CD or two to work out what was going on. But then I found myself worried if the team of Jack West Jr., an Australian leading a small team with minimal resources, representing the 'small nations', was going to succeed or fail in preventing the US or European teams from gaining the power.

It did rather feel as if I was inside a Dungeons and Dragons game, or at the very least on the set of a Harrison Ford movie. But Sean Mangan's reading is first class. A measure of my enjoyment: tonight I borrowed AREA7, again by Matthew Reilly, and again read by Sean Mangan, to listen to in the car. 11 Cds, 13 hours 6 minutes. I'm a Matthew Reilly convert, at least in this format.

My rating: 4.6

The novels of Matthew Reilly - courtesy Wikipedia

Stand alone novels

  • 1996 Contest (Self-published in 1996; published by Pan Macmillan in 2000)
  • 1999 Temple (appears to be set in the same universe as Reilly's other novels, is referred to in passing in both Area 7 and Scarecrow.

The Shane Schofield series

The Jack West Jr series


Bernadette said...

I struggled through 7 Ancient Wonders and never bothered with the next book. Which is sad because I liked the Shane Schofield books and adored Temple. On the bright side that's 6 books I don't haveto read :)

Kerrie said...

I think I enjoyed it because I was listening to it Bernadette, and also "reading" it in such small gobbets.


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