* Prices may differ from that shown
One of the many second-hand books that I bought lately was this one, Temple. It appealed to me because I have a deep interest in the ancient cultures of what is now called the Meso-Americans. (N.B. This spelling varies from different sites). With my writing partner, David, we had thought about basing a joint book on the ancient Maya, the tribe that came just before the Aztec and the Inca. In Matthew Reilly's book the Inca's are the Peruvian tribe that once held a very precious Idol in their possession, a sacred Idol that holds the key to world domination. For there is speculation about this idol, perhaps it came to earth as part of a meteorite, a living piece of a strange new substance, called thyrium, its potential as a weapon of destruction the greatest threat the world has ever known.
William Race is a professor of languages, a mild-mannered individual who becomes swept up in a situation he abhors...a mystery mission that is led by an all-American team, determined to find the idol that could become a devastating weapon in the hands of the wrong group of people. Race, as any other patriot, is willing to do his duty, but his role as a translator of an ancient text, written by a Spanish monk, is hampered by having to translate this manuscript in the time it takes to reach the site of the beginning of the quest to find both the idol and the lost city of the Incas.
It should have been easy. Aboard the American airplane Race is one of the crew, albeit a reluctant one. His purpose to translate the manuscript written in Latin by a Spanish Monk, some four hundred years ago. Race is captivated by the story, an account of an Incan prince called Renco and the monk, Alberto. Both determined to stop the slaughter of the Inca nation by the Spaniards and to keep the idol, called the "spirit of the people" out of enemy hands. Even the presence of his ex-girlfriend, Lauren, is not enough to stop him following the four-hundred year old story. Dragged into the mission, his hopes of being only a translator are dashed when he realises that his armed escorts are, in fact, on a personal mission, to find the lost Idol of the Incas for themselves.
This is where the narrative became totally confusing. The blurb on the back of the book mentions that the team in which Race is joined are not the only ones searching for the idol. It suggests that opening the temple is the ultimate fear.
Quote:- Some doors are meant to remain unopened.
At 763 pages the story is just opening and the reader is left wondering what comes next.
I wish I could say that the story opens out into compelling reading, but the promise of the background story never really materialises.
There are some exciting action sequences when the group open up the temple, only to find themselves faced with creatures out of myth, snarling large cats, fierce and quick, they kill in moments. These beasts, akin to overlarge panthers should have killed every last one of the exploration group, but William Race suddenly finds a streak of courage amongst his normal cowardice and proceeds to help most of his group to escape.
There follows a bizarre story, with action sequences that would put Indiana Jones to shame. From a high speed chase along a winding river with guns blazing and our reluctant hero never even getting a slight graze, to a devastating countdown where Race has to stop a bomb, the action never lets up. Our hero, Will, stops one Nazi-style group, only to face another group, this time an American one allied with so many doomsdays groups that I lost the plot and the interest as well. I plodded on, hoping it would get marginally better, but I'm afraid that the whole book just staggered to an unbelievably stupid ending.
I had high hopes for this book. For once I thought I could review a book that would get both men and women interested. After all, I read a lot of action novels. Sadly the characters were wooden and the backgrounds of the main characters had no substance at all.
The dual stories, that of the original Inca prince and the renegade Spanish monk was far more interesting than the doomsday story which the author thought would capture his audience. Why then did he play down his characters when all the possibilities were there?
It should have been a good story, with the overlapping time-scales. There is a slight connection between Race and the Inca orince, Renco, but Reilly never explors this great potential.
Race should also have had some superior background to allow him to become a hero. I can't imagine for one moment that a language professor should pick up a highly technical gun and start to blow the villains away. However, I had better leave this here just in case someone reading this might like a non-stop action thriller with more baddies than two world wars.
Normally I would start a review with a bit about the author. I left it until last as he has had one very popular book that was made into a film. Ice Station was a huge success for Matthew Reilly which started him onto a run of non-stop action fiction stories. At the end of "Temple" there is a brief interview with the author. I was hoping he could redeem himself by explaining why he started off with a great idea and let it run down to an insipid ending.
Well, I didn't actually expect him to say his book was second-rate, but I thought he might have something to say about the failed opportunity between two heroes, past and present. Instead there are pages of Reilly talking about how he thinks that books should reflect action films, where the reader experiences the same adrenaline rush as an action-packed film.
Unfortunately this left me cold. If I wanted non-stop action with a corny plot then I'd watch a few un-mentionable films. I didn't enjoy the book, just kept reading in the hope it would get better. It took me nearly a week to read it and that's a long time for me.
If you are an adrenaline junky, then you might just manage to read half the book, skipping bits here and there. To sum up:-
One group wants to steal an Idol to make a bomb. So does another and yet another. That's basically it.
There's lots of action and gory killings. Hardly a page goes by without someone having their head cut off/blown to bits/ mauled by vicious large cats called Rapas or eaten by 15 foot long creatures akin to crocodiles.
The book can be found at various places for about £5.Generally I use Amazon as my comparison site, knowing that they sell good quality 2nd hand books as well as new ones. Fortunately I only parted with £1 for mine.
Recommended for action junkies. Otherwise it falls flat on its face.
©Lisa Fuller March 2008.
Deep in the jungles of Peru the contest of the century is underway. It's a race to locate a legendary Incan idol - one carved out of a strange kind of stone. But a stone which in the present century could be used for a terrifying new purpose. Now rival groups are assembling their teams to hunt the idol down, at any cost. The only clue to the idol's final resting place is to be found in a 400-year-old manuscript. Which introduces Professor William Race, a mild-mannered but brilliant young linguist who is unwillingly recruited to interpret the document that could lead to the idol itself. So begins the mission that will lead Race and his companions to a mysterious temple hidden in the foothills of the Andes. There they find a carefully contrived sanctuary seething with menace and unexpected dangers. But it is not until the silence of the temple is breached that Race and his team discover they have broken a golden rule ...Some doors are meant to remain unopened.