Author Matthew Reilly is a homegrown Australian who couldn’t catch a break with publishing his first novel Contest at age 19. He took a gamble and self-published it – and man, did it pay off! Now, Reilly has more than ten novels under his belt and movie deals in the works. Temple is one, if not the best, of the bunch. My boyfriend handed me this book with the surety that it would not appeal to a feminine person such as myself. Well the joke’s on him! Turns out archaelogy, science fiction, military and a large helping of gore are just my cup to tea…
Genre: Science Fiction/Techno-Thriller/Historical Fiction
Mild-mannered professor of languages, William Race, gets made an offer he can’t refuse when the US Army comes knocking at his door. He is given the chance to translate an ancient and zealously guarded text that tells the location of an Incan temple. Within that temple is an ancient idol with the potential destructive power of a thousand nuclear weapons. The Army wants that idol very badly. Unfortunately, they aren’t the only ones after it.
Race is drawn into the story of the Incan prince Renco and his mission to protect the mighty idol from the Spanish Conquistadors. As the situation in Peru becomes more and more dangerous, Race must rely on Renco’s story in order to survive. Surrounded by enemies who want the idol for their own purposes, Race must cast off the professor and become the unlikely hero.
If a book could be a person, this one would be Indiana Jones but with the Terminator’s arsenal of weapons. Although well written, Temple is hardly high literature. It has a boyish, video game feel to it that makes it incredibly entertaining but not incredibly satisfying. In fact, I could easily see this becoming a successful box office hit à la Raiders of the Lost Ark. Reilly tries hard to make the characters multi-faceted and dynamic, but doesn’t approach the fluidity and realism of Dan Brown (whose character Robert Langdon is a near-composite of William Race, although Temple precedes Angels and Demons). Reilly also links the past and present to make a parallel between the modern professor and the Incan prince. At times, the intense action and incredible amount of violence take away from the actual story (hence the video game feel) but the interweaving of the two stories is skillfully done. A definite plus of this story is its unpredictability – there are more twists and turns than Space Mountain. It makes it a book that is hard to put down.
Read this if you enjoy the action, adventure type of novels (and movies!) or if you’re a Dan Brown fan. Matthew Reilly is known for writing fast-paced adventure novels, and Temple is no exception. Don’t be put off by the thickness of the book – it’ll be so gripping that you’ll be asking for more. If this isn’t your thing, I encourage you to try something new and just read the first chapter. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.