"7 Deadly Wonders"
(Reviewed by Eleanor Bukowsky JAN 29, 2006)
“I have both held and beheld unlimited power and of it I know but one thing. It drives men mad.” –Alexander the Great
In Matthew Reilly’s new adventure novel, 7 Deadly Wonders, teams from various countries are racing against time to find the Golden Capstone that once stood on top of the Great Pyramid at Giza. Alexander the Great broke the Capstone into seven pieces and hid each piece in one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. In 2006, a rare solar event called the Tartarus Rotation is scheduled to occur. Whoever assembles all seven pieces of the Capstone at this particular time and under certain specific conditions will gain absolute power for the next thousand years. The American faction, led by a ruthless soldier named Marshall Judah, has a strong army with unlimited firepower. Francisco de Piero, a fanatical Jesuit priest, guides the formidable European contingent. Trying to stop the Americans and Europeans is a small group known as the Nine, representing such countries as Australia, Ireland, and Israel. Seven are soldiers, one is an elderly professor, and the final member is a ten-year old girl named Lily. The leader of the Nine is an Aussie named Jack West, also known as Huntsman. He is Lily’s guardian and, over the years, she has come to love and admire him.
7 Deadly Wonders is all plot, with scarcely any character development. The book is filled with evil spells, complex codes, numerous chase scenes, bloody confrontations, and a great deal of sophisticated hardware. As the various contenders vie to uncover pieces of the Capstone, they are beset by numerous obstacles, mostly in the form of traps that are reminiscent of the Indiana Jones movies. Spiked boulders rolling down inclines, molten lava, hungry crocodiles, quicksand, and descending ceilings are a few of the many impediments that stand between the seekers and their prize. Reilly includes drawings to clarify the elements of the search, but most readers will be confused by the multitude and complexity of the clues. At one time or another, a character in the book mentions The Da Vinci Code. This is an apt reference, since 7 Deadly Wonders may be an attempt to capitalize on the success of Dan Brown’s huge bestseller.
Reilly’s writing style is adrenaline-fueled. He overuses exclamation points, capital letters, and italics to indicate that something exciting is happening. The villains are one-dimensional and the good guys constantly escape from the most impossible situations with seconds to spare. I liked Reilly’s nifty gizmos, including a specially outfitted 747 that enables the Nine to make their escapes, and there are a few moments of sweet sentiment between Lily and her protectors. Over all, however, 7 Deadly Wonders is a derivative and poorly written fantasy/thriller that will disappoint all but the most hard-core action junkies.
- Amazon readers rating: from 84 reviews
Read a chapter excerpt from Seven Deadly Wonders at SimonSays.com
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Bibliography: (with links to Amazon.com)
- Contest (1996; 2003 in US)
- Ice Station (1998; 1999 in US)
- Temple (1999; 2000 in US)
- Area Seven (2001)
- Scarecrow (2003)
Jack West novels:
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- The official website for Matthew Reilly
- Wikipedia biography on Matthew Reilly
- TeenReads 2004 interview with Matthew Reilly
- BookReporter.com review of Scarecrow
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About the Author:
Matthew Reilly was born in 1974 in Sydney, Australia. He studied law at the University of New South Wales.
Reilly wrote his first book while at college. It was rejected by every major publishing company in Sydney, so Reilly decided to borrrow money to self-publish 1000 copies. He placed the in local bookstores and the book sold out quickly. One copy was read by an editor at Pan MacMillan who immediately signed Reilly up.