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Best Reilly so far!
am 22. Oktober 2005
This book had a totally implausible storyline, to put it rather mildy. And the action scenes are probably more suitable for a movie than a novel. That said, however, I did enjoy the story. It is in fact two stories, set several hundred years apart. Both of these stories could have been told independently of one another and still made sense. They make better sense together. I very much enjoyed the "old" story, set in Peru about 500 years previously, detailing the invasion of the Incan Empire by the Spanish Conquistadors, with Hernando Pizarro leading an effort to capture "The Spirit of the People", a small statue of sorts, carved out of a meteorite, and treasured by the Inca's as a holy relic. One of the top Inca's, Renco, has the opposite goal: to protect the statue from Pizarro's hands; and he is ably assisted in this task by Alberto Santiago, a Spanish monk who has switched his loyalty to the Incan side (and who effectively tells the "old" story), and Bassario, a fellow Inca fallen afoul of the law. Five hundred years later, a similar competition for the same artifact is playing out again in Peru, this time with different governments and political factions wanting the artifact to produce a weapon of mass destruction.
Like all Matthew Reilly novels, this one requires massive suspension of reality. But unlike some of his novels, for example SCARECROW, this one actually has a story! Reilly seems particularly comfortable writing about antiquities and old civilisations, and he has done a good job here. There are some oddities, which perhaps suggest his research wasn't top class. For example, he appears not to appreciate the difference between a nucleotide (part of DNA) and radionuclide (a radioactive substance). Hence, his "nucleotide resonance imager" was a bit of a mystery. The "bible in the pocket stopping a bullet" is a bit of an overdone idea, right? There is no University of Peru. There is a Pontifical Catholic University of Peru, and a University of Lima, but no University of Peru. And then there is the disarm code for the supernova, apparently "11221945", to denote 11 November 1945, the proposed execution date of the German. But this German would not have used the American date system with the month first, right? He would have used 22111945...... right? These details irritated me a little. That aside, I still found it an enjoyable read!