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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.
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William Race, a mild-mannered professor, is impressed into the U.S. army on a bizarre mission: to retrieve a centuries-old Incan idol revered by a Peruvian Indian tribe. The idol, carved out of a meteorite, is the missing ingredient in a so-called "planet-killer," a weapon long sought not only by the U.S. government, but also by a neo-Nazi group whose scientists, linguists, and anthropologists seem to be one step ahead of the Americans. Only Race can translate the legendary manuscript that holds the key to the idol's location high in the Andes in a temple guarded by huge, man-eating panthers, on a moat seething with equally carnivorous crocodiles.
It's a preposterous setup of the Crichton/Cook variety, but Matt Reilly, author of Ice Station, takes it to the max, with plenty of improbable feats of physical strength, an arsenal of weapons that would give Tom Clancy pause, and a breathtaking conclusion. There's also a sneaky little internecine war going on among various branches of the American military just to keep the tension ratcheted up. It's not too long on character development, but it's a fast-paced read, with plenty of cliffhangers (literal as well as metaphorical), lots of firepower, and enough villains for a whole other adventure. --Jane AdamsAbout the Author:
Matthew Reilly is the Australian-born author of bestselling novels Contest, Ice Station, Temple, Area 7, Scarecrow and Seven Ancient Wonders, which reached the Sunday Times top-ten bestseller list. He wrote his first two books while studying law at the University of New South Wales, and now writes full-time, producing novels and screenplays and creating television series. The author lives in Syndey.
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