I don't think I've reviewed any Matthew Reilly on this blog which is something I will have to rectify in the near future. Let me just say after reading my first Reilly book he immediately leapt into my top ten authors.
He has two series The Scarecrow series and the Jack West series with several stand alone novels.
The Four Ancient Kingdoms is part of the Jack West Series (although some of his other characters make a guest appearance in this book) Jack West Jnr is an Australian Soldier with a bent for archaeology. This is Indiana Jones ramped up to eleven with a team of special forces soldiers racing the world looking for ancient knowledge. The Four Legendary Kingdoms is the fourth in the series following on from The Seven Ancient Wonders, The Six Sacred Stones and the Five Greatest Warriors. Reilly has said that this series is counting down to something and I'm now super keen to see where this is going.
Reilly is such a good writer each of his books is typically four hundred odd pages but they fly by. I've spoken to other fans and they've all mentioned that they start one of his books and before they know it, it's 2am. It doesn't feel like there is any padding in the books, yet each book tells an complete story and in the case of Jack West Reilly is able to seed the ideas for future books in an organic way that doesn't feel shoehorned in like some big blockbuster movies I could name **Cough Dawn of Justice***Cough**Iron Man 2**cough.
The story opens with Jack awakening in a world of trouble and we discover that he has been kidnapped to participate in a contest of champions. There are similarities to his first book Contest which features a similar reluctant participant in a contest but in many ways it's like the final round of American Idol where the contestants sign their audition piece again and we see how much they have grown as an artist. Similarly we see how much Reilly has grown as a writer in this book by his utilisation of a similar idea to his first work.
In the same vein characters from earlier Jack West books reappear and we discover that there is a larger history and back story than we first thought. Jack is pitted in a series of challenges that explain why certain heroes like Hercules and Gilgamesh have similar stories.
I'd recommend all the Jack West books hell, I'd recommend all the Matthew Reilly books and The Four Legendary Kingdoms is a slam bang action ride and worthwhile reading