Orion | 2018 (8 November) | 445p | Review copy and bought copy | Buy the book
Captain Jack West has barely escaped the Games, an ordeal told in The Four Legendary Kingdoms, but there is no time to rest. The Games began a process that cannot be stopped unless Jack completes the next trial within just a few days. If he fails then it is likely that there will be no one left alive to regret it. And so failure is not an option. Jack must gather his team together, including his daughter Lily, the Oracle, to find the Three Secret Cities, three places so famous in mythology and yet now lost to history. But Jack isn’t the only one to seek the cities. Darkness was unleashed at the close of the Games. Great forces with unlimited resources compete for power,for control of the cities, but there’s something else they all have in common: a relentless need in them to kill the man that has thwarted them for decades – Jack West.
The Three Secret Cities is the fifth novel in Matthew Reilly’s Jack West series of thrillers and it follows hot on the heels of The Four Legendary Kingdoms. I don’t think you should read one without reading the other because these books have told a great saga, taking place over many years, and the end is almost in sight. But first Jack West must take on the most formidable enemies who will stop at nothing, will kill anybody, to get what they want – a dead Jack West and world dominion.
The Four Legendary Kingdoms told of a trial, the Games, taking place over a very short period of time, just a day or two, in one location. The Three Secret Cities is very different. This is a thriller that takes place across the globe, over a few days. And the locations are very exotic indeed. The baddies are also worse than ever. There are moments here when I was shocked by the audacity of their crimes! The chapters in London are breathtaking, like the biggest disaster movie, and so exciting!
There are also moments of extreme horror. Matthew Reilly has outdone himself with his descriptions of punishment in the Prison of Erebus – this is the stuff of nightmares. And we’re left in no doubt that not everybody in Jack’s team will survive. The author is known for shocking us in these ways – both in this series and in the Scarecrow books. Talking of Scarecrow, there are further treats here for those, like me, who adore that series. I love how these two series exist in the same world.
This is such a great story! It’s clearly preposterous and you don’t want to think about it all too much, but the book is so cleverly plotted, tying everything together with mythology, both ancient and medieval, and with some of the great archaeological mysteries of the ages. I loved the diagrams that are scattered throughout. They all contribute to the sense of reality and physicality of this world that Matthew Reilly has created with such skill. But above all else, The Three Secret Cities is an immensely thrilling and exciting roller coaster of a ride. I loved every minute of it. When this sort of thriller is done well then I am more than happy to fall under its spell – and Matthew Reilly is a master.
I cannot wait for Jack West to return! Unfortunately we must wait until 2020 for that but, in his afterword, the author mentions that his next book will be a time travel thriller. I cannot wait!