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Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center

Temple by Matt Reilly

April 1, 2001

St. Martin’s Press, New York
1999

“Deep in the Jungles of Peru the race of the century is under way to locate a legendary Incan idol.  An artifact carved out of a strange kind of stone, the idol could be used as the basis for a terrifying new weapon…” So reads the endpaper of Matt Reilly’s high adrenalin, high testosterone thriller, Temple.  Reilly introduces the reader to his hero, William Race, a professor of ancient languages, who is hired by the U.S. government to translate an ancient document.  This document will lead Race and an intrepid band of scholars and military to an even more ancient temple in the Andes, wherein lies the aforementioned Inca idol.  But before the world can be saved from the awesome power of the doomsday device that can be activated only by the stone from which the idol was made, Race and company face man-eating crocodiles, giant black leopards with almost human-like intelligence, anacondas and best of all, really evil neo-Nazis.

This is not a book to read if you wish to learn more about Inca archaeology (or any other kind of archaeology), but it can easily become a guilty pleasure.  The narrative races along at breakneck speed (with the quality of the writing often falling in its wake) and William Race, who seems at first to be a bit of a Casper Milquetoast, quickly turns into an action hero that makes Indiana Jones look like a wimp.  You may not remember much of the plot five minutes after you’ve finished reading Temple, but you will have a heck of a good time while you’re reading it!