Book twenty-one was Temple, by Matt Reilly. I’ve read several of his books, all enjoyable fast-paced adventures that were easy escapist reads. I picked this one up hoping it would be the same.
Temple begins with the execution of a group of monks and the theft of something valuable. The story then jumps to a university professor who is recruited by the military to translate an old manuscript, which will help save the world from destruction. The bulk of the story takes place in the South American jungle, complete with caimans, ancient ruins, and modern technology.
I didn’t like this one. The storyline was similar to an Indiana Jones tale, which didn’t bother me, but many of the events in the novel stretch credulity to the breaking point. I don’t mind reading a novel where the hero (or heroine) does something fantastic, but when they start out their day running late for their lecture and finish their day running across the blade of a sinking helicopter which happens to be resting on the backs of several perfectly-aligned black caimans to escape from a giant mythical jaguar, my disbelief gets to be a little distracting. The characterization and descriptions were good, but the many near-death escapades were too much for me. I think I’ll stick to reading his later novels- still full of near-death escapades, but in circumstances and with characters that are a bit more believable.