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In ancient times, a Golden Capstone was placed atop the Great Pyramid at Giza during a rare solar event called the Tartarus rotation. Once every 4,500 years, a superhot sunspot - the Tartaus sunspot - aligned itself with Earth and caused immense worldwide flooding and sun-scorching. It is said that when the Capstone sat atop the Great Pyramid, no such flooding or solar damage occurred. And, according to legend, whosoever places the Capstone on the pyramid at the next Tartarus Rotation will gain absolute power over Earth for the next 1,000 years.
In 2006, the Tartarus Rotation will come again, but the capstone is nowhere to be found.
With the fate of global dominance hanging in the balance, nearly every world power sends forth its troops to locate the Capstone. Among them are the United States, the European Union, Israel, ruthless terrorists, and one other unusual force: a coalition of seven smaller nations that have decided that the capstone is too powerful for any one country to hold.
So they band together against all odds and send an eight-man team to take on all the great forces in the chase. Led by an Australian super-soldier named Jack West, Jr., the team includes a Canadian professor, two crack Irish commandos (one of whom is female), a Spanish paratrooper, a Jamaican soldier, an arab commando, and a daredevil New Zealand pilot. And with them always is a little girl named Lily, the ten-year-old daughter of the Oracle of Siwa - one of only two people in the world who can decode an ancient text that leads to the Capstone.
This stalwart group embarks on a global journey filled with booby-trapped mines, stupendous ancient wonders, gigantic evil forces, and adventure beyond imagination. Mathew Reilly's 7 Deadly Wonders is a lot of things--fast-paced, clever, action-packed. But mostly it's perfect for a Jerry Bruckheimer treatment. The novel reads like a screenplay meets video game with one harrowing chase after another.
The breakneck action stems from an Egyptian sun cult which has hidden pieces of the capstone to the great pyramid in the husks of the seven wonders of ancient world, leaving clues that would flummox Indiana Jones. Here's the deal: whichever nation can locate and assemble the capstone in time for a cosmic event designed to end life on Earth will rule the world. Enter a ragtag team of commandos representing non-superpowers (read, in a Da Vinci Code context, not the European Union, the United States or the Vatican) who stand to lose in this eventuality. The team pits itself in a race against the formidable forces of the western world, cosmic calendar, and traps set by ancient-wonder-hider, Imhotep V. Complete with Mario-Brothers-style drawings, the book lurches from one great escape/victory/defeat until its final climax atop Cheops' Pyramid. It's a thrilling ride, perfect to enliven a lazy vacation or long plane ride. The real question is: Brad Pitt or Matthew McConaughey?--Jeremy Pugh