Book Reviews

Review Rating

With the October 2004 review, we began rating the books on the basis of one to four trowels; 
one trowel= don’t bother, to four trowels= run right out to your local book store and buy the hard cover!

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Temple by Matt Reilly

Reviewed on: April 1, 2001

St. Martin’s Press, New York

“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!

Twenty Years in the Trenches: Archaeology in Fiction

William Gresens, longtime MVAC supporter and volunteer, has been writing reviews of archaeological fiction as MVAC’s book reviewer for twenty years.  In this interview Bill shares how he got started writing reviews for MVAC, how the genre has changed, highlights, and his thoughts looking forward. 

Bill Gresen’s Book Review 20th Anniversary

While Bill's reviews go back 20 years now, his relationship with MVAC goes back more than twice that long! The reviews capture some of the things we enjoy most about Bill-- he's perceptive, methodical, a clear thinker, and a whole lot of fun! We look forward to this relationship--and Bill's reviews!--continuing for many years to come.

The March 2021 review marks the 20th anniversary of reviews of archaeological fiction.  It has been my pleasure and great fun to while away the hours reading these books—for the most part, at least—and writing the reviews!  My thanks to MVAC allowing me to prattle on and I look forward to the years ahead.

Bill Gresens