Temple is the third novel by Matthew Reilly, and his second stand-alone story.

The book is unique for having a split plot; much follows the story of William Race, a professor of linguistics at New York University while the rest follows the story of Alberto Santiago, a Spanish monk who lived around 500 years before the modern events of the story.

Synopsis[edit | edit source]

Deep in the jungle of Peru, the hunt for a legendary Incan idol is under way - an idol that in the present day could be used as the basis for a terrifying new weapon.

Guiding a US Army team is Professor William Race, a young linguist who must translate an ancient manuscript which contains the location of the idol.

What they find is an ominous stone temple, sealed tight. They open it - and soon discover that some doors are meant to remain unopened...

Summary[edit | edit source]

Alberto Santiago's Story[edit | edit source]

In this story set in the 1500s, Alberto Santiago is a Spanish monk who traveled from Spain to the New World soon after it was discovered. However, he was horrified at the way his people treated the Inca, particularly the ruthless Hernando Pizzarro, so he helped them by rescuing the Incan Prince Renco Capac from a prison bulk. He then helps Renco retrieve an sacred Idol called the Spirit of the People before the Spaniards and they, along with the prisoner Bassario, flee to the village of Vilcafor, pursued by Hernando and his men.

Upon arriving at the village, they discover that Renco's uncle Vilcafor recently opened a nearby temple which was said to contain treasure, only to unleash a vicious species of big cat called the Rapa, which has terrorised the village. However being that they have no where else to go, Renco and Alberto decide to stay. That night, Alberto attempts to save Renco's newly-arriving sister Lena and her son from attacking Rapas, and it is only when the Idol is thrown by Renco and doused in puddle water that the Rapas stop attacking, due to it producing a constant humming sound.

Renco then plans to enter the temple and use the wet Idol to draw in the Rapas before trapping them all inside, and leaving a false Idol created by Bassario to fool Hernando when he catches up to them. All goes to plan until the conquistadors arrive in the middle of the temple's re-sealing, with Lena as a hostage, and takes the false Idol while Hernando orders Renco and Alberto's execution. However a Rapa with the real Idol appears in the temple's entrance, revealing the ruse. Luckily as Bassario (who had earlier decided to leave) returns and fires arrows at Hernando's men, the Rapas attack the conquistadors (since they are not covered by mokey urine). In the conflict, all of Hernando's men are killed while Hernando himself falls to his death over the cliff. Alberto is almost attacked by the Rapas when it starts to rain, and the wet Idol's song soothes the cats. Renco then decides to take both Idols into the temple, and it is re-sealed.

While Alberto's 'official' manuscript claims that Renco died inside the temple with both Idols, the true story is that Renco escaped via an underwater tunnel, with the real Idol in hand. The heroes proceeded to live out their lives, with Alberto marrying Lena. Eventually, all of his friends died in their sleep, and Alberto decided to return to Europe to live out his remaining days. The real Idol, meanwhile, is kept by the villagers of Vilcafor.

William Race's Story[edit | edit source]

In France, a holy abbey is attacked by soldiers, and they demand an ancient manuscript. The Monk refuses, even as his brethren are killed, until another monk reveals it's location. Once they retrieve it, they kill all the remaining monks. Later, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency headquarters in Virginia is attacked and a prototype weapon is stolen.

Professor William Race is asked by the retired Army Colonel Frank Nash to help an U.S. Army team find and ancient Idol called the Spirit of the People by translating a partial copy of the stolen manuscript. Race agrees when he learns that his ex-girlfriend, Lauren O'Connor, is on the team, and that his brother Marty suggested him to Nash.

En-route to Cuzco, Peru, Race begins reading the manuscript and discovers the relative location of the Idol, which is in a village called Vilcafor. Race then learns that this Idol is thought to be made from the other-wordly element Thyrium-261, a clean-radioactive material which would have landed in a meteorite 600 years earlier. He is also told that the Thyrium could be used to make an experimental weapon called the Supernova operational, an explosive with the capacity to destroy one third of the Earth, which would make it spin out it's orbit into space and freeze. Race questions why someone, particularly the United States, would build such a weapon, and Nash informs him that it is an Army project, and that whoever attacked the French abbey has a Supernova of their own and that they want to secure the Thyrium first.

Despite the earlier promise made to Race that he would only have to translate the manuscript en-route, Nash instead has him come along with the rest of the team, and places the Green Beret Sergeant Van Lewen as his bodyguard. They eventually locate Vilcafor and begin searching for the Idol by setting up radiation-detection equipment, and determine that it is just outside the village. They find a temple made before the Inca, sealed tight by a boulder. As they prepare to get inside, the team is suddenly subdued by an unknown German force and imprisoned in the village. A sub-team of these Germans enter the temple, but end up releasing the Rapa, which attack them and the Germans in the village. Several are killed in the chaos, including Walter Chambers, however the rest of the U.S. team and a few of the Germans manage to escape death by sealing themselves in an armoured vehicle.

The next morning, the Germans then reveal that they are from the BKA agency, and their leader Karl Schroeder reveals that they want to prevent modern-day Nazis called the Stormtroopers from using the Idol in their own Supernova weapon. After losing more of their people trying to get the Idol again, the BKA agents reveal that they have their own copy of the manuscript, which is more complete. From it, Race is able to deduce that the Rapa are repelled by monkey urine and the Idol's 'song'. Van Lewen and his men go to retrieve it while the others act as bait for the Rapas, however the Stormtroopers arrive. With their radio signal to the Berets being jammed, Race rushes to the temple after them to warn them to get the Idol somewhere else, however the Stormtroopers get the Idol and leave on a fleet of boats. Race, the remaining Green Beret soldiers - Van Lewen and Doogie - along with the BKA operatives Schroeder, Renée Becker and Molke give chase.

The group manages to severely reduce the Stormtrooper's numbers as they pursue them down the river, at the cost of Schroeder and Molke's lives. Race and Renée attempt to retake the Idol from Heinrich Anistaze, however they are captured and taken ahead to the Stormtrooper's base at a nearby goldmine. The Stormtrooper's leader, Odilo Ehrhardt, reveals he intends to force the world's government to pay a $100 billion ransom which he will use to cripple the American economy and build a new Aryan era. He also tells Race that Nash is not retired before sending him and Renée to be executed. Fortunately their would-be-executioner is actually a BKA agent named Uli, and the three try to stop the Stormtroopers. While Anistaze is killed, Ehrhardt shoots the only man who knows the detonation-cancellation code, and traps Race with the Supernova and explosive chemicals, leaving him a choice to try and disarm the Supernova or save himself by stopping the chemical explosives. Race figures out the correct disarm code, and hides in a warhead capsule to save himself from the chemical blast, which kills Ehrhardt.

As the survivors make their way back to Vilcafor, Race reveals that the Idol is actually a fake, and reads the remainder of the BKA's copy of Alberto's manuscript to find out the truth. He also learns from Renée that the American Supernova project actually belongs to the Navy and not the Army, and that Nash is trying to prevent the Army from being shut down, since American Congress wants to disband one of the armed forces in 2010, in the hopes that having the Supernova will prove the Army's importance.

Meanwhile, an FBI agent named Demonaco is investigating the break-in at DARPA, which NCIS suspects is the result of a militia group named the Freedom Fighters due to the use of specialised bullets. However something about the situation makes Demonaco believe there's more to it.

Race's group returns to Vilcafor and reveals that the Idol is a fake (though Race decides not to bring up Nash's deception). He has realised while their earlier radiation sweep for the Idol's Thyrium was correct, Lauren was wrong in determining its position, and that the real Idol is somewhere past the temple, not in the temple itself. They locate a nearby village of natives, who possess the real Idol. The villagers subdue the group, but recognise Race's birthmark as the Mark of the Sun, and to test him they force him to fight a caiman, which he kills with a grappling hook. With his victory, the group is allowed to live, and the Chieftain Roa and Miguel Marquez confirm that Renco had escaped the temple with the real Idol and give Race Alberto's original manuscript.

At this time, Demonacco and his team have learned that the Freedom Fighters have merged with another group, the Republican Army of Texas, as well as members from a Japanese cult which was involved in the Sarin attack. After questioning a Texan member, they learn that the Texans' leader, Earl Bittiker, was the one who stole the Supernova from DARPA. Furthermore, he plans on detonating it for the simple reason of wanting to end the world, as soon as he gets the Thyrium for it.

Suddenly the village is attacked by the Navy team's Super Stallions, which are in turn attacked by Nash's finally-arrived support AH-66 choppers. In the chaos, the BKA zoologist Krauss is killed, Doogie is wounded saving Gabby from a caiman, and Nash, Lauren and Troy Copeland steal the real Idol from the natives, to which Race, Renée and Van Lewen give pursuit. At Vilcafor, Nash's choppers have forced the remaining Navy Stallion down, and sees that his brother Marty is among the Navy's team. Nash executes all of them, including the Navy team's leader, but leaves Marty alive, as he is the one who provided the Army with the Supernova data, and Nash also tells Race that he was always intended to be liquidated. Van Lewen attempts to stop Nash, but is killed himself. Before Race and Renée suffer the same fate, an arrow-attack from the villagers forces Nash's group to start evacuating in their chopper.

However, an aerial armada of the Texan/Freedom Fighter Black Hawks forces them to land again. While Race, Renée, Doogie and Gabby watch from the cover of the jungle, Bittiker takes the Idol from Nash, while Copeland is revealed to be working for Bittiker and who provided him with the Supernova data. Copeland and Bittiker shoot Nash, Marty and Lauren, the latter dying instantly, before the Texans/Freedom Fighters leave. Race goes to his dying brother, who tries to tell him how to disarm the stolen Supernova. Race's group pursue Bittiker's force, while the villagers descend upon the still-living Nash.

With everyone else injured, Race is forced to board Bittiker's plane alone to stop them from detonating the Supernova. However, he is forced inside a tank with the Supernova, and blasts the plane's interior, killing Copeland and causing the plane to fall. As the tank falls to the jungle below, Race (after learning through Demanacco that Marty was the code-holder) disarms the Supernova by using Marty's typical pin-number; Elvis Presley's Army serial number. Before the tank smashes into the earth, with Bittiker still inside it, Race is saved by the J-7 jet pack he is wearing (which he took from the Stormtroopers, thinking it was combat armour). After Doogie picks him up, Race states that they have one last thing to do.

He returns the Idol to the village, but requests one last use of it. He uses the Thyrium Idol, resonating due to exposure to water, to lure the Rapas back into the temple, which is then sealed. Knowing that Renco managed to escape, he finds an underwater tunnel that leads out, but first spots the bodies of several people the villagers have thrown down to sacrifice to the Rapas, and leaves the false Idol behind. He then returns the Idol to the villagers, imploring that they take it and leave the area so that any who come looking for the Thyrium Idol can't find them. As the survivors leave the village, Nash, who was not killed but simply had his hands cut off, is thrown into a chute leading into the temple, along with the bodies of those who died in the Vilcafor area, to be sacrificed and fed to the Rapa.

Renée kisses Race for his bravery while Gabby asks Doogie on a date. Race then reads Alberto's true story of how things ended, and thinks upon how similar his and Renco's battles were.

Characters[edit | edit source]

The Army Team[edit | edit source]

Bundes Kriminal Amt / BKA[edit | edit source]

The Stormtroppers / Nazis[edit | edit source]

The Texans / Freedom Fighters[edit | edit source]

Others[edit | edit source]

Manuscript Characters[edit | edit source]

Animals[edit | edit source]

Locations[edit | edit source]

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • This novel is implied to be in the same fictional universe as the Scarecrow and Huntsman series, as some of Temple's elements have been mentioned in passing.
    • In the Scarecrow series novel Area 7, Elvis suggests that the Area 7 Air Force base was working on the superbomb, and that they needed a special element to power it.
    • Also in the Scarecrow series, Hell Island mentions DARPA's rumoured Superbomb project.
  • In the afternote in the 2010 edition of Temple, Matthew Reilly stated that he originally intended the ending to include Race being kidnapped by the Navy team and taken to an aircraft carrier, and being forced to set off an explosive before escaping by launching a jeep off a launch sling. This idea was later adapted into the novel Scarecrow.
  • Within a Facebook post regarding the film rights to The Great Zoo of China, Reilly commented that he doesn't feel that Temple allows for the opportunity to have a sequel, but suggested that Race could one day appear in a Jack West story. [1]
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