For a change of pace I decided to read a thriller and knowing how popular the books written by Australian author Matthew Reilly are I chose his latest book, Scarecrow and the Army of Thieves.
This fifth book featuring the character Shane Schofield, also known as Scarecrow, is set on a former Russian military base on Dragon Island in the Arctic Circle. Schofield and a small team of fellow US marines, four civilians plus a robot named Bertie were on assignment in the Arctic testing new equipment in extreme conditions when the call was received to assist a group of Navy SEALS prevent the ignition of a gas cloud emanating from Dragon Island that would result in the destruction of much of the northern hemisphere. The island had been taken over by a group of two hundred men named the Army of Thieves comprised primarily of felons who had been released from prisons via a series of surprise raids during the previous year. A number of daring hijacks had provided this army with high power weapons and ammunition. Communications relayed to Schofield's group indicated that they had less than five hours to stop the blast.
Scenes of death and destruction abound and the description of methods of torture are graphic as the group valiantly fights against the odds to stop the detonation of the gas cloud. To say that there is plenty of action and tension in this book would be an understatement.
In the acknowledgements at the end of the book Reilly states that he writes to entertain and that he firmly believes that 'reading for enjoyment has value in our world'. He certainly succeeds in Scarecrow and the Army of the Thieves.