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To anyone who knows a writer, never underestimate the power of your encouragement.
Matthew Reilly

Matthew Reilly is an Australian author who writes extremely fast-paced action novels. His books have been compared to Indiana Jones on fast foward, with some of the wildest and most sustained battles in an action thriller. His books often contain many examples of both fictional and real-world firearms and military technology, simply for plot advancement. They also usually contain multiple explosions and could be described as 'What can we blow up this time, and how can we make it more awesome?'

His books are:

Independent Books

  • Contest: In the New York City Library, aliens and one chosen human fight to the death.
  • Temple: William Race is a language professor tasked with translating a manuscript that will reveal the location of an Incan idol, capable of powering a doomsday device.
  • Hover Car Racer: A kid tries to win the Hover Car Racing World Championship. Notably released for free on the internet, as a serial, and Reilly sold the publishing rights for the princely sum of $2 AU.

Shane "Scarecrow" Schofield Series

  • Ice Station: Lieutenant Shane Schofield, nicknamed Scarecrow, is in charge of a Marine Recon squad that is sent to secure an ice station in Antarctica to investigate an alien craft. It's actually an invisible fighter/bomber lost when the corporation building it in secret there was smashed in an Earthquake. Everyone and their mother want it - to the point America's allies are willing to kill American civilians and soldiers for it... even the American government itself.
  • Area 7: The President has a transmitter placed on his heart that will destroy half of America if he dies. Scarecrow must protect him from a company of super soldiers while locked in a secret air force base.
  • Scarecrow: Scarecrow has a $18.6 million price on his head, and faces some of the world's most ruthless bounty hunters. To survive, he will need to discover the organisation behind the bounty and stop their attempts to create a nuclear war.
  • Hell Island: A novella. Scarecrow fights an army of 300 genetically engineered apes, to test them for real combat.
  • Scarecrow and the Army of Thieves: An anarchist terrorist group sieze control of Dragon Island, which houses a former Soviet superweapon. With only a few hours to stop the so-called "Army of Thieves", it's up to Scarecrow, Mother, a handful of Marines and civilians, and a few unexpected allies to save North America from destruction.It's actually not North America that's in danger. It's actually a CIA plan to obliterate China so America stays as the head economy. America is only taking some casualties to maintain a guise of innocence

Jack West Series

  • Seven Ancient Wonders(retitled Seven Deadly Wonders in America): Retired Australian soldier Jack West and his team of multinational commandos have to find all seven pieces of the Golden Capstone that once graced the Great Pyramid of Giza, before either America or a coalition of European superpowers can assemble it. In the right hands, it will prevent a deadly sunspot; in the wrong hands, it will grant one superpower a thousand years' worth of power.
  • Six Sacred Stones: 18 months after averting either destruction or domination, the "Dark Sun" threatens to violently shake the Earth's biosphere. Jack sets off to find the titular artifacts, which are the key to using the power of six other MacGuffins, the "Pillars". The catch: Max "Wizard" Epper, his mentor, was captured by a new player in the superpower war--the Chinese--and is guided with nothing but Wizard's notes.
  • The Five Greatest Warriors: Jack and his team have hit a dead end, and must find the location of the remaining Pillars and tap into their powers before the Dark Sun threatens to destroy the world and/or the Americans, the Europeans and the Chinese use it for their ends, aided by another clue: 5 of the greatest warriors in history.

His books are written more like action movies than traditional thrillers; he likens them to stripped-down sports cars. Great literature it ain't, but the bottom line is the Rule of Fun. Reilly admits this, and says that the most important thing is that his books get people (especially teenage boys who wouldn't read higher-brow novels) to read.


  • Action Survivor: Stephen Swain in Contest, William Race in Temple.
  • The Alcatraz: One part of Seven Ancient Wonders involves breaking a prisoner out of Guantanamo Bay. Yes, the Guantanamo Bay.
  • Alliterative Name: Shane Schofield. And that's not even mentioning his codename.
  • America Saves the Day: Subverted in Seven Ancient Wonders and Six Sacred Stones, where America [and everyone else not represented by a person on the team] is the bad guy. Played straight in any novel involving Scarecrow.
    • Actually, played straight and subverted in Ice Station and Area 7; the former contains backstabbing moles planted in Scarecrow's group that are part of a larger, American organization, and the latter's bad guys are Americans trying to kill the President.
  • Anonymous Ringer: The President.
  • Anyone Can Die: Extreme. In Ice Station, Scarecrow starts with 16 Marines. By the end of the book, he has four left. One of them loses her lower leg, and another leaves the service between books due to the massive trauma suffered.
    • Not to mention Gant, in Scarecrow, The Scarecrow's Girlfriend...and Scarecrow himself almost.
    • Also Wizard in Five Greatest Warriors.
    • Scarecrow dies in Scarecrow and the Army of Thieves. He gets better.
  • Area 51: Ice Station meantions UFO storage facilities in Nevada, that are used to distract conspiracy theorists from America's experimental fighter planes.
    • Never explicitly mentioned in Area 7, but you know that there are other Areas, so connect the dots and...
  • Artifact of Doom: The sixth pillar.
  • Artificial Limbs: Jack's left arm.
    • Mother gets one in Area 7 after a killer whale chews her leg off in Ice Station.
  • Awesome Yet Practical
  • Badass Bookworm: Professor William Race.
  • Badass Driver: Scarecrow, after he took a stunt driving course.
  • Badass Israeli: The Jack West series' Benjamin "Stretch" Cohen. He can shoot RPG's out of the air with a sniper rifle!
  • Bad with the Bone
  • Big Bulky Bomb
  • Black Knight: The black knight.
  • Blade Brake
  • Blasting It Out of Their Hands
  • Blown Across the Room: Inverted. Book was blown across the room by the recoil, while Goliath had his skull cracked.
  • The Book Cipher: The heroes of Six Sacred Stones use a book cipher to send confidential messages to each other. The key text is the Harry Potter books, but the messages are sent via a Lord of the Rings forum to make the key text harder to identify.
  • Briar Patching: In Ice Station, Scarecrow tricks Mr Nero into setting off 2 grenades
  • Bullet Dodges You: Warblers in the Jack West Jr. series
  • Bulletproof Vest: Knight's utility vests, but averted with normal combat armour.
  • Carnival of Killers: In Scarecrow, Majestic-12 sets a bounty on the 15 people who could possibly foil their plan. Various groups respond, including Professional Bounty Hunters, Mercenaries, AWOL Military Units, Corrupt Corporate Executives...
  • Changed My Mind, Kid: Bassario from Temple.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Loooots.
  • The Chosen One: Renco (except really maybe Race) in Temple, and Jack West Jr. in The Five Greatest Warriors.
  • Cold Sniper: Snake
  • Colonel Badass: Inverted in Area 7 with Colonel Hagerty, who is a paper-pushing colonel who was never in combat.
  • Combat Pragmatist: you better believe that Schofield is going to use everything surrounding him to take you out. And the rest of his team have no qualms about fighting dirty if it'll save their lives. Truth in Television, real fights aren't clean.
  • Condemned Contestant: The prisoners in Area 7
  • Conspiracy Theorist: Area 7 opens with an article from "The Conspiracy Theorist Monthly". (National circulation: 152 issues.)
  • Contest Winner Cameo: Steven Oakes, a Red Shirt killed on the same page he was introduced on.
    • Reilly does this all the time, running contests or charity auctions and letting the winners pick a name for one of his characters; they usually go with their own name or their kid's. Examples range from Jackson Dyre (a General from The Five Greatest Warriors, named for a radio contest winner) to Max Epper (Wizard's real name, from the son of an auction winner).
  • Convection, Schmonvection: Averted, mostly
  • Cool Car: Killian owns a garage full of expensive sports cars. They all get stolen for a car chase.
  • Cool Guns: Reilly's books use the following guns
    • Handguns: Beretta 92 M9, Glock, SIG Sauer
    • Machine Pistols: Škorpion
    • Submachine Guns: MP5, MP7, Uzi, FN P90
    • Assault Rifles: M4, M16, FA-MAS, AK-47
    • Sniper Rifles: Barrett M82
    • Launchers: Predator AT, Stinger AA
  • Cool Plane: the Silhouette, the Black Raven, the Halicarnassus.
  • Cool Shades: Scarecrow's sunglasses that he wears to cover up the scars [read] on his eyeballs.
  • Corridor Cubbyhole Run: Six Sacred Stones rotates this 90 degrees with giant boulders.
  • Crazy Prepared: Jack West Jr. and his team.
  • Crucified Hero Shot: Jack gets literally crucified. But, because his executioners don't want him to suffer, they then drop a giant stone slab on him. He survives, thanks to his titanium arm.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: If you're Matthew Reilly character, you might end up getting a hole drilled through your skull, crushed in a depressurizing diving bell, getting your spine ripped out by a giant cat, decapitated by helicopter rotors, crushed beneath an elevator, electrocuted in a pool of water, thrown into a jet engine, getting the bottom half of your body melted by volcanic mud, falling four hundred feet before a crate crushes you, getting your insides liquefied by a virus, boiled alive by microwaves, incinerated by the engines of a fighter jet, stabbed through the throat while being fed alive to crocodiles, getting a bunch of sulfuric acid poured on you in a coffin-sized space, sliced up by the turbines in a hydroelectric generator, and shot by anti-aircraft guns while not in a plane. What fun!
  • Cultural Translation: Jack West was given the call sign "Huntsman", a very large, non-aggressive Australian spider. The American version instead called him "Woodsman".
  • Dead Ex Machina
  • Dead Guy, Junior: Book II
  • Death Course: Seven Ancient Wonders has lots of trap systems like this.
  • Deus Ex Machina: Any time that something goes wrong, the trusty maghooks come out. Notably subverted when something is just a "tiny bit too far" for the hook to reach.
  • Desk Jockey: Colonel Hagerty, callsign: Hotrod Ramrod
  • The Determinator: Don't try and stop a Matt Reilly hero from finishing his mission.
  • Development Hell: Movies of his books are constantly in limbo. Someone should just show them to Michael Bay.
    • Reilly himself has stated that he would like to direct a film based off a book of his, so...
  • Didn't See That Coming
  • Dismantled MacGuffin: the Golden Capstone.
  • Door of Doom: The portal in Temple.
  • Door Roulette: A pair of Death Traps in Seven Ancient Wonders.
  • Double Knockout: Subverted in the fight between Schofield and Wexley.
  • Drowning Pit: A common type of Death Trap, and it doesn't always involve water...
  • Dumb Muscle: Goliath and Rocko
  • Durable Deathtrap
  • Earthshattering Kaboom: The Supernova
  • Elevator Action Sequence: Contest. Notably, it happens beneath the elevator
  • Elevator Escape: Subverted several times in Contest.
    • At first, it seems successful in Area 7, and they even climb below the elevator for extra protection. Until several million gallons of water start pouring down the shaft.
  • Emphasise Everything: Sometimes happens during action sequences.
  • Everyone Knows Morse
  • Everything Is Even Worse With Sharks: Or any number of other creatures. If a man-eating animal shows up, you'd better believe that animal will eventually be eating some man.
  • Everything's Better with Princesses: "Princess" Zoe.
  • Evil Counterpart: The Black Knight (real name Aloysius Knight) is basically the darker version of Schofield, who became that way after he lost everything to the ICG - an evil organisation that Schofield defeated. They even look quite similar - prone to wearing black, both have black hair, and both wear sunglasses due to various eye problems.
    • But subverted: He's a good guy.
  • Evil Plan: a lot of the Big Bads run these through hell and back. And in the case of Area 7, goes into My Death Is Just the Beginning territory and beyond.
  • Explosions in Space: Averted. The destruction of the Chinese space shuttle describes it as "just cracking".
  • Eye Scream: Ever wondered how Scarecrow got those scars?
  • False-Flag Operation: In Scarecrow and the Army of Thieves, the titular army are planning to use an abandoned Soviet superweapon to wipe out North America; however, their leader is a CIA officer conducting a long-term operation to destabilise China.
  • Fate Worse Than Death: Living Tombs. Enough has been said.
  • Fighting for Survival: The entire plot of Contest.
    • ... aaaaand 99.95% of any book involving Scarecrow.
  • Five-Man Band: The Jack West series--and a multinational one at that.
    • The Hero: Jack "Huntsman" West, Jr. (Australia), all the way.
    • The Lancer: Liam "Big Ears" Kissane (Ireland) killed during Seven Ancient Wonders; V.J. "Fuzzy" Weatherly (Jamaica) killed during Six Sacred Stones ( both were replaced by Pooh Bear and Stretch)
    • The Big Guy: Enrique "Noddy" Velacruz (Spain) killed early on in Seven Ancient Wonders; Zahir "Pooh Bear" Abbas (UAE); Benjamin "Stretch" Cohen (Israel), since Six Sacred Stones; "Sky Monster" (New Zealand) [as plane pilot]
    • The Smart Guy: Maximilian "Wizard" Epper (Canada); Lachlan and Julius Adamson (Scotland) and Alby Calvin (Australia), starting from Six Sacred Stones
    • The Chick: Zoe "Princess" Kissane (Ireland); Lily (Egypt)
    • The Sixth Ranger: Stretch in Seven Ancient Wonders; Sean "Astro" Miller and Jack's brother-in-law J.J. "Sea Ranger" Wickham (USA), for the next two novels
  • Fire-Breathing Weapon: See Kill it With Fire
  • Foreshadowing
  • Forces With Firepower: You'll find representatives of just about every armed force on the planet. Military porn for everyone!
  • French Jerk: All of them. Good luck finding his books in France!
    • Subverted in Scarecrow and the Army of Thieves- none of the French involved are jerks, and one of them ends up as Scarecrow's new love interest, despite being sent to kill him.
  • Go Through Me
  • Gotta Catch Them All: The pieces of the Capstone, the Six Sacred Stones and four of the six pillars.
  • Grappling Hook Pistol: The Maghook. Any time it gets pulled out, the chance of something awesome happens skyrockets.
  • The Group: Die Organisasie
  • Gun Porn
  • Guns Akimbo: Notably, dual shotguns.
  • Handy Cuffs: Double Subverted - the main characters jump over their hand cuffs.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Any time a protagonist or supporting character's partner dies, now that Reilly's wife has unfortunately passed away.
  • Helicopter Blender
  • Heroic BSOD: Scarecrow tries to kill himself three times.
    • Reilly himself went through one after the death of his wife; he disappeared completely from Facebook and Twitter without explanation for a couple months, and only left the house to walk his dog.
  • High Speed Battle: Reilly almost never has a straight Chase Scene.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Hell Island
    • and eh... Petard in Ice Station.
  • If I Wanted You Dead...
  • I Just Write the Thing
  • Improvised Weapon
  • Indy Escape: "Let me guess. A boulder is going to come and chase us down the slope, just like in Raiders of the Lost Ark."
  • Indy Ploy: Schofield lives on this.
  • Instant Awesome, Just Add Ninja: Japanese Special Forces
  • Interservice Rivalry
  • It Got Worse: All of Ice Station. As the beginning of the next book puts it, "the mission went to hell on an express elevator".
    • Temple as well. From German special forces with murky motivation to Nazis wanting to wreck the world's economy to nihilists who just want to destroy the world.
  • It Works Better with Bullets
  • Just in Time
  • Karma Houdini: With Army of Thieves, Reilly finally developed an antagonist good enough to want to use again, so he just gets away at the end and even sends Scarecrow a mocking package to indicate he's still out there.
  • Kill It with Fire: How do you kill ninjas with guns in a dark tunnel? Flamethrower!
  • Kill It with Ice: Liquid Nitrogen Grenades.
  • Kinda Busy Here: Alby's mother in The Six Sacred Stones.

 "It's your mother," said Zoe. "Please be discreet."

A missile wooshed by overhead.


 Fairfax: So, what have you destroyed today?

Schofield: I've flooded a Typhoon-class submarine, levelled a building, and launched a ballistic missile to destroy a maintenance facility.

Fairfax: Slow day, huh?

  • Stun Guns: Zoe uses one in Six Sacred Stones
  • Super Detailed Fight Narration
  • The Swear Jar: To "protect" Lily from the soldiers' bad language. Or to just buy her lots of presents, either way.
  • Team Mom: The Marine codenamed Mother is a subversion. While she is protective of her team, it's to about the same extent that everyone else on the team is. She's also one of the most foul-mouthed and violent members--"Mother" is actually short for "Motherfucker."
    • "A six-foot, shaved bald female Marine with a heart of gold", his words. (sorta)
  • Temple of Doom
  • This Is a Drill: And it goes right through Snake's head. Ouch.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: "Get. (punch) Off. (punch) My. (punch) Boat!"
  • Train Job: Jack's team hijacks a prison train in The Six Sacred Stones to free Wizard.
  • Trick Bomb
  • Tuckerization: General Jackson Dyer was chosen on a radio show, and actually lasts 29 pages. That's huge.
  • Turbine Blender
  • Turned Against Their Masters: Hell Island, or so you are supposed to believe.
  • Twice-Told Tale
  • Up To Sixteen: Every single one of his action sequences would make Michael Bay drool.
    • A good example is the car chase midway through Scarecrow. It's set on a cliffside road above the sea, and involves seven cars (all but one of which have a driver and a gunner), two big rigs, three helicopters, two fighter planes, and a destroyer. Once it's done, only one car, one truck, one helicopter, and the destroyer are intact.
  • Vasquez Always Dies: Solidly averted: Mother, a bicep-rippling, foul-mouthed, utter badass Vasquez clone if ever there was one, survives everything thrown at her, including killer whales, while Gant, often described as very attractive, gets guillotined. (And unlike many other recipients of horrific injuries in Reilly's books, she doesn't get better.) For extra aversion points, at the time Gant is Scarecrow's girlfriend.
  • The Voiceless: The Bug in Hover Car Racer. He only talks directly to Jason and his mother (not his father though), and even the readers don't hear him. Except at one particularly dramatic moment.
  • Weaponised Exhaust: Jet engines make a pretty efficient crematorium.
  • Wild Card: Mustapha Zaeed in Seven Ancient Wonders, and Princess Iolanthe in The Six Sacred Stones and The Five Greatest Warriors.
  • You Called Me X, It Must Be Serious: Mother considers the Scarecrow far too badass to be called 'Shane', until he's about to commit suicide.
  • Your Head Asplode: This is why the characters use hollow points.