The Four Legendary Kingdoms by Matthew Reilly

If Matthew Reilly knows one thing, it’s action. He doesn’t waste any time in The Four Legendary Kingdoms as our hero, Jack West, Jr., wakes up in his skivvies with a guy dressed like a minotaur charging at him with a knife in his hand.

So that’s page one.

Over the next 400 plus pages, or 12 hours on audio, our hero barely gets a chance to catch his breath. Jack has been kidnapped and pressed into representing one of the mysterious four legendary kingdoms in a set of grueling games, sort of like an Olympics with a body count. The games are part of an elaborate ceremony that are necessary to unlock the key which will prevent our world from being destroyed by a runaway universe. Jack’s cooperation is secured because if he fails, his friends who are being held captive die along with him.

Sound a little silly? It is. Reilly’s books always have some silliness to them and even though this one is a little sillier than most, it’s still a fun time. Previous books in the series have revealed Jack to be one of the five greatest warriors and all his skills will be put to the test if he is to survive. The games have a sense of ritual about them and Jack’s knowledge of classical mythology serves him well. With the lives of his adopted daughter Lily, her friend Alby, his two dogs and his friend Sky Monster all at stake, Jack will need to stay one step ahead if any of them are to make it out alive.

Reilly is an expert at pacing and the action moves along relentlessly in this novel. In between Jack’s bouts in the Great Games, we learn more about the people who represent the four legendary kingdoms, the power they exert over world affairs, and the stakes that the Games represent for them. The Four Legendary Kingdoms is a lot of fun for Reilly fans. Anyone familiar with this series, or at least other works by Reilly, are sure to enjoy it. It is probably a difficult entry point for anyone who hasn’t read him before.

The audio is narrated by Sean Mangan. He does a good job with the narration, with the exception of a couple of odd pronunciations. The writing and the reading keep the pace moving forward at a good clip. The text is sufficiently descriptive to make this book suitable for audio, even without the accompanying illustrations found in the written text.

I was provided with a copy of the book and audio by the publisher.

Listen to a sample:

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