Matthew Reilly was born in Sydney in 1974 and studied Law at the University of New South Wales. He has had Number 1 Bestsellers in Australia, where he lives, with his books Ice Station and Temple. The author lives in Sydney.
It always seems that reviewers, either here on Amazon or in the Press in general, criticise Matthew Reilly's books but the fact remains that they are bought by a great number of people. Typical criticism is that they are too far fetched, not historically correct, or even that the author is making up history as he goes along have all been aimed at his books. Very few say that they are not exciting or that they are boring.
I am sure the author has simply written the books to entertain the reader and I think that they do that in spades. In a book of this kind who is offended if the facts are bent or incorrect, certainly not me. What the author does, he does very well. Some would say that this particular book is more far-fetched than most but it is a gripping and exciting read. The story revolves around a contest for seven people. The time and the place of this contest is the New York State Library at night. Seven contestants will enter but only one will leave . . .
I suppose the genre for this book is Sci-fi but thriller would fit it too. I like thrillers and this is one of the fastest paced books I have read lately. The action takes place in the New York State Library and action there certainly is. Stephen Swain is a doctor, a radiologist, he is teleported from his Connecticut home to the library and told by a little man in white that he has been selected to represent Earth in a galactic, fight to the death, contest. To complicate matters Swain is holding his daughter, Holly, in his arms at the time of the transportation, so his killer instinct, not that he has one, is directed at protecting his daughter from the six other contestants and a few other ugly creatures along for the ride. Well-done Reilly I will look out for the rest of your novels.
After this book i have nothing but praise and thanks for Matthew Reilly as this was the book that made me the avid reader i am today. This book is an action-packed cauldron of aliens, special effects and .. midgets. The basic plot involves Stephen Swain, a regular doctor, being thrust into the world that is Contest. A brutal, and at sometimes gory, battle to the death. After finding himself and his daughter telported into this monstrous battle, he must use his intelligence and his instincts to overcome these foes, whilst at the same time protecting his daughter. While at first trying to avoid every confrontation by running away, he finds out that in the end the only way to survive, is to fight. Prepare to enter the world of Matthew Reilly, you'll want to pull up a chair and make yourself comfortable, becuase once your there, you'll never want to leave.
OK, so Contest may never be discussed in the same reverential tones as more profound and visionary sci-fi, penned by the likes of Iain Banks, Stephen Baxter or Jose Farmer, but it's certainly an entertaining read nonetheless. The adventures of our hero Stephen Swain, inadvertently and unwillingly enrolled in a form of alien gladiatorial combat, are more than competently described by Reilly and I'm sure most readers will devour this entertaining pot-boiler in a flurry of undemanding page-turning. In the appendix, the author pays tribute to Jurassic Park, and the influence of Crichton is clear in Contest. Indeed the stalking and confrontations set amongst a maze of bookcases are highly reminiscent of the velociraptors in the kitchen scene in JP. Reilly does, however, inject enough original touches to deflect any serious cries of plagiarism. In particular, the cheating alien called Bellos makes for an effectively evil villain and the bizarre creature referred to as Codex was both inventive and downright creepy. No Earth-shattering surprises or twists along the way, but the ending was suitably explosive and satisfying. So, nowhere near being a sci-fi classic, but it certainly does what it says on the tin and you could do a lot worse than spending a few hours in the New York State Library with Reilly's dramatis personae, in the somewhat lightweight but pretty damn entertaining world of Contest.
Fun and entertaining book, it's about a poor guy that gets shanghaied into a to-the-death gladiatorstyle contest with 6 of the most dangerous killers in the universe. And it's located inside the New York State Library, plotholes large enough to drive a truck through, it's still an enjoyable read
This is the rewritten version of Contest by Matthew Reilly that first came out as a self-published novel in 1996. The difference with the original is in moving the Contest to the New York Public Library instead of a fictitious library and adding in 2 more combatants to the Presidian's contest.
As a whole this book is a great page turner at a high action level where you can not take a breath. Our human contestant is Dr Stephen Swain. He has been chosen by the Presidian committee to represent one of the alien nations in a historic battle to the death where the last contestant standing is the winner. Although this is not quite true, because the last contestant has to defeat the beast. Swain has six other contestants that he will have to out live in order to win his potential freedom and be crowned the winner. Unfortunately he is up against some of the Universes greatest hunters and killers who have trained for years to get to the contest and win.
Two questions. One of the questions that I have to ask is why was Dr Swain chosen to represent the human race in this fighting contest, rather than an SAS or Green Beret. And on top of that how come the committee makes so many mistakes; transporting his daughter in but then not taking her out, allowing an other contestant to cheat, and not sealing up the exit. Plus if I was betting on this grand sporting event, then I would want to watch it unfold, otherwise where is the tension and drama. The Grand National would not be worth a flutter if not for the build up and climatic race.
Apart from that I thought the story was very readable and enjoyable.