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VINE VOICEon 7 March 2012
Oh wow this book is good!! I missed Scarecrow after the long absence and could not wait for his return. The book cleverly brings in the death of a main character in his earlier novels but does not get too bogged down with the past. Lovely characters and great to see mother back too with new characters that will come into their own in later books.Great sceneries and although most of the book revolves around an incredible chase around glaciers and fortresses there is enough story to blow you away. Also and evil character who may or may not return in following books (lets hope!). Welcome back Scarecrow you are the ultimate ATEAM action man in one. Recommend without a shadow of a doubt.
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on 25 June 2012
If you have already purchased " SCARECROW AND THE ARMY OF THIEVES " DO NOT BUY THIS BOOK as it is the AMERICAN print of the same book unfortunately for me I thought it was a new book so will be more careful in the future.lesson learned
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 7 February 2012
It's been a good few years since we last spent time with Matthew Reilly's heroic, maverick marine Shane Schofield (callsign Scarecrow). His last adventure (not counting 2005's novella Hell Island), appropriately named Scarecrow, was published in 2003. Since then Reilly has been preoccupied with the more child-friendly Indiana-Jonesesque Jack West who has had to overcome gargantuan odds on his quests for variously numbered wonders, stones and warriors. However, although I have become increasingly immune to the West novels, I find it very hard to tire of Scarecrow and his righthand woman Mother. I counted the days to the publication of Scarecrow and the Army of Thieves this February and, when the date finally arrived and I snapped it up, it did exactly what I wanted it to do. It may have been preposterous, it may even have challenged the laws of physics and nature, but it was a thrilling rollercoaster of an Arctic ride from start to finish.

Not since Scarecrow's first outing - to Antarctica in Ice Station back in 1998 - have the polar regions been this entertaining.

As Scarecrow and the Army of Thieves begins, there's barely a man, woman or child in France who doesn't want Scarecrow dead. Shunted off by the American government to hopeful obscurity in the Arctic testing bizarre equipment, it seems that fate is at work. When the mysterious and deadly Army of Thieves turns up at Dragon Island, an Arctic base that survives only as a terrifying reminder of the horrors that were developed there by the Russians during the Cold War, Scarecrow and his pitifully small team is the only force that stands between the Army's cold blooded torturing leader and the obliteration by fire of the entire northern hemisphere. The clock is ticking.

Fortunately, Scarecrow is not alone. In addition to Mother (recovered from having her leg bitten off by a giant killer whale in Ice Station), who is as endearingly noisy in her affections for Scarecrow as ever, there are a couple of other marines, a few scientists, an endearing little fiery robot and a small group of elite French soldiers intent on satisfying the honour of their nation by killing Scarecrow several times over. Luckily for Scarecrow, the end of the world temporarily takes precedent.

I hope that Matthew Reilly had as good a time writing this book as I had reading it. Its aim was to entertain and it certainly succeeded. I smiled and laughed out loud all the way through, not at it but with it. Parts of the tale are so horrifically revolting that I did feel a little weak but only in a fun way. The prose marches along, straightforward, to the point, extremely descriptive and brilliantly exciting. We race along with Scarecrow and his team through a succession of traps and ambushes, all the time given frightening glimpses of what is surely the most unpleasant Army of Thieves that could be imagined. How can one not enjoy a thriller when many of the baddies are named after types of shark?

This novel is every bit as good as I remember the other Scarecrow novels being, although I think the maps in the treebook may make some of the escapades a little clearer than those in the kindle version. I do hope we don't have to wait as many years for the next adventure of this brave, heroic, loyal and loving (and sometimes wonderfully emotional) marine with the scarecrow eyes.

Scarecrow and the Army of Thieves may, though, have left me with serious rat issues.
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on 16 September 2015
For those in the know, there is only one action hero worth your time and that hero is Scarecrow, the military hard man who stars in Matthew Reilly’s series of books. By the time ‘Scarecrow and the Army of Thieves’ comes around, Schofield aka Scarecrow is a little older in the tooth and has been sent to the Artic to test out equipment with a small band of marines and civilians. When a terrorist group take over a nearby former Soviet experimental lair, it is up to Scarecrow et al to save the world once again.

At times reading ‘Army’ feels like a very violent children’s book. Reilly’s writing style is very enthusiastic and at some points pretty poor – he loves the use of an exclamation mark and is prone to stating the obvious. Although jarring, this writing style is one of the reasons why I love the books. The action in ‘Army’ is outrageous and in many ways it deserves some outrageous writing to describe it. I certainly had a grin on my face as Scarecrow fought off rabid polar bears or took on a group of enemies in an acid filled factory. It is just that this grin sometimes turned to a grimace when Reilly uses a clunky turn of phrase or lays out some more naïve characterisation.

This “My First” violent action book style is actually good fun as Reilly is an author who goes all out, but there is no doubting some of it is just plain poor writing. The OTT feel makes the book lighter, so it is also very jarring when later in the book torture scenes occur that feel out of place. A nod and a wink turns into a turn away and avert your eyes. Reilley never really earns the right to describe in detail some of the gorier elements of the book. Chances are that people who pick up ‘Army’ won’t be too worried by the terror shown, but it just takes away from the silly fun that the rest of the book is.
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on 3 March 2012
Matthew Reilly's books are like reading a blockbuster action movie on speed. They are insane, impossible and highly entertaining for all that. Scarecrow and the Army of Thieves does have a little more character development on Schofield and Mother's parts but the majority of characters are like the guys who wore red shirts in the original 'Star Trek' series - disposable. I know Matthew Reilly auctions character names off for charity (good on him) but I cannot help but feel the lack of depth to these characters misses something; it is difficult to feel too much horror/sympathy for what is essentially just a pencil sketch of a character....
What the heck - these books are fast, fun and great brain candy. I'll still be waiting for the next Reilly release, regardless! :)
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on 7 February 2013
I was under the impression that this was the next book after army of thief's but it is actually the same book so disappointed
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on 14 May 2013
OK, I've read all his books, and I thought the Jack West Jr books sort of lost their way. However, this one is back on form.

It's typically over the top, but only Reilly can get away with that. Needless to say, I enjoyed it and finished in a day.

I'll accept that his stories will be loved by some and hated by others, as a 500 page battle scene where belief has to be suspended is not everyone's cup of tea, but I did like this one. Nice twist too, or a couple of them towards the end.

As for the story, it's the usual Reilly fluff of Scarecrow taking on impossible odds, as well as killer polar bears. Of course he only runs out of bullets when it suits, but so what. Role on the next book, I'm in if the author can keep up to this level.
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on 5 February 2012
The King of the action novel returns with his most famous creation, Scarecrow.

Matthew Reilly is known for his relentless action, elaborate set-pieces and blistering pace. Yes, it's often ludicrous and goes beyond the realms of believability, but this is intentional. His novels are there for entertainment and you need to suspend your disbelief to get the most out of it. If you're not prepared to do this, don't read it.

Scarecrow and the Army of Thieves is just as ludicrous and just as brilliant as previous Matthew Reilly books. The gauge on the action is cranked up to 11 and all hell breaks loose almost immediately.

Without giving too much away, Scarecrow and his gang have just a few hours to save the world and attempt to do so against almost impossible odds.

With vicious baddies, horrific torture, heroic sacrifices, treachery and trademark Reillyism's this is as good as action novels get. Keep your finger primed to turn those pages well into the night.

Hopefully it won't be two years for the next Matthew Reilly book, but that sadly seems to be the norm. Maybe I should try to savour his books a bit more and not read them so quickly? Don't be silly. That's impossible with a Matthew Reilly book.

NB: If you like Matthew Reilly check out the brilliant Andy McDermott.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 31 January 2012
There is a famous quote that is perfect for Scarecrow

"If a man does his best, what else is there?"
- General George S. Patton (1885-1945)

It sums up the character of the lead in this book Scarecrow, his utter can do.
The thing is you have to accept right from the start that this book is utterly OTT, the action the drama, the violence the weapons, its all so much larger than life. And thats the charm of it, i read this book after while feeling sick as hell with flu, and yet this book put a smile on my face i could not remove, it was like every action movie rolled into one, every reader must spend time putting their own actor into the role of Scarecrow, Mother, Baba etc..and then running the scene in their head, i know i did. And WOW were they great scenes.

I in no way think that Matthew Reilly is a great writer, but i do think he writes a great adction adventure thriller written at such pace and with so many twists and turns it keeps you hooked all the way to the end.

Loved it, cant wait for the next

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In this novel, Shane Schofield and squad are tasked with taking down a mad man who is hell bent on creating global chaos. In a smart move, the bulk of The Army of Thieves' tasks place over the course of a single day. It's a supremely effective plot device when it comes to a thriller. The characters, and the reader along with them, don't even get time to blink. The pacing is truly relentless.

My favourite Reilly character continues to be Gena `Mother' Newman and she makes a welcome return here. Mother is Scarecrow's fiercely loyal second in command. She's six foot four, tough as nails and kicks all manner of ass. Put it this way, she ain't called Mother because of her strong maternal instincts. In the Army of Thieves, Mother finally encounters her male equivalent, a hulking French special forces soldier, Master Sergeant Jean-Claude Francois Michel Huguenot, Le Barbarian. The scenes where they are dishing out their own particular brands of hyper-violent justice are breath-taking. It appears Mother may have met her match.

Thinking about it, this is probably the darkest Scarecrow novel to date. The fallout from previous stories has finally caught up with Shane Schofield and the toll is starting to show. I'll avoid spoilers but suffice to say Scarecrow isn't just battling external forces. He has same inner demons that require just as much attention. There are a handful of really dark moments that were genuinely unexpected. It's nice to see the continued evolution of Scarecrow's character.

The previous Scarecrow novels have been a firm favourite of mine for a while now. Reilly is an expert when it comes to crafting novels that are chock full of non-stop action. Every time you think things can't get any more outrageous, Reilly pushes things just that little bit more, constantly upping the ante. For example, there are polar bear fights in this novel, people. POLAR BEARS. There are rats as well, but the less said about them the better.

The plot leans towards the utterly bonkers but it's always wonderfully so. There is no doubting that Reilly's thrillers are hugely entertaining. The best advice I can give any new reader is try to give yourself entirely to the over-the-top plot. If you can't manage that then this isn't the book for you.

The narrative is full to bursting with high-octane outlandishness that I'll agree is hugely silly but is also massively enjoyable. If however, you acclimatise yourself to this, there are plenty of extreme set pieces that are guaranteed to put a smile on the face of your average thrill seeker. You remember that wonderful feeling you get when you watch a great action movie for the first time? Matthew Reilly's writing captures that sensation on every single page. As an aside, Hollywood NEED to be making movies with this character now, they could be spectacular. I strongly urge you to try this novel out. If you enjoy The Army of Thieves there are another four Scarecrow novels that have already been published. I can heartily recommend each of them but I would suggest you consider reading them in published order if you can. All of Matthew Reilly's novels are most definitely worthy of any thriller fan's time.
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