The penultimate novel in the action-packed Jack West, Jr., series.
AN INCREDIBLE VICTORY AT A TERRIBLE PRICE
Against all the odds, Jack West Jr found the Three Secret Cities – but at a heartbreaking cost.
TO THE MOUNTAINS AND THE FALL
Still reeling from his loss, Jack must now get to one of the five iron mountains – two of which have never been found – and perform a mysterious feat known only as ‘The Fall’.
A NEW PLAYER ARRIVES
Amid all this, Jack will discover that a new player has entered the race, a general so feared by the four legendary kingdoms they had him locked away in their deepest dungeon.
Only now this general has escaped and he has a horrifying plan of his own…
I’ve been reading Reilly’s Jack West Jr. series since the paperback release of Seven Ancient Wonders, which I think I picked up on a whim (from WH Smiths, if I recall correctly). It introduced a host of fun new characters, and offered an action-packed thrill-ride. A blockbuster movie on the page, filled with secret history, insane action scenes, some fun technology, and superb pacing. Each of the series novels since (the titles have been counting down) has offered much the same level of entertainment and action, building nicely on the mythology of its particular secret history. The Two Lost Mountains is another fast-paced novel, which sets up the final book very nicely.
The synopsis above tells your pretty much everything you need to know about the plot without spoiling anything. The novel picks up the story moments after the end of The Three Secret Cities, and events move quickly from the get-go. Jack West and his crew hop around the globe, searching for the titular mountains and the mysterious “Fall” that must be completed in order to take part in the final challenge to avert the Omega Event. All of the familiar faces return, contributing to West’s mission in their own, particular ways. There are some new, interesting allies (the swear-y nuns are great). And, of course, there is plenty of Reilly’s inventive twists on mythology and history.
The antagonists are more dangerous than ever, more ruthless and single-minded — the rapidly approaching deadline has focused everyone’s minds on their quests and journeys, and for the villains there is no room for empathy, sentimentality, or pretty much any other virtue. Thankfully, there are some satisfying comeuppances that have been long in the making. There is, however, also a new player on the board, one who very quickly sets his sights on ruining West’s mission and also his life.
Of the six novels in the series so far, this one is unfortunately not the strongest. Despite being nearly wall-to-wall action, inventive and well-paced, it nevertheless felt rather insubstantial by comparison to the others. As Reilly mentions in the included author interview at the back of the book, he wrote/planned the final three novels as a distinct trilogy — this may account for the different feel to The Two Lost Mountains. It very much feels like a middle book, and so ends on a cliffhanger. A lot happened, while simultaneously feeling a bit drawn out. While it’s not as strong, it does set readers up for the final book very well — “The One Something Something” as the author currently refers to it. I finished this novel with the perhaps contradictory feeling of slight disappointment and strong desire/need to read the next one.
If you’re a fan of Reilly’s novels, and especially this series, it’s a must read. Despite my disappointment, it nevertheless contains all the hallmarks of what makes Reilly’s novels so popular: they are blockbusters, action-packed, entertaining, and yet retain a good amount of heart. You care about the characters’ fates and their successes. As the series draws to a close, there are some tragedies — so be warned.
If you’re looking for another entertaining, action-packed thriller, then you’ll be pleased to hear that Reilly delivers once again. It really is a fun series.
Matthew Reilly’s The Two Lost Mountains is due to be published by Orion Books in the UK, on January 21st, 2021. The novel is out now in Australia, published by Macmillan. (At the time of writing, I couldn’t find any North American publication details.)