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The Six Sacred Stones

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The Six Sacred Stones is the eighth novel written by Matthew Reilly, the sequel to Seven Ancient Wonders, and is the second novel in the Huntsman Series.

PlotEdit

The Six Sacred Stones picks up eighteen months after the events of Seven Ancient Wonders, which ended with the mythical Golden Capstone being reassembled atop the Great Pyramid at Giza, and the Ritual of Power performed to grant one national a thousand years of unchallenged power - invincibility. This power was won by Australia. On 20 August 2007, on Easter Island, the geographical opposite of the Great Pyramid, men use a second Capstone to nullify the power of the Tartatus sunspot and remove Australia's invincibility.

In China, Professor Max Epper (known as Wizard) and his research partner, Yobu "Tank" Tanaka break into a hidden chamber beneath Witch Mountain which is related to Laozi. Whilst exploring the chamber, Wizard discovers a cryptic message referring to the Tartarus Sunspot and the use of the Sa-Benben, or Firestone, the top piece of the Capstone. It describes the Tartarus event 'starting' the Machine, and how the Sa-Benben 'empowers the Six'. Wizard also finds another message, saying that the first pillar must be laid 100 days before the Return. Realising what this means, Wizard sends a coded message to Jack West in Australia, who has the Capstone hidden in his farm, just before a contingent of Chinese military arrive to capture them. Their leader, Colonel Mao Gongli, intends to use Wizard's knowledge of the Machine to find the Six Sacred Stones.

Meanwhile, Jack's life has been at peace. It is the summer in Australia, and Zoe Kissane and Sky Monster are staying with him as guests. His now adopted daughter Lily has a friend, Alby Calvin, staying with them. Then Wizard's message arrives, just before the farm is attacked by the Chinese army, who are supposed to be participating in the nearby Talisman Sabre military exercises. Jack and the others escapes to the Halicarnassus, and as they leave, Jack grabs the Firestone from its hiding place, along with Wizard's research journal, and reads it whilst travelling to Dubai. As the Chinese Army searches the farm, an American colonel knwn as Wolf arrives and notes Jack's domestication. He has the Chinese major contact Mao to order him to begin torturing Wizard, before having the major killed for his failiure.

In the city the group travels to the Burj al Arab tower and call a meeting of nations. The surviving team members of the previous mission arrive, with the exception of Fuzzy from Jamaica. This time, however, they are joined by several new players: Scimitar (Pooh Bear's brother), Vulture (a Saudi spy), Robertson (a CIA agent representing the Americans) and Astro (an American Marine). At the meeting, Jack informs them that the end of the world is nigh, due to a zero-point field, the 'Dark Star', which is the polar opposite to our sun, is entering our solar system, which could destroy the entire world.

In order to save the world, a 'Machine' must be rebuilt by placing six oblong diamond pillars in their respective locations around the globe. The necessary knowledge regarding the Machine and its vertices can be found using the Six Sacred Stones - the Philosopher's Stonethe Altar Stone at Stonehenge, the Twin Tablets of Thuthmosis, the Seeing Stone of Delphi, the Killing Stone of the Maya, and the Basin of Rameses IIHowever, Wizard remains their best source of knowledge, so Jack plans to liberate him from the Chinese first. Then Fuzzy's severed head arrives in a hatbox, just as an aeroplane is sighted heading to crash into the tower. Everyone escapes the crash one way or another, and the team splits at the airfield.

Jack, Pooh Bear, Stretch, Astro, Scimitar and Vulture head into China to rescue Wizard, whilst Zoe takes Lily and Alby to England. They meet up with twin Scottish Maths geniuses Lachlan and Julius Adamson, and use the Firestone in conjunction with the altar stone at Stonehenge, revealing the locations of the six vertices where the Pillars must be placed. However, the locations are slightly inaccurate as the continents have changed in the ages since the maps were made. Meanwhile, West's group rescue Wizard and Tank from the Xintan Prison, and then proceed to retrieve the Philosopher's Stone from Laozi's trap system.

When everyone reunites at Mortimer Island in Britain, Robertson has brought the Killing Stone of the Maya; Vulture brings one of the pillars from the treasury of his family, the Royal House of Saud; and a representative of the British Royal Family, Iolanthe Compton-Jones, brings the pillar kept by her family. The pillars are cloudy diamond bricks with a liquid-filled void in the centre, but after being 'cleansed' by the Philosopher's Stone, they become clear and the liquid silver. The pillars' markings reveal Iolanthe's as the fourth pillar, and Vulture's as the first. The Killing Stone of the Maya is united with the Firestone, and it reveals the dates by which the pillars must be laid - the first on the next day, and the second seven days later. The Adamson twins have correlated the data from Stonehenge, and found that the first Vertex is underneath Lake Nasser in Egypt, close to Abu Simbel. The team starts out, accompanied by Iolanthe, leaving the Adamson twins with Tank to continue their calculations and find the other Vertices.

Once Jack, Wizard and Zoe enter the Vertex, they wait for the Titanic Rising to occur so that they can set the Pillar, and Wizard shares his theory about how the Pillars and the Machine were created by an ancient race of beings that appeared on Earth long before humans. Once the first pillar is laid the reward mentioned in Wizard's notes, Knowledge, is revealed in the Word of Thoth on its sides (in the form of a batch of complex equations relating to the laws of physics and the universe, much of which modern scientists hadn't figured out yet). However, Iolanthe betrays them and takes the Pillar, Wizard and Lily. Her plan is scuppered by four Japanses suicide bombers, and the arrival of a large number of Egyptian and American military vehicles. While Scimitar and Vulture have disappeared, Iolanthe, Jack, Pooh Bear, Astro and Stretch are captured by American forces, whilst the others escape in the damaged Halicarnassus.

Meanwhile, Lachlan and Julius determine the location of the Second Vertex, beneath Table Mountain in South Africa, and send the information to Wizard just before Japanese soldiers burst in. Tank is revealed to be the leader of the troops, the Japanese Blood Brotherhood, and orders the twins brought with them.

Jack recovers to find himself immobilized in a pit in a large underground mine somewhere in Ethiopia. Wolf is revealed to be his father - who leads a rogue CIEF force, including Jack's illegitimate brother Grant "Rapier" West. He informs Jack that the ritual to counter Tartarus was the work of the Japanese Blood Brotherhood (as was the plane attack in Dubai), a group determined to avenge Japan's humiliation at the end of World War II by destroying the world through preventing the placing of the Pillars. Wolf then drops an enormous stone slab into the pit on top of Jack, and decides to send Stretch to the Mossad, who have put a sixteen million dollar price on his head in revenge for his disobeying their orders at the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. It is also revealed that Iolanthe, Scimitar and Vulture are cooperating with Wolf, and Scimitar leaves Pooh Bear locked in a cage to be sacrificed by the Ethiopian Christians who guard the mine.

Meanwhile, on the Halicarnassus Lily mentions she overheard Iolanthe telling Jack that the second pillar was guarded by the Neetha tribe in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. However, the damaged plane will not be able to reach the DRC, so Sky Monster lands in Rwanda, and Zoe, Wizard, Lily and Alby head out to meet with an old friend, Soloman Kol, who will take them into the Congo. Sky Monster remains with his plane so Solomon's friends can bring him the equipment to repair it. After a few days, they locate the place where explorer Henry Morton Stanley claimed he located the Neetha, and are promptly captured by the tribe. Imprisoned in the Neetha village, a city built by the same civilisation that built the Machine, they discover that the tribe possesses the Second Pillar and the Seeing Stone of Delphi. The first pillar (which had been returned to the Halicarnassus before Jack's capture), the Philsosopher's stone and Firestone are confiscated by the tribe's warlock. He uses them to cleanse the second pillar, and to use the Delphic orb to see the Dark Sun.

While there, they encounter Dr Diane Cassidy, a long-missing anthropologist who has been enslaved by the Neetha for years, and Ono, Cassidy's student and seventh son of the chief, a young but kind man who is not as strong as his brothers, and is therefore oppressed in the tribe. Following the transponder signature of the helicopter they arrived in, Wolf follows behind them into the valley with a large force of Congolese mercenaries and launches an attack on the Neetha tribe. Solomon is killed shortly before the attack, in which Zoe, Wizard and Lily escape with the First Pillar and the Delphic orb. However, Alby is captured by Wolf, as are the First and Second Pillars, the Firestone and the Philosopher's Stone. In the aftermath of the battle, the Neetha warlock reveals to Wolf that he can lead the American force to the Second Vertex.

Zoe, Wizard and Lily are picked up by Sky Monster in his repaired plane, but despite knowing the location of the Second Vertex, they cannot reach it due to aerial patrols sealing off South Africa (organized and funded by Wolf and his Saudi allies in order to seal off the area for their mission). Meanwhile, Lachlan and Julius overhear their Japanese captors discussing their 'man in Wolf's unit', Akira Isaki, codenamed Switchblade, who will attempt to sabotage Wolf's placing of the Second Pillar, so they make their escape.

It is then revealed that Jack escaped from the Pit in the Ethiopian mine (primarily due to his bionic arm), rescued Pooh Bear from sacrifice and freed the Jewish slave-miners. In gratitude, the miners give him the sacred stones that Wolf had been using them to dig for - the Twin Tablets of Thutmosis, which contain the final incantation to activate the Machine when all the pillars are placed. Jack and Pooh travel to their old farm in Kenya, finding Horus (Jack's falcon) and the Adamson twins waiting; they share with Jack the news that the Brotherhood has a mole in Wolf's unit. Jack and the Adamsons head to Zanzibar, where an old friend of Jack's is hiding out, making a career after deserting the US army to attack gun-runners in Africa. Pooh leaves them at the airport to go and rescue Stretch from the Mossad's torture chambers. Before he leaves, Jack gives him a GPS locator with which to signal Jack if he needs help.

Jack's old friend and brother-in-law, JJ Wickham, known as the "Sea Ranger" due to his use of an old Russian submarine, takes Jack to the Second Vertex, arriving just as Wolf does. Switchblade attempts to sabotage the mission by dropping the Second pillar into the bottomless abyss beneath the Vertex before it is inlaid, dooming the world and depriving the Americans of its reward, 'Heat' (believed to be a limitless power-source). However, Jack swings across the pit at the last moment using a maghook, catches the pillar, and mangages to place it Vertex just before Switchblade drops himself and Jack into the abyss. Sea Ranger and the Adamsons escape, with Horus diving into the abyss after Jack. Wolf leaves with the Second Pillar, leaving Alby, who was brought with them, alone at the Vertex. Zoe, Sky Monster, Lily and Wizard, onboard the Halicarnassus on an airfield in Botswana, had been in phone contact with Jack to help him avoid the traps at the Vertex and see the whole thing happen on the videophone. The surviving team members realise they must face the placing of the last four pillars and the arrival of the Dark Sun, three months away, without Jack.

The story concludes in The Five Greatest Warriors

CharactersEdit

The Coalition of Minnows TeamEdit

Coalition of Minnows SupportersEdit

The CIEF and AlliesEdit

The NeethaEdit

OtherEdit

The Six Sacred Stones Edit

Huntsman SeriesEdit

GalleryEdit

TriviaEdit

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