The Five Greatest Warriors

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The Five Greatest Warriors
The Five Greatest Warriors cover.jpg
Australian first edition cover
Author Matthew Reilly
Cover artist Wayne Haag
Country Australia Australia
Language English
Series Jack West Jr.
Genre Thriller novel
Publisher Pan MacMillan
Publication date
Australia 20 October 2009
United States 5 January 2010
United Kingdom 15 January 2010 (announced)[1]
Media type Print (Hardcover)
Pages 451
ISBN 978-1-4050-3933-8
Preceded by The Six Sacred Stones
Followed by The Four Legendary Kingdoms

The Five Greatest Warriors is the third thriller novel in the Jack West Jr. series, by the Australian writer Matthew Reilly.

The book is the third in an Indiana Jones-style[2] action series. The preceding book was The Six Sacred Stones which ended in a cliffhanger with archaeologist and ex-soldier Jack West Jr. and his team searching for the last four "Vertices of the Machine".

The series is published by Pan Macmillan and this book was first released on 20 October 2009 in Australia.

Situation at the end of The Six Sacred Stones[edit]

The Six Sacred Stones began the story of Jack West Jr's quest to rebuild the mythical 'Machine' before there is an uninterrupted line between Earth and a zero-point field (The 'Dark Star'), which will wipe out all life on Earth. In order to complete the Machine, West had to locate six oblong diamonds known as 'the pillars', and place them in six underground Vertices at their allotted times. Two pillars had to be placed in December 2007, the remaining four in March 2008, immediately before the arrival of the 'Dark Sun'. However, due to the knowledge of the Machine having been lost over the millennia, West first had to locate the Six Sacred Stones, which give him the information about the Machine he needs. By the end of the book, two pillars had been placed, and the various sacred stones had passed between many groups.

Jack West Jr[edit]

Jack West Jr is the main protagonist of the book. He is Australian and codenamed Huntsman. He is the son of Jonathan West Sr, codenamed Wolf and half brother of Rapier. He was last seen falling into the abyss with the Japanese-American Marine A.J.Isaki (Switchblade).

Max Epper[edit]

The second sub-group was in an airfield in Botswana, as they were unable to reach the Second Vertex in time. The group is composed of Prof. Max Epper (aka. Wizard); Zoe Kissane (aka. Princess); Sky Monster (no-one knows his real name); Lily West (Jack West's adopted daughter aka.Eowyn); Ono (a Neetha tribesman from the Congo) and Dr Diane Cassidy (an anthropologist studying the Neetha). The items they have with them are the Seeing Stone of Delphi, and a Neetha inclinometer. They were last seen escaping from a group of South African F-15's

Zahir al Abbas[edit]

Zahir al Abbas (aka. Pooh Bear) is travelling to Israel to rescue his friend, Ben Cohen (aka. Stretch) from the Mossad who have placed a 16 million reward on his head for betraying them.


The main antagonist, Johnathan West Sr, aka. Wolf, holds all the cards at the end. He has the Philosopher's Stone, the Firestone, the Killing Stone of the Maya, and the pillars from the first two Vertices. He has also captured Lily West's friend, Alby Calvin, and leaves him at the Second Vertex.

The Japanese Blood Brotherhood[edit]

The secondary antagonists, who desire to destroy the world to erase Japan's humiliation after World War II, they are led by Epper's colleague, Professor 'Tank' Tanaka, and have the third pillar in their possession. They try to kill the twins and professor Max Epper

The Five Warriors[edit]

Every identity of the Five Warriors were revealed to be Moses, Jesus, Genghis Khan and Napoleon Bonaparte and the fifth is Jack West Jr himself. Each of the Soldiers/Leaders had, in someway, been involved in the mystery of the capstone/Dark Sun/6 sacred stones; for example, Jesus was described by Reilly as someone who had possession of several pillars within the plot (throughout the book, there were subtle hints of antagonism against the Catholic Church, describing it as a 'sun cult'. Reilly also interpreted a metaphor from the Bible to claim that Jesus had 'carried a sword' and was purely a man who never resurrected from the grave). Genghis Khan held the locations to the entrances to the temples where the pillars must be placed. Jack's role, however, is revealed at the very end of the book to be fighting against his father to save the world from the Dark Sun.

The Six Pillars and their rewards[edit]

The novel revolves around the placement of six Pillars at specific dates and times which coincide with astronomical events. The placement of these Pillars activates the Great Machine, which protects the earth from the deadly rays of the Dark Star/Sun. When these pillars are placed, whoever removes it from the pyramid receives the individual 'reward' of that Pillar.

The First Pillar: "Knowledge"[edit]

The First Pillar was in possession of the House of Saud, given to Jack's team by Vulture.

The First Vertex is in Egypt, under Lake Nasser near Abu Simbel and the First Pillar must be placed there on 10 December 2007 at 6:12am, during a Titanic Rising. The Reward for the placement of this pillar is Knowledge, which is revealed to be technical knowledge. Alby translates the four sides of the pillar, with Lily's help, and discovers that one side is a variety of the carbon matrix, a super strong and extremely lightweight form of carbon fibre. Another side is revealed to be a map of Sirius and its two companion stars, one of which is a zero-point field like the Dark Sun. The Third side of the pillar contains the solution to the Universe Expansion Problem, while the final side is not explained.

The Second Pillar: "Heat"[edit]

The Second Pillar was in possession of the Neetha tribe, in the deep jungles of the Congo.

The Vertex of the Second Pillar is in South Africa, beneath the Cape of Good Hope. The Second Pillar must be placed one week after the First on 17 December 2007 sometime around 2:55am, again during a Titanic Rising. The Reward for the placement of this pillar is Heat, which is believed to be the secret to Perpetual motion and an endless energy source.

The Third Pillar: "Sight"[edit]

The Third Pillar was located in a trap system within the Third Vertex.

The Third Vertex is located on the north-west coast of the Japanese island of Hokkaido. Its Pillar must be placed on 11 March 2008 at 12:05am, during a Titanic Rising. The Reward for the laying of this pillar is Sight, the ability to see the death of the person whose blood is on the Pillar.

The Fourth Pillar: "Life"[edit]

The Fourth Pillar was in the possession of the British Royal family and was handed to Pooh Bear, Stretch and the Twins in an attempt to lay it.

The Fourth Vertex is at Lundy Island, Bristol Channel. The Fourth and Fifth Pillars must be placed at the same time: 2:10am on 18 March 2008. The Fourth Pillar's Reward is Life, its function is not determined in the book, but is possibly the ability to bring people back from the dead.

The Fifth Pillar: "Death"[edit]

The Fifth Pillar was in joint possession of the Russian Romanovs and the Danish Royal Family until it came to be with Carnivore. He handed the Pillar to Jack West and Lily in an attempt to lay it successfully.

The Fifth Vertex lies under the U.S Naval base at Diego Garcia, Indian Ocean. The Fourth and Fifth Pillars must be placed at the same time: 2:10am on 18 March 2008. The Reward for the Fifth pillar is Death, some thought its reward was a weapon; the gift of dealing death to the holder's enemies.

The Sixth Pillar: "Power"[edit]

The Sixth Pillar was found in the fictional tomb of Jesus Christ in some salt mines in southern Israel.

The Sixth and last Vertex is beneath the Ahu Vai Mata on the most north-westerly point of Easter Island, Pacific Ocean The Final Pillar must be placed on 20 March 2008, at 6:00pm, during the Dual Equinox: when both our Sun and its twin, the Dark Sun, will be shining on the Vertex at Easter Island. The Reward for the placement of the Sixth Pillar is Power, which grants whoever is holding the charged Pillar whatever they wish, be it world domination, the death of an enemy or the destruction of cities, on the whim of the holder.


The story starts with Jack's fall from the Vertex under Table Mountain with the suicidal Marine Switchblade, and his escape with the aid of Switchblade's Maghook, a staple of many of Reilly's works. He quickly reunites with the rest of his team at Little McDonald Island.

The dates for the placement of the six pillars sees a three-month window between the second and third placements. Jack and Zoe use the interim period to help Pooh Bear in the rescue of Stretch from the Israeli Mossad. In a Roman ruin located under Israel's most secret facility, they find Stretch subjected to a hellish treatment: kept alive in a tank of formaldehyde by General Muniz, a Mossad spymaster. Stretch was to be the latest addition in Muniz's private collection of "living trophies", a practice pioneered by a former KGB operative. Stretch is subsequently liberated and the party makes their escape.

Jack learns of The Five Greatest Warriors from Diane Cassidy, five key members of history who would influence the sacred stones and their whereabouts. They set about locating the third pillar and its matching Vertex. Following a connection to Genghis Khan, the party sets out for Mongolia. They locate the Khan's tomb under a false mound that covered a meteor crater. In the bowels of the fortress, they find a petrified dinosaur egg painted with images of the six temples that house the Verticies. The Japanese Blood Brotherhood attempt to stop Jack and Wolf from finding the next temple by destroying the egg, and Wizard is killed by Wolf in their escape. Realising that Genghis's shield also carries the images carved on the egg, Jack and his team race to the northern tip of Hokkaido.

Japan attempts to stop them from entering the temple - which can only be done so in the middle of a tsunami - but Jack and his father form an uneasy truce and agree to place the third pillar together. Negotiating a maze set above a lake of lava, they successfully place the pillar. Several Japanese snipers very nearly kill them, and in the firefight, Jack and his father receive a vision of Jack's death from the pillar: what appears to be a fiery accident involving a falling aircraft. Wolf decides to let Jack go free after Jack saves his life. Unfortunately, all involved are captured by a group of Russians. At the same time, Jack's friends are picked up from their various assignments around the world.

Everyone is taken to a dam in far eastern Siberia, where they meet Carnivore, General Muniz's friend and the creator of the "living tombs". Carnivore is the last of the House of Romanov, and the leader of the coalition of royal houses in Europe. Diane Cassidy is also revealed to be one of his agents. After forcing Jack to fight his half-brother to the death, the Carnivore subjects Jack's friends to his hellish prison cells to encourage him to place the fourth and fifth pillars. Without a choice, Jack agrees. The Carnivore makes a similar arrangement with Mao Gongli, Scimitar and Vulture, holding their loved ones hostage and sending them out to find the sixth and final pillar.

The fourth and fifth pillars must be placed simultaneously. Jack, Lily and Iolanthe make for Diego Garcia while Pooh Bear, Stretch and the Adamson twins go to Lundy Island. Shortly after they place their pillars, Carnivore and Cassidy abandon their Siberian base and their victims, leaving them to die. Wolf escapes and gives pursuit, heading for Easter Island. Meanwhile, Jack, Lily and Iolanthe return to Israel, where they locate the (occupied) Tomb of Jesus Christ, the bearer of the sixth and final pillar, in a salt mine near Ein Aradhim. After Pooh Bear is forced to kill Scimitar and Vulture, Jack himself makes for Easter Island aboard a heavily damaged Halicarnassus. Meanwhile, the Dark Sun enters the edge of the solar system and planet earth is subjected to extreme weather conditions.

Unable to land his plane, Jack crash-lands in the entrance to the Easter Island shrine. Unable to catch either Wolf or the Carnivore in the ten minutes remaining until the final pillar must be placed, Jack uses the remains of the Halicarnassus to cover the ground between himself and Carnivore. Jack kills the former KGB operative with the plane's sole remaining gun, which literally blasts him to nothingness. Lily, the only person Jack trusts - not least of all because she is the only one who can read the Word of Thoth - carries out the final placement. The reward for the sixth pillar is power, the ability to make one's thoughts a reality. Imbued with the power of the pillar, Lily goes on a murderous rampage, killing Cassidy and Mao Gongli in a grotesque fashion before Jack is able to stop her. As the Great Machine activates and the world is saved from the Dark Sun, Jack kicks the pillar into the void beneath the Vertex. Wolf gives chase, but the Halicarnassus causes the balcony overlooking the void to collapse, and he falls to his death as he chases the pillar. We learn that because it was Wolf's blood and not Jack's on the third pillar in Hokkaido, it was a vision of Wolf's death that Jack saw. Jack and Lily leave Easter Island, returning to Siberia in time to free their friends and the Carnivore's victims from the fomaldehyde tanks.

The epilogue sees Jack and Zoe married and living in Australia with Lily. The five surviving pillars remain hidden, with Jack reporting that they had been lost or destroyed over the course of their mission. Zoe discerns that the fifth Greatest Warrior - whose identity had gone unknown because of his role to play in the potential apocalypse - was actually Jack, and the story ends.

Possible Future Books[edit]

In the interview at the end of the book, the question "You've already written Seven Ancient Wonders, Six Sacred Stones and the Five Greatest Warriors. will the Jack West Jr series of books count down all the way to the One...?" was asked. After a short explanation, Reilly states that he will probably write "The Four Something Somethings" and could very well work down to "The One Something Something", so it is very likely that there are still novels in the series yet to come.

A possible hint of a sequel and its theme can be found in The Six Sacred Stones. On page 182, the bottom paragraph reads "There were other carvings, including one of four throned kings sitting shoulder-to-shoulder and flanked by five standing warriors, but Jack ignored them."

In 2016, seven years after the novel was published, Reilly announced that a sequel was indeed going to be published later that year, its title announced as The Four Legendary Kingdoms. [3]


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