Read Temple Online

Authors: Matthew Reilly

Temple

Reilly, Matthew,
1974.
Temple
ISBN 0 7329 0971 6
I. Title.
A823.3
Acknowledgements
Special thanks are due to several people this time round.
To Natalie Freer—she is always the first person to read my pages
and she reads them in 40-page chunks. Thanks again for your
extraordinary patience, generosity and sup port. To my brother,
Stephen Reilly—for his unsurpassed loyalty and his razor-sharp
comments on the text. (Have I ever mentioned that he has written
the best screenplay I have ever read?)
To my parents, as always, for their love, encouragement and
support. To my good friend John Schrooten for being the guinea pig
for the third time. (John is the first person to read my books in
toto—I still remember him reading Ice Sta tion while we were
watching a cricket match at the Sydney Cricket Ground.) Also to Nik
Kozlina for her early com ments on the text and to Simon Kozlina
for letting me give the hero of this book his face!
Lastly, mention must be made of the good folk at Pan Macmillan. To
Cate Paterson, my publisher, for—well— making all of this possible
really. Her endeavours to publish mass-market thriller fiction in
this country are unmatched. To Anna McFarlane, my editor, for
bringing out the best in me. To every single sales rep at
Pan—they're out there, every day, working the front lines in
bookstores around the country. And last of all, a very special
thank you to Jane Novak, my publicist at Pan, for guarding me like
a mother hen and for seeing the irony when Richard Stubbs and I
talked about her-our mutual publicist—on national radio!
Well, that's it. Now, on with the show…
INTRODUCTION
3
From: Holsten, Mark J.
Civilization Lost—The Conquest of the Incas (Advantage Press, New
York, 1996)
'CHAPTER I: THE CONSEQUENCES OF CONQUEST
•.. What cannot be emphasised enough is that the conquest of the
Incas by the Spanish conquistadors represents per haps the single
greatest collision of cultures in the history of human
evolution.
Here was the most dominant seafaring nation on earth— bringing with
it all the latest steel technology from Europe —-clashing with the
most powerful empire ever to have existed in the Americas.
Unfortunately for historians, and thanks largely to the insatiable
gold lust of Francisco Pizarro and his blood thirsty conquistadors,
the greatest empire to have irrhabited the Americas is also the one
about which we know the least.
The plunder of the Incan empire by Pizarro and his army of henchmen
in 1532 must rank as one of the most brutal in written history.
Armed with that most overwhelming of colonial weapons—gunpowder—the
Spaniards cut a swathe through Incan towns and cities with “a lack
of principle that
4
would have made Machiavelli shudder” to use the words of one
twentieth-century commentator.
Incan women were raped in their homes or forced to work in filthy
makeshift brothels. Men were routinely tor- tured-their eyes would
be burned out with hot coals or their tendons cut. Children were
shipped to the coast by the hundred, to be loaded onto the dreaded
slave galleons and taken back to Europe.
In the cities, temple walls were stripped bare. Gold plates and
holy idols were melted into bars before anyone even thought to
inquire as to their cultural significance.
Perhaps the most famous of all the tales of quests for Incan
treasure is that of Hernando Pizarro—Francisco's brother—and his
Herculean journey to the coastal town of Pachacimac in search of a
fabled Incan idol. As described by Francisco de J6rez in his famous
work, the Verdadera relaci6n de la conquista de la Peru, the riches
that Hernando plundered on his march to the temple-shrine at
Pachacimac (not far from Lima) are of almost mythic
proportions.
From what little remains of the Incan empirebuildings that the
Spaniards did not destroy, golden relics that the Incas spirited
away in the dead of night—the modern histo rian can only garner the
barest of glimpses of a once great civilisation.
What emerges is an empire of paradox.
The Incas did not have the wheel, and yet they built the most
extensive road system ever seen in the Americas. They did not know
how to smelt iron ore, yet their metalwork with other substances—in
particular, gold and silver—was second to none. They had no form of
writing, and yet their system of numerical
record-keeping—multi-coloured string formations known as a
quipus—was incredibly accurate. It was said that the quipucamayocs,
the empire's feared tax col lectors, would know even when something
so small as a sandal went missing.
Inevitably, however, the greatest record of everyday Incan life
comes from the Spaniards. As Cortez had done in Mexico only twenty
years previously, the conquistadors
5
in Peru brought with them clergymen to spread the Gospel to the
heathen natives. Many of these monks and priests would ultimately
return to Spain and commit what they 'saw to writing, and indeed,
these manuscripts can still be found in monasteries around Europe
today, dated and intact…' [p. 12]
From: de J4rez, Francisco
Verdadera relaci6n de la conquista de la Peru (Seville, 1534)
'The Captain [Hernando Pizarro] went to lodge, with his followers,
in some large chambers in one part of the town.
He said that he had come by order of the Governor [Fran cisco
Pizarro] for the gold of that mosque, and that they were to collect
it and deliver it up.
All the principal men of the town and the attendants of the Idol
assembled and replied that they would give it, but they continued
to dissimulate and make excuses. At last they brought very little,
and said they had no more.
The Captain said that he wished to go and see the Idol they kept,
and he went. It was in a good house, well painted, decorated in the
usual Indian style—stone statues of jaguars guarded the entrance,
carvings of demonic cat like creatures lined the walls. Inside, the
Captain found a dark foul-smelling chamber, in the centre of which
stood a bare stone altar. On our journe we had been told of a
fabled Idol that was housed inside the temple-shrine at Pachacimac.
The Indians say that this is their God who created them and
sustains them, and who is the source of all their power.
But we found no Idol at Pachacmac. Just a bare altar in a
foul-smelling room.
The Captain then ordered the vault in which the pagan Idol had been
housed be pulled down and the principal men of the town be executed
at once for their dissembling. So, too,
6
the attendants to the Idol. Once this was done, the Captain then
taught the villagers many things touching our Holy Catholic Faith,
and taught them the sign of the cross…'
From: The New York Times
December 31 1998, p. 12
Scholars Go Ga-Ga Over Rare Manuscripts
TOULOUSE, FRANCE: Medieval scholars were presented with a rare
treat today when monks from the San Sebastian Abbey, a secluded
Jesuit monastery in the Pyrenees Mountains, opened up their
magnificent medieval library to a select group of
non-ecclesiastical experts for the first time in over three hundred
years.
Of key interest to this exclusive gathering of academics was the
chance to see first-hand the abbey's renowned collection of
handwritten manuscripts, notably those of St Ignatius Loyola, the
founder of the Society of Jesus.
It was, however, the discovery of certain other manuscripts—long
since believed to have been lost that sparked cries of delight from
the select group of historians who were granted entry to the
abbey's labyrinthine library.
The lost codex of St Aloysius Gonzaga, or a heretofore undiscovered
manuscript believed to have been written by St Francis Xavier,
or—most 7
wonderfully of allMthe discovery of an original draft copy of the
fabled Santiago Manuscript.
Written in 1565 by a Spanish monk named Alberto Luis Santiago, this
manuscript commands almost legendary status among medieval
historiansMprincipally because it was assumed to have been
destroyed during the French Revolution.
The manuscript is believed to outline in the most stark, brutal
detail the conquest of Peru by the Spanish conquistadors in the
1530s. Famously, however, it is also understood to contain the only
written account (based on its author's firsthand observations) of a
murderous Spanish captain's obsessive hunt for a precious Incan
idol through the jungles and mountains of Peru.
Ultimately, however, this was to be a 'look-but-don't-touch'
exhibition. After the last scholar was (reluctantly) escorted from
the library, its massive oak doors were firmly sealed behind
him.
One can only,hope that it won't be another three hundred years
before they are opened again.
m
“I ira
PROLOGUE
San Sebastian Abbey
High in the French Pyrenees
Friday, January 1 1999, 3:23 am
The young monk sobbed uncontrollably as the cold barrel of the gun
was placed firmly against his temple.
His shoulders shook. Tears streamed down his cheeks.
'For God's sake, Philippe,' he said. 'If you know where it is, tell
them!'
Brother Philippe de Villiers knelt on the floor of the abbey's
dining area with. his hands clenched behind his head. To his left
knelt Brother Maurice Dupont, the young monk with the gun to his
head, to his right, the other sixteen Jesuit monks who lived in the
San Sebastian Abbey. All eighteen of them were on their knees,
lined up in a row.
In front of de Villiers and a little to his left stood a man
dressed in black combat fatigues and armed with a Glock-18
automatic pistol and a Heckler & Koch G-11 assault rifle, the
most advanced assault rifle ever made. Right now the black- clad
man's Glock was resting against Maurice Dupont's head.
A dozen other, similarly garbed, similarly armed men stood around
the wide dining room. They all wore black ski masks and they were
all waiting upon Philippe de Villiers'
response to a very important question.
'I don't know where it is,' de Villiers said through clenched
teeth.
“Philippe…' Maurice Dupont said.
Without warning, the gun at Dupont's temple went off, the shot
ringing out in the silence of the near-deserted abbey. Dupont's
head exploded like a watermelon and a wash of blood splattered all
over de Villiers' face.
No-one outside the abbey would hear the gunshot.
The San Sebastian Abbey lay perched on a mountaintop nearly 6000
feet above sea level, hidden among the snowcapped peaks of the
French Pyrenees. It was 'as close to God as you could get', as some
of the older monks liked to say.
San Sebastian's nearest neighbour, the famous telescope platform
the Pic du Midi Observatory, was nearly twenty kilometres
away.
The man with the Glock moved to the monk on de Villiers'
right and placed the barrel of the gun against his head.
'Where is the manuscript?' the man with the gun asked
de Villiers a second time. His Bavarian accent was strong.
'I don't know, I tell you,' de Villiers said.
Blam!
The second monk jolted backwards and smacked down against the
floor, a puddle of red liquid fanning out from the jagged, fleshy
hole in his head. For a few seconds, the body sh.uddered
involuntarily—spasming violently—flopped
against the floor like a fish that had fallen out of its
bowl.
De Villiers shut his eyes, offered up a prayer.
“Where is the manuscript?' the German said.
'I don't—' Blam!
Another monk fell.
'Where is it?'
'I don't know!'
Blam!
All of a sudden, the Glock came around so that it was now pointed
directly at de Villiers' face.
'This will be the last time I ask you this question, Brother de
Villiers. Where is the Santiago Manuscript?'
De Villiers kept his eyes closed. 'Our Father, who art in
hallowed be thy—'
The German squeezed the trigger.
'Wait!' someone said from the other end of the line.
The German assassin turned and saw an older monk step up and out
from the line of kneeling Jesuit monks.
'Please! Please! No more, no more. I will tell you where
the manuscript is, if you promise you will kill no more.'
'Where is it?' the assassin said.
'It is this way,' the old monk said, heading off into the library.
The assassin followed him into the adjoining room.
Moments later both men returned, the assassin carrying in his left
hand a large leather-bound book.
Although de Villiers couldn't see his face, it was clear that the
German assassin was smiling broadly behind his black ski
mask.
'Now, go. Leave us in peace,' the old Jesuit said. 'Leave us to
bury our dead.'
The assassin seemed to ponder that for a moment. Then he turned and
nodded to his cohorts.
In response the squad of armed assassins raised their G11s as one
and opened fire on the line of kneeling Jesuit monks.
A devastating burst of supermachine-gun fire cut the remaining
monks to ribbons. Heads exploded, jagged rags of flesh were ripped
clear .from the monks' bodies as they were assailed by a force of
gunfire never before witnessed.
In seconds, all of the Jesuits were dead, save for one: the elderly
monk who had brought the Germans the manuscript.
He now stood alone in a pool of his comrades' blood, facing his
tormentors.
The lead assassin stepped forward and levelled his Glock at the old
man's head.
'Who are you?' the old monk said defiantly.
'We are the Schutz Staffeln Totenkopfverb4nde,” the assassin
said.
The old monk's eyes went wide. 'Good God…' he breathed.
The assassin smiled. 'Not even He can save you now.'
Blare!
The Glock went off one last time and the assassins swept out of the
abbey and into the night.
A whole minute passed, then another.
The abbey lay silent.
The bodies of the eighteen Jesuit brothers lay sprawled on the
floor, bathed in blood.
The assassins never saw it.
It was high above them, hidden within the ceiling of the enormous
dining room. It was a loft of some sort, an attic in the ceiling
that was separated from the dining room by a thin, wood-panelled
wall. The individual panels of the wall were so old and shrivelled
that the cracks between them were wide.
If they had looked closely enough, the assassins would have seen
it—peering out through one of those cracks, blinking with
fear.
A wide-open human eye.
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