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Hell Island Mass Market Paperback – September 28, 2010

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books; Original edition (September 28, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439191336
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439191330
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 4.2 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (131 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #219,413 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Matthew Reilly is the international bestselling author of numerous novels, including The Five Greatest Warriors, The Six Sacred Stones, Seven Deadly Wonders, Ice Station, Temple, Contest, Area 7, Scarecrow, the children’s book Hover Car Racer, and one novella, Hell Island. His books are published in more than twenty languages in twenty countries, and he has sold more than 4.5 million copies worldwide.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.


The vicious-looking airCRaft shot aCRoss the sky at near supersonic speed.

It was a modified Hercules cargo plane, known as an MC-130 “Combat Talon,” the delivery vehicle of choice for U.S. Special Forces units.

This Combat Talon stayed high, very high, it was as if it was trying to avoid being seen by radar systems down at sea level. This was unusual, because there was nothing down there—according to the maps, the nearest land in this part of the Pacific was an atoll 500 klicks to the east.

Then the rear loading ramp of the Combat Talon rumbled open and several dozen tiny figures issued out from it in rapid sequence, spreading out into the sky behind the soaring plane.

The forty-strong flock of paratroopers plummeted to earth, men in high-altitude jumpsuits—full-face breathing masks; streamlined black bodysuits. They angled their bodies downward as they fell, so that they flew head-first, their masks pointed into the onrushing wind, becoming human spears, freefalling with serious intent.

It was a classic HALO drop—high-altitude, low-opening. You jumped from 37,000 feet, fell fast and hard, and then stopped dangerously close to the ground, right at your drop zone.

Curiously, however, the forty elite troops falling to earth today fell in identifiable subgroups, ten men to a group, as if they were trying to remain somehow separate.

Indeed, they were separate teams.

CRack teams. The best of the best from every corner of the U.S. armed forces.

One unit from the 82nd Airborne Division.

One SEAL team.

One Delta team, ever aloof and seCRetive.

And last of all, one team of Force Reconnaissance Marines.

They shot into the cloud layer—a dense band of dark thunderclouds—freefell through the haze.

Then after nearly a full minute of flying, they burst out of the clouds and emerged in the midst of a full-scale five-alarm ocean storm: rain lashed their facemasks; dark clouds hung low over the heaving ocean; giant waves rolled and CRashed.

And through the rain, their target came into view, a tiny island far below them, an island that did not appear on maps anymore, an island with an airCRaft carrier parked alongside it.


Leading the Marine team was Captain Shane M. Schofield, call-sign “ScareCRow.”

Behind his HALO mask, Schofield had a rugged CReased face, black hair and blue eyes. Slicing down aCRoss those eyes, however, were a pair of hideous vertical scars, one for eACH eye, wounds from a mission-gone-wrong and the source of his operational nickname. Once on the ground, he’d hide those eyes behind a pair of reflective wraparound anti-flash glasses.

Quiet, intense and when necessary deadly, Schofield had a unique reputation in the Marine Corps. He’d been involved in several missions that remained classified—but the Marine Corps (like any group of human beings) is filled with gossip and rumor. Someone always knew someone who was there, or who saw the medical report, or who cleaned up the aftermath.

The rumors about Schofield were many and varied, and sometimes simply too outrageous to be true.

One: he had been involved in a gigantic multiforce battle in Antarctica, a battle which, it was said, involved a bloody and brutal confrontation with two of America’s allies, France and Britain.

Two: he’d saved the President during an attempted military coup at a remote USAF base. It was said that during that misadventure, the ScareCRow—a former pilot—had flown an experimental space shuttle into low earth orbit, engaged an enemy shuttle, destroyed it, and then come back to earth to rescue the President.

Of course none of this could possibly be verified, and so it remained the stuff of legend; legends, however, that Schofield’s new unit were acutely aware of.

That said, there was one thing about Shane Schofield that they knew to be true: this was his first mission back after a long layover, four months of stress leave, in fact. On this occasion someone really had seen the medical report, and now all of his men on this mission knew about it.

They also knew the cause of his stress leave.

During his last mission out, Schofield had been taken to the very edge of his psychological endurance. Loved ones close to him had been captured . . . and executed. It was even said in hushed whispers that at one point on that mission he had tried to take his own life.

Which was why the other members of his team today were slightly less-than-confident in their leader.

Was he up to this mission? Was he a time-bomb waiting to explode? Was he a basketcase who would lose it at the first sign of trouble?

They were about to find out.

AS HE shot downward through the sky, Schofield recalled their mission briefing earlier that day.

Their target was Hell Island.

Actually, that wasn’t quite true.

Their target was the aging supercarrier parked at Hell Island, the USS Nimitz, CVN-68.

The problem: soon after it had arrived at the isolated island to pick up some special cargo, a devastating tsunami had struck from the north and all contact with the Nimitz had been lost.

The oldest of America’s twelve Nimitz-class carriers, the Nimitz had been heading home for decommissioning, with only a skeleton CRew of 500 aboard—down from its regular 6,000. Likewise, its Carrier Battle Group, the cluster of destroyers, subs, supply ships and frigates that normally accompanied it around the globe, had been trimmed to just two CRuisers.

Contact with the two escort boats and the island’s communications center had also been lost.

Unfortunately, the unexpected tidal wave wasn’t the only hostile entity in play here: a North Korean nuclear submarine had been spotted a day earlier coming out of the Bering Sea. Its whereabouts were currently unknown, its presence in this area suspicious.

And so a mystery.

Equally suspicious to Schofield, however, was the presence of the other special operations units on this mission: the 82nd, the SEALs and Delta.

This was exceedingly odd. You never mixed and matched special ops units. They all had different specialties, different approACHes to mission situations, and could easily trip over eACH other. In short, it just wasn’t done.

You added all that up, Schofield thought, and this smelled suspiciously like an exercise.

Except for one thing.

They were all carrying live ammunition.

Hurtling toward the world, freefalling at terminal velocity, bursting out of the cloudband . . .

. . . to behold the Pacific Ocean stretching away in every direction, the only imperfection in its surface: the small dot of land that was Hell Island.

A gigantic rectangular gray object lay at its western end, the Nimitz. Not far from the carrier, the island featured some big gun emplacements facing south and east, while at the northeastern tip there was a hill that looked like a mini-volcano.

A voice came through Schofield’s earpiece. “All team leaders, this is Delta Six. We’re going for the eastern end of the island and we’ll work our way backto the boat. Your DZ is the flight deck: Airborne, the bow; SEALs, aft; Marines, mid-section.”

Just like we were told in the briefing, Schofield thought.

This was typical of Delta. They were born show-ponies. Great soldiers, sure, but glory-seekers all. No matter who they were working with—even today, alongside three of the best special forces units in the world—they always assumed they were in charge.

“Roger that, Delta leader,” came the SEAL leader’s voice.

“Copy, Delta Six,” came the Airborne response.

Schofield didn’t reply.

The Delta leader said, “Marine Six? ScareCRow? You copy?”

Schofield sighed. “I was at the mission briefing, too, Delta Six. And last I noticed, I don’t have any short-term memory problems. I know the mission plan.”

“Cut the attitude, ScareCRow,” the Delta leader said. His name was Hugh Gordon, so naturally his call-sign was “Flash.” “We’re all on the same team here.”

“What? Your team?” Schofield said. “How about this: how about you don’t break radio silence until you’ve got something important to say. ScareCRow, out.”

It was more important than that. Even a frequency-hopping enCRypted radio signal could be caught these days, so if you transmitted, you had to assume someone was listening.

Worse, the new French-made Signet-5 radio-wave decoder—sold by the French to Russia, Iran, North Korea, Syria and other fine upstanding global citizens—was specifically designed to seek out and locate the American AN/PRC-119 tactical radio when it was broadcasting, the very radio their four teams were using today. No one had yet thought to ask the French why they had built a locater whose only use was to pinpoint American tactical radios.

Schofield switched to his team’s private channel. “Marines. Switch off your tac radios. Listening mode only. Go to short-wave UHF if you want to talk to me.”

A few of his Marines hesitated before obeying, but obey they did. They flicked off their radios.

The four clusters of parACHutists plummeted through the storm toward the world, zeroing in on the Nimitz, until a thousand feet above it, they yanked on their ripcords and their chutes opened.

Their superfast falls were abruptly arrested and they now floated in toward the carrier. The Delta team landed on the island itself, while the other three teams touched down lightly and gracefully on the flight deck of the super...

More About the Author

Matthew Reilly is the international bestselling author of eight novels: The 6 Sacred Stones, 7 Deadly Wonders, Ice Station, Temple, Contest, Area 7, Scarecrow, and the children's book Hover Car Racer, and one novella, Hell Island. His books are published in more than eighteen languages in twenty countries, and he has sold more than 3.5 million copies worldwide.

Customer Reviews

I started reading the book.
Kerry D
I was extremely disappointed to receive the book and thought something must be damaged because I only got 1/4 of the book book I usually expect.
M. Perry
It's fast paced and action packed.
Beth A. Hartzell

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

60 of 62 people found the following review helpful By ALu69 on May 25, 2008
Format: Paperback
PLOT: 4 teams of different special forces units are sent on a secretive island in the middle of the pacific ocean. Their mission is to find out why all contact to soldiers and scientist on the island is lost. And they do find out the hard way. Hell Island lives up to its name and the soldiers plunge into a nightmare they could never dreamed of...

The book is indeed a quick read. Its 115 pages are printed with large letters that would enable you to read it from almost 2 meters away. Therefore the story is really narrowed down to a showdown only. As a result it is Reilly's simplest work so far and cannot be as good as e. g. "Ice Station". But it features Captain Shane M. Schofield, nicknamed "Scarecrow", again.

In general when you read a book by Reilly you cannot expect any kind of in-depth character study. And you should also be prepared for lack of logic and completely ridiculous ideas / twists / events that would turn characters like James Bond, Rambo and Triple X into poor bystanders.
Reilly's stories are like a two hour movie where you missed everything except the last action packed ten minute showdown. You will get a few lines of introduction and then all hell will break lose. A non stop roller coaster action ride till the very end.
Of course everything is exaggerated big time in his books and especially in this short story! But, hey, which of today's action movies, mafia films, sports movies, Sci Fi films, horror movies or even love stories are not ridiculous or embarrassing in parts?

Matthew Reilly was born in 1974 - young enough to be grown up with video games and action movies. I assume he still spends a lot of time with it today. At least it would explain his writing style quite well.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Edwards VINE VOICE on August 19, 2008
Format: Paperback
The origin of 'Hell Island' is interesting...Reilly was asked to pen a short-story/novella that would be distributed absolutely free in Australia only. He COULD have gone the route of many authors put in this situation and saved the GOOD stuff for a differnt book, but he chose the story of 'Hell Island' hoping that if he produced something really fun to read, it might spark interest in his other books. The end result is a story that--up 'til recently, was available to about only three groups of people...those who live IN Australia...those who travel TO Australia...or those who could afford to buy a copy off ebay FROM Australia.

I had the opportunity to interview Mr. Reilly not long ago, and he mentioned that he would send me a copy...I got tired of waiting, and went ahead and grabbed a copy off ebay and wouldn't you know it, RIGHT after that I discovered they had copies to buy stateside. Oh well.

The story--what can I say? If you have never read Reilly before, quite literally, you haven't got a clue just how intense his novels really are. Seriously. Nobody writes with adrenaline to the degree that the average Reilly story comes stock with. NOBODY. Before you begin reading you simply MUST prepare yourself for an over-the-top, barely believable story that moves faster than a Tomahawk attached to the Space Shuttle. However...with that said, very few authors throw as much sheer FUN into their stories as you can find in ANY of Matthew Reilly's novels, either. Sure the stories may be flat-out unbelievable, but Reilly is well aware that his stories aren't in the realm of reality...he IS fully aware that his job as a writer is to entertain his readers, and THAT is what he does and might I say he does VERY well.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By C. Bayne VINE VOICE on March 27, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is vintage Matthew Reilly - insane action, tremendous loss of life, blood, bullets, explosions, mayhem - you get the picture. The product descriptions says something about this being for all ages, but if you don't want your kids to read bad words and get all sorts of violent images into their impressionable minds, I'd say that this isn't good for pre-teens.

As always, Reilly writes like a Bruckheimer film on steroids. You have to take a deep breath after putting this down. This is kind of like a "rated M for Mature" video game without taking time for cut scenes.

I read this book in less than an hour, so it's a very quick read. It looks like a chapter book for a 10-year-old, but don't be fooled - this is not for kids. It was a lot of fun, though. Highly recommended for the "likes their action too big to be believed" crowd.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Steve A. Watts on May 20, 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
This is not a review of the content of the story, but, instead, on its brevity. Nowhere in the Amazon description is it mentioned that this is a long short story. Large type with 10 lines fewer per page that other paperbacks, 29 pages of pictures, diagrams or just blank. The whole "book" starts out as 123 numbered pages but actually is about 50-60 real pages of normal sized text. This is gross misrepresentation. Elsewhere, other websites, it is honestly described as a "novella." If you want to order a "novella" for the same price as a 500 page book, fine, but you should say be warned.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Schattenjager on January 15, 2013
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This was an intense action novel. It is a relatively short one, as it was completed all in one sitting. From the moment Shane Schofield "Scarecrow" opens his his parachute as he lands on the tarmac of an aircraft carrier to the moment he slams the last magazine into his MP-7 this novel never loses pace. Matthew Reilly's books have become brain candy to the action adventure reader, when you just want to read something that just doesn't take a turn down boring street.
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