Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Shane Schofield #5

Scarecrow and the Army of Thieves

Rate this book
At an abandoned Soviet base in the Arctic, the battle to save the world has begun...

The Secret Base: It is a top-secret base known only as Dragon Island. A long-forgotten relic of the Cold War, it houses a weapon of terrible destructive force, a weapon that has just been re-activated.

A Renegade Army: When Dragon Island is seized by a brutal terrorist force calling itself the Army of Thieves, the fate of the world hangs in the balance, and there are no crack units close enough to get there in time to stop the Army setting off the weapon.

One Small Team: Except, that is, for a small equipment-testing team up in the Arctic led by a Marine captain named Schofield, call-sign Scarecrow.

It's not a strike force; just a handful of Marines and civilians. It's not equipped to attack a fortified island held by a vicious army. But Scarecrow will lead the team in anyway, because someone has to. The ultimate hero is back, facing the ultimate army of villains.

400 pages, Hardcover

First published January 3, 2012

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Matthew Reilly

71 books5,651 followers
Born in Sydney in 1974, Matthew Reilly was not always a big fan of reading. It was only after he read To Kill A Mockingbird and Lord of the Flies in Year 10 that he realised reading could transport you to another world. Following this revelation, Matthew soon began creating stories of his own and set about writing his first novel, Contest, at the age of 19 while still at university studying law.

Following rejections from all the major publishers, Matthew self-published Contest in 1996, printing 1000 copies. He produced a big-budget-looking novel which he sold into bookshops throughout Sydney, one shop at a time.

In January 1997, a Commissioning Editor for Pan Macmillan Australia walked into Angus & Robertson's Pitt Street Mall store and bought a copy of Contest. The editor tracked Matthew down through his contact details in the front of the book. Interestingly, those original self-published editions of Contest have now become much sought after collectors' items. One recently sold on eBay for $1200!

Matthew Reilly is now the internationally bestselling author of the Scarecrow novels: Ice Station, Area 7, Scarecrow, Scarecrow and the Army of Thieves and the novella Hell Island; the Jack West novels: Seven Ancient Wonders, The Six Sacred Stones, The Five Greatest Warriors, The Four Legendary Kingdoms, and The Three Secret Cities; and the standalone novels Contest, Temple, Hover Car Racer, The Tournament, Troll Mountain, The Great Zoo of China and The Secret Runners of New York.

His books are published in over 20 languages with worldwide sales of over 7 million copies.

Since Seven Ancient Wonders in 2005, Matthew's novels have been the biggest selling new fiction title released in Australia for that year.

Matthew has also written several short stories, including Roger Ascham and the King's Lost Girl, a special free prequel to The Tournament which is available online. Other short stories include Time Tours, The Mine and the hyper-adrenalised romp, Altitude Rush.

He owns and drives a DeLorean DMC-12, the car made famous in the Back to the Future movies. He also has a life-sized Han Solo in carbonite hanging on the wall of his office! When not writing or penning a film script, Matthew can be found on the golf course.

Matthew Reilly is currently living in Los Angeles.

(source: Amazon)

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
5,972 (48%)
4 stars
4,183 (34%)
3 stars
1,712 (13%)
2 stars
304 (2%)
1 star
72 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 619 reviews
Profile Image for Barbara.
1,394 reviews4,902 followers
March 8, 2021

In this book a terrorist group gets hold of a huge cache of guns and artillery - as well as a doomsday weapon - and prepares to wipe out the planet. A black ops group led by Captain Shane Schofield (Scarecrow) is assigned to save the day. If you like non-stop action with detailed descriptions of weapons and fighting this is the book for you. My favorite character is the cute little combat robot "Bertie" who comes in very handy in tough situations.
Profile Image for Brenda.
4,229 reviews2,731 followers
July 15, 2019
When the newly formed terrorist group, Army of Thieves inhabited Dragon Island in the Arctic preparing for mass destruction, the only person close enough to stop them in the time frame was a group of marines and civilians, led by Captain Shane Schofield, call sign Scarecrow. His determination and skill was legendary; with Mother at his side, a few other marines plus the nervous civilians, they headed for Dragon Island, knowing what was ahead of them would likely see them all killed.

Scarecrow and the Army of Thieves is the 4th in the Shane Schofield series by Aussie author Matthew Reilly and it was crazy! Full on, nonstop action, killings, devious plans – the formidable enemy that Scarecrow faced saw him at his usual compelling best! Suspense, tension – an unbelievable thriller which is Reilly’s forte and one I definitely recommend. I thoroughly enjoyed Mother’s character, and loved little Bertie, the robot 😊 I’ve had this autographed copy since December 2011 and am pleased to have finally read it.
Author 28 books2 followers
June 22, 2012
Scarecrow Returns is Reilly's first Shane Scofield novel since Scarecrow (2003), almost eight years earlier, and naturally I was looking forward to it. When I heard about this novel's premise, though, I had some doubts. It felt like a return to his older books (like Ice Station), which I'd enjoyed, but which he seemed to have moved past to more complex stories (like Scarecrow and the Jack West books). Additionally, two decades after the Cold War's end the idea of a Soviet superweapon would seem to have passed its "sell-by" date – much as has long become the case with villains left over from the Third Reich - while I wasn't sure what to make of the "Army of Thieves" who comprised the villains, these seeming to be an especially senseless bunch.

Fortunately, the book exceeded my expectations in all these areas. Like the books of "Reilly 1.0" (as Reilly himself refers to his earlier work), Scarecrow Returns is a three-way collision between teams of special-forces soldiers at a high-tech facility in a remote, hostile landscape, but Reilly manages to keep the material fresh, and the plot and action unfold with a smoothness reflecting his now lengthy experience in telling this kind of tale. The battles are as readable as any Reilly has written (at least, when read with the aid of the numerous illustrations), while being as grand in scale and over-the-top as readers have come to expect – which is to say, unequaled by any writer working similar territory today. Reilly's particular variant on the trope of the "left-over Soviet superweapon now on the loose" is a good one, and his villain is in line with his predecessors, at least, when we get behind the mask. The novel also benefits from a number of new touches, ranging from a scene-stealing combat robot named Bertie, to a French vendetta against our hero – and a few memorable plot twists (which I won't spoil here). Additionally, cartoonish as Reilly's characters are, the characterizations are nonetheless a bit fuller and more nuanced here, and their personalities do have a bearing on the tale.

That is not to say that everything is perfect. Reilly is as casual as ever about the technical detail (as in his descriptions of the KH-12 satellite and SS-23 missile), and the editing falters a bit in one of the early action sequences. Such nit-picks aside, Reilly's use of a plot of this kind to explore a real geopolitical issue struck me as less clever this time around, the rationale behind the action comparatively muddled, especially when compared with the almost psychic perceptiveness of the villain. Still, on the whole it's a very satisfying read if you're up for this kind of adventure, and fans of previous books are likely to find it well worth their time. However, given the extent to which events in the previous novels bear on the story in Scarecrow Returns, readers new to the series might want to check out the previous installments first.
Profile Image for Skip.
3,351 reviews413 followers
December 4, 2015
Easily the strongest book in this high octane, action-packed series. The Scarecrow (Shane Schofield) and his sidekick, Mother (Gena Newman), are working in a remote location in the Arctic Circle, in part because France has a bounty on his head. Meanwhile, a terrorist organization (the Gang of Thieves) has liberated men from two prisons and stolen what seem to be unrelated mostly military items, and seized an abandoned Russian base, where they seek to unleash a weapon to destroy much of the northern hemisphere. Scarecrow is dispatched as s back-up to a full recon force, and become the only hope when the force is destroyed. Then, a French submarine arrives with its top assassin, Renard, to kill Scarecrow. Miraculously, not only does he survive, but manages to enlist Renard and team's help. My favorite part of the book was the robot, Bertie, who saves Scarecrow and others more than once. Reminded me of #5 from the movie, Short Circuit. 4.5 stars.
Profile Image for Josh.
1,649 reviews156 followers
November 20, 2012
Q. What do you get when you cross a GI-Joe with an Energiser Bunny, a Michael Bay movie, and explosions straight out of Team America?

A. Shane Schofield – codename: Scarecrow

Matthew Reilly’s sequel to ‘Scarecrow’ is every bit as exciting and tense as its predecessor with our dependable hero once again at the coalface of worlds end with little more than a maghook and small band of civilians and marines to counter an army – The Army of Thieves. The mission pits Scarecrow against a formidable foe and a new nemesis – impossibly evil, lead by deranged convictions and a skewed sense of patriotism – his methodology for extrapolating information will wrench even the hardest gut. This is perhaps the most defined and menacing bad guy of all the Scarecrow and Jack West books to date.

In crafting a montage of mayhem courtesy of a secluded island (Dragon Island) populated by blood thirsty heathens Reilly embodies all that is suspense and genre-centric thriller. That being said, one of the more interesting plot threads surrounds the horrific death of Gant in the previous book and Scarecrow’s struggle to overcome loss. Overall this is a well balanced chapter to the Scarecrow chronicles in which pervious characters return (Mother) and new ones emerge (via a French connection) from unlikely sources.

Riddled with twist and turns you’d be hard pressed to pick, and an array of weapons so vast, one suspects Reilly raided the draws of the pentagon, ‘Scarecrow and the Army of Thieves’ is completely unbelievable yet compelling and pumped full of action. Realists need avoid, this one is for the adrenaline junkies – 4 stars.
Profile Image for apple.
105 reviews11 followers
November 16, 2011
Never judge a book by its Hollywood-grade blockbuster-like cover -- this is an exceptionally enjoyable piece of literature. Scarecrow and the Army of Thieves should win the Pulitzer Prize for best special effects or something. The author stated in book acknowledgement that he writes to entertain -- Mr. Reilly, sir, you did more than entertain. You made Action an art form. I challenge any of those award-winning postmodern Latin American writers whose names I cannot spell to write a faceoff scene between genetically-modified killer polar bears and a gun-mounted cute talking robot.. Must invent new high-tech weapons and fancy stream of consciousnessathingy not allowed

I read “Ice Station” the first book in this series when I was in high school and Oakley wraparound shades were the pinnacle of fashion. Fast forward to 2011, Captain Shane Schofield call-sign Scarecrow is back to save the world for the fourth time (yes, it’s a tie between him and Bruce Willis) with his trusty team of US marines. My favorite character from the series has always been Mother (she’s a six-foot-two skinhead super-ripped lady and the name is short for, ahem, Motherker) but this book has a new character named Bertie who just totally stole my heart. The story is supersonically fast-paced although somewhat predictable if you had read other books by Matthew Reilly in which case you’re a fan and probably wouldn’t mind anyway. The gasworks scene will put Snake Plissken to shame!
Profile Image for Joanne.
795 reviews18 followers
February 8, 2021
It has been a long time since I have read a Scarecrow novel and I had forgotten how much I enjoy reading his stories.
This is what you want and anticipate from a Scarecrow novel. Action, action and more action.
Lets hope we get a new Scarecrow novel soon.
Profile Image for Tyson Adams.
Author 5 books18 followers
October 28, 2011
There is a small quote at the start of this book that sums up the great new installment in the Scarecrow series:
"The President looked at a wall clock. I was now 5 pm, or 6 am at Dragon. 'Are you telling me that in five hours an unknown force is going to set off some kind of superweapon that will ignite the atmosphere or the northern hemisphere?'
'That's correct sir,' Gordon said. 'We have five hours to save the world.'"

I was looking for a fast paced adventure/thriller novel a few years ago, I was recommended James Rollins. His books are fast. Then I discovered Andy McDermott, his books are Rollins on caffeine. Matthew Reilly books are what you get from the amphetamine addicted, ADD offspring of both authors. Simply, Matt is in a class of his own in terms of intense and fast paced thrillers.

Sure these are a big budget action movie on the page, a veritable Michael Bay blockbuster on speed, but that is exactly what makes these books so great. Unlike a Bay movie, however, you don't feel cheap and dirty afterwards.

Scarecrow is my favourite of Matt's series of books. The Jack West Jnr books have become steadily better adventure novels, but Scarecrow is a straight up thriller, and only becoming more intense with each outing. Fans have had a long wait for this latest adventure. The Army of Thieves book was an eight year wait, but the 10 hour non-stop thrill-fest was worth the wait.
August 26, 2016
Awful rubbish, even by techno-thriller standards.

Good grief this is terrible. I have not purchased this book, nor do I plan to ever buy anything written by Reilly, this book really is that bad.
First how I came to read it (or rather the first thirteen pages and skimmed the rest); I was waiting for my niece in a bookstore and decided to sample the book. That's several minutes I'd like Mr. Reilly and his publishers to return.

OK, it's a techno-thriller so characterisation, plot plausibility, dialogue et cetera aren't going to be emphesised but there should be at least some *attempt*. Further the author should at least do *some* research; those thirteen pages were so full to egregious mistakes that it's a wonder even the average editor didn't catch them.
How did the AoT cram two hundred people into a pair of Ospreys? How did the ECB cram ninety tonnes of banknotes onto a Gulfstream? (and *why*?). Does Reilly know what Spetsnatz are and what they're used for?
Then there's the baddies hacking an ICBM in mid-flight and redirecting it to it's launch silo; just silly for several reasons...........
I won't comment on the details of the doomsday plot except to say it mixes Tesla and the non-existent uranium compound "red mercury" and is as plausible as most uses of those tropes. Oh and there's the obligatory French-bashing and shadowy government plot.
Profile Image for Jack Silkstone.
Author 25 books155 followers
October 27, 2011
High Speed Low Drag! It's really the only way to describe Reilly's latest Scarecrow novel.

Reilly is the master of action, not realistic action, but crazy off the planet, balls to the wall, slightly obscene, blood curdling, adrenaline pumping ACTION! You come away from one of his novels with a high heart rate and that woozy post roller coaster feeling. This is what Scarecrow and the Army of Thieves promises and by f#$k it's what it delivers.

Beware.... fans of Brad Thor, Tom Clancy, Vince Flynn or dare I say it Jack Silkstone. You are not going to enjoy this book. It's not full of realistic tactics. cutting edge technology, life like characters and contemporary scenarios. No it's full of fast paced, crazy ming boggling action, and larger than life good guys and bad guys. It's like a Michael Bay movie on LSD!

To really enjoy this novel, and you will enjoy it if you take this advice, you need to hang up your realism hat and go into it with an open mind and a need for speed. If you do that, then you're probably going to come away from it thinking....... Scarecrow...... F#%k Yeah!

Nice one Matt!


Profile Image for Lindsay.
73 reviews8 followers
January 10, 2012

I am a great lover of Matthew Reilly’s books, I have read them all. I find them exciting, action packed, edge of your seat reads that always leave me breathless but with the urge to go and join the marines.

And Scarecrow and the Army of the Thieves didn’t disappoint………much.

It had all the things that make the Scarecrow novels brilliant, fast paced writing, huge action sequences, thrilling escapes and diabolical bad guys, but this one just seemed, I don’t know, a little forced. The writing just seemed a little sloppy. For example, there was one line that actually made me stop reading and think to myself, did he actually use that?

Remember that this is a book about a small group of marines that are trying to save the world. They have just used (SPOILER) driven a truck off a cliff to enable them to use a couple of magnetic grappling hooks to create a suspension bridge. To describe this Matthew Reilly used the sentence

“It looked totally weird”

The line just seemed so out of place and just no where near Reilly’s usual standards.

Not that I should really comment, I couldn’t write a novel as good as this if I had an entire lifetime and this is the 5th Scarecrow novel.

I guess I have just had my expectations raised so high by previous Reilly offerings that this one couldn’t live up to them. Though I should point out that I am not saying this book was rubbish, not at all. If you picked this book up and read it I guarantee that after the first 30 pages you won’t put it back down.
Profile Image for Freda Malone.
378 reviews60 followers
April 8, 2017
After reading Hell Island, I was excited to begin reading about Scarecrow on Dragon Island. A remote island situated about the North Pole, Dragon Island is, or was, the Russian's secret experiment lab, having been taken over by a rogue army. The Army of Thieves. Scarecrow is on assignment close by trying to keep a low profile but when the Defense Department says fly, Scarecrow flies.

I swear, I get half way through and I think the battle is over and Scarecrow as well as his team have saved the world again. Only to be reminded that the next half of the book means they now have to save themselves. God, I LOVE the way Matthew Reilly thinks. Just when I think he couldn't come up with anything more interesting, he writes us a bigger and better mission than the last. Action packed as always.
Profile Image for Jayaprakash Satyamurthy.
Author 38 books465 followers
December 7, 2011
I was sent this book to review by a local newspaper. I didn't like it. A GI Joe episode on steroids with similarly two-dimensional characters. The review I wound up writing was however not the rant you might imagine but an attempt to write a responisble, honest review that diplomatically stated my opinion while giving enough information for a reader to determine if they might like the book. Nothing like my reviews on goodreads, in other words.
Profile Image for Hristina Ivanova.
316 reviews26 followers
January 5, 2015
It's been a while since I've read something so good! I've quickly reminded of why Reilly has always been one of my favourite authors. God, this was one fast read, very fast. Extremely action-packed,unpredictable...just a terrific read for any action-thriller lover. Had I had the time, I would have read it in a single sitting. It's just that good.
I can't recommend it enough!
Profile Image for Jeffrey.
890 reviews109 followers
March 1, 2012
This thriller is a thrill ride of military action and escalating tension. While the ending may be pre-ordained the roller coaster is one fast fun book to read. Unbelievable plot, but Reilly pulls it off. Read it in a New York minute.
Profile Image for Angela.
437 reviews111 followers
July 4, 2021
Scarecrow Returns (Shane Schofield #4) by Matthew Reilly

Synopsis /

Deep in the Arctic, a long-forgotten Soviet military base enshrouds a weapon of unimaginably destructive force--a Cold War doomsday device with the power to obliterate the planet. When a mysterious and brutal terrorist group known as the Army of Thieves seizes control of the remote base and unleashes the weapon upon an unsuspecting world, there is only one team close enough to sabotage them: a ragtag band of Marines and civilians led by Captain Shane Schofield, call sign "Scarecrow." Outnumbered, outgunned, and with the fate of humanity hanging in the balance, Scarecrow has only a few short hours to bring down the Army of Thieves--or see the Earth go up in flames.

My Thoughts /

As always, do not read this book if you cannot suspend your disbelief about the seemingly improbable events that occur during action sequences. The one thing you can always count on with this series is non-stop action and an escape from reality!

Scarecrow Returns is book 4 in the Shane Schofield series, written by Australian author, Matthew Reilly. Filled with nonstop action and told in Matthew Reilly's characteristically white-knuckle prose, Scarecrow Returns is a work of gripping suspense and complete exhilaration.

a good plan with less time is better than a bad plan with more time

In book 4, Scarecrow finds himself in a three-way collision between teams of special-forces soldiers on a medium-sized semi-mountainous island - Dragon Island. A high-tech facility on an island in the Arctic Circle - a remote and hostile landscape. Once again, our indomitable hero finds himself up against the seemingly impossible, all while having to save the World (yet, again) for the fourth time! Make no mistake, this is the book equivalent of a BIG budget blockbuster action movie where the actors drink nothing but V or Red Bull! Even from where he stood, Schofield could see they had the crazed yellow-red eyes of ganja-weed users.

In this episode, a ‘little’ group calling themselves the ‘Army of Thieves’ have decided that mayhem and murder is the way of the future. After several brazen heists, the Army of Thieves have taken over a defunct Russian cold war base on the Island. But you know that’s not going to be all. Nope, Dragon Island has a doomsday device. And now the bad guys have it. And once again, time is at a premium: The President looked at a wall clock. I was now 5 pm, or 6 am at Dragon. 'Are you telling me that in five hours an unknown force is going to set off some kind of superweapon that will ignite the atmosphere or the northern hemisphere?' 'That's correct sir,' Gordon said. 'We have five hours to save the world.'

Along with Captain Shane Michael Schofield, call sign “Scarecrow”; Gunnery Sergeant Gena Newman, call sign “Mother” also makes a welcome return. Mother is Scarecrow’s fiercely loyal second in command. Standing at least six-foot-two, head shaven, muscular, tough as all nails – she didn’t get her callsign ‘Mother’ because of any (ahem) motherly maternal instincts. In this episode, Mother finds her male equivalent - Master Sergeant Jean-Claude Francois Michel Huguenot, callsign, “Le Barbarian” - a huge hulky French special forces soldier.

The language, like the plot, leans towards the utterly bonkers - In the Pentagon, status radiates outward – if you’re in A-Ring, the centremost ring, you’re somebody. D-Ring, on the other hand, is a backwater. If you’re in D-Ring, you’re nobody, an oompa-loompa in the vast military system. There can be no doubt that Reilly’s writing is hugely entertaining.

As in all other previous Scarecrow novels, just when you think things can’t get any more outrageous – in this episode there are, genetically-modified killer polar bears and, a gun-mounted talking robot called Bertie.

You also get: -
- 310 AK-47 assault rifles;
- 4.5 million rounds of 7.62mm ammunition for those rifles;
- 90 RPG-7 grenade launchers
- 9 strela-1 amphibious anti-aircraft vehicles (each equipped for four 9M31 surface-to-air missiles);
- 12 zala-421-08 unmanned aerial surveillance drones;
- 18 machine-gun-mounted jeeps;
- 9 shipborne torpedo launch pods containing four APR-3E torpedoes each; and
- 2 MIR-4 DSRV (deep submergence rescue vehicle) mini submarines.

And lastly, (especially for a GR friend - you will know who you are) – I have started a Glossary of Terms, just in case you decide to start the series-

AFDV- Assault Force Delivery Vehicles;
DARPA - Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency;
DSRV - Deep Submergence Rescue Vehicle;
MRE - Meals Ready to Eat;
MSD - Minimum Safe Distance;
RPG - Rocket-propelled grenade; and
SDV - Swimmer Delivery Vehicles
Profile Image for Paul.
719 reviews64 followers
September 30, 2013
In this novel, Shane Schofield and squad are tasked with taking down a mad man who is hell bent on creating global chaos. In a smart move, the bulk of The Army of Thieves’ tasks place over the course of a single day. It’s a supremely effective plot device when it comes to a thriller. The characters, and the reader along with them, don’t even get time to blink. The pacing is truly relentless.

My favourite Reilly character continues to be Gena ‘Mother’ Newman and she makes a welcome return here. Mother is Scarecrow’s fiercely loyal second in command. She’s six foot four, tough as nails and kicks all manner of ass. Put it this way, she ain’t called Mother because of her strong maternal instincts. In the Army of Thieves, Mother finally encounters her male equivalent, a hulking French special forces soldier, Master Sergeant Jean-Claude Francois Michel Huguenot, Le Barbarian. The scenes where they are dishing out their own particular brands of hyper-violent justice are breath-taking. It appears Mother may have met her match.

Thinking about it, this is probably the darkest Scarecrow novel to date. The fallout from previous stories has finally caught up with Shane Schofield and the toll is starting to show. I’ll avoid spoilers but suffice to say Scarecrow isn’t just battling external forces. He has same inner demons that require just as much attention. There are a handful of really dark moments that were genuinely unexpected. It’s nice to see the continued evolution of Scarecrow’s character.

The previous Scarecrow novels have been a firm favourite of mine for a while now. Reilly is an expert when it comes to crafting novels that are chock full of non-stop action. Every time you think things can’t get any more outrageous, Reilly pushes things just that little bit more, constantly upping the ante. For example, there are polar bear fights in this novel, people. POLAR BEARS. There are rats as well, but the less said about them the better.

The plot leans towards the utterly bonkers but it’s always wonderfully so. There is no doubting that Reilly’s thrillers are hugely entertaining. The best advice I can give any new reader is try to give yourself entirely to the over-the-top plot. If you can’t manage that then this isn’t the book for you.

The narrative is full to bursting with high-octane outlandishness that I’ll agree is hugely silly but is also massively enjoyable. If however, you acclimatise yourself to this, there are plenty of extreme set pieces that are guaranteed to put a smile on the face of your average thrill seeker. You remember that wonderful feeling you get when you watch a great action movie for the first time? Matthew Reilly’s writing captures that sensation on every single page. As an aside, Hollywood NEED to be making movies with this character now, they could be spectacular. I strongly urge you to try this novel out. If you enjoy The Army of Thieves there are another four Scarecrow novels that have already been published. I can heartily recommend each of them but I would suggest you consider reading them in published order if you can. All of Matthew Reilly’s novels are most definitely worthy of any thriller fan’s time.
Profile Image for Keri.
2,058 reviews105 followers
March 3, 2016
Marine Captain Shane "Scarecrow" Schofield has been slowly mending in mind and spirit since that last devastating incident. He had even been teaching some of the new recruits. Now his superiors have sent him with a research team up in the Arctic. It seems that the French are still a little bit peeved at Scarecrow and have a bounty on his head. After the third assassin attempt, the government thought it might be prudent for him to lay low for awhile. However, a little group calling themselves the Army of Thieves have decided that mayhem and murder is the way to go. After several brazen and bold heists, the Army of Thieves have taken over a defunct Russian cold war base. Only it has a doomsday device that was just sitting there and now the bad guys have it. We have five hours to stop them by any means necessary. Luckily Scarecrow just happens to be in the neighborhood and can help out.

But you know nothing is that easy and we are put through the emotional wringer as the five hours spin out in action sequence after fantastic action sequence. Shane is like the energizer bunny and he never gives up. With his sidekick "Mother" on board, he is determined that world won't end today. The bad guys thought they had it all planned out, but they never took into account Scarecrow. There is one eensy-beensy little problem, those pesky French aren't going to be shook off quite that easy. Who knew that they would go so far to send a war class sub to the Arctic to take care of Shane once and for all. Who knew??? Of course they send their best assassin, they evidently had been saving her for last. That is right, a woman and she has a bigger Mag-hook than Scarecrow does!! But as every good Marine knows, it isn't the size of the of the Mag-hook, but how well you wield it, so he ain't skeert. Her call name is Renard by the way with is French for fox. ( if you read the last book you know why this is special.) So is this a sign of better things to come for Shane? I hope so, he sure deserves it after that last cut.

So can Shane's little band of heroes save the world? I hope so, they only have five hours left and the clock is ticking. Make sure you get yourself strapped in for this off the chart adrenalin rush of a read. Please check with your doctor if you have known heart issues, pregnant or may become pregnant before you read this book. The heart pounding thrill ride could induce heart attacks or labor. :-)
Profile Image for Vijai.
216 reviews60 followers
May 16, 2013
"...he stood up and laid down a shitload of fire"

There, that's my man Reilly dishing out an action scene the way it is supposed to be. Profanity, heart thumping last-second action sequences, claustrophobia inducing movement depiction, a robot going ape shit on your enemies, Ospreys, missiles, submarines...hold on...let me catch my breath a bit, OK?.....phew!...where were we? Oh yeah, describing a quintessential Matthew Reilly book on Scarecrow.

Look, don't pick a Matthew Reilly book looking for logic in story development (the protagonists survive a goddamn direct nuke attack, OK?), smooth story flow (Look at my opening sentence of this review, that's how this author sums up every gun fight), nope, not gonna happen. This is a book you wanna pick for some raw, unadulterated action. A menu that this author prepares and puts together like goddamn Gordon Ramsay while hurling profane words at you.

I personally think that Bertie was an exceptional idea but hopefully will not be continued in another book. The Calderon angle was a bit abrupt but developed well through some sub-plot switching, the polar bears were so obviously space-fillers the author threw in to pump the book size but that's fine, I liked it; the French chickadee (as Mother refers to her) could have been given some vital statistics (Look, I need to picture a hot woman in commando fatigues ok? but since the author brings the lust angle later I pictured her as some man-shouldered ugly chick when she surfaces from the French sub and first impressions stick), Mother's marriage life was a bit dragged out as I picture her to be an hard as nails Marine but to think she goes home to be wifey to some dumb trucker makes you wanna scratch yourself hard.

Overall, an excellent action-thriller bearing Mr. Reilly's signature no-logic wham bham! stamp. I just hope he does not overdo the personal back-story thing in his forthcoming books like Mr. Flynn.

Profile Image for Kim.
403 reviews180 followers
October 15, 2011
Scarecrow and the Army of Thieves sees the return of Matthew Reilly's original all-action hero, Shane Schofield, in a full length novel for the first time in 8 years.

I've never like Scarecrow as much as Jack West but he still makes for a good action hero. Dramatic, violent past. Extremely talented in all manner of weapons and vehicles. Ability to think so fast he can coalesce hours of thinking into milliseconds. Totally unbelievable, completely badass.

This time Scarecrow is in self-exile after the incidents in Ice Station make him a wanted man. On a research and testing expedition in the Arctic circle his skills are called to action when a rogue terrorist army takes over a Russian WMD site.

I won't say more as there isn't a great deal to the storyline and I don't want to give anything away. Fair to say there's plenty of guns and explosions and blood and completely unbelievable, physics defying moments. But that's why you read authors like Matthew Reilly.

The downside is that he's really getting predictable. There was one or two good twists, including a major one, but in most other points I knew what was going to happen before it happened. Yeah it's a dumb action book but sometimes you'd like a little more intelligence and surprise.

All up another good Reilly book and welcome reunion with Scarecrow. Now where's the next Jack West book?
Profile Image for Deepu Singh.
186 reviews8 followers
August 21, 2019
Really? Are you kidding me?
I wish Mr Matthew doesn't write on true facts, otherwise we are doomed.
Wow its just surprise for me, this dragon island and that army of thieves.
Its a another rollercoaster ride with a shot here and there by Matthew Reilly and i began to read him again, and its right to say that you should not read his book if you have planned something for a day or night (sleep).
This book's story staged perfectly, every event and action scene, sometimes i had to read twice a sentence to picture what happened exactly in that sentence like a director making a movie scene and that's what i love about these Shane Schofield books.
But i was so sad and angry on the death of Gant the lady love scarecrow that i emailed Mr Matthew Reilly and showed my anger and disappointment, but I did not get a reply and i was happy for that, cuz i really didn't want to do that, afterall she is his character, but still feels bad for Scarecrow.
I wish Matthew Reilly will again write a novel featuring Scarecrow.
And if you really like action packed novel with some facts and roaming around world with military's latest weapons and technology, and some hard core action heroes to praise, Don't look any further just lift up this book and a flask of tea or coffee, and forget the world worries.
I love his books.
Profile Image for Matthew West.
6 reviews1 follower
July 23, 2012
The worst piece of fiction Reilly has ever written. And that's coming from someone who has been a big fan since first reading Contest in high school. His prose is barely readable and is not of a publishable standard, in all honesty. If this was a manuscript from an unknown writer it would have been binned.
He has lost his grasp on the English language and doesn't excite or interest the audience at all. It's painful to read at some points and there are whole pages of cringeworthy prose that no publisher should be accepting as good enough. I gave up reading half-way through. There was nothing interesting me. The same cookie-cutter scenarios and whacked-out mayhem we've seen in all the other Scarecrow novels, only written to a far poorer standard with nothing enticing or exciting thrown into the mix.
For a quality thriller, try the new Tom Clancy - Locked On, a thoroughly satisfying, exciting and well-written thriller, everything that The Army of Thieves is not.
I leave it with the minimum possible score. 1/5.
Profile Image for Anwesh Ganguli.
147 reviews26 followers
September 21, 2023
The only thing I would say about this book is explosive!

Matthew Reilly through Captain Shane 'Scarecrow' Schofield, USMC will take you on an impossible mission where the odds have stacked so high that it initially seems a total suicide mission for him and his team. What's the mission, you ask... read it and experience the adrenaline rush!

Like always, MR writes in such a style that you can see in your mind's eye like a movie showing Scarecrow and his team wreaking havoc on his adversaries! (at least that's what happened with me).

The best thing is that how Reilly, makes the string meet in a perfect fit. Initially, there would be a lot of information and lots of loose string which gets untangled and things would make sense!

The characters in this book are so awesome! You would fall in love with them, and you would be rooting for your characters!

All in all. this book is nothing but SHOCK and AWE!
Profile Image for Alice.
1,277 reviews8 followers
January 5, 2012
Another fraking awesome adventure featuring Scarecrow and Mother. Well worth the wait- crazy action, over the top bad guys and some sucker punch emotional moments.

Only 4 stars for me as there were some technical issues with the writing that pulled me out of the action a bit towards the end, but not enough to detract that much!
Profile Image for Junipa.
364 reviews
February 9, 2021
Another enthralling read. I hope Scarecrow reappears later on in another book of his own.
16 reviews
April 23, 2021
Fantastic!! Couldn't put it down, really enjoyed it, great. So many new situations and technology to resolve them. Looking forward to another 'Scarecrow' story.
Profile Image for Ralitsa  Koleva.
305 reviews
August 10, 2018

Изобщо не се изненадвам, че са се обърнали към Райли да започне работа по сценарии за приключенията на Шейн Скофийлд, макар и моето сърце да владее Джак Уест. Но… Плашилото все пак е от емблематичните герои и е идеален за големият екран, защото къде другаде се леят куршуми като дъжд, а извинете и в книгите на Матю също е така.

Верен на себе си той поддържа висока скорост от началото до края на книгата, като без да се двоуми премахва герои, запознава ни с нови и направо при него си е малко руска рулетка да заобичаш някой от екипа на Скофийлд.

Започнах книгата с известна тревога, защото все пак в „Плашилото“, авторът обезглави любовта на животът му (буквално) и Шейн Скофийлд изобщо не беше на добро място във финалът на книгата, ако не беше Майка (long story -short това е позивна) можеше дори и да е похапнал малко олово.

Всъщност много от вас могат да намират вече за клиширано един боец или супер герой да се наема със спасяването на света, но пък Матю Райли пише толкова увлекателно по темата, че изобщо не се сещам за клишето като такова.

Дори сега след като с лека ръка е нанесъл най-жестокият удар на един от най-обичаните негови герои, той не спира да отнема по нещо. След загубата на Либи, Плашилото дълго време е бил далеч от служба, после е използван за консултант и преподавател и накрая го правят част от изследователски екип някъде в ледената прегръдка на Арктика. Имайки предвид колко деен и награждаван боец е Плашилото за него такова назначение си е направо мъчение, което той обаче понася без да каже ѝ дума. Отделен бонус е, че за главата му има обявена награда от Франция.

И макар да се занимава с тестване на нови изобретения, които биха спомогнали на морската пехота, Скофийлд въпреки всичко отново успява да се озове по средата на битка от която зависят милиони животи. Но този път той е лишен от най-доверените си хора и може да разчита само на Майка, двама нестабилни морски пехотинци и шепа цивилни, които никога в животът си не са влизали в битка, също така и Бърти, малкият, сладък Бърти, който всички вие ще обикнете от сърце и душа, но дали ще е задълго, това аз няма да ви кажа.

Верен на себе си Матю Райли ще ни прекара през ледените води на Арктика, ще ни срещне с побеснели зве��ове, безскруполни типове и бойци, ще изпепели всичко по пътят си и ще изсипе дъжд от куршуми и всичко това ще направи с такава скорост, че да не даде шанс на читателят да си поеме дъх.

Макар и това за момента да е последната книга от серията мисии на Плашилото все пак има вратичка за продължение, което аз лично много се надявам да се появи, защото Капитан Скофийлд заслужава определено още мисии с които за пореден път да спаси света.
Profile Image for Mihir.
647 reviews302 followers
March 6, 2012
Review originally at Fantasy Book Critic

ANALYSIS: Matthew Reilly’s story to publication is one as wondrous as one of his books. Borrowing money from his parents to publish his debut book and then doing his own publicity and selling the book to local bookstores was quite a task. His book then caught the attention of a publishing persona and based on the potential seen in the book, lead to him being offered a two book contract. The first of those two books was Ice Station & since then Matthew Reilly has never looked back. I happened upon his books when I was starting out as a reader and was enamored by his adventure-laced, action-packed thrillers. However in the last few years, I was disheartened by his Jack West Junior thriller series and they remain the least liked among all his books with his fanbase. When he announced that his next book was going to be a return to his most beloved character, I was ecstatic and wanted to see whether he would be able to top the poignant finale of Scarecrow[3rd book].

I believe a bit of background is required before I begin the review, the first three Scarecrow books have taken place in such varied locations such as Antartica, Utah desert and pan-global race. The first book had Scarecrow saving his team, the second one his nation and third one the entire world. With such a progression and with certain events taking place in the third book, most fans felt that the series had come to its natural conclusion and it would require a herculean effort from the author to write a fourth book to continue the series. Often authors return to characters best left alone and the way this story starts, I got that feeling but before it could take root, Matthew spun his magic. Also on a side note this is book four and therefore not the ideal place to start reading the series as various ennui of the past books have been revealed.

The story begins with a series of reports detailing certain events that herald the ascent of the army of thieves. The scene quickly then shifts to a little known Arctic island called Dragon Island, wherein previous Russian cold war experiments have left a weapon of sorts which has been overtaken by the army and its deranged leader. Calling himself the Lord of Anarchy, their leader announces his intentions of rescaling the world’s current power scenario and activates the weapon which will detonate in a little over five hours. The team closest to dragon island is a civilian one lead by Shane Schofield who are testing some equipment. They are ordered to do whatever it takes to sabotage the detonation process. Thus begins the return of Scarecrow which will see him and his team fight foes on a magnitude beyond their imagination and stop a global genocide within five hours.

The book is a kind of fresh start for the main character and the author’s decision to have the action centered in another icy location (akin to the events of the first book) was a meaningful one. Also it was all the way to the other side of the pole and this time around, there are fewer recurring characters from the previous books. Matthew Reilly’s books are like popcorn blockbusters wherein there are a ton of action-packed sequences, cheesy one-liners, twisty plots and overall a fun feeling when you finish the book. Perhaps when it comes to these type of thrillers he has no equal. This book has his trademark signature sequences, wherein action and chaos unfolds over pages and the heroes manage to live by some insane idea which just has the right amount of luck and skill to make it work. The book’s plot doesn’t just have a single thread but consists of atleast three-four threads which continue to unfurl on their own and later on unite to form an exciting plot. For the returning reader there are various nods and connections to the previous books which continue to strengthen the cohesiveness of the overall series.

Previously on reading a couple of Matthew Reilly’s books, a reviewer had remarked that he doesn’t really give his characters any space to breathe or any time to grow as his books have frequent and gruesome character deaths. This characteristic is present this time around as well and what’s more there are quite a few deaths in this one. Perhaps the author has introduced a sense of seriousness with his choices in the third book and this time around also there are a few things by which the author reinforces his intentions. The biggest guessing game for the readers has been as to where and when Mother will bite the bullet and the author has certainly hinted at it in the past books and he continues that game over here as well but I’m not going to tell you what happens to her. Lastly this book is the most introspective of all the Scarecrow books for reasons which will be apparent to readers of the previous books and the author quite wonderfully plays on that thread showcasing a wounded & perhaps mentally unstable protagonist. This introspective element is also shined on a couple of other recurring characters however the main focus as always is Scarecrow.

With this book, the author showcases that his previous series was a not an indicator of him losing his touch, there’s plenty left in his imagination to wow his fans all over again. I must also point out a few things before I go on, these books have to be counted as pure entertainment, nothing more and nothing less! While Matthew’s writing talents have bought a smile to many a fan, his books have left plenty unsatisfied. Readers looking for a deep nuanced, character driven read will not find it here; these books are the equivalent of Michael Bay films if they had some semblance of a plot to go along with the action. You can expect simple comedy and the thrills associated with cliffhanger chapter endings but as always at the back of your mind, you know that the hero somehow makes it. Predictability of the plot is not to be taken for granted but predictability of the protagonist’s survival is a given. Characterization is also somewhat shallow as most characters can be easily divided into the good & evil camps, though the author springs a few surprises from time to time. This book has one of the most endearing non-human characters a robot called Bertie & I’m hoping readers will get to see more of Bertie in the future as well. Lastly for first time readers this book might not be the best place to start as a lot of surprises of the past three books are revealed but this is required to explain many a scenario and character interactions in the book.

CONCLUSION: Matthew Reilly triumphantly returns to the type of stories which have earned him fans on a global level, combining trademark action sequences with stereotypical dialogue but with a greater emotional quotient, Scarecrow Returns manages to give the readers an excellent read. Fans of his earlier books can be assured that they will find what they have been missing for the past few years and this book heralds a new direction for our favorite marine. Give Scarecrow Returns a read and discover why Matthew Reilly is the unmatched master of the most imaginative action-thrillers ever written.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 619 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.