Fucking clip-art Jesus pantihose. I thought this nightmare was in my past, but no. I’m not going to lie to you: this thing is clearly going to be total shit from start to finish – but it is a different quality of shit and that’s what will make reading it a little special.

Let’s get scientific about this.

First, you’ve got your Dan Brown Shit. It’s slick, efficient, you don’t have to strain at all and it passes so smoothly that you only have to wipe as a matter of routine, knowing even as you do that one sheet of paper will be enough to put your mind at ease. Many people apparently found The Da Vinci Code “incredibly satisfying”, words which, it should always be remembered, consistently represent the reported enjoyment of taking a big dump – in this case a hip-shatteringly massive one, but nothing more.

Then, by contrast, there’s your Clive Cussler Shit. Which is nutty.

Now, however, we have Matthew Reilly Shit – and this is the fun shit, you get me, this is the crazy amatuer shit, you know, this is the spread-it-on-the-walls, pick-it-up-and-throw-it-through-the-bars type shit. It’s shit, but it’s fun!

Fun, that is, for the monkey throwing it. For the monkey reading it, in this case me, the fun stopped somewhere around, oh, page 8, when I discovered what the call signs of the heroes were.

Actually, call signs generally are a bit, y’know, gay these days, aren’t they? I mean, on the one hand you have gamer-tags and internet nicknames and that’s all fine, and on the other hand you have… Top Gun. And Gladiators. Lots of gleaming six-packs, and nipple-pecs, and people calling themselves Ice Man and Maverick and… er… Lightning and Filly, or whatever.

So here we have a heroic combat team who, without blushing, DON’T run into battle calling themselves Huntsman, Witch Doctor, Archer, Bloody Mary, Saladin, Matador and Gunman – because that would be gay.

No. They VOLUNTARILY call themselves Woodsman, Fuzzy, Stretch, Princess Zoe, Pooh Bear, Noddy and Big Ears. During life-and-death struggles they do this. Because their ten-year old girl team-member says these are their new call signs.

This is all so amazingly faggotty that it goes beyond conventional sexualised insults and enters brave new territories of gayness desirous of their own label, and it has fallen upon me to chose one:

This, is gey.

And before you make any assumptions about Princess Zoe – no, that’s not the girl. She doesn’t give herself a call sign. She gives one to the other civilian, an old man with a long beard (Wizard, as if you couldn’t guess), but she doesn’t give a call sign to herself – so even if she wasn’t tagging along with an elite combat team running through a Sudanese swamp, she’d still be the least convincing ten-year old in literary history.

So, not fun anymore by only page 8. But on page 9, whoo, at least it gets funny

The chief resident of the swamp was Crocodylus niloticus, the notorious Nile crocodile. Reaching sizes of up to 6 metres, the Nile crocodile is known for its great size, its brazen cunning, and its ferocity of attack.

Are you ready?

It is the most man-eating crocodilian in the world

Aaaaaaah, pissed myself.