The Book of the Dead (2007) – Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

Pendergast is back!

Picking up where the previous novel Dance of Death ended, Preston and Child plunge us back into the world of Aloysius, D’Agosta, Smithback, Kelly, Hayward, Constance and Pendergast’s villainous and genius brother, Diogenes.

This novel serves as a climax of the previous two books, wrapping up the storyline of the two brothers, and their ongoing conflict. While Pendergast is languishing in prison, D’Agosta, who is not only on the outs with his flame Homicide Police Captain Laura Hayward is working on a way to free his friend, and try to decipher what Diogenes may be up to.

At the museum, still recovering from the fallout of the theft of their diamond collection, Nora Kelly is commissioned to curate a revival of a long-closed off museum exhibit, an ancient Egyptian tomb that is saddled with a horrifying curse.

But what if everything that is happening is all part of Diogenes ultimate plan?

To stop him, Pendergast will not only have to escape an inescapable prison but also the confines of his own mind to discover the secret long buried that may lead to a clue about how to stop his brother, and what may have sent him on the vile, murderous path he has pursued.


As with previous novels, Preston and Child make sure their tale rockets along, while layering detail upon detail to create their world, and it continues to be completely engaging, often unnerving, and sometimes down right frightening.

When the past is revealed to the reader, the terrifying reality of what Diogenes intends to inflict on the world, through the museum, is unveiled. How it is executed is not only believably created by Preston and Child, but the sequences leading into the climax are graphic, and fear-inducing.

This poor museum, it features in a number of the Pendergast novels, and it can’t seem to get a break, and yet seems to come out of events fairly well. That may be the least believable thing about these highly enjoyable novels.

Because he is incarcerated for a large portion of the book, Pendergast is not as central as a character in previous novels, yet his presence is felt each step of the way.

A number of things are tied up by story’s end, as we come to the end of the Diogenes trilogy, but there are some new ones laid down, and it will be interesting to see how they play out in future novels.

This series continues to be incredibly entertaining, engrossing, and I like when I dig into each one because they are easily devoured and have an adrenaline kick that gets the heart pounding.

Pendergast continues to be a fun creation, and the supporting characters have all taken on lives of their own, and it’s always a lot of fun to check in with them. I’m sure it won’t be long before I join them again for another adventure…



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