The Book of the Dead (Special Agent Pendergast Series #7)

The Book of the Dead (Special Agent Pendergast Series #7)

4.2 212
by Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child, Rene Auberjonois
     
 

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An FBI agent, rotting away in a high-security prison for a murder he did not commit ... his brilliant psychotic brother, about to perpetrate a horrific crime ... a young woman with an extraordinary past, on the edge of a violent breakdown ... an ancient Egyptian tomb with an enigmatic curse, about to be unveiled at a celebrity-studded New York gala. See more details below

Overview

An FBI agent, rotting away in a high-security prison for a murder he did not commit ... his brilliant psychotic brother, about to perpetrate a horrific crime ... a young woman with an extraordinary past, on the edge of a violent breakdown ... an ancient Egyptian tomb with an enigmatic curse, about to be unveiled at a celebrity-studded New York gala.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Readers caught up in the two previous adventures of FBI agent Aloysius Pendergast, a modern-day Sherlock Holmes, will leap right into this audio conclusion of the three-part series by Preston and Childs. Smartly abridged, this concluding volume is read with a lively and literate excitement by veteran actor Auberjonois, who can capture a surly museum guard, a snooty curator and a shrewd villain (Aloysius's evil brother, Diogenes) in the flicker of a vocal cord, but who saves his most ironic tones for Aloysius himself. Even listeners who are new to the series will find lots of thrills and chuckles. Everything from priceless diamonds ground to dust to murder and bloody mayhem is treated with zestful underplaying by Auberjonois. But listeners who will probably most appreciate the extensive tying up of loose plot threads this time around are the ones who were there when those threads first began to unravel. Simultaneous release with the Warner hardcover (Reviews, Apr. 24). (June) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
VOYA - Joanna Morrison
Preston and Child here conclude-or do they? - their popular trilogy featuring FBI Agent Aloysius Pendergast's epic struggle with his brother Diogenes, who is undoubtedly a genius but also criminally insane. In his ongoing plan to ruin Aloysius, Diogenes has successfully framed him for murder, thus clearing the path for his artistic revenge on both Aloysius and the world at the site of New York's Museum of Natural History. Naturally peculiar things begin occurring around the new exhibit based on a lost Egyptian tomb, and the grand opening of the exhibit is foreshadowed by "accidents" resulting in madness and death. In the meantime, Aloysius' supporters, most notably Police Officer Vincent D'Agosta, work to extricate him from the bowels of the United States' most secure prison, while Diogenes targets Aloysius' beloved adopted daughter Constance, planning a degradation that will complete Diogenes' evil schemes. Whew! As in Preston and Child's previous Aloysius and Diogenes books, Brimstone (Warner, 2004) and Dance Of Death (2005), there is breathless action of both the physical and intellectual kind, a bit of the supernatural, and the added tension of both Diogenes and Aloysius being masters of disguise, a la Mission Impossible. Readers of the earlier Pendergast books will demand this concluding volume. Consider it a must for libraries who have already purchased the first two.
Library Journal
The combination of Preston and Child has produced one best-selling thriller after another and has created one of the most intriguing characters in contemporary fiction: FBI special agent Aloysius Pendergast. This honey-voiced, seemingly supernatural G-man has faced danger in past novels, but this time he truly seems to have been outsmarted by his diabolical brother, Diogenes. As the book opens (the third in an apparent trilogy), Aloysius is in solitary confinement in a maximum-security prison, Diogenes is plotting a heinous crime against New York's Museum of Natural History, and Aloysius's NYPD friend Vince D'Agosta is in danger of losing his job. When an anonymous donor contributes an incredible sum of money to the museum to enable it to open a long-lost Egyptian tomb buried in the basement, it seems like the perfect time to distract the public from a massive diamond theft from the museum. Master storyteller Scott Brick has read many Preston-Child novels and voices just the right amount of drama and excitement to maintain the incredibly high level of suspense. Highly recommended for every library.-Joseph L. Carlson, Allan Hancock Coll., Lompoc, CA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Brazenly convoluted, swift-going last title in the Pendergast trilogy (after Dance of Death, 2005) features FBI special agent Aloysius Pendergast in murderous rivalry with his brother Diogenes. The authors keep numerous pots boiling over at once: Agent Pendergast is locked away in solitary confinement at the escape-proof Herkmoor Federal Correctional Facility in upstate New York, apparently framed for serial murders, at the time that a mysterious package containing ground diamonds is dumped at the beleaguered New York Museum of Natural History. Caught trying to hide the fact that the diamond dust is what is left of the museum's priceless diamond collection stolen some time before, the museum powers-that-be decide to bring up an Egyptian tomb buried in its cellars as a public-relations stunt. Archaeologist Nora Kelly (whose husband, New York Times reporter William Smithback Jr., broke the diamond-grit story) is assigned to reassemble the Tomb of Senef and plan the sound-and-light show that will bedazzle big-name guests at the official opening. A suave Egyptologist from the British Museum, Adrian Wicherly, aids Kelly and discovers that the tomb's hieroglyphics contain a curse of insanity on whoever defiles it. In fact, a series of visitors to the tomb do fall prey to madness and murder, including Dr. Wicherly, as plans for the official opening proceed ominously. Meanwhile, martial-arts master Pendergast is sprung from torture and gang mayhem in a jail rescue by fellow FBI agent Vinnie D'Agosta, and others convinced of his innocence, and put on the trail of Diogenes, who still has not recovered from emotional damage suffered during childhood. Diogenes blames his older brother for his earlytrauma and manipulates to his purposes the family's naive young ward, Constance Greene, whose own Dickensian tale figured into the authors' previous novels. With Diogenes stalking Constance in Italy, and the New York mayor and his retinue locked in the tomb, this promises to be a really good show. Fast, punchy and relentlessly action-packed.
From the Publisher
James Gale's gravelly voice is ideal for the cinder-lunged Rebus, and he manages somehow to lubricate out some of the harshness for cleaner living characters. Meanwhile, Gale's accents are superb , as he handles a spectrum ranging from overweening English toffee-nose to malicious Edinburgh corner boy. All in all, this narration adds another degree of atmosphere to a novel that is already redolent of the city it sprang from.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781594832277
Publisher:
Hachette Audio
Publication date:
05/30/2006
Series:
Special Agent Pendergast Series, #7
Edition description:
Abridged
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 5.70(h) x 0.80(d)

Read an Excerpt

The Book of the Dead


By Douglas Preston Lincoln Child

WARNER BOOKS

Copyright © 2006 Splendide Mendax, Inc., and Lincoln Child
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-446-57698-0


Chapter One

Early-morning sunlight gilded the cobbled drive of the staff entrance at the New York Museum of Natural History, illuminating a glass pillbox just outside the granite archway. Within the pillbox, a figure sat slumped in his chair: an elderly man, familiar to all museum staff. He puffed contentedly on a calabash pipe and basked in the warmth of one of those false-spring days that occur in New York City in February, the kind that coaxes daffodils, crocuses, and fruit trees into premature bloom, only to freeze them dead later in the month.

"Morning, doctor," Curly said again and again to any and all passersby, whether mailroom clerk or dean of science. Curators might rise and fall, directors might ascend through the ranks, reign in glory, then plummet to ignominious ruin; man might till the field and then lie beneath; but it seemed Curly would never be shifted from his pillbox. He was as much a fixture in the museum as the ultrasaurus that greeted visitors in the museum's Great Rotunda.

"Here, pops!"

Frowning at this familiarity, Curly roused himself in time to see a messenger shove a package through the window of his pillbox. The package had sufficient momentum to land on the little shelf where the guard kept his tobacco andmittens.

"Excuse me!" Curly said, rousing himself and waving out the window. "Hey!" But the messenger was already speeding away on his fattire mountain bike, black rucksack bulging with packages.

"Goodness," Curly muttered, staring at the package. It was about twelve inches by eight by eight, wrapped in greasy brown paper, and tied up with an excessive amount of old-fashioned twine. It was so beaten-up Curly wondered if the messenger had been run over by a truck on the way over. The address was written in a childish hand: For the rocks and minerals curator, The Museum of Natural History.

Curly broke up the dottle in the bottom of his pipe while gazing thoughtfully at the package. The museum received hundreds of packages every week from children, containing "donations" for the collection. Such donations included everything from squashed bugs and worthless rocks to arrowheads and mummified roadkill. He sighed, then rose painfully from the comfort of his chair and tucked the package under his arm. He put the pipe to one side, slid open the door of his pillbox, and stepped into the sunlight, blinking twice. Then he turned in the direction of the mailroom receiving dock, which was only a few hundred feet across the service drive.

"What have you got there, Mr. Tuttle?" came a voice. Curly glanced toward the voice. It was Digby Greenlaw, the new assistant director for administration, who was just exiting the tunnel from the staff parking lot.

Curly did not answer immediately. He didn't like Greenlaw and his condescending Mr. Tuttle. A few weeks earlier, Greenlaw had taken exception to the way Curly checked IDs, complaining that he "wasn't really looking at them." Heck, Curly didn't have to look at them-he knew every employee of the museum on sight.

"Package," he grunted in reply. Greenlaw's voice took on an officious tone. "Packages are supposed to be delivered directly to the mailroom. And you're not supposed to leave your station."

Curly kept walking. He had reached an age where he found the best way to deal with unpleasantness was to pretend it didn't exist. He could hear the footsteps of the administrator quicken behind him, the voice rising a few notches on the assumption he was hard of hearing. "Mr. Tuttle? I said you should not leave your station unattended."

Curly stopped, turned. "Thank you for offering, doctor." He held out the package.

Greenlaw stared it at, squinting. "I didn't say I would deliver it." Curly remained in place, proffering the package. "Oh, for heaven's sake." Greenlaw reached irritably for the package, but his hand faltered midway. "It's a funny-looking thing. What is it?" "Dunno, doctor. Came by messenger."

"It seems to have been mishandled." Curly shrugged.

But Greenlaw still didn't take the package. He leaned toward it, squinting. "It's torn. There's a hole ... Look, there's something coming out."

Curly looked down. The corner of the package did indeed have a hole, and a thin stream of brown powder was trickling out. "What in the world?" Curly said.

Greenlaw took a step back. "It's leaking some kind of powder." His voice rode up a notch. "Oh my Lord. What is it?"

Curly stood rooted to the spot. "Good God, Curly, drop it! It's anthrax!"

Greenlaw stumbled backward, his face contorted in panic. "It's a terrorist attack-someone call the police! I've been exposed! Oh my God, I've been exposed!"

The administrator stumbled and fell backward on the cobblestones, clawing the ground and springing to his feet, and then he was off and running. Almost immediately, two guards came spilling out of the guard station across the way, one intercepting Greenlaw while the other made for Curly.

"What are you doing?" Greenlaw shrieked. "Keep back! Call 911!" Curly remained where he was, package in hand. This was something so far outside his experience that his mind seemed to have stopped working.

The guards fell back, Greenlaw at their heels. For a moment, the small courtyard was strangely quiet. Then a shrill alarm went off, deafening in the enclosed space. In less than five minutes, the air was filled with the sound of approaching sirens, culminating in an uproar of activity: police cars, flashing lights, crackling radios, and uniformed men rushing this way and that stringing up yellow biohazard tape and erecting a cordon, megaphones shouting at the growing crowds to back off, while at the same time telling Curly to drop the package and step away, drop the package and step away.

But Curly didn't drop the package and step away. He remained frozen in utter confusion, staring at the thin brown stream that continued to trickle out of the tear in the package, forming a small pile on the cobbles at his feet.

And now two strange-looking men wearing puffy white suits and hoods with plastic visors were approaching, walking slowly, hands outstretched like something Curly had seen in an old science fiction movie. One gently took Curly by the shoulders while the other slipped the package from his fingers and-with infinite care-placed it in a blue plastic box. The first man led him to one side and began carefully vacuuming him up and down with a funny-looking device, and then they began dressing him, too, in one of the strange plastic suits, all the time telling him in low electronic voices that he was going to be all right, that they were taking him to the hospital for a few tests, that everything would be fine. As they placed the hood over his head, Curly began to feel his mind coming back to life, his body able to move again.

"Scuse me, doctor?" he said to one of the men as they led him off toward a van that had backed through the police cordon and was waiting for him, doors open.

"Yes?"

"My pipe." He nodded toward the pillbox. "Don't forget to bring my pipe."

(Continues...)



Excerpted from The Book of the Dead by Douglas Preston Lincoln Child Copyright © 2006 by Splendide Mendax, Inc., and Lincoln Child. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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