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

4.2 212
by Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child

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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 extrodinary past, on th edge of a violent breakdown...
An ancient Egyptian tomb with an enigmatic curse, about to be unveiled at a celebrity-studded New York gala...


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 extrodinary past, on th edge of a violent breakdown...
An ancient Egyptian tomb with an enigmatic curse, about to be unveiled at a celebrity-studded New York gala...
Memento Mori

Editorial Reviews

FBI agent Pendergast and his demonic brother, Diogenes, continue the savage tango begun in Dance of Death. Diogenes returns the stolen gem collection of the New York Museum of Natural History, but this hoard of priceless jewels has been reduced to mounds of powdery dust. To neutralize the bad PR, the museum reopens the Tomb of Senef, an ancient Egyptian temple that has remained behind closed doors since the 1930s. For Diogenes, however, the new exhibit only raises the ante of his psychotic sibling feud.
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.

Product Details

Grand Central Publishing
Publication date:
Special Agent Pendergast Series , #7
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
4.25(w) x 6.87(h) x 1.12(d)
Age Range:
14 - 18 Years

Read an Excerpt

The Book of the Dead

By Douglas Preston Lincoln Child


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.


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


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.

Meet the Author

The thrillers of Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child "stand head and shoulders above their rivals" (Publishers Weekly). Preston and Child's Relic and The Cabinet of Curiosities were chosen by readers in a National Public Radio poll as being among the one hundred greatest thrillers ever written, and Relic was made into a number-one box office hit movie. They are coauthors of the famed Pendergast series and their recent novels include Fever Dream, Cold Vengeance, Two Graves, and Gideon's Corpse. In addition to his novels, Preston writes about archaeology for the New Yorker and Smithsonian magazines. Lincoln Child is a former book editor who has published five novels of his own, including the huge bestseller Deep Storm.
Readers can sign up for The Pendergast File, a monthly "strangely entertaining note" from the authors, at their website, www.PrestonChild.com. The authors welcome visitors to their alarmingly active Facebook page, where they post regularly.

Brief Biography

Place of Birth:
Cambridge, Massachusetts
B.A., Pomona College, 1978

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The Book of the Dead (Special Agent Pendergast Series #7) 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 209 reviews.
anavidreaderWY More than 1 year ago
Loved this book. Although it doesn't have to be read in sequence---this is the first Pendergrast novel I have read, it does have references to prior events and would probably be even better read it sequence. Characters are odd enough to hold your attention, plot with the Egyptian tomb was really good. It had enough, supernatural to keep you guessing. I'm going to order the other novels now since this one was so good!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a great story. It never stopped being interesting and kept me on the edge my seat the whole time. Dark, musty museum basements crammed with ancient artifacts are the perfect eerie setting for a good thriller.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Book of the Dead by Douglas Preston, and Lincoln Child is well written. The over all story had many twists and turns in regards to whom was Digeones Pendergast.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I found this book before knowing about all the other Pendergast novels but it's safe to say this one got me hooked! I love the character and the pace of this book, truly thrilling to read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Book of the Dead had me wanting to read more and more as the action never stopped. This thrilling roller coaster ride of a story always had you thinking one thing but changed to the exact opposite.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this novel. I do wish, however, that the one character, who will remain unmentioned, that 'died' would make an amazing return in some way... and continue to taunt Pendergast. I really enjoy these outstanding novelists. Keep it up.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As the final book of what the authors term 'The Diogenes Trilogy' I was all set for a final battle to the death between Pendergast and his very evil brother Diogenes. I was pleasantly surprised to see the book move in a very different direction. Perhaps too much time was spent in extricating Pendergast from his unjust confinement, but the detailed process was executed with fascinating and belivable precision. As with the other Pendergast books, the strange protagonist manages to carry out his plans with such amazing ability that it is a bit mystifying that Diogenes could have accomplished so much of the mayhem that he has pulled off in the past. It was painful to watch Diogenes in action as he duped the the innocent Constance, but the reversal which happens is both believable and highly satisfying. The character of Constance is one which bears even further development, which I suspect is what will happen in Wheel of Darkness. I certainly hope so!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I just finished reading this book and ordered the 8th in the series. Starting with book one and then going forward is the way to go. Each book introduces someone new but included is past characters. This makes for an easier read and quite frankly a sentimental attachment. I am attached to the older characters and their personalities and what they will contribute to the book. The introduction of a new character is just an addition to the family. Pendergrast is what holds it all together and is a must appearance in all the books. I have read 7 books of the series within a short time as I cannot seem to stop myself. Start with book one and you will find that with each book you are drawn into the world of Pendergast and the meeting of old friends.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Book of the Dead was my first introduction to Preston and Child and the Pendergast series - and now I'm completely hooked! The plot is so intricate that we're always left guessing who is good and who is bad, and if, perhaps, there are some supernatural forces at work. A brilliant mix of suspense, crime, psychology, and history - this book won't disappoint readers of many genres - and will probably having you running into your local Natural History museum asap! Preston and Child have a wonderful writing style that sucks you in, terrifies you, and won't let you go until the final battle. Agent Pendergast at his finest!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The authors have once again created a page turner that you simply cannot put down. You become engaged in the fates of all the characters. What a spectacular story they weave!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
How do Preston and Child come up with the plot twists, turn of events, original plot lines, unique characters and weave everything into an incredible story? I don't know, but they amaze me and I'm hooked on their books. I thorougly enjoy how not only the Pendergast character has developed, but Smithback, Nora Kelly - and of course, Vincent. The Pendergast "brain" just always amazes....
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Typical of the Pendergast books, The Book of the Dead is action-packed and highly entertaining with lots of unique twists. It really should be read in its rightful place at the end of the Pendergast trilogy because the reader needs the background information to appreciate the story fully. I think it would be hard to really enjoy as a stand-alone because so mich vital information would be lost. That is probably why a few of the reviewers are rating it so low. It is, in fact, probably the best of the series, but you have to understand the whole picture. I also loved the surprising cliffhanger ending. Ya gotta love it!!! Stephanie Clanahan
WJean More than 1 year ago
another good Pendergast book where you can't put it down.
sayto More than 1 year ago
Loved it like all the other ones in the series
Jovem More than 1 year ago
OK, but feel like I've read this story before in many ways.
TPau48 More than 1 year ago
This is the 7th in the series of books about Special Agent Pendergast and his trials and tribulations. The authors captured my attention with the first book in the series. Not going to give spoilers here; just want all to know that I can't put these down, and when I'm almost to the end of one book, I buy the next one so as not to skip a beat with Pendergast!
Grams2MB More than 1 year ago
This book is one that will keep you on your toes. Each page keeps you reading more. Can't put the book down. This is an awesome series and you must read every one in order. Highly additive.
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As usual, I cannot put this book down. What a story!
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I always enjoy following A. X. L. Pendergast.
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