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The Book of the Dead

A book by Douglas Preston

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A slam bang finale to a thrilling trilogy!

  • Oct 8, 2010
"The Book of the Dead" is everything a thriller fan could hope for - a page-turning, unputdownable, thrilling, decadently readable, thoroughly entertaining, slam bang finale to a colourful, imaginative trilogy!

The basic plot premise is simplicity itself! FBI Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast's younger brother Diogenes has announced his plan to execute a mysteriously undefined perfect crime. As a result of intense psychological examination, Pendergast has determined that this crime is to be Diogenes' revenge for a childhood sin perpetrated against his younger brother, the nature of which has been completely suppressed in Pendergast's unconscious memories! The dastardly crime must be prevented at all costs despite Pendergast not knowing even the tiniest detail of Diogenes' actual intentions! The story gallops at breakneck speed from crisis to crisis as the life or death clash between Pendergast and his psychopathic megalomaniacal brother escalates to a thrilling climax but we are privileged to watch it being played out with masterful attention to character building, dialogue, detail, pacing and clever ratcheting or release of tension!

As we have come to expect from their previous work, Preston and Child have once again packed their tale with a dazzling myriad of mini-plots that have afforded them a number of stages from which they could also deliver a series of wildly entertaining and informative lectures - the politics and history of Egyptian archeology; the religious beliefs and burial practices of the ancient Egyptians; the nature of security in a modern maximum security prison built for incorrigible offenders; the logistical details of mounting a world class exhibit in a modern museum; the potential for neurological damage caused by intense light and high volume sound bombardment; the trivia of diamond classification, colour, cut and value; and, arcane details of forensic evidence examination such as the study of knots or cloth; to name only a few examples.

Readers who have observed Pendergast's growing resemblance to Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes in the novels which preceded "The Book of the Dead" will shiver with a frisson of delight at the tumultuous Reichenbach Falls style climax which takes place on the very flanks of Mount Stromboli in Sicily. When Pendergast announced his intentions to retire to a period of solitude and contemplation at a Tibetan monastery, I quietly sent up a short prayer to the writing gods with the fervent hope that Lincoln and Child bring Pendergast back for a 21st century version of "The Final Problem"! Quiet retirement or beekeeping would not suit Pendergast any better than it did Holmes.

And, by the way, be very, very sure that you read this novel right to the very last sentence ... and what a last sentence it is!

Oh yeah ... did I say that I enjoyed the novel?

Paul Weiss

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More The Book of the Dead reviews
Quick Tip by . October 08, 2010
A slam bang finale to a thrilling trilogy! Readers who have observed Pendergast's growing resemblance to Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes in the novels which preceded "The Book of the Dead" will shiver with a frisson of delight at the tumultuous Reichenbach Falls style climax which takes place on the very flanks of Mount Stromboli in Sicily.
review by . June 14, 2006
This book starts off slow till about the middle and then steamrolls to the end. Fans that read the prior books will not be disappointed. Newcomers to the series should read at least the prior book (Game of Death) to get a full appreciation of this work.    Eli Glinn from The Ice Limit, plays a prominent part in the book as well as Constance (Pendergast's ward). We finally learn what caused Diogennes to become the evil opposite of Pendergast. Once again the NY Museum of Natural …
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Paul Weiss ()
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   A modern day dilettante with widely varied eclectic interests. A dabbler in muchbut grandmaster of none - wilderness camping in all four seasons, hiking, canoeing, world travel,philately, … more
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About this book


Bestsellers Preston and Child have come up with another gripping, action-packed page-turner in this concluding volume to a trilogy pitting their Holmesian hero, FBI agent Aloysius Pendergast, against his Mycroft-turned-Moriarty—his younger brother, Diogenes. Picking up shortly after the events of 2005'sDance of Death, the book opens with the arrival of a package of fine dust at the Museum of Natural History; Diogenes has returned the diamonds he stole earlier. Meanwhile, Aloysius is in prison, having been framed for a number of murders. As his friends plot to spring him, his adversary lays the groundwork for a crowning criminal achievement. A mysterious benefactor funds the restoration of an ancient Egyptian tomb at the museum, but the work is beset by the mayhem Preston and Child's readers have come to expect—gory murders and suggestions of the supernatural. This entry, tying up many loose ends from its predecessors, is less likely to work as well for first-time readers, but followers of Aloysius Pendergast's previous exploits will find it a satisfying read with a tantalizing, ominous twist at the end.10-city author tour. (June)
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ISBN-10: 0446576980
ISBN-13: 978-0446576987
Author: Douglas Preston
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
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