"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!
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.
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 … more