Complete with appropriate beverage.
Once again, Messrs. Preston and Child have delivered an amazing story.
It all begins one evening when Pendergast and Constance are researching the special agent’s family history. A knock at the door interrupts them, and to their horror they find the dead body of Pendergast’s estranged son Alban on the doorstep, wrapped in ropes.
The autopsy reveals a gem inside Alban’s body that came from a mine at Salton Sea in California. But when Pendergast heads off to investigate, he is attacked, and soon finds himself suffering for the sins of his ancestors. While his friends race to save him, Pendergast tries to discover where Alban had been all this time…and who could have overcome his unusual abilities.
This was certainly rather different from the usual Pendergast novels. For most of them, Pendergast has been mentally, if not always physically, superior to the other characters. Even in Two Graves, at his lowest point, he was still able to confront the problem. This book, however, soon left him out of the action entirely. This could have made for a boring book, since Pendergast is such a larger than life character, but instead it gave the supporting characters their chance to shine.
D’Agosta was his usual self-effective but crass. I was also very happy to see Margo back. She still bears the mental scars from her past adventures, but is still the determined, indomitable character we know and love.
Alban’s back story was quite a surprise. I think it was meant to mirror and subvert Diogenes’ back story, and while it’s sad to see such a fascinating character go, it was interesting to know why. Tristram didn’t have much to do, but once again we see his endless compassion. I hope he becomes a more important character, because I’m intrigued where his arc is going.
Of course, once Pendergast is down for the count, our star is Constance. Can I just say that she’s basically the best character, besides Pendergast? We get a few more vague hints about her past, just enough to be intriguing, and we see a little more of Leng via letters, who I thought would fade into obscurity.
Also, spoiler alert, Constance defeats several military-trained mercenaries with bottles of triflic acid, because she is awesome.
This was a wonderful, odd addition to the Pendergast series, and while I’m sure the authors have other projects, I look forward to seeing where this is going next.