Date of Publication: 2006
“Most of the action of this gothic tale of Gotham takes place in the remote galleries of the “New York Museum,” a thin disguise for the American Museum of Natural History at Central Park West and Seventy-ninth Street. But that’s plenty of real estate, considering that the fictional museum includes thirty-four interconnected buildings with more than 2 million square feet of space and more than eighteen miles of corridors. Most of the collection has never been seen by the public, including (according to Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child) the Tomb of Senef, a colossal Egyptian monument imported stone by stone in the 1800s, but sealed off for more than three-quarters of a century. Archaeologist Nora Kelly is in charge of renovating the tomb for a new exhibition, partly to burnish the reputation of the museum, which has been shaken by a recent murder and the theft of its entire diamond collection by archfiend Diogenes Pendergast. But there is much more bloodshed to come, as the master criminal unfolds his plan to terrorize the rich and powerful of New York City at the official opening of the new exhibition. Only one man can stop the impending catastrophe: Diogenes’ older brother, F.B.I. Special Agent Aloysius X.L. Pendergast. Alas, Aloysius is locked up in a federal maximum security cell, framed for a murder his brother committed. Is all hope lost? Not to worry. Agent Pendergast, whose crime-fighting skill makes Sherlock Holmes look like Inspector Clouseau, has his own plan. With the help of a group of lower Manhattan irregulars, he busts out of stir just in time to stop the massacre of the innocents and to track down his evil sibling.” -Laurence A. Marschall, Bookshelf, Natural History Magazine
This is the latest book in the series featuring Agent Pendergast, and the final book in the Diogenes trilogy. As I’ve said before, Pendergast, in my opinion, is one of the greatest literary heroes ever created, and I certainly was not disappointed in The Book of the Dead. In fact, Pendergast, having been through so much in the previous book, Dance of Death, becomes an even more complex character and actually shows his more vulnerable side. Secrets are finally revealed about his relationship with Diogenes, and we finally find out about the “Event”, a memory that Pendergast has long suppressed, and something that absolutely chilled me to the bone. It remains the best book I have read all year. For fans of Preston and Child, this is a can’t miss book, but for new readers, it’s still a thrilling tale worth reading.
Rating: An enthusiastic 10/10!